The inspirational late president and CEO of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, Fritzi Pikes Woods, has received two special honors at the 2014 Annual Leadership and Development Conference. The annual Trailblazer Award has been officially renamed to the Fritzi Pikes Woods Trailblazer Award. For the first time, the WFF, a leadership development organization in the foodservice sector, presented the 2014 award posthumously to Woods.
The Trailblazer Award, sponsored by General Mills, is presented annually to an individual who is dedicated to improving the foodservice industry through support of gender diversity, the creation of new pathways for women in the company and the industry at large, and the implementation of opportunities for women at all levels of their organization.
“Fritzi Pikes Woods was an immensely respected leader, and was my dear friend and WFF partner. She served as a mentor to so many in the foodservice industry,” says Laurie Burns, WFF chair and Darden Restaurants chief development officer. “She was devoted to furthering the cause for gender-balanced executive teams. By remaining this award in her honor, we commit to follow her trail.”
“The industry lost an icon, the board lost a sponsor, the staff lost an advocate, and I lost a friend,” says Hattie Hill, WFF interim CEO.
Woods led the WFF as president and CEO for three years before she passed away unexpectedly last fall. She had been working with the administration of President Obama to advocate on behalf of women in executive roles, and served as a board member for Jamba Juice, Ignite Restaurant Group, National Restaurant Association, BUCA, and Lone Star New Market, among others.
Prior to joining WFF, Woods was executive chair of the board, CEO, and president of Primesource Foodservice Equipment, which at its profitable sale in 2012 was the tenth largest foodservice equipment company with customers in the U.S. and 46 other countries. She also held senior executive positions in sales and marketing, and finance with the Dallas Morning News and Motorola.
“General Mills is honored to support Fritzi Pikes Woods and her legacy with this year’s Trailblazer Award,” says Bethany Quam, president, convenience and foodservice, General Mills.