On February 20, 2013, Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) board chair Lorna Donatone and president and CEO Fritzi Woods led a delegation of more than 30 foodservice executives to Washington to participate in the organization’s first White House issues briefing. 

The visit marks WFF’s continued efforts to elevate the mission, purpose, and goals of the organization: to advance women leaders. 

The briefing provided a unique opportunity for top corporate leaders to start a two-way dialogue with the White House about issues that affect women in the industry. Joining Donatone and Woods were representatives from The Coca-Cola Company, Darden Restaurants, KFC Corporation, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Starbucks, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, and YUM! Brands, among others.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to visit with members of the President’s staff and discuss the importance of creating and cultivating women leaders, not only in the foodservice industry but across all business, political, and social verticals,” says Donatone, COO and president, Sodexo Education. "For more than 20 years, WFF has worked to develop innovative leadership programs and partnerships that strengthen our members’ performance and voice in the workplace."

The delegation heard remarks from senior White House officials, including Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama and chair, White House Council on Women and Girl; and Sam Kass, assistant White House chef and senior policy advisor for healthy food initiatives. 

Other members of the President's staff briefed the delegation on the Administration's jobs/economic priorities, and domestic policy issues related to immigration and education.

“The foodservice industry is the second-largest private industry employer in the nation,” Woods says. “With only 15 percent of executive leadership roles filled by women, building a strategic partnership with the White House will help us drive attention to our mission of advancing women leaders.”