Women's Foodservice Forum, a leadership development organization in the foodservice sector, announced the five honorees of its second annual Women Making Their Mark list, which recognizes up-and-coming leaders who have demonstrated significant professional accomplishments and a unique "it" factor. Brinker International, one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies, serving more than one million guests daily, sponsors the Women Making Their Mark list.


"As a proud supporter of WFF, Brinker International is honored to sponsor the Women's Making Their Mark list and help celebrate the remarkable advancements of these pillars of the food industry," says Tony Bridwell, chief people officer for Brinker International. "Brinker fosters a culture that develops and promotes women's leadership opportunities, and through this distinguished honor, we are able to extend this commitment to recognize leaders driving results and making an impact beyond our organization."


The women were honored at WFF's 2014 Annual Leadership Development Conference, taking place March 23-26, 2014 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, during today's General Session.


"The WFF introduced the Women Making Their Mark list in 2013 to highlight the next generation of women leaders at foodservice organizations," says Laurie Burns, outgoing WFF chair and Darden Restaurants, chief development officer. "These five women all serve as guiding lights within their companies, and within the greater industry at large. The future is bright if these honorees are any indication of where the industry is heading."


"The women represent the next generation of leaders," says Anna Mason, WFF general manager and vice president of operations. “Each of these individuals exhibits the hallmarks of leadership—purpose, passion and courage."


The 2014 Women Making Their Mark list honorees are:


Cathy Loblaw, senior director, McDonald's Canada: Loblaw leads her organization in raising awareness, understanding, and funding for Canada's Ronald McDonald House Charities, which offers housing for families of seriously ill children who are receiving treatment at a nearby hospital. Under Cathy's leadership, RMHC Canada has increased their support to Ronald McDonald Houses that provide 470 bedrooms for over 10,000 families annually. Cathy also led the launch of Canada's first Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, which delivers free medical, dental, and health education services to underserved families.


Maureen Lynch, sales and operations leader, Rich Products Corporation: Lynch has led Rich's sales and operations process integrated business planning covering the U.S. and Canada since January 2012. Under Lynch's guidance, the company has met or exceeded key business objectives and evaluated monthly projects for product, demand, supply, and financials while allocating resources for customer needs. Lynch's leadership of this cross-divisional, cross-functional initiative led to Rich's achieving the Oliver Wight "Class A" Advanced certification, an award received by very few companies. This success has led to an expansion of sales and operations planning initiatives into the company's international markets. Lynch also leads a leadership and mentoring program for associates to cultivate their talent and inspire others.


Tracy Treadwell, operations director, Dunkin' Brands Group Inc.: Treadwell successfully implemented the 300-restaurant "GAP" initiative to enhance Dunkin' Donuts' restaurant culture by focusing on people, improving speed, adding equipment with modified layouts and leveraging technology. After a sales growth goal was set at 66 percent greater than non "GAP" locations, the "GAP" locations have exceeded the forecast by growing sales by almost 75 percent. The Northeast-centered initiative, involving rollout plans, internal team education, training materials, and more, is now a national program that may impact nearly 7,700 restaurants due to her leadership of the long-term strategy. Tracy currently leads a team of operations managers overseeing nearly 400 restaurants and 50 franchisee networks in the Boston market.


Susan Wasco, director of customer marketing, Kellogg Company: As Wasco's first customer marketing role, she challenged her team's approach to the business and drove alignment across the organization while realizing financial objectives. Her leadership role on the on the GS1 supply chain and information sharing initiative, a complex project that made real-time information on Kellogg's product line available to the industry—led to the company being recognized as one of the leaders of this initiative by its customers. She also gives back to the industry through service on many WFF committees.


Felicia White, director of national field training, Church's Chicken: In 2013, White was put in charge of the development and implementation of training programs for nearly 25,000 employees. She redesigned the training program within her first month to focus on utilizing technology, producing all materials in a digital format, and involving actual employees in production. A full system conversion took place in just under 10 months and has been regarded as a significantly positive change by all of the company's teams. White is known for leading with integrity and bringing enthusiasm to every project she works on.