Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has announced the recipients of the 2006 Trailblazer Award, Emerging Leader Award, Director’s Award and President’s Award at the WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference in Dallas, Texas.

“We congratulate the outstanding commitment and dedication these individuals have shown to the WFF and to the foodservice and hospitality industries,” said Alice Wheelwright, 2006 WFF chair and vice president of global business development. “We are proud to honor their tremendous contributions and their continued support of Elevating Women Leaders.”

Trailblazer Award

Julia Stewart, CEO, COO & president of the IHOP Corporation, is the recipient of this year’s WFF Trailblazer Award. Sponsored by General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice, the Trailblazer Award is a prestigious and high profile accolade for individuals who are dedicated to improving the industry through their support of gender diversity, creating new pathways for women in their company, and implementing them at all levels of their organization. The Trailblazer Award is open to men and women that hold director positions or higher, and have been in the foodservice industry for 10 or more years.

“General Mills is proud to be the sponsor of the Trailblazer Award and to join the WFF and the industry in recognizing this year’s recipient, Julia Stewart,” said John Machuzick, president, General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice. “As a founding WFF member, Ms. Stewart passionately blazed her way through to create an industry where women have risen to key leadership positions in many successful companies. We admire the many contributions that Julia has made to the WFF and our industry and congratulate her on this great recognition.”

Emerging Leader Award

Valerie Insignares, executive vice president, operations, Olive Garden, received this year’s Emerging Leader Award. This honor, which is sponsored by Ecolab Inc. and is solicited and voted by WFF members, is awarded each year to a woman executive in the foodservice industry who shows exceptional leadership qualities, within her company and the industry, and whose professional growth and achievements are recognized through career advancement.

“Ecolab is a proud sponsor of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and its Emerging Leader Award, which emphasizes the importance of the continued growth and development of talented women leaders within the foodservice and hospitality industries,” said Doug Baker, CEO, Ecolab Inc. “Ecolab values the energy, ideas and ultimate success that diversity brings to our industry, which is why we strongly support the mission of the WFF and the incredible membership base it serves. We congratulate Valerie on her achievements and look forward to her continued contributions to the foodservice industry.”

Director’s Award

Lorna Donatone, CEO of Spirit Cruises, a division of Sodexho, was presented the annual Director’s Award, which recognizes a WFF volunteer who is highly active in the organization through committee work and general support. Ms. Donatone has demonstrated consistent effort and has enthusiastically and visibly contributed to the goals and overall success of the Women’s Foodservice Forum. The Director’s award is solicited and selected by the WFF board of directors.

President’s Award

The WFF presented Paula Shives, senior vice president, general counsel & secretary of Darden Restaurants, Inc., the 2006 President’s Award. Established in 1998, the President’s Award honors the outstanding efforts of a WFF board member who has made a major impact on the WFF by driving volunteer programs.

With more than 3,000 members from all segments of the foodservice industry, including restaurant operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing and consulting, Women’s Foodservice Forum is committed to Elevating Women Leaders. Through highly beneficial keynote addresses and workshops at the Annual Leadership Development Conference, Regional Connects, mentoring programs and more, WFF provides members with the tools needed to make a positive difference in their careers.