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The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), the premier leading national organization for advancing women within the foodservice industry has joined forces with men and Millennials to support their common goal of moving women into leadership roles. The three groups are working together to change the face of leadership.
“Many women don’t realize all the opportunities that are available to them in the foodservice industry,” says Kat Cole, group president at Focus Brands and chair of the 2015 at the Women’s Foodservice Forum. “With the support of men and Millennials, we are able to get more women into the board room.”
Men are now fighting to bring diversity to the boardroom and elevate women into management positions. With a stronger understanding of the female consumer’s purchasing power—an estimated 90 percent plus of all purchases are made by women—leaders from top corporations are embracing the value of the female point of view and the impact it will have on their bottom line. Top ranking men such as Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, and Tom Bené, president of foodservice operations at Sysco Corporation, support the mission of WFF through sharing their personally insightful experiences with the organization’s members.
“My involvement with the Women’s Foodservice Forum is based on the shared belief that developing diverse, experienced commercial leaders among women is part of the critical path to improving foodservice and dining-out experiences,” Bené says. “WFF puts in place the foundational pieces necessary to provide women a platform to advance up the corporate ladder.”
The Millennial generation supports the importance of the concept of elevating women. They incorporate their voice and insights into the organization through a dedicated Millennial advisory group, which serves to offer a young, fresh perspective for the members of WFF. The group is scheduled to meet this December in New Orleans.
“As a Millennial, I see the importance of the work being done by the WFF,” says Barrie Schwartz, CEO and founder, My House NOLA & Food and Millennial Innovation Consultant. “The organization has not only helped me shape my vague semblance of future goals into a strategic concrete plan with steps, but has provided me with connections I could have never fathomed.”
“Our organization has always had quite a diverse board and group of supporters,” says Hattie Hill, president and CEO of the Women’s Foodservice Forum. “Women have advanced greatly over the past 2–5 years, but there is still more work to be done, and working together I am confident that we can narrow the gender gap.”