The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) announced yesterday that PepsiCo Inc. is the recipient of the new Jackie B. Trujillo SOAR Award. The SOAR award is the highest honor an organization can receive from the WFF. It recognizes and measures the efforts that companies are making to elevate more women leaders in foodservice.

“We congratulate PepsiCo for supporting the industry-wide mission of elevating women leaders in foodservice,” said Paula Marshall, WFF chair. “PepsiCo has successfully created a culture in which female employees are given full, unrestrained access to resources, support and encouragement that allows them to seek and achieve the highest levels of professional and personal success.”

PepsiCo’s leadership in the food and beverage industry has included a demonstrated success in providing opportunities for the advancement of women leaders. Their current board composition is 29 percent females and 29 percent minorities and females make up 27 percent of officer positions. They have demonstrated a strong positive trend to improving gender diversity at senior levels and have a published values statement that specifically calls out diversity, inclusion and respect. PepsiCo has an active Women’s Initiative Network and offer both formal and informal mentoring programs within their organization. Employees also receive regular companywide communication surrounding diversity and gender issues in which a high value is placed on gender diversity as a mandatory business practice. In addition, work-life balance programs are available to all employees and the company has set quantified goals to improve gender diversity in those areas identified as inadequate.

“PepsiCo is proud to accept this prestigious award from the Women’s Foodservice Forum,” said Chris Furman, president, PepsiCo Foodservice. “Diversity isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for our business, and we’re committed to making diversity and inclusion a way of life at PepsiCo.”

The Jackie B. Trujillo SOAR Award will be presented each year at the WFF Annual Leadership Luncheon during the National Restaurant Association’s Hotel-Motel Show. Named after a founding member of the WFF and a true pioneer in the foodservice industry, Trujillo rose from a car-hop to the chairman of the board of the largest KFC franchise in their history.