The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), the industry’s premier leadership development organization, hosted its 2015 Conference that celebrated the culmination of its 25th anniversary and featured an exciting roster of industry and world-renowned keynote speakers. Three-thousand attendees from the U.S. and Canada participated in the event. Over the course of four days, the conference garnered nearly 100 million Twitter impressions—the third highest number in the country at the time.
Keynote speakers included industry icons Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith, the Coca-Cola Company chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent, and McDonald’s retired CEO Don Thompson who shared their personal leadership stories. The lineup also included best-selling author Daniel Pink and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. Additionally, the three-day event delivered best-in-class content.
“This was our best ever conference,” says Hattie Hill, WFF president and chief executive officer. “Our theme, ‘Changing the Face of Leadership,’ was brought to life by our dynamic speakers through their own leadership stories providing our participants with the inspiration to forge their individual plans for career success.”
As part of the event, WFF also presented Outstanding Performance and Achievement Awards in foodservice and scholarship awards to support leadership development efforts of exemplary women.
This year’s honorees include:
· Lorna Donatone, COO and president of Sodexo Education received the premier Fritzi Woods Pikes Trailblazer Award in recognition of her support of gender diversity, creating new pathways for women in her company and the industry at large.
· Kraft Foods received the SOAR Award, in recognition of the company’s corporate initiatives that have resulted in a strong track record of attracting, developing, retaining, and promoting women to the highest levels of the organization.
· Lisa MacNeil, general manager of United Restaurant Supplies for Gordon Food Service Canada was the recipient of the WFF Volunteer Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions and leadership efforts in pursuing the goals and overall success of the WFF.
· Marie Perry, interim CFO, controller, and treasurer of Brinker International received the Outstanding Board Service Award in recognition of the major impact she has made as a board member.
Leadership development scholarships were awarded to:
· Heather Stage, director of vending sales and operations at Coca-Cola Refreshments received the Phyllis S. Sewell Scholars Award in honor of Phyllis Shapiro Sewell, who was a former Sysco board member and champion of women’s rights in the workplace.
· Marilyn Jones, director of process improvement at Ben E. Keith Company received the Chris Lowe Scholars Award, which honors Chris Lowe, retired president of the national foodservice and on-premise division of Coca-Cola Refreshments who was a remarkable champion for women’s leadership and development.
The first recipients of the Fritzi Pikes Woods Aspire Higher Fund scholarship were:
· Carmen Cortez, owner of Carmen’s Delicious Catering
· Andrea Guzman, regional sales manager for Verde Valle Foods
· Hanna Koski, director of the “WE Over Me Farm” at Paul Quinn College