Accelerating the Advancement of Women Leaders 

FIRST WFF/IFMA AWARD PRESENTED

May 25, 2018

The inaugural recipients of the WFF/IFMA Women in Manufacturing Award were honored at the Gold & Silver Plate Awards. Picture left to right are: Perry Miele, President, Nestle Professional; Kathleen Ciaramello, President, National Foodservice & On- Premise, The Coca-Cola Company; Hugh Roth, SVP, Chief Customer and Business Development Officer, PepsiCo Global Foodservice; Hattie Hill, President and CEO, WFF; Jennifer Convery, Group President North America, Griffith Foods; Kristin Kroepfl, VP of Marketing & Sales Strategy, Kellogg’s Specialty Channels; Helen Griffith, Vice President of Marketing, S&D Coffee; Chris Loflin, SVP Global and Corporate Accounts, Ecolab; Bruce Allen, Vice President and General Manager, Convenience & Foodservice, General Mills. Organization awardees not pictured are: Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Custom Foods of America and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

WFF has been proud to partner with the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) to introduce the first WFF/IFMA Women in Manufacturing Award to recognize companies in the manufacturing sector of the Food Industry with demonstrated commitment to drive gender equity in their organizations and across the industry.

The inaugural 2018 WFF and IFMA Women in Manufacturing Award recognizes the manufacturers who were the first to participate in the 2017 Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org. WFF convened 32 companies across the Food Industry to participate in this critical effort to gain benchmark data about women’s progress in our industry.

The study has helped illuminate equity gaps and became the foundation for the WFF’s LEAD THE WAY initiative. LEAD THE WAY is the Food Industry’s gender equity movement, championed by WFF.

These visionary manufacturing companies demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to accelerating the advancement of women in this critical segment of the industry. The awardees are:

 

Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

The Coca-Cola Company

Custom Foods of America

Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Ecolab

General Mills

Griffith Foods

Kellogg’s

Nestle USA

PepsiCo

S&D Coffee and Tea, Inc.

 

Congratulations and thank you for your leadership!


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WFF LEAN IN CHAPTER GOING STRONG

April 21, 2018

Launched in October 2017 in conjunction with the Food Industry’s first participation in the Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org, the WFF Lean In Circle Chapter is bringing women together through 50+ Circles with more than 300 members in food companies across North America to grow their careers.

“We have several Circles going across various divisions of McLane and all recently completed a five-part series on Centered Leadership,” said Shaunna Williams, Director of National Accounts for McLane Foodservice Inc. who spearheaded the effort at her company. “It has gone really well with a lot more in-depth discussion than I expected and all the feedback has been positive.”

Lean In Circles were inspired by the best-selling book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In. They are small groups of about eight to twelve colleagues who meet regularly to learn and grow together. Today, there are more than 36,000 Lean In Circles across 162 countries and more than 900 college campuses. Approximately 85% of participants credit their Circle with a positive change in their life.

Circle Chapters are groups of Circles that exchange ideas, network and sometimes host events together. During the 2018 WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference in March, WFF held a large group Circle to show attendees how to apply the concept in their own workplaces. The WFF Chapter is particularly focused on helping women (and men) engage locally with peers to support one another’s career growth and work together to drive gender equity in the Food Industry.

Six months in, Williams offers these tips to get your Circle going in the right direction.

  • Keep your group relatively small. “Once people get to know each other, the walls start coming down, bonds form and friendships form. That’s where the magic happens,” Williams said.
  • Be inclusive. Williams cast a wide net across McLane to invite people to participate and made it clear they were free to extend the invitation even further. The WFF Lean In Circles at McLane are open to women and men and Circles report that male colleagues participate just as fully as women.
  • Focus on a topic. Williams tapped the resources at LeanIn.org to access a curriculum on Centered Leadership and found that helped keep everyone engaged and on task. “Our groups enjoyed having a topic we could build on over time and explore its various facets each time we met,” she said.
  • Jump in. “This was totally new to me but LeanIn.org has a lot of facilitator guides to walk you through it,” Williams said. “That’s how I learned what to do and that’s how I taught the other McLane Circle moderators.”

Learn more about starting a Circle within the WFF Lean In Circle Chapter.


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GROWING YOUR CONFIDENCE BY FINDING YOUR VOICE

March 26, 2018

Societal and workplace factors create barriers to women’s advancement, but what’s happening in our own heads plays a role too. When searching for a new job or putting themselves forward for promotion, on average men feel sufficiently confident to apply when they meet about half the stated requirements. Women want to check every box before stepping up.

Limiting beliefs about her ability to do the job and doubts about how far she can go in the system have created a persistent “Ambition Gap” between women and men. The result is that only 40% of women in the food industry say they want to be top executives compared with 57% of men. Even worse, only 30% of women in the food industry say that they are very likely or definitely going to become top executives.

“Communication is one of our most important tools for career advancement and making an impact in the world,” advises Star Bobatoon, presentation coach and motivational speaker. “People rise to the level of their ability to communicate. To rise to higher levels of influence and leadership, you must learn to speak with confidence and clarity.”

Bobatoon coaches leaders to develop more effective and powerful communication habits, but says the first step to projecting greater confidence is to rewrite limiting personal narratives.  “Confidence grows when people develop a good story about who they are and what they deserve,” Bobatoon says. Search out damaging messages you may be feeding yourself (I’m not leadership material, not good at “X” or not as talented as my colleagues) and replace them with more accurate and empowering messages.

A daily diet of strong, supportive and consistent internal messaging will set you up for communication success. Then, it’s time to turn your attention to the mechanics of your communication style to both find your voice and enable others to hear it.

Speaking at the 2018 WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference, Bobatoon offered these tips:

  • Make eye contact with those you are speaking to, even in (especially in) challenging or confrontational situations.
  • Delete vocal fillers (um, uh, you know, like) from your speech patterns.
  • Speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard easily.
  • Pay attention to basic body language such as a firm handshake, standing tall and maintaining a strong stance without arms crossed over the body.
  • Eliminate nervous giggles and unnecessary apologizing.
  • Use active voice and state your thoughts clearly. Women have a tendency to want to gain consensus at all cost rather than sharing their own opinions candidly. Even something as simple as asking, “Is it cold in here?” instead of saying, “I’m cold,” sends a different message about your level of confidence and self-awareness.

“The most important thing of course, is to acknowledge your personal value and know that your voice deserves to be heard,”  Bobatoon said.


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LET’S GET THE NUMBERS RIGHT – A LOOK AT THE WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE STUDY

By Hattie Hill, President & CEO, Women’s Foodservice Forum

February 15, 2018

This article is an edited extract from the ‘Women in the Food Industry’ report, which draws from the McKinsey and LeanIn.Org ‘2017 Women in the Workplace Study’. Read more about the food industry at: https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/gender-equality/women-in-the-food-industry

The food industry continues to be a booming sector that faces a contradiction between the leaders of the industry and those who make the purchasing decisions. Women account for the vast majority of food-purchasing decisions in the United States and also make up almost half the entry-level workforce in the food industry, yet women are underrepresented across the board above this level.

In our latest research, Women in the Workplace, we find that 90 percent of the 222 companies surveyed assert a commitment to gender diversity. While it’s encouraging to see that most companies have embraced the business case for gender diversity, it is still a compelling place to start the conversation. Women are an untapped source of economic opportunity—in 2015, the McKinsey Global Institute showed that fully bridging the gender gap in the US labor market would not only be equitable in the broadest sense but also add $4.3 trillion of additional annual GDP in 2025—19 percent higher than the business-as-usual GDP. Diversity and inclusion in general are also strongly connected to corporate performance, and for the food industry, the business case for diversity serves as a strong motivating force.

When determining the health of gender diversity in a company pipeline, we evaluate four core elements. First is the representation rate, to test whether women are well represented at each level in the corporate pipeline across line (operations, P&L) and staff (support) roles. Second is the attrition rate, to determine whether women leave their companies at higher rates than men. Third is the promotion rate, specifically whether women progress through the pipeline at a pace similar to men’s. Fourth is the external hiring rate, whether employees hired from external sources are as likely to be women as men. In 2017 we looked at 31 companies spanning the food industry value chain in the United States—a roughly equal mix of manufacturers, distributors, and operators.

Here are some key takeaways from the 2017 Report:

  • Currently, women are underrepresented at all levels in the food industry corporate pipeline, from entry level to the C-suite. While women make up 49 percent of employees at the entry level,representation drops steeply at higher levels along the pipeline. At the top, women represent only 23 percent of the food industry’s C-suite This trend mirrors the broader picture across all industries, as outlined in the 2017 Women in the Workplace research
  • At every level of the pipeline in the food industry, women are less likely than men to serve in P&L (or line) roles and therefore less likely to be promoted to more senior positions, where line roles tend to be prevalent.
  • The issue is even more acute for women of color who make up only 14 percent of employees at the entry level and hold only 3 percent of C-suite spots.
  • Contrary to the common narrative, the primary driver of this steep decline is not attrition. Women in the food industry leave their companies at similar or lower rates as men of the same ethnicity.
  • Women face higher barriers to obtaining their first promotion (Twenty percent fewer women than men in the food industry reach the first promotion to manager, a finding consistent beyond the food industry.) Even more troubling, promotion rates for both men and women of color lag significantly behind those of their white counterparts at all levels.

As we continue this march towards attaining gender parity, a key step continues to be the ability to access accurate, reliable data. This is where the Women in the Workplace study comes in. This research is part of a long-term partnership between LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company to give organizations the information they need to promote women’s leadership and foster gender equality.

This year 222 companies employing more than 12 million people shared their pipeline data and completed a survey of HR practices. In addition, more than 70,000 employees completed a survey designed to explore their experiences regarding gender, opportunity, career, and work-life issues. To our knowledge, this makes Women in the Workplace the largest study of its kind.

As an industry champion, WFF encourages you to join the 2018 Women in the Workplace Study so we can continue to get sound data and a better understanding of what we need to do to make our industry the industry of choice for women.

If you are part of the Food Industry and would like to learn more and/or participate in the 2018 Study, please contact Tim Johnson, VP of Human Resources & Organizational Development for WFF at tjohnson@wff.org  

All other industries can also sign up at:  https://www.womenintheworkplacestudy.com/wix/23/p44989832.aspx


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FINDING A SPONSOR

By Simon T. Bailey, Founder & CEO, Simon T. Bailey International Inc.

January 16, 2018

Confidence is all about deciding that you’re going to take control of the steering wheel of your future and drive into it. Instead of the backseat passengers of doubt, fear, and uncertainty controlling you, you’re going to control and take charge of your future.

One way you can do that is by finding a sponsor.

Sponsorship is finding a person who will wear your brand t-shirt inside of a company unbeknownst to you. They are promoting you even when you don’t know about it, and then all of the sudden you’ll get the tap on the shoulder; you’ll get the invitation to take the next step in your career.

It’s important to understand the difference between a sponsor and a mentor. A mentor is someone who will tell you what they’ve done to move their career forward. A sponsor isn’t looking to have coffee with you; they just believe in your work, and they just want to help you get ahead. They don’t want anything in return.

Leveraging a Sponsor’s Influence

Find a way to celebrate what your sponsor is doing. Add value. For example, I ran into an executive on an elevator one day, and I had just read something about what that person had accomplished. I said to him, “This is amazing!”

He didn’t know me from Adam, but I knew everything about him. In just that 30 seconds on the elevator, I said, “Here are three quick reasons why this is so awesome.” Afterward, I received a follow-up note from him saying, “Great talking to you on the elevator. Get some time on my calendar. I’d like to get to know you better.”

Then when I met with him face-to-face, he asked me if there was anything he could do to help me, and I said, “Yes. I’m working on this, this, and this.” And he said, “Oh, let me make a phone call.” It would have never happened if I hadn’t have taken that opportunity on the elevator to connect.

Arrive at meetings 15 minutes in advance. I know that in some cultures, it’s the 5 minute grace period. No. The real meeting starts 15 minutes before. That’s when you get to find out what other people are doing, especially if the meeting is being led by a director or other senior leader in the room. They begin to notice that you’re just a step above the rest. You show up early. You’re ready. You connect with people before the meeting.

Understand how you connect, not just communicate. Some of you might be thinking, “I hate small talk!” Here’s how you do it: 1) find out what makes the person tick, 2) see where you have a commonality (connect with them on a personal level), 3) what is it that has made them successful at the company and 4) ask them about their projects. Build a bridge from where they are to where you are to connect.

I’m here to tell you: relationships are the currency of the future, and relationships are built in the small conversations, the connection. People will often decide in 5-7 seconds if they know, like and trust you.

Want to learn more from Simon T. Bailey? Join him at our Annual Leadership Development Conference to be held from March 4 – 7 in Dallas, TX and learn how to Break Through!


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LEADING THROUGH DISRUPTION

May 25, 2018

If you can’t see the forest for the trees, it may be because you have been in the woods a long time. In other words, being barraged with rapid change at work can make it hard to see the opportunities that might actually exist within the disruption.

Technology forecaster, innovation expert, and author of seven books, Daniel Burrus, asks “Why is it that the taxi driver wasn’t the one to come up with Uber? Because when one is too focused on execution, the door is opened for disruption.”

Not only is change rapid, but the actual process of how things change is undergoing its own transformation and coming in unexpected ways. A few innovation experts such as Burrus, however, have figured out how to look at the widespread disruption as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle.

“By looking at hard trends, which are patterns based in fact and certainty, one can start to anticipate what is going to happen. With a higher emphasis on anticipation over agility (simply reacting to change), leaders and organizations can start to make disruption work for them,” he says.

 

Get the right mindset for dealing with change:

  1. Stop focusing on simple execution. “If you’re only focused on the way things are happening now, then you are opening yourself up to a lot of risk,” Burrus warns. “When you see disruption, don’t protect and defend the status quo. Know what’s coming with anticipation and turn the moment of change into an advantageous situation for your organization.”

    Studying the hard trends with supporting data can help you figure out what’s coming next and what to do to get ready and get out in front.

 

  1. Don’t act too quickly. “When leaders are too quick to act, they jump past the necessary steps of helping team members understand why change is needed and even giving them time to experience the range of emotions that inevitably come with confronting change,” said Jerry Magar, Business Consultant at Southern Methodist University Executive Education and a session leader at WFF’s 2018 Annual Leadership Development Conference. Rushing change can torpedo the very progress you’re trying to build.

    Giving employees time to adjust and weigh-in on changes can help get the team through the transition as a unified front with mutual understanding of the opportunity at hand.

 

As tumultuous times continue, become a change management expert adept at searching out the hidden opportunities:

  • Use visible trends to anticipate disruption and be proactive.
  • Understand what can be changed and what can’t.
  • Instead of fearing disruption, develop a plan to transform it into opportunity.
  • Take the emotions of your colleagues into account and be as transparent as possible in your response to disruption.
  • Don’t rush to action before getting others on board.


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WHEN WOMEN TALK AND MEN INTERRUPT

May 25, 2018

Men and women communicate differently. We get it. But that doesn’t explain why men interrupt women far more often than they interrupt other men. Or what to do about it. For that, we turn to the research.

Sociologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara analyzed 31 two-party conversations recorded in public settings such as cafes, stores and campuses. They included 10 conversations between two men, 10 between two women and 11 between a woman and a man.

 

Trying to get a word in edgewise

When men spoke with other men, the researchers recorded seven instances of interruption, a rate similar to the conversation between two women. But when a man and woman spoke together, there were 48 interruptions — 46 of them with the man interrupting the woman. A study at George Washington University found men interrupted 33% more often when talking with a woman than a man.

Research by linguist Kieran Snyder found it was just as hard for women to get the floor in professional settings. “Over the course of a four-week period, I sat in on dozens of meetings in my office, observing a total of 900 minutes of conversation,” Snyder reported. “I discovered that men not only interrupted twice as often as women but were nearly three times as likely to interrupt women as they were to interrupt other men.”

The implication of these studies is straightforward: A woman’s claim to the conversational space within the office is not treated equally to that of a man’s. But you probably already knew that. The trick is to figure out how to make workplace conversation more productive and more equitable despite differing conversational styles among the sexes.

 

Giving women the floor

First, men need to understand the unconscious bias inherent in their conversation style. In male interactions, studies show that a certain amount of interruption, referred to as “co-operative overlap,” is a positive trend that signifies active participation. When speaking with women, however, the natural assertiveness of the male social style can be limiting, as women tend to approach conversation more collaboratively.

One step male professionals can take is to allow their female colleagues more room to express themselves. If a woman is speaking, let her finish her thought. Collaboration is just as useful when held until the completion of a sentence.

Another positive step can be implemented at the executive level as recently suggested by President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Dawn Sweeney. “When our industry’s senior leaders commit to paying full attention when women are speaking in their own organizations and elsewhere, it will change how women are perceived and increase their power in the workplace.”  When leadership makes the focused effort to pay equal attention while women speak, the rest of the organization is more likely to follow suit.

The most important step, however, women can take themselves. If interrupted, don’t be afraid to say, “Please let me finish,” or “I have a key point to make and then I would love to hear your thoughts.” When you see other women interrupted, support her by saying: “I’d like to hear her thinking on this.”


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MOST SENIOR WOMAN EXECUTIVE AT MCLANE FOODSERVICE LEADS THE WAY AS WFF CHAIR

February 20, 2018

McLane Company, Inc. has been an early and staunch supporter of WFF’s gender equity initiative as one of the first companies to register for the Women in the Workplace Study.

President and CEO of McLane Company, Inc., Grady Rosier, and President of McLane Foodservice, Inc., Tom Zatina, have also lent incredible support by engaging their industry peers in the Study. But it is yet another member of the McLane leadership team who is spearheading WFF’s LEAD THE WAY gender equity initiative.

Susan Adzick, Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategic Relationships for McLane Foodservice, Inc., and 2018 Chair of the WFF Board of Directors, is deeply committed to advancing women and has an impressive record as both an industry leader and mentor.

“What I’m most proud of in my career is helping the people I work with broaden their perspectives, develop themselves and open up their horizons,” Adzick said.

As Chair of the WFF Board, a member of the board of the National Restaurant Association and NRA’s Educational Foundation, and member of the board of the Arby’s Foundation, Adzick is an influential leader and role model.

Her focus as 2018 Chair of WFF will be to work with CEOs and other senior executives to find the most effective ways to improve opportunities for women in their organizations. “We are laying the groundwork with strong data about the status of women in our industry and developing and sharing best practices for our colleagues to be successful in attracting, advancing and retaining women leaders,” Adzick said. “Now is the time to move the needle on gender equity in the Food Industry.”

“Susan is the personification of WFF’s values and brings the passion, creativity and acumen we need to usher in this era of unprecedented change,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO.


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GORDON FOOD SERVICE – A MODEL FOR WFF ENGAGEMENT

November 15, 2017

Over the past five years, Gordon Food Service has been on a transformative journey to attract, retain and develop women at all levels of the organization.

The North American company began working more closely with Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) to learn new ways to attract and retain talented women at the company and bolster what it was doing in diversity & inclusion (D&I).

Gordon Food Service’s efforts are not only paying off in terms of retention and engagement of women, but the company is also a role model partner for applying WFF content and resources.

“As we started to focus on retaining and attracting talent, WFF gave us an awareness of numbers and data that made us take a step back and reflect on our portfolio and the path we were on,” said Elena Buist, D&I Ambassador for the WFF & Gordon Food Service Core Team. “WFF helped set us on the path of where we needed to go.”

THE PATH TO CHANGE

Gordon Food Service knew it had to put an emphasis on gender diversity to stay competitive in the labor market, said Clif Charles, Director of Diversity & Inclusion.

“As we looked within our ranks, we found that we did not have a lot of women in key leadership roles,” he said. “We recognized that more work needed to be done in D&I and that this was going to be that driver for attracting, retaining and developing women.”

Clif wanted to know what Gordon Food Service could do from the distributor side to provide opportunities for training and development and show the company’s commitment to D&I.

“We recognized that we had resources at our fingertips that could help us. We knew this could be part of our business strategy,” he said. “But we weren’t taking full advantage of WFF.”

The team in Canada was the first to engage with WFF by attending WFF Leadership Development Workshops and the Annual Leadership Development Conference and hosting networking events.

“We had a D&I connectivity point with WFF in Canada, but we didn’t have a real strong connection in U.S.,” Clif said. “We began to look internally to see what we had been doing. Once we began to understand what we were doing internally, we found that WFF amplified what we had. It was a good opportunity to align more closely with WFF.”

Gordon Food Service began sending more employees to our Annual Conference as part of their leadership development. And managers were seeing tangible results.

“When teams returned from Conference, employees started asking more questions about how to get these types of development opportunities. It really began to pique women’s interest,” Elena said. “Then our leaders started to say, ‘Hey, we are onto something. How do we engage more employees?’”

The company also began working more closely with WFF to focus resources on D&I.

“This year, we started a new diversity and inclusion training that is mandatory for our leadership,” said Laura Urzola Rivas, Talent Acquisition Supervisor. “I think it helped shed light on different ways we can promote professional development to people who are different from us and look at some of our unconscious biases.”

Employees have also seen a greater emphasis on training and professional development and are having more conversations around Individual Development Plans (IDPs).

“I saw a difference within the first year of working here,” Laura said. “The number of employees that we sent to the Conference spoke for itself about Gordon Food Service’s willingness to invest in our future. I have also noticed more activities throughout the year to promote women’s professional development through book clubs, speakers and general awareness about career growth.”

The WFF & Gordon Food Service Core Team contains about a dozen passionate team members who are spreading the WFF mission. The group hopes to increase membership engagement and awareness about WFF. While the company has sent hundreds of employees to the Annual Conference, it wants to increase the number of employees who attend each year. It also recommends leaders use an evaluation process to select attendees.

Today, the team has the full support of Rich Wolowski, North America President and CEO, and other senior leaders like Mary Beth Zick, Chief People Officer.

“We strongly believe that we best serve our customers when our workforce reflects the communities in which we serve,” Mary Beth said. “We are delighted in the growing partnership with WFF as we invest in the attraction, retention and development of women in our organization.”


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INDUSTRY CEOS JOIN WFF TO LEAD THE WAY TO GENDER EQUITY

March 26, 2018

Food Industry CEOs and senior leaders explored the 2017 Women in the Workplace Study findings and strategized together about the most effective ways to close the gender equity gap during the 2018 WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference earlier this month.

The 32 convening companies that stepped up first in the food industry to participate in the Women in the Workplace Study were honored as LEAD THE WAY Pioneers. More than 60 companies have registered for the 2018 Study.

“We have the opportunity to make a larger scale impact by joining forces with other industry leaders so I’m honored to join with WFF to LEAD THE WAY to gender equity,” said CEO & President of Brinker International Wyman Roberts.

“We believe a gender diverse workforce can drive differentiated performance,” said CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews Denny Marie Post.  “We need the full power of talent available to us to navigate what’s ahead.”

“At Coca-Cola we know the success of our business depends on having gender diversity and talented women across our organization, especially at the most senior levels,” said President of Coca-Cola North America Jim Dinkins. “It’s why we’ve increased representation of women in our mid-level pipeline to 45% and why we are strategically focused on hiring talented women for all kinds of positions and career paths. Coca-Cola is honored to help make gender equity a reality in the food industry.”

McKinsey & Company has found that top performing companies with regard to gender diversity experience 5X faster promotion of women, 2X more women in VP, SVP and C-Suite roles, 80% more women managers and a 15% higher rate of men committed to gender equity.

 

Making gender equity personal

“At Jamba, it was really important that we participate in the Women in the Workplace Study,” said President & CEO of Jamba Juice David Pace. “While we think we do a lot of things well, we saw it as an opportunity to do as much learning as we could. If we’re going to be on this journey together and we’re going to lead as an industry, and as an industry we’re going to lead other industries, it’s important for all of us that we continue to learn how to be better every day. For me personally, gender equity is just a common-sense approach to winning the war for talent,” Pace said.

The McKinsey team advocates the following steps for companies ready to take their gender equity efforts to the next level.

  1. Make a compelling case internally for how gender equity drives better business performance. Research shows that the better employees understand the business case for gender equity, the more committed to it they become.
  2. Commit to employee training, especially around unconscious bias. You cannot eliminate unconscious bias, but it is critical to help people develop the ability to recognize unconscious bias in themselves, in others and in company policies and practices so they can be addressed and mitigated.
  3. Help managers drive change. When managers see the commitment of the CEO and senior leadership, they understand that advancing gender equity is a top priority. They need to be empowered and held accountable for mentoring female staff members and helping them access high-profile and stretch assignments that will position them for greater advancement.
  4. Ensure fair hiring, promotion and review practices. It sounds obvious but that doesn’t mean it always happens. Less than one-third of companies demand a diverse slate of candidates to be considered for a position, effectively shutting down the diversity process before it has begun. An external, objective observer can be especially helpful in evaluating current practices for inherent and unintended bias.
  5. Create work/life flexibility that supports the realities faced by caregivers at all phases of life and enables employees to meet personal and family obligations and recharge away from work.
  6. Provide accountability for results. Although companies may track aggregate gender equity data, very few track hiring and promotion throughout their pipeline. Only 23% even share their gender equity data with managers and a scant 8% share the data with all team members.

To learn more about participating in the Women in the Workplace Study, please contact WFF Vice President for Human Resources and Organizational Development, Tim Johnson at tjohnson@wff.org.


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Food Industry is One of Opportunity Says WFF President

January 9, 2017

2017 WFF Board To Lead Food Industry In Cultivating Women Leaders

 



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHOTOS:
Please see Dropbox at end of release for images


 
2017 WFF BOARD TO LEAD FOOD INDUSTRY IN CULTIVATING WOMEN LEADERS
 
Food Industry is One of Opportunity Says WFF President

 

DALLAS (January 6, 2017) — The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has announced its 2017 board Chair, Chair-Elect, Treasurer, Executive Committee and Board members who all represent global brands committed to supporting the advancement of women and providing a platform that paves the way for the next generation of women leaders.

WFF is the food industry’s premier leadership development organization whose mission is to advance women to the C-suite and on to the boards of companies operating in the food industry ecosystem, the second largest private industry in the United States. Statistics prove that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity and inclusion are 15% more likely to have financial returns above the national median for their industry.

“WFF is on a mission to develop and advance women and men in the food industry. This is the "industry of opportunity". A great place to start and end your career,” said Hattie Hill, President & CEO of WFF. “We are confident that our 2017 Board members will provide the strategic connections needed to make a positive difference in our industry. Each one of them have the experience, mindset, talent, passion and creativity to help WFF be the recognized and trusted authority to develop leaders for the industry.”


NEW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LEADERS:

WFF Board Chair

Marie Perry, EVP, Chief Administrative & Financial Officer, Jamba, Inc. has been elected WFF Board Chair to lead the organization’s Board of Directors and help the organization achieve its 2017 strategic goals. In her current role at Jamba, Perry leads the Finance, Accounting, Investor Relations, Legal and Human Resources functions of the organization.

“Over the past year as a WFF Executive Committee member, I was fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented women and men in our industry and was inspired to ignite the mission of WFF. As Chair, I foresee even greater potential to reinforce WFF as the premier resource for developing the next generation of women leaders and am confident our work will drive growth for individual companies, and the industry as a whole,” said Perry.

https://www.womensfoodserviceforum.com/Who-We-Are/Board-of-Directors/Marie-Perry

WFF Chair-Elect

A board member since 2011, Susan Adzick will serve as the 2017 WFF Chair-Elect, putting her in succession to serve as Chair in 2018. Susan Adzick is the VP, Sales & Marketing, McLane Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. In this role, she provides strategic direction for the foodservice segment. Working across all departments within McLane, Adzick leverages the strengths of the organization to develop optimal supply chain solutions for current and prospective customers.

“My years of participation on the WFF Board have intensified my desire to help achieve the organization’s goal of cultivating women leaders in the food industry. It is an honor to be a part of an incredibly talented and passionate group of leaders who work tirelessly to advance women,” said Adzick.

https://www.womensfoodserviceforum.com/Who-We-Are/Board-of-Directors/Susan-Adzick

WFF Treasurer

Denny Marie Post, CEO, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, leads the overall company direction and oversees all of Red Robin's activities, including communications with investors and the board of directors.Post has more than 30 years of leadership experience in consumer-driven marketing, product innovation and building teams to develop and execute on strategies that increase brand awareness and drive sales.

https://www.womensfoodserviceforum.com/Who-We-Are/Board-of-Directors/Denny-Marie-Post

NEW WFF BOARD MEMBERS:
  • Doug Allison, Industry Relations, PepsiCo Foodservice
  • For over 31 years, Doug has managed numerous facets of the Foodservice business for PepsiCo. These responsibilities have included the day to day management of the foodservice bottling operations in east Tennessee, to directing some of PepsiCo’s largest restaurant customers, including the KFC business, which then led to the marketing management responsibility for PepsiCo on YUM! Brands until 2000. Following this time, Doug led three national teams within PepsiCo Foodservice and then assumed the role in Industry Relations in February of 2011.
  • Rob Dugas, Chief Procurement Officer, VP, Chick-Fil-A
  • Rob Dugas serves Chick-fil-A by overseeing the business functions which are responsible for providing trusted supply for over 2000 restaurants in the United States and Canada. That responsibility includes ensuring product integrity, competitive cost, and a reliable distribution network to maintain continuous supply for the highest volume quick service restaurant concept in the country.
  • Ryan Elwart, SVP & General Sales Manager-Global, Georgia-Pacific
  • Ryan Elwart is responsible for North American and International GP PRO sales, sales strategy, and customer capability teams for Georgia-Pacific. He has been at Georgia Pacific since 2008, where he was also responsible for GP PRO channel sales and channel development capabilities which included insights and channel marketing, category management, and joint business planning. Additionally, he led sales strategy, emerging business, and eCommerce sales for GP consumer products.
  • Barbara Polk, Chief Administrative Officer, National Restaurant Association
  • Barbara Polk is the Chief Administrative Officer for the National Restaurant Association. In this position, she has overall strategic responsibility for Information Technology, Legal, Human Resources, Internal Communications, Board Operations and Facilities/Office Services. In addition to oversight of key operational functions, responsibilities also encompass tactical coordination of association leadership activities and supporting timely and successful execution of NRA's strategic organizational initiatives.
  • Chris Roberts, President, Cargill Foodservice North America
  • Chris Roberts is President of the $6 billion North American Foodservice Division of Cargill’s protein group. In his role, Mr. Roberts, is responsible for business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, the product portfolio, operations and finance.
  • Karen Williams, VP, Strategic Operations Implementation, DineEquity, Inc.
  • An almost 20 year foodservice veteran, Karen Williams currently leads strategic initiatives focused on increasing sales and profitability as Vice President, Strategic Operations Implementation for DineEquity, Inc., parent of Applebee’s Grill and Bar and IHOP. She leverages her expertise in innovation and execution to drive cross functional efforts that include menu and campaign testing and implementation, margin enhancement and long term strategic initiatives.

All new WFF Board members will serve two successive, three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2017 and ending Dec. 31, 2022. These new Board members will join the WFF Executive Committee and returning Board members.

WFF 2017 Executive Committee Leaders (Complete list)
 
  • Chair – Marie Perry, EVP, Chief Administrative & Financial Officer, Jamba, Inc.
  • CEO – Hattie Hill, President & CEO, WFF
  • Chair-Elect – Susan Adzick, VP, Sales & Marketing, McLane Company, Inc.
  • Treasurer – Denny Marie Post, CEO, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews
  • Members-At-Large:
  • Tom Bené, President & COO, Sysco Corporation
  • Karen Bowman, Principal & Industry Leader, Deloitte Consulting, LLP
  • Kathleen Ciaramello, President, National Foodservice & On-Premise, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Michael Hickey, EVP & President, Global Institutional, Ecolab
WFF 2017 Board of Directors (Complete List)
  • Doug Allison, Industry Relations, PepsiCo Foodservice
  • Jill Bond, SVP, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, Rich Products Corporation
  • Beverly Carmichael, SVP, Chief People Officer, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.
  • Wendy Davidson, President, U.S. Specialty Channels, Kellogg Company – Immediate Past Chair, WFF
  • Rob Dugas, Chief Procurement Officer & VP, Chick-Fil-A
  • Stephen Dunmore, CEO of Schools, North America, Sodexo, Inc.
  • Ryan Elwart, SVP & General Sales Manager-Global, Georgia-Pacific
  • Julie Juvera, VP, People & Field Operations, California Pizza Kitchen
  • Fred Paglia, President, Foodservice & Liquid Beverages, Kerry
  • Barbara Polk, Chief Administrative Officer, National Restaurant Association
  • Chris Roberts, President, Cargill Foodservice North America
  • Salli Setta, President, Red Lobster
  • Debbie Stroud, VP & GM Raleigh Region, McDonald’s USA, LLC.
  • Rebecca Walsh, EVP, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, Ventura Foods
  • Karen Williams, VP, Strategic Operations Implementation, DineEquity, Inc.
  • Rossann Williams, SVP & President Canada, Starbucks Coffee Company
Dropbox with images WFF 2017 Executive Committee and Board of Directors
All images Courtesy of WFF
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xdbr6zia4fyf6x2/AADFn0YWWSZQToy2WOSJbBnta?dl=0



ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM
The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the industry’s premier leadership development organization working since 1989 on advancing women in the food industry. Based in Dallas, WFF serves thousands of individuals and hundreds of employers across the United States in all segments of the industry including operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing, consulting and more. Through highly effective and educational events such as the Annual Leadership Development Conference, Executive Summit, leadership development programs and rich networking opportunities, WFF provides the competence and strategic connections needed to make a positive difference in the careers of women in the food industry ecosystem. For more information, visit www.womensfoodserviceforum.com.

 
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Media Contact:
Lindsay Hertz
Director of Marketing & Communications
Women’s Foodservice Forum
lhertz@wff.org
214-604-8513 cell

Barbara Buzzell
The Buzzell Company
bb@buzzellco.com
214-912-0691 cell

 


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Free Seminar Open To Entrepreneurial Women Interested In Growing Their Business

March 16, 2017



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHOTOS:
Please see Dropbox at end of release for images

 
LATINA MEDIA MOGUL, NY TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR AND EMMY AWARD-WINNING ENTREPRENEUR NELY GALÁN AND RENOWNED SPEAKER AND AUTHOR SIMON T. BAILEY TO SPEAK ON BECOMING SELF MADE
Free Seminar Open To Entrepreneurial Women Interested In Growing Their Business
Presented by Coca-Cola and WFF
Sunday, April 2, 11am – 2pm, World Center Marriott, Orlando, FL

 
DALLAS, TX (February 27, 2017) – In collaboration with The Coca-Cola Company and its 5by20 initiative, Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has announced a free seminar on “Becoming Self Made in the Food Industry” on Sunday, April 2, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, FL.
The event is part of the WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference.

Although the event title includes “food industry”, the seminar is extremely relevant and beneficial to all entrepreneurial women in any business endeavor. To register for this free event, go to: selfmade.wff.org
The three-hour program will include presentations, panel discussions and dialogue with noted business leaders:
  • Nely Galán, Founder, The Adelante Movement, NY Times Best Selling Author, SELF MADE
  • Simon T. Bailey, CEO, Simon T. Bailey International, Inc.
  • Adriana De Urquidi, President, Good Temptations
  • Angela Keaveny, President, ROWDYDOW bbq Worldwide, LLC.
  • Roz Mallet, President & CEO, PhaseNext Hospitality
  • Barrie Schwartz, Founder & CEO, My House NOLA
  • Bios on panelists: http://aldc.womensfoodserviceforum.com/ALDC/Speakers/ALDC/Program/Speakers.aspx?EventKey=ALDC2017&hkey=3d8959c7-a707-4d17-9def-511e6c7947e4
Latina media dynamo and women’s empowerment advocate Nely Galán, dubbed the “Tropical Tycoon” by The New York Times Magazine, is one of the entertainment industry’s savviest firebrand talents. A Cuban immigrant and self-made media mogul, Galán was the first Latina President of Entertainment for a U.S. television network (Telemundo). She is an Emmy Award-winning producer of more than 600 episodes of television in Spanish and English, including the FOX hit reality series “The Swan.”

After becoming self-made on her own terms, Galán has made it her mission to teach women—regardless of age or background—how they, too, can become entrepreneurs. She founded, The Adelante Movement presented by Coca-Cola, an organization that unites and empowers Latinas economically and entrepreneurially. In addition, she authored the NY Times bestseller, Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way, written to unite all women on a quest for an economic future they control.

“I realized that my most meaningful success has come from financial self-reliance, and I wanted to teach that to other women. In 2012, I started a nonprofit, Adelante, a live event and digital learning platform that empowers and trains women in entrepreneurship. In Spanish, adelante means ‘Move it! Now! Let’s go!’”, said Galán. “This WFF and Coca-Cola hosted seminar on April 2 will capture the true meaning of self-made. I am self-made and want all women to become self-made too, achieving their own economic independence and living a rich life in every way.”

Renowned speaker and author Simon T. Bailey is the leader of the “brilliance” movement – helping more than 1 million people find their brilliance, shift their thinking and produce sustainable results. His team recently introduced the Shift Your Brilliance System® that teaches individuals and organizations how to create meaningful results in the new economy. A percentage of the proceeds from the Shift Your Brilliance System® benefit the U.S. Dream Academy, a non-profit organization that believes a child with a dream is a child with a future.

“Shift Your Brilliance happens when you find your own individual spark. This sets in motion a series of events, circumstances, situations, and chance encounters that empower you to make a positive impact on the world,” said Bailey. “Shifting your thinking will allow you to get to the next level in your career. This event will help everyone move forward brilliantly.”

“I am committed to supporting WFF on its strategic mission to develop and advance women in the food industry. This is the ‘industry of opportunity’ and a great place to start and end your career,” said Hattie Hill, President & CEO of WFF. “The keynote speakers and panel at the WFF Becoming Self Made in the Food Industry Brunch & Learn will provide economic empowerment solutions for entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses.”

WFF is the food industry’s premier leadership development organization whose mission is to advance women to the C-suite and onto the boards of companies operating in the food industry ecosystem, the second largest private industry in the United States. Statistics prove that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity and inclusion are 15% more likely to have financial returns above the national median for their industry.

The Becoming Self Made in the Food Industry Brunch & Learn event is co-hosted by WFF and Coca-Cola, on behalf of Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs by the year 2020. In April 2016, The Coca-Cola Company announced that its 5by20 initiative had reached a major milestone, impacting 1.2 million women across 60 countries since its launch in late 2010.

Dropbox with images Becoming Self Made in the Food Industry panel:
All images Courtesy of WFF
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6cvt5cn6q4rql71/AABTtZq2MXTeTPn8YtJioZCJa?dl=0

ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM
The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the industry’s premier leadership development organization working since 1989 on advancing women in the food industry. Based in Dallas, WFF serves thousands of individuals and hundreds of employers across the United States in all segments of the industry including operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing, consulting and more. Through highly effective and educational events such as the Annual Leadership Development Conference, celebrating its 26th year in 2017; the Executive Summit; leadership development programs and rich networking opportunities, WFF provides the competence and strategic connections needed to make a positive difference in the careers of women in the food industry ecosystem. For more information, visit www.womensfoodserviceforum.com.

ABOUT 5by20 5by20 is The Coca-Cola Company’s global initiative that aims to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020, Specifically, that means the small businesses the company works with in over 200 countries around the world. From fruit farmers to suppliers to retailers, recyclers and artisans, this initiative aims to help women overcome the barriers they face to business success. 5by20 and The Coca-Cola Company are proud to be giving millions of women opportunities to build their businesses, support their families and build their communities, while inspiring more to do the same. At the end of 2015, 5by20 had enabled the economic empowerment of 1.2 million women entrepreneurs across 60 countries. For more information, visit www.5by20.com.

ABOUT THE COCA-COLA COMPANY The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and more than 3,800 beverage choices. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands, 18 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options. Our billion-dollar brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, we are the No. 1 provider of both sparkling and still beverages. More than 1.9 billion servings of our beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.

Media Contact:
Lindsay Hertz
Director of Marketing & Communications
Women’s Foodservice Forum
lhertz@wff.org
214-604-8513 cell

Barbara Buzzell
The Buzzell Company
bb@buzzellco.com
214-912-0691 cell


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Women’s Foodservice Forum Board Elevates Industry Position by Strengthening its Core

January 5, 2016

Women’s Foodservice Forum Board Elevates Industry Position by Strengthening its Core

Women’s Foodservice Forum Board Elevates Industry Position by Strengthening its Core
group sets sight on future, writing new story for cultivating women leaders   
 
DALLAS (January 5, 2016) — Today the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), the industry’s premiere leadership development organization, announced its 2016 board chair, treasurer and incoming Executive Committee and board members who all represent global brands committed to supporting the advancement of women and providing a platform that paves the way for the next generation.
 
Wendy Davidson, president of U.S. Specialty Channels at the Kellogg Company, has been elected WFF Board Chair to lead the organization’s Board of Directors and help the organization achieve its 2016 strategic goals. Davidson has been an active supporter of WFF and passionate advocate for professional development throughout her career. Since joining WFF in 1995, she has served on a variety of program and planning committees and in 2011 joined the WFF Board of Directors and became a member of the Executive Committee. At McCormick, Davidson was a founding executive sponsor of the Women’s International Network (WIN) and was a part of the Company’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Steering Team. During her tenure at Tyson, she was a founding sponsor for the company’s business resource groups and served on the executive diversity council. Now at the Kellogg Company, Davidson is a member of the Women of Kellogg (WOK) network and is an executive sponsor for the Global Talent Management Advisory Team.
 
“I am honored to be a part of the leadership working to elevate women leaders and create a pipeline of ready talent for our industry,” said Davidson.  “WFF is the premier resource for developing the next generation of leaders that will fuel growth for both companies and the industry as a whole. I feel fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented and influential men and women in the industry and look forward to continuing to drive the mission and vision of the organization during my term as Chair.”
 
A board member since 2011, Susan Adzick will serve as the 2016 treasurer, putting her in succession to serve as Chair in 2018.  She is the vice president of sales and marketing for the $7 billion Foodservice division of McLane Company, Inc., a $46 billion wholly owned business unit of Berkshire Hathaway.
 
 
 
Adzick started her career in foodservice at PepsiCo, but prior to that, she worked at Occidental Chemical Company, Rhone-Poulenc and DuPont de Nemours, Inc. In addition to WFF, she serves on the boards of the National Restaurant Association, the Arby’s Foundation and the Restaurant Leadership Conference Advisory.
 
“I’m thrilled to be a part of such an incredibly talented and passionate group of leaders who work tirelessly to advance women,” said Adzick. “The possibilities are endless when I think of what we can all do collectively.”
 
About the new board members:
  • Kathleen Ciaramello is president of National Foodservice and On-Premise for Coca-Cola North America, one of its original and legacy divisions. She is responsible for all global, national and regional customers operating within the Foodservice and On-Premise channels of the company’s business headquartered in the U.S. Kathleen is one of 12 inaugural members of The Coca-Cola Women’s Leadership Council, sponsored by CEO Muhtar Kent, which is helping the company meet its global leadership demands in a rapidly changing marketplace by increasing the focus on the development and movement of women into leadership roles.
 
  • Mike Hickey is executive vice president and president of Global Institutional for Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources. He is a member of several industry organizations including the National Restaurant Association and is chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
 
  • Julie Juvera is vice president of People and Field Operations for California Pizza Kitchen (CPK). With 24 years of experience in the foodservice industry and a background in operations and experience building best-in-class employment brands, Juvera works alongside operational leadership to support the company’s 200 domestic restaurants on all people-related matters. In this role, she leads development and execution of CPK’s employment brand and retention strategies and Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. Julie is also the president and chairperson of The Kindness Fund, CPK’s employee giving and financial assistance program. In 2013, Juvera won the WFF’s Committee Contributor Award for her work chairing
 
 
the Success Talks Committee and also made the inaugural Women Making Their Mark list.
 
  • Denny Marie Post is executive vice president and chief concept officer for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews. With 35 years of achievement in creating consumer-driven marketing success and product innovation, she is responsible for the development and execution of Red Robin’s brand strategies and product innovation. She leads the company’s Menu and Marketing, Implementation, Enterprise Transformation, Franchise Operations and Burger Works & Alternative Platforms teams. Post also oversees the company’s Canada operations. She completed the Board Leadership for Executive Women program at the Kellogg School of Management and Certificate in Finance from Wharton.
 
  • Sandy Romoser is senior vice president of sales and the chief customer officer for PepsiCo Foodservice. She is responsible for the strategic business development for PepsiCo’s largest national and multi-national Foodservice and On-Premise chain customers.  She has a reputation for being highly committed to the development and success of her team, believing that true leaders stay focused on developing and empowering their people, while removing the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their goals.
 
  • Salli Setta is the president of Red Lobster Seafood Company, the world’s largest casual dining seafood restaurant. She leads all restaurant operations, marketing, and culinary and beverage for the brand, which operates more than 700 restaurants in North America and has more than 58,000 employees. She was part of the leadership team that helped Red Lobster become an independent, privately-held company. Setta is the recipient of multiple industry awards and is an alumna of the Women’s Leadership Program at the Kellogg School of Management.
 
All new Board members will serve two successive, three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2016 and ending Dec. 31, 2021. These new Board members will join the following Executive Committee and returning Board members:
 
Executive Committee
  • Wendy Davidson, president of U.S. Specialty Channels, Kellogg North America – Chair
  • Hattie Hill, president and chief executive officer, WFF
 
  • Marie Perry, senior vice president, controller and treasurer, Brinker International - Chair-Elect
  • Susan Adzick, vice president of sales and marketing for the Foodservice division of McLane Company – Treasurer
  • Thomas L. Bené, president and chief operating officer, Sysco Corporation
  • Debbie Stroud, vice president and general manager, Raleigh Region, McDonald’s USA, LLC.
  • Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive officer, National Restaurant Association
  • Rebecca Walsh, executive vice president and chief legal and compliance officer, Ventura Foods
 
 
Board
  • Kat Cole, group president, Focus Brands – Immediate Past Chair
  • Karen Bailey, vice president, National Accounts, Georgia Pacific
  • Jill Bond, senior vice president and chief legal officer, Rich Products Corporation
  • Karen Bowman, principal, Human Capital, Deloitte Consulting, LLP
  • Beverly Carmichael, senior vice president, chief people officer, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.
  • Gary Crompton, president, Healthcare Hospitality, Aramark
  • Stephen Dunmore, president, Sodexo Education – Schools, Sodexo, Inc.
  • Fred Paglia, retired, Kraft Foods
  • Bethany Quam, president, Convenience and Foodservice, General Mills, Inc.
  • Anne Varano, retired, Carlson Restaurants
  • Rossann Williams, senior vice president and president Canada, Starbucks Coffee Company
 
“WFF is on a mission to grow and cultivate leaders of today and tomorrow,” said Hattie Hill, president and CEO of WFF. “We are excited and confident that our Board members have the global mindset, talent, passion and creativity to help us be the recognized authority on leadership in the foodservice industry.”  
 
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ABOUT WFF
The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the industry’s premier leadership development organization with more than 25 years of experience advancing women in the foodservice industry. WFF serves thousands of individuals and hundreds of employers in all segments of the industry including operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing, consulting and more.  Through highly effective and educational events such as the Annual Leadership Development Conference, Executive Summit, leadership development programs and rich networking opportunities, WFF provides the competence and strategic connections needed to make a positive difference in the careers of women in the foodservice industry.  For more information, visit www.womensfoodserviceforum.com.
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3,000 from the U.S. and Canada participated in the Orlando WFF Conference

March 11, 2015

3,000 from the U.S. and Canada participated in the Orlando WFF Conference

3,000 from the U.S. and Canada participated in the Orlando WFF Conference
 
Orlando, Fla. (March 11, 2015) – 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.
 
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”, stated 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, Chief Operating Officer 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, 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, Vending Sales & Operations, Coca-Cola Refreshments—Phyllis S. Sewell Scholars Award in honor of Phyllis Shapiro Sewell, a former Sysco board member and champion of women’s rights in the workplace.
·         Marilyn Jones, Director of Process Improvement, Ben E. Keith Company—Chris Lowe Scholars Award in honor of Chris Lowe, retired president, National Foodservice & On-Premise, 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.
 
 
ABOUT WFF
The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the industry’s premier leadership development organization with more than 25 years of experience advancing women in the foodservice industry. WFF serves thousands of individuals and hundreds of employers in all segments of the industry including operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing, consulting and more.  Through highly effective and educational events such as the Annual Leadership Development Conference, Executive Summit, leadership development programs and rich networking opportunities, WFF provides the competence and strategic connections needed to make a positive difference in the careers of women in the foodservice industry.  For more information, visit www.womensfoodserviceforum.com. Join the social experience at #WFFConf15.


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RISK TAKING, A TOP SKILL TO LAND TOP JOBS

April 21, 2018

President of National Foodservice and On-Premise for The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) and WFF Board Member, Kathleen Ciaramello, has learned over her 32-year career with the world’s most recognized brand that she, like many women, had a tendency to sell herself short. Today, she knows smart risk taking has its rewards.

“Early in my career, I often aimed too low,” Ciaramello said. “When approached about a new role, I worried I wasn’t ready. Then, I’d move into the position and hit the ground running. That may sound like a good thing, but I came to realize over time it actually meant I had waited too long. I could have moved up sooner.”

 

The risks of playing safe

Today, as one of the most senior female leaders at Coke, Ciaramello encourages her team, especially women, to embrace career risks and trust that they will quickly grow into new challenges. There is good reason for that. Smart risk taking has its rewards.

An online survey of more than 10,000 leaders and professionals by Leadership IQ found that top executives are 66% more likely to enjoy taking risks than frontline employees. Informed risk taking can open up new ways of doing things and new opportunities. Of course, unbridled risk taking doesn’t make sense. But playing it safe holds risks of its own. You can get stuck in positions for which you have become overqualified and miss out on opportunities for growth.

 

Take the long view

One approach Ciaramello uses to counsel team members against aiming too low is to focus less on their next career move and more on where they want to be at the end of their career. “I understand people may feel unclear about exactly what they want to be doing in 10 or 15 years and that plans can change. But, even if it’s just for your knowledge only, putting a stake in the ground about your desired future provides a valuable lens through which to evaluate career opportunities,” she said.

Without a big picture view of the future, you may aim too low and choose positions that are too similar to your current role rather than expanding your skill set, perspective and value to the organization.

A mentor and sponsor helped Ciaramello avoid just such a mistake in her own career. “I was offered a lateral move that I really did not think I was interested in and I saw as a possible diversion from my ultimate goal of leading Foodservice,” Ciaramello explained.

“Fortunately, two mentors reached out to help me see how tackling a job in a new area would actually prepare me for the job I ultimately wanted,” she said. “They helped me understand the benefits of taking a risk on a role that was very different from what I had been doing and would expand my skills and vision.”

 

Champion your cause

Ciaramello also urges women to advocate for their own advancement. That includes making sure your manager is familiar with your long-term goals and being willing to push for more responsibility, stretch opportunities and high-visibility assignments that help your boss achieve his or her goals as well.

“You may also need to cast a wider net and develop relationships with company leaders beyond your immediate manager,” Ciaramello advises. “Even if your manager is an excellent champion for your career, relationships outside your immediate area can open new opportunities to take your career in exciting directions you may not have anticipated.”


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YOUR ROLE IN FOSTERING INCLUSION

May 25, 2018

Company culture tends to trickle down from the top, but there are important roles team members at all levels can play to create an inclusive culture with their own behaviors, in leading teams and managing staff.

“Today, we talk about diversity AND inclusion because having a sense that you belong and your contribution is as important as everyone else’s, is the starting point,” explains Libby Sartain, a Professional Director serving on the Boards of Shutterfly, ManpowerGroup, AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management. She is also former Chief Human Resources Officer for Yahoo! Inc. and Southwest Airlines. “If you do not create that cohesive feeling of belonging, you will not reap the rewards of diversity,” she says.

Sartain will explain how to Create a Culture of Inclusion at WFF’s Executive Summit July 23-24 in Dallas. LEAD THE WAY: Strategies and Insights to Advance Gender Equity will engage leaders at the director level and above in company teams to create organization-specific strategies to move the needle on gender equity.

A recent Deloitte survey of more than 1,300 full-time employees in the U.S. found that 80% said inclusion is an important factor when choosing an employer. Nearly three-fourths said they would leave or consider leaving their employer for a more inclusive organization.

Although Sartain and others agree CEOs must take ownership for creating an inclusive culture and driving accountability among leaders, experts also point out that employee behaviors are critical. In fact, your behavior may be one of the most important factors in inspiring new ways of interacting and collaborating within and across functional areas among your peers and staff.

 

Ideas for creating inclusion from the ground up . . .

Get input from new sources

Next time you’re in the company cafeteria or waiting for an elevator, consider bouncing an idea off someone new. Getting outside your silo can provide new perspectives and demonstrates your belief that individuals from all areas have valuable input.

 

Change your (physical) view

When feasible, set up shop for a few hours in another area of your building. Or ask to spend a day in an empty workspace when traveling to other company locations. New environments can spark new ways of seeing your organization and its people.

 

Put someone else in charge

If you run every department meeting, ask someone else to take the helm and see how the conversation changes. A different focus can spark new ideas and build participation. The same is true for project leads. Changing things up can enable contributors to expand their skill set and perspective.

 

Ask before assuming

Just because someone has a young child at home does not mean she or he won’t welcome an opportunity to visit an overseas client. Just as someone who has been with the company for years might relish tackling a new opportunity. Ask first.

 

Get outside the job (at least mentally)

It’s too easy to see colleagues as single-dimensional cogs in a wheel if you only interact around specific work topics. Consider asking what your coworkers do outside of work for fun and you may find commonalities that forge stronger feelings of acceptance and connection.

 

Empower

When direct reports or colleagues know you value an inclusive culture, they will be more likely to share your enthusiasm. As Sartain advises, “You need to make sure that sense of inclusion is happening at midnight with the team closing a restaurant, with the people transporting and delivering goods on the road and in the C-Suite every day.”

 

Fostering a sense of belonging among your team and colleagues is a great way to spark inclusiveness in your own sphere and provide an example for others to follow.


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WHEN WOMEN TALK AND MEN INTERRUPT

May 25, 2018

Men and women communicate differently. We get it. But that doesn’t explain why men interrupt women far more often than they interrupt other men. Or what to do about it. For that, we turn to the research.

Sociologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara analyzed 31 two-party conversations recorded in public settings such as cafes, stores and campuses. They included 10 conversations between two men, 10 between two women and 11 between a woman and a man.

 

Trying to get a word in edgewise

When men spoke with other men, the researchers recorded seven instances of interruption, a rate similar to the conversation between two women. But when a man and woman spoke together, there were 48 interruptions — 46 of them with the man interrupting the woman. A study at George Washington University found men interrupted 33% more often when talking with a woman than a man.

Research by linguist Kieran Snyder found it was just as hard for women to get the floor in professional settings. “Over the course of a four-week period, I sat in on dozens of meetings in my office, observing a total of 900 minutes of conversation,” Snyder reported. “I discovered that men not only interrupted twice as often as women but were nearly three times as likely to interrupt women as they were to interrupt other men.”

The implication of these studies is straightforward: A woman’s claim to the conversational space within the office is not treated equally to that of a man’s. But you probably already knew that. The trick is to figure out how to make workplace conversation more productive and more equitable despite differing conversational styles among the sexes.

 

Giving women the floor

First, men need to understand the unconscious bias inherent in their conversation style. In male interactions, studies show that a certain amount of interruption, referred to as “co-operative overlap,” is a positive trend that signifies active participation. When speaking with women, however, the natural assertiveness of the male social style can be limiting, as women tend to approach conversation more collaboratively.

One step male professionals can take is to allow their female colleagues more room to express themselves. If a woman is speaking, let her finish her thought. Collaboration is just as useful when held until the completion of a sentence.

Another positive step can be implemented at the executive level as recently suggested by President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Dawn Sweeney. “When our industry’s senior leaders commit to paying full attention when women are speaking in their own organizations and elsewhere, it will change how women are perceived and increase their power in the workplace.”  When leadership makes the focused effort to pay equal attention while women speak, the rest of the organization is more likely to follow suit.

The most important step, however, women can take themselves. If interrupted, don’t be afraid to say, “Please let me finish,” or “I have a key point to make and then I would love to hear your thoughts.” When you see other women interrupted, support her by saying: “I’d like to hear her thinking on this.”


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LEADING THROUGH DISRUPTION

May 25, 2018

If you can’t see the forest for the trees, it may be because you have been in the woods a long time. In other words, being barraged with rapid change at work can make it hard to see the opportunities that might actually exist within the disruption.

Technology forecaster, innovation expert, and author of seven books, Daniel Burrus, asks “Why is it that the taxi driver wasn’t the one to come up with Uber? Because when one is too focused on execution, the door is opened for disruption.”

Not only is change rapid, but the actual process of how things change is undergoing its own transformation and coming in unexpected ways. A few innovation experts such as Burrus, however, have figured out how to look at the widespread disruption as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle.

“By looking at hard trends, which are patterns based in fact and certainty, one can start to anticipate what is going to happen. With a higher emphasis on anticipation over agility (simply reacting to change), leaders and organizations can start to make disruption work for them,” he says.

 

Get the right mindset for dealing with change:

  1. Stop focusing on simple execution. “If you’re only focused on the way things are happening now, then you are opening yourself up to a lot of risk,” Burrus warns. “When you see disruption, don’t protect and defend the status quo. Know what’s coming with anticipation and turn the moment of change into an advantageous situation for your organization.”

    Studying the hard trends with supporting data can help you figure out what’s coming next and what to do to get ready and get out in front.

 

  1. Don’t act too quickly. “When leaders are too quick to act, they jump past the necessary steps of helping team members understand why change is needed and even giving them time to experience the range of emotions that inevitably come with confronting change,” said Jerry Magar, Business Consultant at Southern Methodist University Executive Education and a session leader at WFF’s 2018 Annual Leadership Development Conference. Rushing change can torpedo the very progress you’re trying to build.

    Giving employees time to adjust and weigh-in on changes can help get the team through the transition as a unified front with mutual understanding of the opportunity at hand.

 

As tumultuous times continue, become a change management expert adept at searching out the hidden opportunities:

  • Use visible trends to anticipate disruption and be proactive.
  • Understand what can be changed and what can’t.
  • Instead of fearing disruption, develop a plan to transform it into opportunity.
  • Take the emotions of your colleagues into account and be as transparent as possible in your response to disruption.
  • Don’t rush to action before getting others on board.


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INTERVIEW LIKE A SUPERSTAR

June 10, 2018

The stage is set. Your resume is on the table. Now, all you have to do is convince the person across from you that you’re the one for the job. Sounds easy enough, right?

Sadly, it’s not. It’s so difficult, in fact, that Laura Paradise of Work for Good says: “Interviews are something very few people ever master, including most veterans of the workforce. The rules are subtle, every minute matters, and it’s a skill in which many people have not had a lot of practice.” All it takes to improve, however, is a little shift in understanding.

The point of the interview is not your resume or qualifications. They got you in the door. The real test is your professional demeanor, self-assuredness, and ability to communicate. “How you posture yourself, how you express your ideas, and how you relate to the person you’re speaking to are all parts of the unspoken agenda,” says Paradise. “It’s more about how you speak than what you say.”

To interview well, you have two tasks: effectively communicate and carry yourself well. These tips can help you become an inspiring interviewee:

  1. Stand tall and sit up straight: In the first seconds, focus on eye contact and body language that communicates confidence, comfort, and the willingness to meet the interviewer on their terms.
  2. Expect the unexpected: Companies (as well as individuals) all do interviews differently. Sometimes you won’t be asked a question for a long time. Sometimes you’re asked a question specifically designed to catch you off guard. Sometimes people are weird. Have key points locked and ready and then face the unexpected with confident professionalism.
  3. Develop clear talking points: Know what you want to communicate, then find the clearest and most memorable ways to illustrate your point. Keep stories short, stick to the bottom line, and always tie the information back to what you want to say about yourself.
  4. Don’t be stodgy: Professionalism is paramount but remember to stay relaxed. You have to prove you can contribute to a positive work environment by handling situations with poise (and perhaps even a smile).
  5. Have strong opening and closing lines: Good openers and closers help drive the story. If you want to effectively land your point, know how to start strong, make your point, and end on a high note.
  6. Lead with outcomes: Start your points with what you accomplished, then backtrack into how you accomplished them. Facts are the best segue to what you bring to the table.
  7. Use the village: Practice with friends and ask what was most memorable for them! Only with practice can you hone a valuable skill.


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HELPING WOMEN COLLECT A FULL PAYCHECK

Starbucks shares pay equity strategy at Executive Summit

July 23-24 Dallas, Texas

When Starbucks Coffee Company announced this spring that they had achieved 100% pay equity among partners of all genders and races performing similar work across the United States, they went Venti and topped their achievement with another bold move. They shared how they did it so others could follow suit.

Plan to be in the room to learn the details with colleagues in the Food Industry during the 2018 Executive Summit LEAD THE WAY: Strategies and Insights to Advance Gender Equity July 23-24 in Dallas, Texas.

In addition to Starbucks executives sharing best practices on pay equity, Food Industry senior leaders will discuss how to drive a culture of inclusion, develop flexible work environments and build CEO commitment to drive gender equity.

Unique this year, director-level contributors and above will join senior leaders in company teams to translate session learnings into concrete action steps.

 

Getting to 100%

Equal Pay Day is observed each April to mark just how long into the following year women must work to earn what their male counterparts earned in the previous year alone.

Most estimates consistently place the differential between women’s and men’s paychecks at about 80 cents to the dollar (or worse). A 2017 study by ADP Research Institute found that evaluating total compensation, including variable pay such as bonuses, shows men making 28% more than women across all industries.

Beyond the obvious compliance and social responsibility arguments inherent in pay equity, fair compensation for women is a key strategic element of organization-wide recruiting and retention plans. Pay equity can be a serious weapon in the arsenal of companies engaged in the war for talent.

 

Starbucks leading by example

“I don’t think I quite realized the potential when I first came to Starbucks,” said Sara Bowen, director of the company’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) team that designed the pay equity system. “For one thing, we employ hundreds of thousands of people. Even if all we did was make things right and fair and equitable for those people, it would be satisfying. But what’s even greater than that is that we can lead.”

The approach taken by Starbucks and advocated by other pay equity leaders and organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shares several key elements:

  • CEO Commitment: Start at the top to make pay equity a priority, ensure an inclusive workplace and develop succession plans to make sure there are women in the pipeline on their way to the top. At Accenture, top global leadership and the Board made public statements about their intention to achieve pay equity.
  • Stop asking candidates for salary histories: A growing number of cities and states now prohibit employers from asking applicants about salary history to alleviate historic gender pay discrepancies. Base pay instead on market data as it relates to specific experience and skills. “One of the most important things to get right is starting pay,” Bowen says. “If a woman comes into a company low, she tends to stay low.”
  • Rely on data and comprehensive analytics: Focus on the behaviors and systems that drive equity, not just the number. Hiring just one high-level male executive who starts at a higher salary than a female counterpart will disrupt 100% equity.
  • Be transparent about wages: A recent study by PayScale, Inc. found employees who rate their employers poorly on pay transparency are 80% more likely to say they want to leave in the next six months.
  • Conduct regular audits: Consider using a third-party and annually report progress across the organization. Proactively discuss unexplained differences in pay between women and men performing similar work when discrepancies are found.


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BUILDING EXECUTIVE PRESENCE

June 20, 2018

Long before you get to the C-Suite, or even take the next turn in your career journey, adopting the communications skills and confidence of a senior leader will make you stand out and enable others to see your potential.

Ironically, executive presence is something you must already possess to earn an executive position. Key to developing that sense of presence are the ability to project confidence and the ability to articulate your career story in a way that helps your boss and others understand your value.

“There’s no question you must first excel at your current job to position yourself for the next step. But part of that is showing up as someone company leaders can imagine in a larger role,” explains Katrina McGhee, best-selling author, founder of Loving on Me and co-leader of WFF’s 2018 Leadership Development Workshops (LDWs) READY TO LEAD: 5 Strategies to Accelerate Your Career. New this year, one-day workshop attendees in one of the 12 host cities will receive year-long interaction with session leaders and peers at no additional cost.

“Being seen as a high-potential leader involves developing a confident yet respectful presence and becoming as comfortable affirming your own brilliance as you are extolling the virtues of others, something that tends to be especially difficult for women,” McGhee cautions.

McGhee and fellow LDW presenter Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., best-selling author and psychologist, will share tested strategies around WFF’s Leadership Competencies for building Awareness and Insights and optimizing your Influence & Impact — prerequisites for taking charge of your career.

Workshop participants will complete WFF’s Leadership Competency Assessment prior to the session and arrive ready to tackle key areas of opportunity. “We will start from how our internal communication affects our thinking and behavior and then work out to how the way we present ourselves to others affects how we are seen and the opportunities we are given,” McGhee explains.

Although some people naturally seem to exude confidence, presence consists of learned behaviors that enable you to command attention. “A person with executive presence is one an employer feels confident putting in front of senior leadership both internally and externally,” McGhee says. “The great news is, with intention and practice, you can develop executive presence.” Consider these tips . . .

  • Start from inside out. Especially if you get nervous around higher-ups, focus on your own breathing to develop a sense of calm (which projects as confidence). Use that as an anchor to expand your focused awareness beyond yourself to your surroundings and others.
  • Use your body. Carry yourself with authority and speak deliberately. Family and friends can provide helpful feedback on things you may do unconsciously that undermine your presence — such as ending sentences as if they were questions, covering your mouth when you speak or hunching over.
  • Challenge yourself. Every time you do something you find scary and live to tell about it, you increase your confidence. Check out 100 Days Without Fear by confirmed scaredy-cat, TED speaker and WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference speaker Michelle Poler.
  • Look the part. It is difficult for others to see you as a future executive if you dress like an intern. Pay attention to how leaders in your organization dress and target a similar level of formality or informality in your own style. Your clothes don’t need to be expensive but they do need to help you project confidence and professionalism.
  • Be positive. No one loves everything about their job, boss or company. But constant complaining is boring and destructive. Figure out solutions to workplace problems and you will get noticed in a hurry for the right things.
  • Connect with people. Whether one-on-one or in front of hundreds, remember you are simply talking with other human beings. See them as someone you can help with your unique expertise and you will have an easier time focusing on their needs rather than your own discomfort.

 


 

LDWS OFFER ONE-DAY WORKSHOPS WITH 365-DAY CONTENT AND SUPPORT

For the first time, WFF’s one-day Leadership Development Workshops (LDWs) with nationally-recognized speakers will feature built-in touchpoints for year-long interaction with workshop leaders and peers to help participants learn, network and grow.

“We are walking every step of the way with women to cement new skills, create new habits and rewire their brains for success,” explains workshop co-leader Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D. “We don’t want to impact people for a day, we want to change their lives.”

At no additional cost, LDW participants will receive:

  • WFF Membership with additional online learning opportunities
  • WFF Leadership Competency Assessment (online measurement tool)
  • Exclusive monthly Facebook Live Webinars
  • Access to WFF Lean In Circles in host cities
  • Quarterly WFF Networking Pop-Up at one of our sponsor locations
  • WFF Book of the Month Online MeetUp

REGISTER


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THE VOICES IN OUR HEADS

July 24, 2018

Scientists estimate that we have anywhere from 12,000 to 70,000 or more thoughts every day. Unfortunately, they also say about 80 percent of them are negative.

“If you could put a microphone in your brain and listen to your thoughts, what would you hear?” asks Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., best-selling author, psychologist and co-leader of WFF’s 2018 Leadership Development Workshops (LDWs) READY TO LEAD: 5 Strategies to Accelerate Your Career. New this year, one-day workshop attendees in each of the 12 host cities will receive year-long interaction with session leaders and peers at no additional cost.

“When we ask questions, our subconscious searches for answers. It doesn’t decide first if the question was a bad one,” Lombardo cautions. Very often, we ask ourselves repetitive, self-limiting and self-sabotaging questions. ‘How did I mess up that presentation?’ ‘Why did she get the best assignment instead of me?’ “Asking better questions can put you in a far more effective position to find paths to improvement rather than fodder for self-loathing,” she says.

Lombardo and fellow presenter Katrina McGhee, best-selling author and founder of Loving on Me, will engage LDW participants in hands-on strategies to build a personalized roadmap to success over a 12-month journey. Workshop participants will complete WFF’s Leadership Competency Assessment prior to the session and arrive ready to tackle key areas of opportunity.

At no additional cost to the one-day workshop, LDW participants will receive WFF Membership, Exclusive monthly Facebook Live Webinars and WFF Networking Pop-Ups at one of our sponsor locations. The sooner you register, the sooner you can start tapping into the expertise of the speakers and fellow registrants. In the meantime, consider these ideas to Ask Better Questions Now.

  • What am I truly grateful for in this moment? “Focusing on gratitude is a powerful way to quickly change your mental chatter,” Lombardo says. “Repeatedly asking yourself what you’re grateful for brings an entirely different energy to your thinking and your life.”
  • What am I passionate about and how can I use it to help others? “Thinking about how you want to contribute, use your passions for good and help others frees you from self-absorption and stimulates your creativity,” Lombardo says.
  • How can I enjoy this process more? Granted, sometimes your situation is not great. But there are likely ways to make it better. “It can be as simple as deciding to listen to your favorite music while working all weekend to meet a deadline,” Lombardo suggests. “We have ways of making challenging situations worse, and ways of making them a little better.”
  • What can I learn from this? Maybe your annual review was more critical than you expected. Or your presentation really did fall flat. It happens. Think about where things went wrong, make a plan to improve and then move on.

Now get going! The point of asking better questions is to get your subconscious working for you, rather than against you. But it’s not an end in itself. Ask yourself some good questions, pick your best answers and move on to concrete action steps that will make a difference.

 

REGISTER


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THE EVOLUTION OF HR METRICS

July 24, 2018

There was a time when Human Resources was seen as the purview of managers who had the “soft skills” to deal with people rather than widgets. But as one of the largest expenses on the company balance sheet, HR is under growing pressure to quantify the return on this huge investment and make data-driven decisions that improve the entire business.

“Human Resources cannot be a strategic partner if we are not talking the language of business and that’s data,” says Christine Geissler, Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer with KERRY North America. “HR needs to help drive strategic business decisions, align with the overall business and impact the bottom line.”

Effective metrics that tie how an organization is leveraging its people to improving overall company performance is one way to do that.

 

From tracking to analysis

HR departments have tracked basic metrics for years, such as employee turnover. But even that has been given an overhaul. “Today, our goal is not to collect data but to use analytics and insights in a predictive way,” Geissler says. “If you’re going to track something, you have to be willing to do deep dives, to really understand it and then build plans around those findings.”

By digging deeper into turnover statistics, for example, a company might learn why people are leaving and, ultimately, predict where the greatest turnover is likely to be in the future. You might even find that turnover in part of the company is too low, suggesting a possible lack of innovation in an area not receiving an inflow of new talent. Or those findings might send up a red flag that a large number of people in an aging department might all leave at the same time.

“If you just track the turnover number it gives you one story,” Geissler explains, “but effective analytics help you ask the right questions to get the insights behind the data.”

 

Questions are key

The secret weapon Geissler relies on to help turn data into valuable insights is a strong analytics partner. At Kerry, that’s HR Analytics Manager David Summers. “Within three months of bringing David on at Kerry, the entire executive team wanted one-on-one meetings with him and we wondered how we survived without him,” Geissler says. “He asks the probing questions to make sure we fully understand how we plan to use data before we set out to collect it.”

“This is a key point to meaningful data,” Summers explains. “It all starts with figuring out what we really want to know. Then we can really drill down into the information to identify areas of focus that will enable us to build action plans that impact KPIs. And, if we can take the numbers and combine them with descriptive analysis to make an informed leap to diagnostic and predictive analytics, now we have real insights to change how we tackle a problem.”

One way to do that is to search for correlations and patterns. “Being able to correlate information and socialize the insights in the organization enables us to impact critical decisions in the business,” Summers explains. That’s the ultimate payoff — providing critical information in ways that facilitate new ways of doing business.

 

Using HR Metrics Strategically

From the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

  • HR metrics might show how efficient and effective an organization’s HR practices are but talent analytics focus on decision points and guide investment decisions.
  • Go wide before going deep. Start from the business strategy and work your way back to a meaningful HR metric that will actually inform business decisions.
  • Build the business case for HR initiatives by connecting them to organization goals and teasing out the workforce-driven components of business-wide metrics.
  • Don’t settle for poor data quality – only data that is consistent, accurate and reliable and can be cost-effectively collected and used is worth the investment.


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WHEN SMALL INSIGHTS BEAT BIG DATA

July 24, 2018

Data-driven, evidence-based, applied analytics . . . the Big Data buzzwords that remind us it is wholly unacceptable to make decisions by gut feel, personal intuition or even just basic common sense. If there are strategic choices to be made, there ought to be reams of data on it.

And there are. Walmart gets 2.5 petabytes of data from its customer transactions every hour. Just one petabyte would fill 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with text. A lot of data. By 2020, 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second for every person on earth. Even more data.

But are there still other ways to effectively gather insights in addition to Big Data? Of course, and sometimes they actually work better.

 

The limits of big

One of the drawbacks of Big Data is that it has to be cleaned up and “sanitized” to fit into workable quantitative formats. But getting rid of the messy outliers sometimes omits nuance where the insights actually live.  Layers of management often further filter the data so that the frontline experience is long gone by the time the report hits senior levels.

 

The power of story

Returning to “real life stories” where actual people struggle with actual problems can turn up valuable insights into issues your customers or team members face.

That is how Airbnb’s founders unlocked early growth potential. They left their offices in Silicon Valley and traveled to their most concentrated market, New York City. They talked to actual Airbnb hosts and discovered some big problems on the ground. Hosts did not know how to photograph their own apartments attractively, could not navigate the complex Airbnb website, and felt funny collecting cash from guests.

The founders focused on these real-world pain points shared by real people and doubled top line growth.

 

Insights from the frontlines

The takeaway? Don’t stray too far from the trenches. The people working there and accessing your products and services know exactly what they need if you are willing to hear their stories and explore the messy details.

The waitstaff knows what dishes people rave about and which ones leave them disappointed. Your delivery team knows where the big delays happen that get shipments off schedule. And your sales team knows every aspect of your products and services your customers wish were different. Ask them.


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SAYING NO TO OFFICE ‘HOUSEWORK’

July 24, 2018

We know many women work a “double shift” putting in a full day at paid jobs and several hours of unpaid housework, meal prep and childcare at home. According to the Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company, women with children and partners are 5.5 times more likely to do all or most of the household work than are men in the same family situation.

The last thing women need is more of the same on the job.

Yet, research from the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California shows that women, and especially women of color, are often assigned “office housework” as well. The researchers define these as tasks that are typically undervalued and not tied to revenue goals. They might include taking notes, coordinating schedules, ordering lunch or even something as simple as grabbing an extra chair or shutting the conference room door before a meeting starts.

Sometimes the tasks are time-consuming enough that they actually impede a woman’s ability to get more mission-critical work done and thwart her advancement. Other times, such tasks, unequally shared, reinforce sexist power dynamics.

No one wants to be so difficult that she can’t help out by grabbing an extra chair, but it is reasonable for women to speak up when such tasks are routinely handed out far more often to women than their male colleagues. If that’s the case, a Harvard Business Review article suggests these responses:

“I’m working on a major project deadline and need someone else to take on this task,” may work when repeatedly asked to perform time-consuming tasks such as scheduling meetings among peers.

“The current discussion is critical to my work so I really need to be present now,” may work for on-the-spot requests like ordering lunch or leaving a meeting to make copies.

 

If there is a well-entrenched pattern at your organization where men are unburdened by “office housework” it may make sense to track examples and talk to your supervisor about whether something is off-balance.

Among peers, you can also suggest rotating tasks. If you took minutes last time the group got together, suggest one of the guys handle it this time.

It’s not easy to say no when directly asked to handle a “simple” task at work and it often makes sense to comply without complaint. But when it becomes an institutional habit to immediately turn to women, and especially women of color, when it’s time to pick up lunch, tidy the company kitchen or decide how to celebrate birthdays, diplomatically bringing the topic to light can help colleagues see something they may have missed.


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MOVING GENDER EQUITY TO THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA

August 20, 2018

CEO Commitment and Engagement Makes the Difference

What you pay attention to as the CEO, your entire organization pays attention to. It sounds obvious, but deep CEO commitment and engagement has often been a missing component in breaking through institutional obstacles to advance women leaders.

The 2017 Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org (including 32 visionary food companies) found that less than half of employees believe gender diversity is a top priority for their CEO, even though three-quarters of companies claim it.

 

Show us you mean it

There’s a gap between what companies think they do and what employees actually experience at work, according to McKinsey. More than 70% of companies say they are committed to gender diversity, but less than a third of their workers see senior leaders held accountable for improving gender outcomes. More than 90% of companies report using clear, objective criteria for hiring and promotions, yet only about half of women believe they have equal opportunities for growth.

When company leaders are active, visible and involved in the process, organization transformation around gender diversity is far more likely to succeed. According to a 2014 McKinsey Global Survey, when organization leaders were seen as personally modeling the behavior changes they were asking employees to make, respondents were five times more likely to report successful organizational transformation.

“The CEO has to walk the talk,” said Denny Marie Post, CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., and WFF Chair-Elect. “We have to make increasing gender diversity part of our team’s objectives and then measure and celebrate our progress and not shy away from that.”

 

How CEOs drive gender equity

The key is for CEOs to get out in front as gender equity champions and for the executive team to intervene across a broad range of factors that both help women become better leaders and create workplaces that enable them to thrive. Start here:

  • Establish company-wide and business unit goals related to women’s representation and advancement and tie them to performance indicators and executive incentives. “Every year we conduct our talent planning sessions where we take the time to assess performance and potential,” explained Denny’s CEO John Miller. “We identify high potential employees, especially females and minorities, so we can encourage their professional growth, upward mobility, and involvement in organizations like WFF.  Each lead executive is responsible for setting the tone and working with HR in conducting these critical planning sessions.”
  • Create an inclusive culture (see May CEO Connections) that values the unique contributions of all team members and actively rewards inclusive behaviors. “What leaders do and where they spend their time sends a message about what’s important. If leaders talk about the culture and live the organization’s values the employees will know it’s important and it matters,” said CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc., Greg Creed, speaking to industry leaders at WFF’s Executive Summit LEAD THE WAY: Strategies and Insights to Advance Gender Equity.“As humans, we listen and respond to stories,” Creed added. “Storytelling is a good vehicle for cascading culture and talking about what’s important and what matters. The more you can tell a story, the more it will get remembered. And the more that story will get re-told.”
  • Make and broadly share the business case for gender equity. Research shows that the more team members understand how gender diversity positively impacts the bottom line, the more invested they become. Yet, McKinsey’s Women in the Food Industry report found only 38% of men and 40% of women in the industry believe that their company pursues gender diversity because it will improve business results.
  • Embrace flexible working arrangements wherever possible that help meet the needs of working parents, caregivers and millennials who place a premium on work-life balance and workplace flexibility.
  • Create pay equity in your own organization and urge your suppliers and business partners to do the same.
  • Share data about your progress. Leaders are often reluctant to share the numbers, but tracking your progress helps motivate team members and enables you to tie results to compensation.
  • Keep asking the tough questions. McKinsey stresses the need to keep the conversation going about gender issues among executive teams, asking:
    • Where are the women in our talent pipeline?
    • What skills are we helping women build?
    • Do we provide sponsors as well as role models?
    • How much are our policies helping?


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WANT TO GET MORE DONE? TAKE A BREAK!

August 20, 2018

And register for one-day workshop READY TO LEAD: 5 Strategies to Accelerate Your Career

The idea of “powering through” and relentlessly dogging a task to completion used to sound admirable. But the latest brain research shows it’s more effective to give your brain and body a rest and come back to the task with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.

Walking away from a mental task can decrease decision fatigue, increase creativity and provide a new perspective on a vexing task by giving the goal-oriented pre-frontal cortex a chance to rest. Effective brain breaks can be as simple as a short walk, interaction with nature, a healthy snack, deep breathing or meditation.

“I schedule ‘joy breaks’ into my day where I block out ten minutes to do something that will inspire me,” says Katrina McGhee, author, career success strategist and co-leader of WFF’s 2018 Leadership Development Workshops, READY TO LEAD: 5 Strategies to Accelerate Your Career. Consider what McGhee calls her Six Wacky Ideas for a More Productive Day:

Set the tone:  Start your day with intention rather than reaction by avoiding your phone for (gasp) the first 60 minutes of the day. “We often reach for the phone first thing on autopilot,” McGhee says. “That approach can result in the day running you rather than you running your day. That first hour is a critical time to set your intentions and be mindful about how you invest your valuable time.”

Decide on your MUST DO list and DO THAT FIRST: Even if you start your day with intention, it can be easy to create a laundry list of everything you could possibly want to accomplish. Thing is, a list of 15 to-do items will simply lead to frustration, a sense of overwhelm and scattered thinking. Focus on your top four or five MUST-DOs and get more done.

Schedule JOY breaks to refresh and renew: “For me, this can mean a delicious peppermint mocha or engaging with a favorite colleague about their recent vacation,” McGhee says. Take a break to inspire yourself. 

Think more. Do less. Too often, our desire to act comes before the time to think. Discipline yourself to spend more time really pondering a challenge and you are likely to develop far more productive solutions.

Practice PRESENCE to minimize meetings. How often do you sit in a meeting where half the people are checking their phones and almost no one is fully present? “If everyone will leave their phones on their desks and be fully present during meetings, you can get more done in 30 minutes than 60,” McGhee says.

Celebrate progress to propel you to success. “I’m not a scrooge, but I want to celebrate birthdays at home and progress at work,” McGhee explains. “What is typically far more meaningful to people in the workplace is to celebrate together what we accomplished that day. Many projects are long-term. Celebrating the milestones along the way fuels us for the journey.”

You can connect with McGhee in person, along with fellow workshop speaker Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., psychologist and best-selling author, when you register for WFF’s Leadership Development Workshops, READY TO LEAD: 5 Strategies to Accelerate Your Career. REGISTER now to take WFF’s unique Leadership Competency Assessment at no additional cost!


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KNOWING WHEN TO DELEGATE

August 20, 2018

When individual contributors move into management, or even lead an ad hoc team or task force, it can be difficult to transition from thinking every task is one you have to complete yourself, to realizing that empowering other team members will be key to your success.

Delegation is a critical skill for career advancement and goes well beyond simply assigning work to others. Well thought-out delegation can free you to focus on higher-level tasks, areas you are best suited to, or items on the critical path. The most effective delegation also allows you to develop greater trust in a coworker or direct report and enables that individual to shine in a new light.

Some folks are poor delegators because they have difficulty relinquishing control or accepting alternative ways of accomplishing something. But often, the real issue is lack of organization. To delegate effectively, you need adequate systems and structure that make the work clear to others. Ask yourself these questions before assigning tasks to others:

  • Can I explain the project and desired outcomes well enough for someone else to run with it?
  • Will the individual have access to the people and resources needed to succeed?
  • Am I open to various ways of meeting the goal or is it my way or nothing?
  • Does the person taking on the task have the right skills, mindset and interest to complete the project at a high level?
  • Do they have time to do a good job?
  • Will I be able to invest my time more productively elsewhere if this task is taken off my plate?
  • What systems can I put in place to monitor the project and intervene with support if necessary well before a finished product is expected?

Being in a position to delegate is a great opportunity. To make the most of it, make sure you organize the work, resources and expectations before sharing the load.


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2019 CONFERENCE & 30TH ANNIVERSARY: WHAT’S NEW

August 20, 2018

LIMITLESS is the theme for the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference and 30th Anniversary Celebration March 10-13 in Dallas and it captures the mood perfectly.

The opportunities for individuals and their organizations as the Food Industry drives toward gender equity, greater business growth and becoming the employer of choice, are LIMITLESS!

You can expect exciting, meaningful changes at our 2019 Conference driven by your input and our ability to tap into industry-specific, data-driven insights that define the most effective content to help women advance at all stages of their careers.

 

NEW IN 2019!

New Leadership Cohorts

Equipped with our own data from more than 60 leading food companies, as well as insights from other industries and academic research, we have developed a highly intentional, focused and sequenced curriculum for your 2019 Conference experience.

When you register, you will be matched with a Leadership Cohort that will become your home base and team of colleagues throughout this immersive experience. Your cohort will turn a large conference into a smaller, more personal learning community and increase your opportunities to make meaningful connections. We will even embed industry faculty within your team to build connections, connect the dots between theory and practice and serve as powerful role models. 

No need to pick and choose

Through our new Leadership Cohorts, attendees will participate in targeted sessions that reflect the latest data on how to help women leapfrog to greater success based on their current career stage.

Your Leadership Cohort will explore three critical, data-driven topics in greater depth:

  • Resilience & Risk Taking: The Role of Confidence and Ambition in Career Success
  • Money Sense: How Profit & Loss Experience Drives Advancement at All Levels
  • Inclusive Culture: From the C-Suite to the Front Lines, Inclusion Drives Results 

Solutions 360

Based on attendee feedback requesting a holistic approach, we are also introducing a session to explore your total development with subject matter experts who will share their insights on living your most authentic life related to:

Relationships

Financial Strength

Health & Wellbeing

Professional Success

Community Contribution

Global Impact of Women

Another new element for 2019 is a special session launching Sunday, March 10 included in the cost of registration that will engage women working globally or planning to in the future. Learn about the contributions of women to global economies and the leadership opportunities that lay ahead on the international stage. 

30th Anniversary Events

WFF’s 30th Anniversary will add an entirely new dimension to 2019 Conference. Join us as we recognize the Industry Titans leading the industry to gender equity and meet Change Makers Under 30 already making their mark.

Keynote Brené Brown

The full conference will launch in a big way on Sunday (March 10) with the incomparable Brené Brown. A research professor at the University of Houston and author of four #1 New York Times best-selling books, she has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Brown’s TED Talks have been watched by millions who have been inspired by her message to bravely go “all in” even when that means facing the possibility of failure.

 

REGISTER NOW to secure your spot for this history-making event!


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MEN WHO CHAMPION WOMEN

August 20, 2018

Most men want to be part of the solution to driving gender equity and understand that we will not get there without them. Those who do it well understand that inclusiveness means involving both men and women in women’s advancement. But it can be hard to know exactly how to help.

Only 32% of women and 45% of men feel as if managers make sure a diversity of voices is represented in decision making, according to the 2017 Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org

Based on 75 in-depth and confidential interviews with men identified by colleagues and direct reports as champions of women, research recently reported in Harvard Business Review identified four key characteristics and behaviors associated with successful male champions:

  1. Explicitly use their authority to create a more inclusive culture in their teams and across the organization.They look at areas where women are under-represented and push for solutions.
  2. Think of gender inclusiveness as part of effective talent management. Male champions consider diversity of all kinds an asset when hiring and work to provide equal opportunities for learning and development for women and men.
  3. Provide gender-aware mentoring and coaching to increase the visibility of women they work with. They seek to understand women team member’s goals and women who work with them report that their male mentors helped them feel they belonged at the table and increased their self-confidence.
  4. Have an other-focused leadership style rather than self-focused. They focus on helping mentees develop their own leadership skills.


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WFF HOSTS MALE GENDER EQUITY PLATFORM

August 20, 2018

Just how frequently additional chairs were needed to accommodate the growing number of participants in the Men’s Gender Equity Platform hosted by WFF at Executive Summit this July is a good indicator of the level of interest among male leaders in championing women in the Food Industry.

“Every man in the room expressed a strong desire to contribute to growing the role of women leaders in the Food Industry,” said EVP & COO, Dairy Foods for Land O’Lakes, Inc., and member of the Executive Committee of the WFF Board, Chris Roberts. “We look to WFF to LEAD THE WAY through their research, insights and best practices on the most effective ways to sponsor and mentor women to drive gender equity and business growth,” Roberts said.

One approach WFF is using to support male champions is a new Community of Interest (COI) that will meet for the first time during the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference (March 9-13 in Dallas). Through the Male Champions COI, we will listen to and support men in their goals to advance women leaders in their own organizations and throughout the food ecosystem.

Recent research in Harvard Business Review found that having a male sponsor can help level the playing field for women. In the Food Industry, where half the entry-level workforce is women, there is a particularly strong opportunity to develop more women leaders and advance them into positions of greater influence. In the Food Industry, 20% fewer women reach the first promotion to manager than their male colleagues.

“There are times when men can feel a bit awkward when engaging in conversations about gender equity.  We simply were not trained to have them,” explains James Pogue, Ph.D., consultant and session facilitator. “There is also significant angst around saying the wrong thing. WFF plays a key role in facilitating these important conversations among leaders who clearly understand the business case for gender equity but need support in figuring out the best ways to identify and cultivate female talent.”

Some early takeaways from the discussion included:

  • “Gender equity must be discussed as part of the broader topic of diversity and inclusion.”
  • “Succession planning must be part of the conversation to ensure sustainability.”
  • “There needs to be continuing conversation with men to help them understand their role and to answer the question, What about me?”
  • “Keep educating women and men around the data.”
  • “Help us see our blind spots.”
  • “Create additional sessions for men at Conference to help them understand the experience and their role as champions.”
  • “WFF is a valuable resource across gender lines.”

For more information about the Male Champions Community of Interest, contact WFF VP for Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness, Tim Johnson at tjohnson@wfforg.


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CHILI'S BAR AND GRILL PRESIDENT KELLI VALADE TAKES HELM AT TDN2K

September 14, 2018

WFF Board Member and EVP of Brinker International and President of Chili's Bar and Grill, Kelli Valade, is taking the helm of research and insights firm TDn2K.
 
"Kelli is an outstanding leader who not only drives strong business performance in her own organization, but provides a powerful role model for all women in the Food Industry," said Hattie Hill, President & CEO of WFF.  "She inspires everyone she works with in her own organization and in the industry to reach toward their potential and to see the incredible potential for our industry to reap the rewards of greater gender equity."
 
Congratulations, Kelli! Learn more here.


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CHILI'S BAR AND GRILL PRESIDENT KELLI VALADE TAKES HELM AT TDN2K

September 14, 2018

WFF Board Member and EVP of Brinker International and President of Chili's Bar and Grill, Kelli Valade, is taking the helm of research and insights firm TDn2K.
 
"Kelli is an outstanding leader who not only drives strong business performance in her own organization, but provides a powerful role model for all women in the Food Industry," said Hattie Hill, President & CEO of WFF.  "She inspires everyone she works with in her own organization and in the industry to reach toward their potential and to see the incredible potential for our industry to reap the rewards of greater gender equity."
 
Congratulations, Kelli! Learn more here.


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MOVING GENDER EQUITY TO THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA

September 18, 2018

CEO Commitment and Engagement Makes the Difference

What you pay attention to as the CEO, your entire organization pays attention to. It sounds obvious, but deep CEO commitment and engagement has often been a missing component in breaking through institutional obstacles to advance women leaders.

The 2017 Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org (including 32 visionary food companies) found that less than half of employees believe gender diversity is a top priority for their CEO, even though three-quarters of companies claim it.

 

Show us you mean it

There’s a gap between what companies think they do and what employees actually experience at work, according to McKinsey. More than 70% of companies say they are committed to gender diversity, but less than a third of their workers see senior leaders held accountable for improving gender outcomes. More than 90% of companies report using clear, objective criteria for hiring and promotions, yet only about half of women believe they have equal opportunities for growth.

When company leaders are active, visible and involved in the process, organization transformation around gender diversity is far more likely to succeed. According to a 2014 McKinsey Global Survey, when organization leaders were seen as personally modeling the behavior changes they were asking employees to make, respondents were five times more likely to report successful organizational transformation.

“The CEO has to walk the talk,” said Denny Marie Post, CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., and WFF Chair-Elect. “We have to make increasing gender diversity part of our team’s objectives and then measure and celebrate our progress and not shy away from that.”

 

How CEOs drive gender equity

The key is for CEOs to get out in front as gender equity champions and for the executive team to intervene across a broad range of factors that both help women become better leaders and create workplaces that enable them to thrive. Start here:

  • Establish company-wide and business unit goals related to women’s representation and advancement and tie them to performance indicators and executive incentives. “Every year we conduct our talent planning sessions where we take the time to assess performance and potential,” explained Denny’s CEO John Miller speaking to industry leaders at WFF’s Executive Summit LEAD THE WAY: Strategies and Insights to Advance Gender Equity. “We identify high potential employees, especially females and minorities, so we can encourage their professional growth, upward mobility, and involvement in organizations like WFF.  Each lead executive is responsible for setting the tone and working with HR in conducting these critical planning sessions.”
  • Create an inclusive culture (see May CEO Connections) that values the unique contributions of all team members and actively rewards inclusive behaviors. “What leaders do and where they spend their time sends a message about what’s important. If leaders talk about the culture and live the organization’s values the employees will know it’s important and it matters,” said CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc., Greg Creed, also speaking at WFF’s Executive Summit. “As humans, we listen and respond to stories,” Creed added. “Storytelling is a good vehicle for cascading culture and talking about what’s important and what matters. The more you can tell a story, the more it will get remembered. And the more that story will get re-told.”
  • Make and broadly share the business case for gender equity. Research shows that the more team members understand how gender diversity positively impacts the bottom line, the more invested they become. Yet, McKinsey’s Women in the Food Industry report found only 38% of men and 40% of women in the industry believe that their company pursues gender diversity because it will improve business results.
  • Embrace flexible working arrangements wherever possible that help meet the needs of working parents, caregivers and millennials who place a premium on work-life balance and workplace flexibility.
  • Create pay equity in your own organization and urge your suppliers and business partners to do the same.
  • Share data about your progress. Leaders are often reluctant to share the numbers, but tracking your progress helps motivate team members and enables you to tie results to compensation.
  • Keep asking the tough questions. McKinsey stresses the need to keep the conversation going about gender issues among executive teams, asking:
    • Where are the women in our talent pipeline?
    • What skills are we helping women build?
    • Do we provide sponsors as well as role models?
    • How much are our policies helping?


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INCLUSIVE CULTURE CAN DRIVE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

May 25, 2018

The CEO’s Role in Bringing It to Life

The research is clear: gender diversity is correlated with both increased profitability and long-term value creation.

Numerous research sources, including McKinsey & Company’s 2015  Delivering Through Diversity and their 2017 data set provide the insights. Companies in the top quartile for executive-level gender diversity had a 21% likelihood of outperforming fourth-quartile industry peers on earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). They had a 27% likelihood of outperforming them on long-term value creation. McKinsey also found that top-performing companies had developed active inclusion and diversity strategies and committed to them.

Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report found companies with inclusive talent practices in hiring, promotion, development, leadership, and team management generate up to 30% higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors.

Yet, many well-intentioned companies struggle with exactly how to become inclusive. Two proven strategies emerge front and center:

  • CEOs take ownership for creating an inclusive culture and then drive accountability among leaders.
  • Diversity and inclusion is woven throughout the organization’s corporate infrastructure, just like compliance, IT and security.

 

A place to belong

“Today, we talk about diversity AND inclusion because having a sense that you belong and your contribution is as important as everyone else’s, is the starting point,” explains Libby Sartain, a Professional Director serving on the Boards of Shutterfly, ManpowerGroup, AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management. She is also former Chief Human Resources Officer for Yahoo! Inc. and Southwest Airlines. “If you do not create that cohesive feeling of belonging, you will not reap the rewards of diversity,” she says.

Sartain will explain how to Create a Culture of Inclusion at WFF’s Executive Summit July 23-24 in Dallas. LEAD THE WAY: Strategies and Insights to Advance Gender Equity will engage executives at the director level and above in company teams to create organization-specific strategies to move the needle on gender equity.

“Some organizations have a ‘check the box’ mentality that sees the HR or D&I offices as responsible for creating inclusion but they have not made it part of everyday work life and every aspect of the employee experience,” Sartain observes. “You have to do more than say you value everyone’s ideas. Every leader has to own it. You need to make sure that sense of inclusion is happening at midnight with the team closing a restaurant, with the people transporting and delivering goods on the road and in the C-Suite every day.”

 

Start here to create an inclusive culture:

Demonstrate clear CEO commitment and drive robust trickle down

CEOs can’t make it happen alone but it has to start there. And, although just saying it won’t make it happen either, you have to start there too. The CEO and senior team must publicly commit to gender diversity and put the infrastructure in place to make it happen.

McKinsey finds that companies that go further infuse a commitment to diversity throughout their organizations, particularly among middle management. They ensure the efforts are well resourced, encourage role modeling and hold executives and managers accountable.

Share the business case

The 2017 Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org found that employees who understand that gender diversity leads to stronger business results are more likely to personally commit to the issue.

Get more women into line roles

McKinsey noticed that executive teams of outperforming companies had more women in line (revenue generating) roles versus staff roles so they tested the hypothesis to see if it’s closely correlated with financial outperformance. Although women are significantly underrepresented in line roles across the board, the top-quartile companies had 10% of women filling line roles compared to just 1% in lower performing organizations.

Value uniqueness

Even when we recruit for diversity, we often manage for homogeneity. “Very few organizations actually support the uniqueness of their employees and listen to different ideas,” Sartain says. One of the most powerful messages she heard at Southwest was from the CEO who said, “We hired you because you’re you. We want you to be yourself.”

Use analytics to identify business priorities

Conduct internal research to prioritize D&I investments and align them with company growth strategies. Analytics can also help identify patterns of gender bias, disparities in compensation and rewards, and bias in hiring and promotion.

 

Food Industry ready to LEAD THE WAY

Our industry already attracts more women than any other outside the federal government. Now it’s up to us to create the corporate cultures that will welcome women at all levels, value their unique perspectives and enable them to thrive and our businesses to grow.

As part of its LEAD THE WAY to Gender Equity initiative, WFF is working to drive CEO commitment to culture change, increase by 50% the number of CEOs committed to advancing women leaders and to providing a CEO Roadmap to equip senior leaders with proven strategies to promote gender equity. 2018 Executive Summit will engage you and your teams in doing exactly that.


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A CAREER ROADMAP CAN ACCELERATE YOUR JOURNEY

September 20, 2018

Create yours at a Leadership Development Workshop  
It can be difficult to find the time and mental bandwidth to step back for a minute and evaluate where you are in your career — and where you want to go. Yet, a career development plan that provides ongoing steps to enhance your skills and knowledge can lead to greater mastery in your current job, promotions and transfers to new positions. A career roadmap can help you get where you’re going faster.
 
“Too often, the time we devote to personal development is such a small piece of our overall commitments,” explained Marie Perry, immediate past chair of the WFF Board and former EVP and CFO for Jamba Juice. Speaking at WFF’s Dallas Leadership Development Workshop (LDW), Ready to Lead: Strategies to Accelerate Your Career, Perry emphasized the power of off-site personal and professional development.
 
“At WFF’s Leadership Development Workshops, you get the content to grow your career, make strategic connections and return to your company energized, recharged and ready to advance,” Perry said. Participants leave the one-day, in-market workshops with the building blocks of a 30-day career action plan.
 
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), career mapping helps individuals and the entire organization by improving morale, career satisfaction, motivation, productivity, and responsiveness in meeting departmental and organizational objectives. They suggest three steps to creating a personalized career roadmap.
 
Self-assessment
Working with your manager, employees can explore their current level of knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as past experiences, accomplishments and interests. Attendees at WFF’s LDWs get a big leg up on this process with a year-long membership to WFF and access to our online Leadership Competency Assessment (LCA).
 
Taking the LCA prior to participating in the LDW enables participants to arrive with a solid understanding of strengths and opportunities for growth. You can take the LCA as often as desired throughout the year and discuss results with your manager, a mentor or colleague for additional insights.
 
Completing the LCA will enable you to create a gap analysis as you identify the skills you need to gain or enhance to move closer to your career goals.
 
Individualized career map
An individualized career map can help you identify positions within your organization that meet your interests, including both promotions and lateral moves that expand your skill set.
 
“During the LDWs, participants begin their career roadmaps by identifying specific actions they can take immediately, as well as in the following weeks and months, based on learnings and insights from the workshop,” said Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., psychologist, best-selling author and co-leader of the workshops. “Identifying those action steps while you are still engaged in the learning environment enhances commitment and follow through.”
 
Exploring new opportunities
Finally, SHRM suggests raising your hand for new job opportunities within your organization as they arise. Forging connections with people in your chosen field, especially those with positions you hope to hold, can be immensely helpful in career planning and positioning you for new opportunities.
 
“Too many people are over-networked and under-connected,” explained LDW co-leader and career success strategist Katrina McGhee. “It’s not about collecting business cards. It’s about connecting with people in mutually beneficial relationships that help to enhance one another’s experience.”
 
Get the support you need to create a personalized career roadmap at a Leadership Development Workshop near you. You don’t have to navigate your path to success alone. REGISTER NOW.
 


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THE BIG IMPACT OF SMALL TALK

September 20, 2018

From flustered to fluid in brief encounters
Even for the most outgoing extrovert, making professional small talk can pose a challenge. Sure, you could talk about the weather or your weekend plans. But impromptu interactions with the higher ups or colleagues from other areas present unique opportunities to grow your personal brand and should not be missed.
 
Sometimes called an “elevator pitch,” having a few concise, targeted items to share during a chance meeting can turn an awkward elevator ride into the chance to promote an important project you’re working on or gain new insights into company priorities.

“I like to prepare a few key things to say about myself and to highlight an important project I’m working on so that even an unexpected opportunity to interact with a senior person in the company will leave them with a positive impression of me and my contributions,” said Mandi Wagner, Operations Associate Lead in the Dallas Field Office for McDonald’s USA, LLC. “Ideally, I’ll be able to share something in a way that helps them remember me in the future.”

Even a casual, ‘How are things?’ when your boss pops her head into your office is a chance to highlight your areas of focus. Here are some things to consider when it comes to engaging in small talk that packs more punch. Take the opportunity to:

  • Briefly explain your role in the organization and what excites you about it
  • Share one or two high-level things you are working on
  • Get specific. When asked how you are, you can move the conversation forward with a quick pivot to something you are excited about. “I’m well. I’m especially excited because we just expanded our business with the Myer account.”
  • Connect what you are working on to the larger goals of the company
  • Consider keeping a concise and well-formed question in mind you can use in a pinch, such as "What are you most excited about in the company today?"
  • Read the body language and non-verbal cues. If the other person is ready to move on, let them do so gracefully
“I’m going to my home office this fall where I will run into a lot of senior people,” Wagner added. “I’ll prepare so that I know I have ideas top of mind to share.”

Having just a few well-planned items to share about your progress at work can turn a potentially awkward interaction with more senior colleagues into a meaningful conversation that benefits you both.


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UP YOUR ENGAGEMENT AT WORK

September 20, 2018

Four steps to feel more invested  
More than likely, you have completed an employee engagement survey at least once. Companies measure engagement because the level of commitment, passion and loyalty people have toward their work impacts workplace satisfaction, productivity and the bottom line. Alarmingly, nearly two-thirds of U.S. employees are disengaged, according to a recent Gallup poll.
 
The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley has launched an online course that teaches how to increase happiness at work to boost engagement, teamwork, and productivity in your organization. They point to research that shows people who are happier at work are more committed to the organization, rise to positions of leadership more quickly and are more productive and creative.
 
If you are among the majority of people who don’t feel engaged at work, try tapping into some of the main elements that contribute to workplace happiness.
 
A sense of autonomy and self-determination
People who feel actively engaged at work have jobs that align with their core strengths and personal values. When that’s not the case, “job crafting” can help you adapt your current job to fit you better.
 
Start by looking for ways to increase time spent on the aspects of your role you enjoy most. Maybe you prefer detail work and could take on more departmental reporting while a colleague steps up for more big-picture tasks.
 
Research shows you can also bring greater meaning to your activities by building stronger relationships with clients and colleagues, embracing the learning opportunities in challenging tasks and looking at how your role contributes to something larger.
 
Regular, meaningful progress
Researchers who analyzed 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees found the most important predictor of a good work day was making progress. Celebrating small wins and incremental progress within larger tasks can increase motivation. It can also provide an important buffer against inevitable setbacks.
 
Readily feeling positive emotions
Even in stressful work environments, searching for levity can boost feelings of happiness and well-being. Make time to talk with colleagues about off-work activities, infuse humor into the workday and express gratitude to others for their help and support. Research shows that positive emotions at work make people more creative and friendlier, better at problem solving and more resilient to challenges.
 
Experiencing flow
When you are so engaged in what you’re doing that time and other distractions slip away, that’s flow. You can help create it by choosing a task that requires full concentration and then leaning into it.
 
Cut yourself off for a set period of time from email, phone calls, texts and personal interruptions. It will feel strange at first. But you are likely to emerge with far more accomplished than in a much longer time period riddled with interruptions. You are also likely to feel more engaged and satisfied.
 
Finding creative ways to boost the elements that tend to drive engagement can increase your contribution and accelerate your career progress.  


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SAVE THE DATE MARCH 10-13

September 20, 2018

New features highlight 2019 Conference
The theme for the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference had to be LIMITLESS! We couldn’t be confined by preconceived notions, business-as-usual or the limits of history as we take you in important new directions for our 30th Anniversary Celebration and boldly embrace your LIMITLESS future!
 
Here’s just a small taste of what’s coming and what’s new at the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference:
 
Global Impact of Women
Included in your registration is additional content beginning Sunday, March 10 with our first ever Global Impact of Women session and reception. We will hear from women leading the Food Industry around the world and explore the growing global economic impact of women, as well as emerging opportunities.
 
Leadership Cohorts
Equipped with extensive research that shows the skills most critical to women’s advancement at various career stages, we have blown up the old model of choosing classes from column A and column B. In 2019, highly intentional Leadership Cohorts will provide deeper engagement with colleagues as you move together through coursework developed specifically for individuals at your professional level.
 
When you register, you will be matched with a Leadership Cohort that will become your home base and team of colleagues throughout this immersive experience. Your cohort will turn a large conference into a smaller, more personal learning community. When you start a conversation with a colleague over breakfast, you will have a chance to follow it up in sessions you attend together in the afternoon.
 
Industry faculty will even embed with your Cohort to help you build connections, connect the dots between theory and practice and serve as powerful role models. You won’t just see industry leaders on the main stage — a senior executive will be dedicated to your cohort throughout your conference journey. You will even participate in Q&A sessions with industry leaders and get the inside story from senior executives.
 
Each Leadership Cohort will explore three critical, data-driven topics in greater depth with information tailored to the needs of your career stage:
 

  • Resilience & Risk Taking: The Role of Confidence and Ambition in Career Success
  • The Bottom Line: How Profit & Loss Experience Drives Advancement at All Levels
  • Inclusive Culture: From the C-Suite to the Front Lines, Inclusion Drives Results
 
Solutions 360
Based on your feedback, we are also providing new content around holistic leadership, bringing you the latest information on personal wellbeing related to health, finances, relationships, professional success and community contribution. You will get expert advice and then get to break it down in facilitator-led discussions following the educational sessions.
 
This is just a sneak peek . . . learn more and REGISTER to secure your spot in this history-making, career-changing event.


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STOP MULTITASKING AND GET SOMETHING DONE

September 20, 2018

You were never doing more than one thing anyway
Despite neuroscience research that for years has shown multitasking to be a myth, the concept is so appealing to busy, stressed people that we hang onto it the way an eight-year-old clings to the idea of Santa. We wish it were true.
 
In a National Public Radio (NPR) story, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, Earl Miller, explained that multitasking is a delusion. We are actually just shifting focus very quickly from one thing to another, barely paying attention to either, let alone both.
 
In fact, using functional MRI, researchers can actually see the brain struggling while trying to do two things at once. A far more effective strategy is to give your full attention to one thing at a time.
 
Still not convinced? Research shows it actually takes more time to complete the tasks you're switching between and you make more errors than when you focus on doing one task at a time in order. It’s too difficult for the brain to filter out irrelevant information and it takes four times longer for the brain to recognize new things when we attempt to multitask.
 
Perhaps it’s time to start a revolution in your workplace. Consider banning cell phones from meetings and watch meeting time shrink. Stop checking email while talking on the phone. Unless you are providing direct service, set aside at least a few hours a day for uninterrupted work time. And then discipline yourself to respect those same boundaries in others.
 
Multitasking is not only ineffective, it can erode workplace relationships with old-fashioned rudeness.


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RESEARCHER AND STORYTELLER BRENÉ BROWN OPENS CONFERENCE

October 23, 2018

Conference & 30th Anniversary Celebration March 10-13 in Dallas
You’ve read her books, watched her TED talk (along with 35 million other viewers) and now you can see her in person when she shares her latest research on how to cultivate braver, more daring leaders at the WFF 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference in Dallas.
 
Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston and author of five #1 New York Times best-selling books will share what she has discovered about how to create an organization culture that values courageous leadership and fosters a true sense of belonging during her keynote address Dare to Lead at the launch of Conference.
 
Based on twenty years of research, including the past seven studying leadership, Brown has identified that daring leadership is a collection of skills and practices that are teachable, observable, and measurable. She’ll share the actionable tools, learning and unlearning that underpin brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart.
 
Brown will also lead the Signature Pre-Conference Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion Session Sunday afternoon. She will explain four practices of true belonging for people to utilize in diverse organizations. In her session, Braving the Wilderness, she posits that true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are. The session is included in Conference registration and open to all.
 
Three decades of advancing women
In addition to outstanding content, sought-after speakers and a new learning approach that engages participants in guided Leadership Cohorts, the 2019 Conference will mark WFF’s 30th year helping women advance in the Food Industry.
 
Included in registration is an All-Attendee 30th Anniversary Reception and Fundraiser Program where we will honor the industry’s most influential leaders, WFF Industry Titans, who are publicly committing to advancing gender equity. We will also recognize the rising stars, Change Makers Under 30, who will lead our industry into its bright future.
 
Guided Learning Experience
You will quickly see that some key things are different this year. And for good reason. Because we now have outstanding research to draw on that clearly illuminates the specific competencies women need at various career stages to advance. We developed our 2019 Conference content and delivery approach to ensure you receive that critical content.
 
We also heard your feedback requesting more networking opportunities in smaller groups and greater access to industry leaders.
 
It all comes together this year in a facilitated learning approach we call Leadership Cohorts that engage attendees before, during and after Conference. You will master the same research-driven content in lockstep with a dedicated group of peers and with Executive Faculty who further the learning.
 
Your Leadership Cohort will become your home base and team of colleagues throughout Conference, connecting you to a smaller learning community to explore content specifically targeted to your career stage and needs.
 
At registration, you will select the Leadership Cohort (Manager, Director or Executive) that best matches your career stage. All Cohorts will explore the same content areas tailored to their career stage. The topics are:

  • Resilience & Risk Taking: The Role of Confidence and Ambition in Career Success
  • The Bottom Line: How Profit & Loss Experience Drives Advancement at All Levels
  • Inclusive Culture: From the C-Suite to the Front Lines, Inclusion Drives Results
“Tapping the latest research to drive content and engaging participants in dedicated Leadership Cohorts to learn, network and grow together will provide a more comprehensive and expert-guided learning experience so that all Conference attendees master the career-changing tools they need to advance,” said Hattie Hill WFF President & CEO.
 
Embedded Faculty
Another exciting new aspect of the Leadership Cohort approach is our ability to place faculty mentors within each Cohort to enrich the experience and increase access to industry leaders. The Cohort faculty team will engage participants before, during and after Conference. Faculty teams are comprised of:
  • Executive Faculty who bring the content to life with real-world experiences and serve as role models
  • Content Experts to further illuminate the research-driven topics
  • WFF Change Makers Under 30 who provide a unique perspective and view to the future
  • Cohort Facilitators who help participants forge critical connections 
 
REGISTER for Conference today.


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GETTING PAST A MISTAKE

October 23, 2018

Own it, fix it and move on
Intellectually, you know everyone makes mistakes. You even know you will learn a lot from the experience. But that doesn’t make it any less painful, embarrassing or potentially career derailing. The right response to a mistake at work can safeguard your professional capital and actually advance your reputation.
 
Your best first step is a deep breath. Taking corrective action is important but panic and a rush to action can make a bad situation worse. A quick but clear-headed assessment of the damage will enable you to go to your boss with a more complete picture and even some ideas for repair. Consider these steps to minimize the damage, put a corrective course of action in place and show yourself as the capable leader you are. 
 
Admit the mistake immediately
Once you’ve taken that tough step, repair can begin. It’s difficult for others to help if you don’t come clean about the problem.
 
Don’t beat around the bush or try to make things sound better than they are. State the problem clearly, succinctly and without excuses. Be clear about your commitment to not let it happen again.
 
Take responsibility
There may have been others involved but if it’s really your responsibility take ownership right away. Colleagues will be far more understanding and willing to help if you don’t evade responsibility. 
 
Devise an action plan
When you have fully assessed what went wrong, you will be better positioned to create an action plan that not only fixes the problem in the short run, but can prevent it from happening again. A comprehensive plan will also show your boss you take the mistake seriously and are equipped to problem solve.
 
Do what it takes
Major mistakes are not a business-as-usual situation so fixing them often requires staying late or working through the weekend. When others see you step up, you will regain their trust more quickly.
 
Follow up
Do not assume that your fix will work the first time or that others (whose support you need) can drop everything to help. Stay on top of the problem until it is resolved completely. 
 
Once the solutions are in effect, move on. If you have handled your mistake with candor, commitment and a controlled sense of urgency, you can emerge with your reputation intact and the opportunity to be seen as an effective and responsible leader.


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WFF EXCHANGES CREATE LOCAL CONNECTIONS

October 23, 2018

Networking events bring members together
An expert-led conversation on using data to make better marketing decisions followed by an informal networking session was just the right recipe for the launch of the first WFF Exchange co-hosted in Denver by Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews and Bridge Consulting.
 
Led by Ariel Lofland, Manager of Alternate Platforms at Red Robin, and Karen Willison, VP of Strategic Accounts at Bridge Consulting, the gathering garnered enthusiasm from participants who appreciated the local connection to WFF, as well as the informative programming and networking with local peers.
 
Fireside chats and networking
“We organized our event with what we called a ‘fireside chat’ on a specific career-related topic and then transitioned to networking so you could meet new people, share stories on industry trends and exchange business cards,” Lofland said. “I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface and people are really looking forward to getting together again.”
 
Because WFF Exchanges are member-led, each area and even each event within an area will differ depending on the organizers. “Ideally, we have two leads in each region who organize and host each event,” explains Dana Minton, WFF Senior Manager, Partner Engagement. “You can participate by leading a local event, hosting one at your facility or attending.”
 
It is up to the event leads and their organizations how they shape the agenda. The key is that they offer a way for people involved with WFF to meet one another, network locally and forge new connections. Exchanges can opt to meet monthly, quarterly or whatever works in their market.
 
“Although this is more of a grassroots effort, several executives also attended which I think reflects the level of interest and the value leaders see in the WFF Exchanges to help people make important connections and advance their professional goals,” Lofland said.
 
The Denver WFF Exchange will meet early in 2019 at the Red Robin headquarters. For more information about leading, hosting or joining a WFF Exchange in your area, contact Dana Minton at dminton@wff.org

In above photo: Ariel Lofland (front row, left), Manager of Alternate Platforms at Red Robin, and Karen Willison (back row third from right), VP of Strategic Accounts at Bridge Consulting co-led the first WFF Exchange networking event held recently in Denver.
 


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USING DATA TO DRIVE GENDER EQUITY

October 23, 2018

Daily decisions open windows of opportunity
Driving gender equity is a big goal that research shows requires CEO commitment and engagement to transform platitudes into action. But it’s also a very frontline endeavor with thousands of opportunities every year to advance gender equity through daily decisions you make around hiring, pay, performance, potential and promotion.
 
“At least once every year, almost all companies look at every employee and make decisions about how well they are performing, what their potential is with the organization, and what their pay should be,” explains Katica Roy, CEO & Founder of Pipeline, a technology company that enables organizations to increase financial performance by closing the gender equity gap.
 
Although every organization needs an overall strategy to drive gender equity from the top-down, the decisions you make on a regular basis can move things in the right direction. “If you’re a company with 10,000 employees, the decision points around their compensation, performance and advancement alone give you 30,000 opportunities every year to move your company further toward gender equity,” Roy asserts.
 
Opportunity for All
Gender equity helps create more productive and more profitable workplaces for everyone. Research conducted by Pipeline with 4,000 companies across 29 countries found that for every 10% increase in gender equity (across a broad number of dimensions such as representation and pay) companies can anticipate a 1-2% increase in revenue. 
 
“From an economic perspective, it’s not a zero-sum game,” Roy explains. “When we improve a woman’s earning potential, we increase how much she can pay into retirement and social security benefits. We impact her ability to pay down the 67% of student loans held by women. We impact the 40% of U.S. households with children where a woman is the primary or sole breadwinner. We impact the 48% of working fathers who want to stay home with their kids. And we drive strong financials for our organizations.”
 
Daily Decisions
Some of the challenge (and opportunity) surrounding gender equity is that the factors that drive it — hiring, pay, performance, potential and promotion — are in constant flux and require rigor as team members enter, advance or leave. Good data helps illuminate the path to gender equity at both the company level and on the frontlines where daily decisions are made.
 
Every time you apply a gender equity lens to a new hire, salary negotiation, performance review, or promotion, you have an opportunity to accelerate gender equity within your own department and throughout the organization.


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TEACH INSTEAD OF TERMINATE

October 23, 2018

The power of training to transform performance
When we first take on responsibility for managing others, we expect to lead, motivate and perhaps even inspire. But the ability to teach and coach team members to stronger performance can be the difference between high turnover, low morale and rising recruitment costs and employees who are learning and improving every day.
 
Even seasoned managers sometimes jump too quickly to initiate steps toward termination for an underperforming employee. But sometimes the work environment itself and company systems can contribute to poor performance. Other times, employees may need more specific and targeted training to succeed.
 
If you can add “teacher” to your workplace skill set, you will often be able to help a D performer move into solid A and B territory. In the process, you will also protect department morale, decrease recruitment costs and avoid the downtime involved in lengthy termination, hiring and onboarding processes.
 
Here are some ways to teach an underperforming team member and hopefully avoid termination.
 
Open a dialogue
A candid conversation is often the best starting point for any challenge. Is the employee struggling to understand goals and expectations? Is she dealing with workplace strife you were not aware of? Does she need more resources to get the job done? Is he facing personal issues that are interfering with performance? If both sides can share concerns and frustrations, you can start to address the problem with facts rather than assumptions.
 
Figure out if it’s personal or organizational
If a team member is struggling to pull her load or meet quality standards, do a little digging first to see where the greatest challenges are. Talk with the employee directly to see where she is struggling. Explore how others in similar roles handle the same challenges.
 
Where you can pinpoint organizational and system barriers to success, work with the team to fix them. Where you can identify personal skill sets that are lacking, put a professional development plan in place.
 
Consider a mentor
If an employee is struggling due to skill gaps, look across the team to see if there is someone who excels in those areas. You don’t have to be the only teacher in the group. If someone on the team is great at cost controls and the challenged employee keeps running over budget, pairing them in a mentoring relationship can provide job enrichment for your strong performer and a collegial way to learn new skills with a peer rather than with a boss.
 
A 2016 study by Deloitte found that an “enabling infrastructure” helped employees advocate for the support they need to make the changes that lead to improved outcomes.
 
Provide the tools
If employees truly cannot complete work effectively due to outdated or poorly functioning tools, do whatever you can to free up resources for a few careful purchases.
 
Show where they fit
Especially in large organizations, it can be difficult for employees to understand how their job affects others or how it impacts the whole. Helping team members understand the organization’s vision and how what they do moves it forward, imbues people with a sense of purpose that can be highly motivating.
 
By thinking like a teacher, you can help employees learn the way to better performance.


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Former First Lady Michelle Obama to Join the 2018 Women's Foodservice Forum's Annual Leadership Development Conference (WFF's ALDC) March 4-7

January 23, 2018

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FORMER FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA TO JOIN THE 2018 WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM’S ANNUAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE (WFF’S ALDC), MARCH 4-7
Mrs. Obama will participate in a conversation with Hattie Hill, President and CEO of WFF about the importance of supporting the advancement of women in the workplace
 
 Women’s Foodservice Forum is pleased to announce that former First Lady Michelle Obama, will join the organization’s annual conference, March 4-7 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX. She is scheduled to participate at the closing session on Wednesday, March 7.

In its 29th year, WFF’s ALDC brings together more than 3,000 food industry professionals, from emerging leaders to C-suite executives. For three days, participants can choose from more than 30 leadership development workshops and listen to more than 50 best-selling authors and leadership experts. The conference convenes representation from more than 200 food industry Fortune 1000 companies that have made a commitment to support the advancement of women leaders.

“We are thrilled that Mrs. Obama will join us and our other esteemed speakers,” said Hattie Hill, President & CEO, WFF. “She is a charismatic and inspiring role model that embodies the limitless possibilities that we want women in the food industry to aspire for,” added Hill.

“As WFF’s incoming Board Chair, I am honored to step into this role at such a historic time in our country, when achieving gender equity has become a spirited national conversation,” said Susan Adzick, Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategic Relationships, McLane Foodservice, Inc. “Through our annual conference, we are inspiring women in the food industry to break through barriers and gain the confidence and competencies to achieve their highest aspirations,” added Adzick.

The list of speakers and sessions confirmed to date can be found here: https://aldc.wff.org/ 
 
ABOUT MICHELLE OBAMA
Michelle Robinson Obama served as First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
As a transformative First Lady, Mrs. Obama launched and led four key initiatives: Let’s Move!, to address the challenge of childhood obesity; Joining Forces, to support veterans, service members and their families; Reach Higher, to inspire young people to seek higher education; and Let Girls Learn, to help adolescent girls around the world go to school.

Before becoming First Lady, Michelle Obama attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She started her career as an attorney at the Chicago law firm, Sidley & Austin, where she met her future husband, Barack Obama. She later worked in the Chicago mayor’s office, the University of Chicago, and the University of Chicago Medical Center. Mrs. Obama also founded the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an organization that prepares young people for careers in public service.

Mrs. Obama was born on January 17, 1964. She married Barack Obama in 1992. They currently live in Washington, DC and have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM
Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the industry’s premier leadership development organization working since 1989 to advance women in the food industry. Based in Dallas, WFF serves thousands of individuals and hundreds of employers across North America in all segments of the industry including operators, manufacturers and distributors, as well as the broader food ecosystem. WFF supports women by providing tools and resources to build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement. The organization also convenes critical research sources to establish industry metrics and benchmarks and assists partner companies with implementing best practices and measuring year-over-year gender equity progress for their organizations. For more information, visit wff.org.

 
CONTACT:
Cristina Alfaro
Sr. Director, Marketing Communications WFF
calfaro@wff.org

 


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Women's Foodservice Forum to Host Michelle Obama, Maria Shriver, and Thousands of Women Leaders at Dallas Conference March 4-7

February 21, 2018

 
 
   
WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM TO HOST MICHELLE OBAMA, MARIA SHRIVER, AND THOUSANDS OF WOMEN LEADERS AT DALLAS CONFERENCE MARCH 4-7
 
CEOs, C-suite executives and more than 3,500 other food industry leaders will convene in Dallas to review the state of women in the industry and collaborate on bold initiative to advance women leaders for other industries to follow
 
The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) will convene more than 3,500 food industry leaders and many major-brand CEOs at its Annual Leadership Development Conference (ALDC) March 4-7 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Attendees from across the nation will share best- in-class content, be inspired by dynamic speakers Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Maria Shriver, Gretchen Carlson and others, further develop leadership skills and collaborate on a groundbreaking initiative to advance women leaders in the food industry.
WFF is the food industry’s premier leadership development organization, working since 1989 to advance women in the industry by providing resources and programs to build leadership competencies in every segment, including operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing, consulting, and more.
 
“WFF is unveiling at the conference our bold initiative to make the food industry the first to close the gender equity gap. As the second largest employer of women who hold only 19 percent of C-suite positions, the food industry is in a great position to lead the way for other industries to follow,” said Hattie Hill, WFF CEO and President. “Research shows that companies who lead in gender diversity drive better financial performance, and WFF has been helping advance women leaders for nearly 30 years to do just that. This conference will be loaded with opportunities for women in the industry to gain the skills they need to accelerate their careers and their contributions to their companies.”
 
Of her participation at the event, Ms. Shriver said, “As a longtime champion of women, I’m pleased to be part of this conference for an organization that has been elevating powerful and passionate women for so many years. It’s important to do everything we can to support women and elevate them to positions of leadership. I hope the WFF’s efforts will help create real change for women across the country."
 
This year’s conference will feature break-out sessions based on 12 leadership competencies as well as main-stage sessions with insights from national influencers from the industry and beyond.
 
“We’re thrilled to have such distinguished luminaries as Mrs. Obama and Ms. Shriver – two of the most influential women in our country, if not the world, with a history of championing women’s empowerment – to inspire us with their words of wisdom and insights gained from years of experience on the nation’s stage,” said Susan Adzick, WFF Board Chair and Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategic Relationships, McLane Foodservice, Inc. “We’re also excited to welcome esteemed journalist and best-selling author Gretchen Carlson, a tireless advocate for women’s empowerment.”
This year’s theme of Break Through! is the backdrop for WFF to galvanize driven individuals, CEOs and decision makers to actively advance women leaders in the food industry, drive a pipeline of women leaders and create an industry-recognized initiative to track and propel women’s progress.
 
– more –

 
Leaders from some of the country’s top food companies will attend. Thirty-Two CEOs and their companies will be recognized as LEAD THE WAY Pioneers for being the industry’s first to participate in the 2017 Women in the Workplace Study – the most comprehensive study on the state of women in corporate America conducted annually by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org – and driving gender equity within their organizations. The companies are: Anheuser-Busch, Arby’s, Armada, Ben E. Keith Company, Brinker International, Boudin, Coca-Cola, Cracker Barrell, Custom Foods of America, Denny’s, Dine Equity, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, General Mills, Gordon Food Service, Griffith Foods, HAVI, Jamba Juice, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, McLane Company, Inc., Nestle, Nicholas & Company, Pepsico, Pizza Hut, Red Lobster, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews, Reinhart Foodservice, S&D Coffee & Tea, Sodexo, Sysco, US Foods and White Castle.
 
To learn more about the 29th Annual Leadership Development Conference, visit https://aldc.wff.org.
 

ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM:

Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the industry’s premier leadership development organization working since 1989 to advance women in the food industry. Based in Dallas, WFF serves thousands of individuals and hundreds of employers across North America in all segments of the industry including operators, manufacturers and distributors. WFF supports women by providing tools and resources including leadership development programs to build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement. The organization also convenes critical data sources to assist member companies with research-based best practices that improve individual career growth and workplace talent management to enhance gender equity and make the food industry the employer of choice. For more information, visit wff.org.
 
 

Pre-Conference Interviews Available:

  • Hattie Hill, President and CEO, Women’s Food Service Forum
  • Susan Adzick, Board Chair, Women’s Foodservice Forum and Sr. Vice President of Sales & Strategic Relationships, McLane Company, Inc.
 
 

Media Contact:

Zakiya Larry Zakiya@ZakiyaLarry.com
929-277-8378


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Women's Foodservice Forum Hosts Michelle Obama and Maria Shriver and Takes National Women's Movement to Next Evolution

February 21, 2018

WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM HOSTS MICHELLE OBAMA AND MARIA SHRIVER AND TAKES
NATIONAL WOMEN’S MOVEMENT TO NEXT EVOLUTION
CEOs, C-suite executives and more than 3,500 other food industry leaders will convene in Dallas to review the state of women in the industry and collaborate on bold initiative to advance women leaders for other industries to follow.

Dallas (February 21, 2018) – The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) will convene more than 3,500 food
industry leaders at its Annual Leadership Development Conference (ALDC) March 4-7 at the Hilton
Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, to share best-in-class content, be inspired by dynamic speakers Former
First Lady Michelle Obama, Maria Shriver, Gretchen Carlson and others, further develop leadership skills
and collaborate on a groundbreaking initiative to advance women leaders in the food industry. It is a
trailblazing move that could spark a shift in the national conversation on gender equity and put the
focus on advancing women in leadership in all industries.

“WFF is putting a stake in the ground on women’s empowerment with a bold initiative to make the food
industry the first to close the gender equity gap and lead the way for other industries. Now is the time to
take the women’s movement to its next evolution of propelling more women into leadership,” said
Hattie Hill, WFF CEO and President. “The food industry is the second largest employer of women who
comprise almost half the entry-level workforce yet hold 19 percent of C-suite positions, while research
shows that companies who lead in gender diversity drive better financial performance. The food
industry is in a great position to lead the way in this movement, and we have many passionate women
and men committed to doing it.”

Of her participation at the event, Ms. Shriver said, “As a longtime champion of women, I’m pleased to
be part of this conference for an organization that has been elevating powerful and passionate women
for so many years. It’s important to do everything we can to support women and elevate them to
positions of leadership. I hope the WFF’s efforts will help create real change for women across the
country."

This year’s theme of Break Through! is the backdrop for WFF to unveil its LEAD THE WAY initiative at the
conference. Its imperatives are to achieve a critical mass of CEOs and decision makers to actively
advance women leaders in the food industry, drive a pipeline of women leaders and create an industry recognized Gender Equity Index to track and propel women’s progress. Industry CEOs will gather in a
forum at the conference to discuss the roadmap to bring this initiative to life.

“We’re thrilled to have such distinguished luminaries as Mrs. Obama and Ms. Shriver – two of the most
influential women in our country with a history of supporting women’s causes – to inspire us with their
words of wisdom and insights gained from years of experience on the nation’s stage,” said Susan Adzick,
WFF Board Chair and Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategic Relationships, McLane Foodservice,
Inc. “We’re also excited to welcome esteemed journalist and best-selling author Gretchen Carlson, a
tireless advocate for women’s empowerment.”

Leaders from some of the country’s top food companies will attend. Thirty-two CEOs and their
companies will be recognized as LEAD THE WAY Pioneers for being the industry’s first to participate in
the 2017 Women in the Workplace Study – the most comprehensive study on the state of women in
corporate America conducted annually by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org – and driving gender
equity within their organizations. The companies are: Anheuser-Busch, Arby’s, Armada, Ben E. Keith
Company, Brinker International, Boudin, Coca-Cola, Cracker Barrell, Custom Foods of America,
Denny’s, Dine Equity, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, General Mills, Gordon Food Service, Griffith Foods,
HAVI, Jamba Juice, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, McLane Company, Inc., Nestle, Nicholas & Company, Pepsico,
Pizza Hut, Red Lobster, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews, Reinhart Foodservice, S&D Coffee & Tea,
Sodexo, Sysco, US Foods and White Castle.

To learn more about the conference or how to attend, visit https://aldc.wff.org.

ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM:
Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the industry’s premier leadership development organization
working since 1989 to advance women in the food industry. Based in Dallas, WFF serves thousands of
individuals and hundreds of employers across North America in all segments of the industry including
operators, manufacturers and distributors. WFF supports women by providing tools and resources
including leadership development programs to build leadership competencies that enhance career
advancement. The organization also convenes critical data sources to assist member companies with
research-based best practices that improve individual career growth and workplace talent management
to enhance gender equity and make the food industry the employer of choice. For more information,
visit wff.org.

Pre-Conference Interviews Available:

  • Hattie Hill, President and CEO, Women’s Food Service Forum
  • Susan Adzick, Board Chair, Women’s Foodservice Forum and Sr. Vice President of Sales & Strategic Relationships, McLane Company, Inc.


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WFF 2019 Chair-Elect, Denny Marie Post honored with 2018 Golden Chain Award

October 18, 2018

WFF 2019 Chair-Elect, Denny Marie Post was recently honored with a 2018 Golden Chain Award from Nation’s Restaurant News! The award recognizes the best in industry leadership.
 
Learn More


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MOVING FROM INSIGHTS TO ACTION

November 12, 2018

Often, the factors that hold women back in the workplace operate under the radar in unconscious thought processes and familiar practices we no longer even notice. That’s why it is especially powerful when those unconscious beliefs and practices come to light and we can instead choose to act with intention.
 
Forecasting how promising team members might be developed over time and how high they might rise in an organization falls squarely into that category. For some reason, we are far more capable of imagining what men might accomplish in the future and feel comfortable taking a risk on that promise. With women, we want a guarantee. Knowing that can empower us to change our behavior and pull women up.
 
Potential vs. Proof
Research from McKinsey & Company shows that men are promoted based on potential. They may not be quite ready for the next job but we are confident they will grow into it. Women, on the other hand, are promoted based on performance. We need proof she has mastered the responsibilities we plan to move her into before we trust she can do it. This common (and largely unconscious) approach leaves men with room to grow, and women working below their potential.
 
Pull Women Up
“Male leaders have taken risks on men they see as having promise for years,” said Denny Marie Post, CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., and Chair-elect of WFF. “It is time to take an equal chance on promising women on their teams.  We all need to identify high-potential women and pull them up. Some will not succeed, just as some men promoted into stretch assignments do not succeed. But many women will excel and that will accelerate our drive to gender equity and help unlock the full business benefits of diversity.” 
 
McKinsey & Company have identified several key steps shown to be effective in developing new mindsets around gender equity and new behaviors that last. They include:
 
Share the business case. We have said it before but it bears repeating because it’s foundational and effective. Although 86 percent of food companies say that they have articulated the business case for gender diversity, only 55 percent of men and 44 percent of women agree, according to the 2017 Women in the Food Industry report from McKinsey & Company.
 
Employees hear the rhetoric around gender equity but attribute it to company image building. When they learn the true business case for gender equity, they are much more likely to buy in.
 
Share your results. While 81 percent of companies say they share a majority of gender diversity metrics with senior leaders, only 23 percent share them with managers, and only 8 percent share them with all employees. Surprisingly, 43 percent of companies don’t share any metrics at all with employees. That makes it difficult for team members to buy in when they don’t know if their company takes gender equity goals seriously or if progress is being made.
 
Model the change all the way through the organization. No question, it must start at the top. But the activities of employees’ direct supervisors have the greatest impact on their behaviors. If managers are not held accountable for increasing gender diversity, they will not take the tangible steps necessary to create it.
Creating metrics for individual performance and sharing company-wide progress is key to transforming gender equity efforts from lip service to bottom line accountability.
 
Your comprehensive plans to drive gender equity include creating an inclusive culture, achieving pay equity, implementing HR policies and practices that support women’s advancement and increasing representation throughout your pipeline. But one step you can take today is to reconsider how you evaluate rising talent.
 
Are you promoting men based on potential while demanding proof from women?


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Indra Nooyi, Chair and Former CEO of PepsiCo, Honored as Women's Foodservice Forum Celebrates 30 Years of Advancing Women

November 19, 2018

Indra Nooyi, Chairman and former CEO of PepsiCo, honored as Women’s Foodservice Forum celebrates 30 years of advancing women
National thought-leader on gender equity solutions to salute Nooyi as Global Titan for helping to create limitless opportunities for women and the food and beverage industry

Dallas (Nov. 13, 2018) – Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) announces their recognition of Indra Nooyi as the inaugural WFF Global Industry Titan for charting new territory as the first woman chief executive of PepsiCo, pioneering PepsiCo’s governing philosophy, “Performance with Purpose,” and her investment in the future of women leaders.
 
Nooyi’s recognition as the WFF Global Titan highlights the 2019 WFF Industry Titan class, which includes some of the industry’s most iconic and forward-thinking leaders. Together, they are being recognized for their public commitment to prioritizing the advancement of women in their organizations, leveraging their influence to urge their peers to do the same, and creating change that will increase opportunities for women and drive business growth.  In celebration of WFF’s 30th Anniversary, the organization will present a special award to Nooyi, as well as honor the Industry Titans on-site at the WFF 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference (ALDC), held from March 10-13, 2019 in Dallas.
 
ALDC is an immersive leadership development experience where women connect with, and learn from, industry influencers, content experts, and each other. Most notably, the conference is a unique experience where leading companies, who support the food and beverage space, including competitors, collaborate to accelerate their shared goal to drive gender equity, win the war for talent, and become the employer of choice.
 
Global Titan Indra Nooyi will also present a keynote address Tuesday, March 12.
 
“Indra Nooyi is a shining example of innovative leadership, commitment to purpose and support of women in leadership for stronger companies,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO. “We are thrilled to recognize Indra Nooyi as our inaugural Global Titan and are honored to welcome her as a keynote speaker at our annual conference, the landmark 30th Anniversary of WFF.”
 
Nooyi’s legacy includes paving the way for future business leaders by being one of the first Fortune 100 CEOs to embed sustainability and social responsibility throughout her organization. She pioneered PepsiCo’s “Performance with Purpose” vision, which includes transforming the company’s product portfolio to include more nutritious options, limiting its environmental impact, and supporting people and communities served by PepsiCo. Under her leadership, PepsiCo committed to achieving gender parity in the company’s management roles and pay equity for women, and boosted support for working caregivers, with on-site or near-site childcare available at PepsiCo locations around the world.
 
“The Women’s Foodservice Forum has long been instrumental in nurturing and elevating women leaders across our industry, so it’s truly an honor to have them recognize my career. I would also like to extend my congratulations to everyone at WFF on 30 remarkable years of advancing gender equity and developing a diverse, inclusive, and engaged workforce—the kind of workforce our nation will need to thrive in the years to come. I’m humbled to receive this special award from such a vital organization, and proud to share it with the other Titans and all our partners who are also being recognized.”
 
With annual conference as a touch point, WFF convenes the industry year-round through Lead The Way, the Food Industry’s gender equity movement, launched and championed by WFF. WFF provides the research, insights and best practice solutions that enable help food companies to drive business growth by realizing the full potential of women leaders.
 
The food industry is the second largest employer of women, yet women remain significantly underrepresented in leadership roles. Lead The Way offers a data-driven roadmap with trackable metrics and tools, from best-practices to talent sourcing and leadership development, aimed to help companies shift toward more equitable work environments, ultimately increasing opportunities for women and driving business growth in the Food Industry.
 
WFF supports LIMITLESS opportunities for women and the proven business benefits of gender-diverse workplaces. They are the food industry’s premier leadership development organization for women.
 
When women do better, we all do better.
 
For more information, visit ALDC.WFF.org


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RESEARCH-BASED LEARNING WITH COLLEAGUES & INDUSTRY LEADERS

November 20, 2018

With keynote addresses by Indra Nooyi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of PepsiCo, and researcher Brené Brown, you know you’ll hear from influential and unique voices at the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference March 10-13 in Dallas. We will also celebrate WFF’s 30th Anniversary as we honor the Industry Titans and Change Makers Under 30 who are committing to driving women’s advancement moving forward.
 
But that’s not all. Our 2019 Conference, LIMITLESS: Drive Solutions - Accelerate Growth, will feature an entirely new approach to teaching and learning. You may hear a lot of, “Wow, that’s not how they used to do it.” We think that’s a good thing.
 

Research-driven Guided Learning
We are fortunate today to have extensive research that shows where women face the greatest barriers to advancement in the Food Industry and the skills that drive success at various career stages. We developed our 2019 Conference content and delivery approach to meet those needs.
 
The result is a more connected, cohesive learning experience where you master the same research-driven content in lockstep with a dedicated group of peers, your Leadership Cohort. Executive Faculty will embed with your Cohort to further the learning as role models, sharing their real-world experiences.
 
Our new Leadership Cohorts will enable us to more tightly target content to participant needs and provide the increased peer interaction and exposure to industry leaders, as attendees have requested. When you register, you will select the Leadership Cohort (Manager, Director or Executive) that best matches your career stage. This group will become your home base and team of colleagues throughout Conference.
 

Connection to Industry Leaders
“We are excited to offer attendees not only outstanding content and nationally-known speakers again this year, but a unique learning approach that increases meaningful engagement with the content, fellow attendees and industry leaders,” said Susan Adzick, WFF Chair and SVP Sales & Strategic Relationships for McLane Foodservice, Inc.
 

Conference Highlights
Just a few of the new elements you can expect include: 

  • All-Attendee 30th Anniversary Fundraiser Program and Reception (included in registration)    

    • Recognition of the WFF Industry Titans who are publicly committing to advancing gender equity in their own organizations and leveraging their influence to encourage their peers to do the same.

    • Recognition of the rising stars, Change Makers Under 30, who will lead our industry into its bright future. 

  • Solutions 360

    • Expert advice on how to live your most authentic life and nurture your personal development as a holistic leader.

  • Global Impact of Women

    • Sunday signature pre-Conference session exploring how women are driving business growth globally.

  • Paths to Progress

    • CEOs from some of the first companies to participate in the Women in the Workplace Study for the Food Industry will share their learnings, successes and challenges as they strive to accelerate women’s advancement.

 
REGISTER today for this unique opportunity to learn, network and grow to your LIMITLESS potential.


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TAKING CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE

November 19, 2018

Women are known as strong team players and collaborators. That’s great, because those skills are in high demand in today’s more matrix-style organizations. But giving credit away or not accepting credit when it’s due downplays your achievements and contributions in ways that can hurt career progress.
 
Women are less likely to self-promote than men, more likely to give credit away to others and tend to add in negative elements to their achievements when they do talk about them, according to research by Corinne Moss-Racusin, assistant professor at Skidmore College who researches diversity and gender roles.
 
Self-promotion goes against gender stereotypes and is seen negatively by both men and women, according to research by Moss-Racusin. She reports that women who self-promote in the workplace are seen as less warm, earned less money and are passed over for advancement. They suffer from bragging backlash.
 
Talk about a conundrum. We are encouraged to raise our hands and step up but then penalized for sharing our successes. It’s not fair, but there are ways women can promote their accomplishments while avoiding the harsh realities of bragging backlash.

  •  Make a list of your most important accomplishments and then think about how your work helps advance important organization goals. Sharing the ‘why’ behind your work and linking it to larger goals can make it easier to talk about your success and enables listeners to engage through a broader perspective. If your accomplishment is built on the work of others, point out how helpful those ideas were. Then you can bridge to your specific contribution without losing supporters. 

  • Have others brag on your behalf. Having a sponsor within your organization is critical. Keep him or her informed of your recent accomplishments and armed with the data to highlight your strengths.

  •  Ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. Colleagues, former employers and even friends can share specific feedback online that provides valuable information to others. 

  • Share Moss-Racusin’s research with your organization. Bringing areas of unconscious bias to light offers an opportunity for more intentional choices and enables organizations to search for new ways to highlight the achievements of female team members.


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BOUNCING BACK AFTER BABY

November 19, 2018

New baby on the way? Being pregnant is an exciting time, but also full of planning. Planning for baby, planning for adjustments at home, and planning for a successful return to work. There are almost as many ways to navigate motherhood and career as there are to spell Chloe (Khloe, Cloie, Chlohee anyone?) and what works for you is your best bet. But getting to the point where the balancing act really does work can require practice, support from others and patience with yourself.
 
Every working parent has to figure out her or his best strategies for child care, work-life balance and where to invest the greatest career energy. “For me, planning well ahead made the transition easier as I went out on leave and when I came back,” said Dana Pearson, Senior Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis with Jamba Juice. She worked at Brinker when her son was born 12 years ago and her twin daughters two years later.
 
“When I told my boss my news, I also presented her with a plan for how to best cover my regular work and special projects,” Pearson said. She also planned her daycare arrangements well ahead and did a dry-run the week before returning to work. “It’s never easy to leave your baby, so try the drop off a couple times before you start back so you can work out the kinks and get past those tough emotions.”
 
Consider this advice from working parents on the frontlines and The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity and Big Success After Baby.
 
Find a working-mom mentor
She may work in your company or be half-way across the country. She just needs to be far enough ahead of you on the parenting path that she has already negotiated some of the toughest challenges and come out on the other side.
 
Tune into your unique situation
Colleagues and supervisors may assume you want to travel less. Some new parents do but others are energized by professional travel and like the break that comes from a few days child-free on the road. Think deeply about what arrangements will bring out your strongest contributions.
 
Negotiate your schedule
Talk candidly with your boss about small tweaks that will make you a more effective team member. Maybe you do need to travel less. Or take that weekly 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. call from home. Reassure your boss that having a little more flexibility will enable you to continue to meet expectations. Then revisit the topic often. Baby’s needs change constantly.
 
Be a supportive colleague
When possible, offer to cover that lunch break, finish the report on the weekend or even offer a kind ear to a coworker struggling to care for a child. It may sound counter-intuitive, but helping out when you can will make it easier to ask for help when you need it.
 
Share your accomplishments
Make sure you let people know what you’re working on, the progress you’re making and your plans for meeting deadlines. When it’s clear you are pulling your fair share, leaving at 5 p.m. for daycare pick-up is more easily accepted.
 
Practice self-compassion
“Be patient and give yourself some grace,” Pearson advises. “I tell coworkers coming back from maternity leave that it will get easier but it takes time. I saved some vacation time so I could take a day off here and there to sleep and take me time. It makes me a better mom to do a job I love and get interaction with adults.”

 


Working parents look for companies that provide an environment that helps them succeed in both their roles. In their Women Matter 2016 report titled Reinventing the workplace to unlock the potential of gender diversity, McKinsey & Company suggests broad changes companies can make to remove traditional barriers facing working mothers.

  • Establishing “new normal” ways of work for everyone, not just women, such as allowing employees to work on flexible schedules and places.

  • Expand inclusiveness by developing programs and policies that apply to both men and women, such as paternity leave.

  • Promote and value diverse leadership styles with evaluation and promotion criteria that reflects those models.


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SHOW YOUR INBOX WHO’S BOSS

November 19, 2018

Desktop inboxes are as old as . . . well, who knows, maybe stone tablets stacked up back in the day. In theory, an email inbox functions the same way to collect information and tasks to be processed. But the volume and speed of email, and expectations around response time, make it a relentless taskmaster. Learn to control it, or it will control you.
 
Author of the international best-seller Getting Things Done, David Allen’s work-life management system helps people bring order to chaos. He claims it takes less effort to start each day with an empty inbox than it does to maintain “amorphous blobs of accumulated and unorganized stuff that must continually be re-read and re-assessed.” Sort of feels like he’s hacked your laptop doesn’t it?
 
His system sounds impossible at first but it actually works off a couple simple organization principles and can help you turn email back into a productivity enhancer rather than overwhelming distraction. Start here:
 
Schedule Time for Email. Seeing new emails gives our brains a little dopamine rush that’s hard to resist. But that constant checking interrupts thought and decreases efficiency. Turn notifications off while you are engaged in focused tasks and then schedule two or three times during the day where you actually allot time to process emails — not simply click through them only to have to revisit them time and time again.
 
Delete. Although emails don’t require room in the basement or carting things to storage, they take up psychic space and looking at a stuffed inbox is mentally wearing. Delete when you can.
 
Use the Two-Minute Rule. If you can process an email the first time you see it in two minutes or less, do it. It will take longer to come back to it, read it again and address it. This will only work if you’re reading email intentionally and at a time and place when you can respond (see rule #1).
 
File with Fervor. Email is great for reference. That’s fine, but organize them by topic, person’s name or department to make them easier to find manually or with the search function. You would never throw a bunch of unrelated paper documents into one manila folder. Don’t do it electronically.
 
Organize Based on Next Steps.
If you follow Allen’s first rules to delete, file or finish in less than two minutes, you are left with emails that require greater time and attention and those where you need something from others. He suggests creating a folder titled “Action” and one titled “Waiting.” Then make sure they sit at the top of your folder list so you can review them daily for next steps.
 
Escape from the tyranny of your inbox, and you will be free to focus on getting the important things done.


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TAP INTO PEERS FOR GREAT LEARNINGS

November 19, 2018

The Value of Lateral Networking
Mentors and sponsors are critical to helping you gain greater visibility in your organization and a broader sense of your own capabilities. But connections with peers also play a key role in career success. They provide a supportive community where you can navigate frustrations, ‘let your hair down’ and create social connections that make the workplace more welcoming and supportive.
 
Many peer relationships happen naturally as you work on shared projects, attend the same meetings and operate at similar levels of the organization. But you can be more intentional about peer networking as well, bringing together colleagues at similar career stages or around shared interests such as recent transplants, new moms or hiking enthusiasts.
  
Gather people who have enough in common that they can relate to one another and share relevant, interesting experiences but not so much alike that they have the exact same experiences.
 
Make your group large enough that there is diversity of thought and experience, but not so large that real conversation becomes impossible (around 15-20).  
 
Consider planning your event around a focused topic. It’s certainly possible to host a more free-form networking event, but having an area of focus tends to make for more vibrant conversation. Even just a 10-minute introduction to a topic gives participants a way to start a conversation with colleagues.
 
The more often your peer network comes together, the more relationships will develop and information exchange will take on greater purpose. Bringing your group together at least once a quarter will help ensure people remember those they met last time and can build on new relationships.

 If you want to create more opportunities for peer networking, WFF can help you launch a WFF Circle or connect with a member-led WFF Exchange that engages local colleagues in networking across organizations. For more information about WFF Exchanges or WFF Circles, contact Dana Minton, Senior Manager, Partner Engagement, at dminton@wff.org.


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37 MAJOR-BRAND CEOs NAMED INDUSTRY TITANS FOR DRIVING GENDER EQUITY

December 7, 2018

37 MAJOR-BRAND CEOs NAMED INDUSTRY TITANS FOR DRIVING GENDER EQUITY

Dallas (Dec 5, 2018) – The national thought-leader on gender equity solutions, Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF,) will salute C-Suite vanguards who are publicly committing to help create limitless opportunities for women in their companies and the industry.
 
In celebration of WFF’s 30th Anniversary accelerating women’s workplace advancement, 37 of the industry’s most forward-thinking CEOs will be honored as Industry Titans, and recognized at a special ceremony as part of WFF's 30th Anniversary Celebration during the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference March 10-13 in Dallas.
 
The WFF Industry Titans are forward-thinking leaders in the food industry who are being recognized for their public commitment to prioritizing women’s advancement in their own organizations, leveraging their influence to urge their peers to do the same and creating change that will increase opportunities for women across the industry.
 
The honorees have joined ranks to help implement WFF’s call for industry-wide gender equity solutions driven by CEO engagement that will enable the industry to win the war for talent, reap the proven rewards of gender-diversity and drive business growth.
 
2019 Industry Titans Are:  

Doug Baker, Ecolab
Selim Bassoul, The Middleby Corporation
Tom Bené, Sysco
Paul Brown, Inspire Brands
Michele Buck, The Hershey Company
Steven Cahillane, Kellogg’s
Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Greg Creed, Yum! Brands
Joseph DePinto , 7-Eleven
Steven DeSutter, FOCUS Brands
Jim Dinkins, The Coca-Cola Company
Lorna Donatone, Sodexo
Melanie Dulbecco, Torani
Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s
Beth Ford, Land O’Lakes
Eric Foss, Aramark
Don Fox, Firehouse Subs
G.J. Hart, Torchy’s Tacos
Glen Helton, Kuwait Food Company Americana
Lisa Ingram, White Castle System, Inc.
Steve Johnson, HMSHost U.S. 
Gene Lee, Darden Restaurants, Inc.
John Miller, Denny’s
Indra Nooyi*, PepsiCo
Todd Penegor, Wendy’s International, Inc.
Denny Marie Post, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews
Melinda Rich, Rich Products
Janet Risi, Subway’s Independent Purchasing
Wyman Roberts, Brinker International, Inc.
Grady Rosier, McLane Company, Inc.
Walter Seib, HMSHost International
Sandy Solmon, Sweet Street Desserts
Ally Svenson, MOD Pizza
Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association
Nigel Travis, Dunkin’ Brands
Lance Trenary, Golden Corral Corporation
Kathy Walters, Georgia-Pacific Professional


When women do better, we all do better.
For more information about the Industry Titans, or about WFF's 30 years of creating limitless opportunities for women, visit aldc.wff.org.
 
*Nooyi holds designation of inaugural Global Titan


 


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EXPERT FACILITATORS DEEPEN DIALOGUE AND LEARNING

December 12, 2018

Attending a major professional conference can feel a little like drinking from a firehose; so much great information and so many opportunities come at you so quickly it can be difficult to take it all in. If only there were someone to walk the journey with you, put new learnings into a larger context, encourage professional connection and link your goals to research-driven content. No worries — WFF has your back!
 
At the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference (March 10-13 in Dallas) professional facilitators will embed within every Leadership Cohort (managers, directors and executives) to increase connection, interaction and learning. 
 
“One of the most exciting aspects of WFF’s facilitated Leadership Cohort experience is the opportunity to dialogue about the content in real time,” explained Anna Liotta, generational leadership expert and 2019 Conference Leadership Cohort facilitator. “This will create closer shared experiences among participants, provide opportunities to customize content to participant needs and enable attendees to return home with vetted learnings they can apply immediately.”
 
The 2019 Conference, LIMITLESS: Drive Solutions – Accelerate Growth is driven by extensive research into the skills women need at all career stages to move beyond obstacles and accelerate progress. We are also tapping the research to deliver content in new ways that increase engagement with peers, access to industry leaders and opportunities to relate new insights to existing challenges in real time.
 
“As facilitators, we will actively engage participants during learning sessions to link theory and practice,” Liotta said. “The approach is very participant-centered and provides avenues for attendees to process what they’re learning in multiple ways.”
 
Individuals early in their careers will benefit from greater guidance and support in making connections beyond their own organizations. More senior leaders will enjoy two-way strategic conversations that link speaker content and focus to attendee needs.
 
Connect more easily, more deeply
“A critical benefit of this approach is that we are creating the framework and the processes for people to engage more deeply,” said Marilyn Sherman, motivational speaker, leadership consultant and Conference facilitator. “We will involve people in purposeful situations where they can explore outside of their comfort zones with meaningful support. This is important for all leaders and offers unique benefits to more introverted professionals who sometimes find themselves on the outer edges of a conference trying to find their way in,” Sherman said.
 
“We will also provide a wide variety of ways to interact with the content that will resonate with different learning styles,” Sherman added.  “Participants might journal about an aspect of the content and then share that with a peer or they might prepare a brief teach-back for others in their group. All of these experiences provide opportunities to engage more deeply and to enable people with various skill sets to access learnings in ways that speak most effectively to them.”

Greater ROI for employers
Providing diverse ways for attendees to learn, digest and articulate research-driven content will also better equip them to share learnings when they return to work.
 
“If all you have are pages of notes and no framework for turning them into specific actions steps back at work, it is harder to create meaningful links between a conference experience and the workplace,” Sherman said. “As professional facilitators, we’ll engage attendees in consistent methods for evaluating what they’re learning and exploring how it relates to current challenges in their organization.”
 
Access to leaders
With industry executives also embedded within the Leadership Cohorts, participants will also enjoy greater opportunity to engage with role models. “We will help create structured engagement with leaders that will make those connections even more worthwhile and inspiring,” Liotta said.
 
“So much is new in important and meaningful ways at the 2019 Conference that I encourage participants to show up with an open mind to see how exciting and career-changing this can be,” Liotta said.
 
LIMITLESS indeed. REGISTER today.


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GIVE FEEDBACK THAT WORKS

December 12, 2018

It can be awkward to tell team members they missed the mark. Which is why too many managers shy away from providing specific performance feedback. But, rightly so, employees want to know how they’re doing. Forget about sandwiching criticism between two slices of praise and put together a new approach to sharing feedback employees can actually use. 
 
In a 2014 study from Workboard, 72 percent of employees said their performance would improve with more feedback. Most of us want to know how we can improve — we just don’t want a beatdown cloaked as ‘constructive criticism.’
 
And that’s where the problem often starts. Managers frequently limit feedback to times when expectations are not met. If, instead, we make feedback (positive and corrective) a regular part of our routine, we can create environments that increase engagement, performance and success. Consider a new way to give – and get – feedback.
 
Move beyond fear. It may make you queasy at first, but your team wants and needs feedback. Research shows a total lack of feedback actually breeds greater disengagement than critical feedback.
 
Increase the frequency. Feedback becomes less frightening and more useful when given more often and in context. Consider incorporating regular feedback into standing one-on-ones where you can connect it naturally to project updates. It will also help uncover obstacles that may be hindering performance.
 
Don’t confuse feedback with negativity. If you are truly providing team members with feedback, you are sharing positive comments and advice for improvement. In fact, unless there is a significant performance gap, you are ideally sharing far more positive notes than negative ones.
 
There is some dispute about the oft-cited research stat that says the ideal ratio is five positive comments to every one negative, but the general consensus is still that a strong ratio of more positive than negative comments helps motivate stronger performance.
 
Critical feedback has its place, however, especially in stopping things from really going off the rails. But positive feedback tends to motivate people to continue to do well or strive to do even better.
 
Cite concrete examples. Even when you need to share more general feedback such as encouraging an employee to “take greater initiative,” provide examples of how she or he could have stepped up on a recent project or an opportunity to do so moving forward.
 
Focus on the future. Professional coach and author Marshal Goldsmith advocates “feed-forward” instead of feedback. He suggests asking employees about skills they want to improve and then providing brief suggestions for ways they might do that.
 
Ask for feedback. Consider the possibility that you are part of the problem. Ask if you are hindering progress in any way or how you can better support the employee in meeting expectations.
 
Promote self-reliance. Help team members develop a critical eye for their own work. Ask probing questions such as: What went right with this project? What would you like to differently next time? Do you need resources, support or skills to make that happen? Encourage your staff to consistently ask these questions of themselves.
 
Taking genuine interest in helping team members perform to their potential is one of the most effective ways to make feedback welcome and truly constructive.
 


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MAKE FRIENDS WITH CRITICISM

December 12, 2018

One reason leaders avoid providing feedback (see related article at left) is how we react when they do. Arms crossed? Total shut down? Defiance? Anger? Quivering lip? However well intended, negative feedback can send even seasoned professionals into a downward spiral. But, if you can manage your first reactions, you may get to a pearl of wisdom that will increase your effectiveness and accelerate your progress.
 
Women often take criticism harder and more personally than men do, according to research from PscyhTests, a company that offers a free 71-question online Sensitivity to Criticism Test. Women are more likely to be hard on themselves for not doing something well where men are likely to convince themselves the critic is wrong or to argue the point.
 
If we can truly hear criticism we receive, however, there is often a lot to be gained. Norman Vincent Peale once said, “The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” It’s only by learning where we haven’t measured up that we can make changes, improve and strive toward our greatest potential.
 
Get curious and get on with it
If you can put your emotions on hold for just a minute, you will give yourself an opportunity to evaluate negative feedback honestly and test it for validity. By accessing your inquisitive spirit (rather than your emotions), you may find real value in the critique.  
 
One way to do that is to interview yourself, even out loud if it helps. You might ask:
 
Did this honestly reflect my best work?
Does this criticism point to a larger pattern of behavior?
Have I received similar criticism from other sources?
Would I have drawn the same conclusion if the roles were reversed?
Can I improve in this area on my own or do I need help?
Do I know where to get help?
Can I get an objective second opinion from someone who will be candid with me?
Does this person have my best interests in mind?
How will improving in this area advance my career?
 
Unless you feel the criticism is meant to hurt, offend or derail you, toughen up enough to hear it, thank the critic and get busy using those golden nuggets to take your performance to the next level.
 


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MANAGE A DIFFICULT BOSS

December 12, 2018

If the experience of working with a challenging manager were less common, movies like Horrible Bosses and The Devil Wears Prada wouldn’t be so funny. The thing is, most of us can relate just a little. But there’s not much to laugh at when you and your boss are like oil and water. Something has to give and it’s pretty much got to be you.
 
But, before you let a difficult (or even quirky) boss torpedo your success, make sure you’re doing everything you can to make the relationship work.
 
For starters, make sure your boss is actually difficult. Try observing her objectively for a couple days to determine what makes her so challenging for you. Is she under intense pressure from above? Is her style just very different from yours? Do others find her as challenging as you do? Have you been unresponsive to requests? Try imaging the most forgiving reasons for her actions and see if it changes your perspective.
 
Get into her/his head. Does she most value loyalty, creativity and new ideas, hard work and long hours? Is she trying to grow the department or fix a bad reputation? The more you understand what motivates your boss, the better prepared you will be to help her succeed and create a better partnership between you.
 
Pinpoint the problem areas. Is your boss a micromanager? Disorganized? In over his head? If you can identify your areas of greatest conflict, you may be able to solve them. Try getting out in front of a micromanager by anticipating the reassurance and detail he will want ahead of time. Create organization systems for the department that help your boss stay on task. And don’t assume your boss has all the answers. He may be the manager but he’s not all-knowing. Provide support that will help him look his best.
 
Don’t take it out on your work. Turning in low quality work, constantly extending your lunch hour or working at a snail’s pace may feel like you’re taking a stand against a difficult manager, but of course you’re just hurting your coworkers and your reputation. Maintain your high standards and you are more likely to improve the relationship and be better positioned to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. 
 
Prepare your exit plan. If you’ve truly given it your best shot and things aren’t getting any better, it’s time to consider moving on. Seek out mentors in other areas who can help you navigate opportunities in other parts of the company. If you have to leave the organization, they may also be able to serve as a reference. If you believe your boss is truly abusive or unfair, contact Human Resources for help.
 
If possible, ask future colleagues what the working situation is like and how they would describe the manager before you commit to your next role.


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SET 2019 UP FOR SUCCESS

December 12, 2018

Although fewer than 10% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions (chocolate is just so good), tweaking the process just a bit can increase the likelihood of success and help you create a year of significant change. The secret is switching your focus from resolutions to intentions.

“Intentions can be a powerful way of setting a direction for your journey when they reflect your deeper values,” said Suzanne Tuckey, Ph.D., psychologist and social system analyst. “It is this association with values that differentiates an intention from a resolution. Whereas resolutions typically involve acts of will, intentions reach deeper to engage the whole person. Because resolutions typically activate only the mind, they are unsustainable. Intentions, however, can change a life.”

Intentions are more about how we are using our time, energy and focus today rather than some lofty end result way down the road. That change in mindset helps us concentrate on daily decisions that, over time, can create major change. Because we are aiming in a general direction, we enjoy more flexibility in the process and feel better able to celebrate progress along the way. Intentions help avoid an all-or-nothing mentality.

Neuroscience backs up the idea that tapping into your core values to drive your intentions and then your actions creates powerful motivation. Researchers at the Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Oregon found that when people are thinking about core values, the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain lights up, sending signals that what you’re doing right now is important to you. That can make even challenging tasks more enjoyable.  

One important “trick” is to identify your intrinsic motivation for reaching even externally-imposed goals. For example, if your boss suggests an improvement in your presentation skills, you may feel pressured or resentful.
If instead, you start from your core values, you might think, “I want to share my expertise in ways that will impact others” or “I’m committed to playing a senior leadership role in my organization.” Then, improving your presentation skills reinforces personal values and goals.

Starting from your intrinsic drivers helps connect the “why” to what you’re doing. Linking daily choices to your core values can increase motivation and progress and help you enjoy the process. Happy 2019!


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GREG CREED, CEO OF YUM! BRANDS, NAMED INDUSTRY TITAN BY WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM

December 12, 2018

GREG CREED, CEO OF YUM! BRANDS, NAMED INDUSTRY TITAN
BY Women’s Foodservice Forum
National thought-leader on gender equity solutions to salute Creed and C-Suite vanguards who help create limitless opportunities for women and the Food Industry

Dallas, December 11, 2018 – Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) announces Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands, as an Industry Titan for his leadership and commitment to driving gender equity, investment in the future of women leaders, and notable impact on the food industry.
 
An Industry Titan is an executive who is creating change that will increase opportunities for women and drive business growth.  In celebration of WFF’s 30th Anniversary, 24 of the industry’s most iconic leaders will be recognized as Industry Titans on-site at the WFF 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference (ALDC,) March 10-13, 2019, in Dallas.
 
“Greg Creed was one of the first CEOs to make a public commitment to help solve one of our industry’s toughest challenges,” said Hattie Hill, WFF CEO and President. “His leadership will, undoubtedly, inspire others to support and cultivate opportunities for women in leadership for stronger companies. We are pleased to recognize Greg Creed as an Industry Titan during the landmark 30th anniversary of WFF.”
 
“It’s an honor to be named by WFF as an Industry Titan. I'm very proud of Yum!’s initiatives around a diverse and inclusive work environment, which is imperative in today’s world,” said Creed. “We believe strongly that our employees must reflect the global marketplace where we operate, and we’re on a journey to ensure inclusion and diversity, including gender equity, are integrated into all aspects of our business.”
 
Earlier this year Yum! made a commitment, in alignment with the Paradigm for Parity coalition, to advance more women into leadership roles and achieve greater gender parity in senior leadership globally by 2030. Yum! has also signed onto the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.
 
Creed also established a U.S. diversity and inclusion council called Leading Inclusion for Today and Tomorrow (LIFT2), which includes leaders and franchisees across Yum!, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. In addition, Yum! offers Unconscious Bias training to corporate employees around the world to increase multicultural competency and build strong leaders who are skilled at leading diverse teams. The company also recently became one of more than 100 companies from ten sectors named to the inaugural 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI).
 
ALDC is an immersive leadership development experience where women connect with and learn from industry influencers, experts and each other. Most notably, the conference is a unique experience where companies collaborate to accelerate gender equity.
 
With the annual conference as a touch point, WFF convenes the industry year-round through Lead The Way, the Food Industry’s gender equity movement, launched and championed by WFF.
 
 
The food industry is the second largest employer of women, yet women remain significantly underrepresented in leadership roles. Lead The Way offers a data-driven roadmap with trackable metrics and tools, from best-practices to talent sourcing and leadership development, aimed to help companies shift toward more equitable work environments, and strengthening the Food Industry. WFF believes in LIMITLESS possibilities for women, and is also the industry’s premier leadership development organization for women.
 
When women do better, we all do better.
 
For more information, visit ALDC.WFF.org.


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WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM EXPANDS MISSION AND EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM

December 19, 2018

WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM EXPANDS MISSION AND EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
 
Dallas, December 19, 2018 – For almost three decades, Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF,) has been the leadership development resource for women in the Food Industry, the nation’s second-largest private sector employer.
 
With women’s workplace progress stalled across industries despite their increased pursuit of higher education and skill building, WFF is expanding its mission to include both women’s leadership development and providing strategies to the food industry to eliminate barriers and accelerate advancement.
 
To meet the goals of the expanded mission, WFF has broadened and deepened its executive leadership team with some of the industry’s most accomplished professionals.
 
“2019 will be a landmark year for WFF,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO. “We will launch the industry’s first Gender Equity Index (GEI,) measure industry improvement over time and enable our Partner companies to benchmark their progress. We will also celebrate our 30th Anniversary. This expanded mission calls for an expanded executive team, each member known for her ability to make a major impact. I believe this is the leadership team to do just that, and I welcome them to WFF.”
 
The New WFF Executive Leadership Team Members Are:
 
Libby Saylor Wright, Chief Operating Officer (COO)
At the helm of the WFF leadership team, Ms. Wright brings more than 20 years in marketing and innovation experience, and has a passion for engaging with and on behalf of women in business. Relocating to Dallas from Atlanta, Ms. Wright’s most recent role was at The Coca-Cola Company, where she spent more than 13 years in a variety of marketing and strategy roles. Her proven strength is in building business and brand strategies and tactics, leading cross-functional teams to improve business results, while anchoring decisions with an understanding of consumer culture and trends.
 
“I’m excited to work with the WFF team to bring our expanded mission to life as we increase our research capabilities, significantly expand our membership and launch new initiatives including a virtual learning platform,” said Libby Saylor Wright, WFF COO.

Krista Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
Known for shaping strategy, driving business results and leading digital transformation Ms. Gibson is the former CMO for Chili’s Grill & Bar, a global brand with +1600 locations in 31 countries where she led all aspects of brand building, innovation and sales growth strategies. Ms. Gibson brings more than 25 years of extensive experience in the restaurant industry and has strong North Texas ties.
 
“Strategy, insight and innovation are critical when approaching an undertaking as unprecedented and complex as reaching gender equity as an industry,” said Krista Gibson, WFF CMO. “We will be out in front helping our partner companies unlock the rewards of a gender-diverse workforce.”
 
Kathryn Lyons, Chief Growth Officer (CGO)
A native of Chicago with nearly 20 years in fundraising and corporate partnership development, Ms. Lyons most recently led a team and initiatives that helped secure more than $100 million in transformational funding to support strategic initiatives at Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, as Managing Director of Corporate Partnerships.
 
“Driving business growth is a passion of mine, and WFF has a tremendous corporate roster of support,” said Kathryn Lyons, WFF CGO. “I look forward to continuing to build resources to support initiatives that expand WFF’s reach, impact and support to women in the food industry, ultimately helping to drive our mission forward.”
 
The WFF expanded senior leadership team provides the talents, focus and bandwidth to support the mission as the organization prepares to: launch expansion efforts, significantly expand membership, build a robust technology platform that supports greater research efforts, and develop an innovative virtual learning initiative that reaches food companies and food industry leaders around the world.  
 
When women do better, we all do better.
 
For more information, visit WFF.org.


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WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM ANNOUNCES 2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS AS MISSION EXPANDS TO DRIVE GENDER EQUITY IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY

January 14, 2019

WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM ANNOUNCES 2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS AS MISSION EXPANDS TO DRIVE GENDER EQUITY IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY
Appointments include new Executive Committee leadership in WFF’s landmark 30th year
 
 
DALLAS (January 15, 2019) – The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) announces new executive committee leaders and incoming board members for 2019. Each noted leader represents a global brand collaborating under the expanded, bold WFF mission to equip the food industry with data-driven strategies to eliminate barriers to women’s advancement and Lead The Way to gender equity. WFF continues to serve as the go-to source for women’s leadership development and partners with food companies to create inclusive cultures where women thrive.
 
“Our 2019 Executive Committee and Board are made up of industry powerhouses who lead the organizations that will create limitless possibilities for women. The influence, visibility and commitment they bring to WFF’s mission will accelerate our progress as we lead an entire industry through uncharted territory to be among the first to close the gender gap and reap the rewards of a gender-diverse workforce,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO.
 

NEW 2019 WFF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LEADERS:

WFF Board Chair

Denny Marie Post, CEO, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, leads the overall company direction and oversees all of Red Robin's activities, including communications with investors and the WFF Board of Directors. Post has more than 30 years of leadership experience in consumer-driven marketing, product innovation and building teams to develop and execute on strategies that increase brand awareness and drive sales.

“We are at a critical inflection point in our quest to achieve gender parity.  It is up to all of us to harness this momentum, move urgently forward and drive change.  Closing the gender gap in the food industry will make us more competitive and unlock our full potential. I am honored to chair the 2019 WFF Executive Committee and Board as we dial up the pace on meeting these goals and creating real solutions for our industry," said Denny Marie Post, WFF Board Chair.

WFF Chair-Elect

Salli Setta, President, Red Lobster, leads all of Restaurant Operations, Marketing, and Culinary and Beverage for the iconic brand, which operates more than 700 restaurants in North America and has more than 58,000 employees. Under Setta’s leadership, Red Lobster introduced a new, simpler, seafood and lobster-centric menu and implemented numerous operations initiatives and simplifications that have led to best ever levels of guest satisfaction. Setta was also part of the leadership team that helped Red Lobster become an independent, privately-held company, leading the organization through significant change.  

WFF Treasurer

Kathleen Ciaramello, President, Foodservice & On-Premise, Coca-Cola North America, has responsibility for all global, national and regional customers operating within the foodservice and on-premise channels of business that are headquartered in the United States. Ciaramello joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1985, and has served in various account management, sales and marketing roles. She is also one of 12 inaugural members of the Coca-Cola Women’s Leadership Council, focused on the development and movement of women into leadership roles.
 
NEW 2019 WFF BOARD MEMBERS:
 
Blaine Hurst, CEO and President for Panera Bread
Katherine Jaspon, SVP, Chief Financial Officer for Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.
Sarah King, Chief Human Resources Officer for Darden Restaurants
Ann Mamer Lloyd, SVP, Marketing for Ecolab
Shawn  O'Grady, Group President, Convenience & Foodservice; SVP, Global Revenue Development for General Mills
Jennifer Williamson, SVP, Brand and Communications for Sodexo
Loraine Yalch, SVP, Client Solutions Group & Business Development for ARMADA Supply Chain Solutions
Anita Zielinski, SVP, and Chief Accounting Officer for Sysco Corporation
 
All new WFF Board members will serve two successive, three-year terms beginning January 1, 2019 and ending December 31, 2024. These new board members will join the WFF Executive Committee and returning board members.
 
WFF 2019 Executive Committee Leaders (Complete list)
  • Chair – Denny Marie Post, CEO, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews
  • CEO – Hattie Hill, President & CEO, WFF
  • Chair-Elect – Salli Setta, President, Red Lobster
  • Treasurer – Kathleen Ciaramello, President, Foodservice & On-Premise, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Member At Large – Carla Balakgie, President & CEO, National Automatic Merchandising Association
  • Member At Large – Ryan Elwart, SVP, Global Sales, Georgia-Pacific
  • Member At Large – Chris Roberts, EVP & COO, Dairy Foods, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
  • Member At Large – Tracy Skeans, Chief Transformation & People Officer, Yum! Brands, Inc.
 
WFF 2019 Board of Directors (Complete List)
  • Susan Adzick (Immediate Past Chair), SVP of Sales & Strategic Relationships McLane Foodservice, Inc.
  • Rob Dugas, Chief Procurement Officer & VP, Chick-fil-A
  • Blaine Hurst, CEO and President, Panera Bread
  • Katherine Jaspon, SVP, Chief Financial Officer, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.
  • Julie Juvera, VP Crew Resources, Fry Cook & Cashier, Raising Cane's
  • Sarah King, Chief Human Resources Officer, Darden Restaurants
  • Ann Mamer Lloyd, SVP, Marketing, Ecolab
  • Jamie McKeon, VP of Marketing, Rich Products Corporation
  • Shawn O'Grady, Group President, Convenience & Foodservice; SVP, Global Revenue Development, General Mills
  • Debbie Roberts, Former President, East Zone, McDonald’s USA, LLC
  • Kelli Valade, President & CEO, TDn2K
  • Rebecca J. Walsh, EVP, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, Ventura Foods
  • Jennifer Williamson, SVP, Brand and Communications, Sodexo
  • Loraine Yalch, SVP, Client Solutions Group & Business Development, ARMADA Supply Chain Solutions
  • Anita Zielinski, SVP, and Chief Accounting Officer, Sysco Corporation
 
 
 
When women do better, we all do better.
 
For more information, visit WFF.org.


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SARAH FERGUSON, THE DUCHESS OF YORK WEDNESDAY KEYNOTE

January 22, 2019

Inspiration, passion and resilience will be in full force as Sarah, Duchess of York, takes the stage during an exceptional Conference General Session Close Wednesday, March 13.

“Both women embody a key Conference theme of Resilience & Risk Taking and provide lived examples of how the ability to push yourself beyond preconceived limits and act with confidence can enable breakthrough success,” said WFF President & CEO, Hattie Hill.

Philanthropist, entrepreneur, women’s advocate
The Duchess of York is both a philanthropist and entrepreneur who strongly supports the ability of women to impact and improve their own communities and the world, a belief she demonstrates in her own life. She is a passionate supporter of numerous charities that help children facing serious illness and that enable women to gain access to life-changing opportunities.
 
A best-selling author with more than 50 published titles, a special correspondent for NBC’s Today Show and co-producer of broadcast specials and documentaries in the United States and Great Britain, The Duchess also conceived and co-produced the critically-acclaimed film, The Young Victoria.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, The Duchess devotes much of her time to charities such as The Perfect World Foundation, The Teenage Cancer Trust, Teen Cancer America and Not for Sale. In 1993, she founded Children in Crisis, a charity that strives to improve the lives of children and women in developing countries.

She also champions Key to Freedom, a business structure initiative that supports the Women’s Interlink Foundation (WIF) by giving vulnerable young women a platform to sell their products, develop skills and earn an income.

Widely admired for her personal resilience, passion for a purpose-driven life and devotion to her two daughters, The Duchess advocates for the personal strength and agency of all women.


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DONE RIGHT, INCLUSION OPENS DOORS TO NEW PERSPECTIVES

January 22, 2019

The magic of gender diversity in driving stronger business results is that it enables companies to tap into a broader range of skill sets and perspectives. Except when it doesn’t. To access and reap the rewards of a gender-diverse workplace, all employees must feel that they belong and that their contributions are valued. They need to feel included.
 
A key area for exploration at our 2019 Conference will be Inclusive Culture: From the C-Suite to the Front Lines, Inclusion Drives Results. Content will be targeted to each Leadership Cohort: Directors, Managers and Executives.
 
“I approach creating a culture that is inclusive and productive first from a point of personal transformation,” explains Amir Ghannad, founder of The Ghannad Group consultants on culture transformation and the speaker for the Director Leadership Cohort.
 
“My goal is not so much to teach you new information, but to help you discover the hidden things holding you back from taking full advantage of the resources available to you to be more fulfilled and successful and create a culture where everyone else can experience that as well,” Ghannad added.
 
Executive coach, author and leadership expert Libby Gill will guide the Manager Leadership Cohort, connecting the dots between personal accountability and organizational success, showing you how to inspire and influence others, even if you are not yet in a position of direct authority.
“Early in your career, it can be intimidating to reach out to others, but that is one of the most effective first steps to nurturing an inclusive culture from any position — literally inviting others into relationship with you,” Gill says. “Building those connections in a small, trusted circle can also empower you to launch honest conversations about the organization climate and culture and help move it toward greater inclusivity.”
 
Guiding the Executive Leadership Cohort, Anne Loehr, sought-after author and speaker helps senior executives create authentic relationships shaped by courage and respect and develop transformational leadership that can increase employee retention and drive a healthy bottom line. She will help participants develop an action plan for retaining women leaders by making their organizations great places for women to succeed. 


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STOW THE PHONE TO MAXIMIZE CONFERENCE CONNECTIONS

January 22, 2019

The opportunity to make strategic connections is one of the most valuable takeaways from attending WFF’s Annual Conference. The vibe is one of mutual support and people at all levels share their time and insights. WFF makes it easy too by building numerous networking activities directly into the schedule.
 
To make the most of those opportunities, consider putting your phone down. Yes, the Conference app is critical and every once in a while, you may need to check in with the office. But, how can you catch the eye of someone ready to engage in real live conversation if you’re staring at your screen?   
 
Follow these tips to forge new relationships with people and not your phone.

  • You checked the time and location of your next session, so consider putting your phone away in a place that makes it a little difficult to get to.

  • Resist the urge to use your phone as a social crutch. Make eye contact with someone else standing alone and ask her thoughts about the last session.

  • Start a casual conversation in the refreshments line and then keep the conversation going as you both find a spot to eat and talk.

  • Watch small groups of people already engaged in conversation for a small break in the action and then step up to introduce yourself.

  • If you found a speaker particularly inspiring, stick around while folks linger to ask follow-up questions. With just a few folks left in the room, opportunities bubble up for more personal conversations.

  • Keep your phone out of sight and your eyes up so others can tell you are available for conversation.


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BRINKER, GEORGIA-PACIFIC, KELLOGG’S, LAND O’ LAKES & WENDY'S CEOS NAMED INDUSTRY TITANS

January 22, 2019

As part of our 30th Anniversary Celebration, WFF will honor select industry leaders who are publicly committing to prioritizing the advancement of women in their organizations, leveraging their influence to urge their peers to do the same, and creating change that will increase opportunities for women and drive business growth. They are the WFF Industry Titans.
 
Research from McKinsey & Company and others makes clear the critical role senior executives play in creating organization cultures that nurture women’s advancement. From placing gender equity at the top of the organizational agenda to setting and tracking targets for gender equity and holding managers accountable, CEOs set the tone for organizations that succeed in accelerating the contributions of female employees.
Increasing gender equity requires executives to intervene across a broad range of factors, according to A CEO’s Guide to Gender Equality from McKinsey Quarterly. “The focus in these interventions must be to help women become better leaders — and to design conditions under which they can,” the report states.
WFF is proud to collaborate with some of the most forward-thinking leaders across the Food Industry who have personally and publicly committed to creating the conditions where women can thrive. Meet the latest WFF Industry Titans.

Steve Cahillane
Chairman & CEO, Kellogg Company
 
Beth Ford
President & CEO, Land O’ Lakes, Inc.

Todd Penegor
President & CEO, Director, Wendy's International, Inc.
 
Wyman T. Roberts
CEO & President, Brinker International

Kathy Walters
Group President, Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products Group


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SARAH FERGUSON, THE DUCHESS OF YORK, TO JOIN WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM AT ITS 2019 ANNUAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE

January 23, 2019

SARAH FERGUSON, THE DUCHESS OF YORK, TO JOIN WOMEN'S FOODSERVICE FORUM AT ITS 2019 ANNUAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
The Duchess and Hattie Hill, WFF President and CEO, will host a conversation on the global impact of women as the organization convenes 3,000 women leaders to gain tools for career advancement

Dallas (Jan. 22, 2018) – Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, is slated to bring her unique brand of inspiration and resilience as the closing session speaker at the Women’s Foodservice Forum’s 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference held March 10-13 in Dallas.
 
During an arm-chair conversation with Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO, The Duchess will share elements of her story as a global humanitarian, as well as the importance of Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy. The Duchess will also share insight into how women can make a global impact and live purpose-driven lives.  
 
“As WFF celebrates 30 years of accelerating women’s workplace advancement, it was important to illustrate our belief in limitless possibilities for women, especially on-site at our 2019 Conference,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO. “The Duchess is a living example of what is possible when women push beyond preconceived limits, embrace confidence and experience breakthrough success.”
 
Conference is an immersive leadership development experience where nearly 3,000 women connect with and learn from industry influencers, experts and each other. Most notably, this annual event provides a unique opportunity for major-brand companies to collaborate on industry-wide gender equity solutions that will enable the food industry to win the war for talent, reap the proven rewards of gender-diversity and drive business growth.
 
With Conference as a touch point, WFF convenes the industry year-round to drive industry-wide gender equity. WFF provides the research, insights and best practice solutions that enable food industry companies to drive business growth by realizing the full potential of women leaders.
 
When women do better, we all do better.
For more information, visit aldc.wff.org
 
 
Pre-Conference Interviews Available: Hattie Hill, President & CEO of Women’s Foodservice Forum, select WFF board members and conference speakers, pending availability.


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TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERS SHIFT CULTURE AT ALL CAREER STAGES

January 28, 2019

Data showing the power of gender diversity to drive stronger business results backs up something your mom told you years ago — two heads are better than one. Different life and work experiences, skill sets and perspectives help teams and entire organizations come at challenges with a more robust and creative set of solutions.
 
But the secret to reaping those rewards is a culture where all employees feel they belong and that their contributions are valued. They need to feel included.
 
A key area for exploration at our 2019 Conference, LIMITLESS: Drive Solutions, Accelerate Growth will be Inclusive Culture: From the C-Suite to the Front Lines, Inclusion Drives Results. Content will be targeted to each Leadership Cohort: Directors, Managers and Executives.
 
Start by looking inward
“I approach creating a culture that is inclusive and productive first from a point of personal transformation,” explains Amir Ghannad, founder of The Ghannad Group consultants on culture transformation and the speaker for the Director Leadership Cohort. “By focusing on personal transformation, anyone at any point in their career can take on the role of a transformative leader and help shift work culture.”
 
“My goal is not so much to teach you new information. Instead, I will help you discover the hidden things holding you back from taking full advantage of the resources available to you to be more fulfilled and successful and to create a culture where everyone else can experience that as well,” Ghannad added.
 
Link personal accountability and company success
Executive coach, author and leadership expert, Libby Gill, will guide the Manager Leadership Cohort, connecting the dots between personal accountability and organizational success. She will show attendees how to inspire and influence others, even if you are not yet in a position of direct authority.
 
“Early in your career, it can be intimidating to reach out to others, but that is one of the most effective first steps to nurturing an inclusive culture from any position — literally inviting others into relationship with you,” Gill says. “Building those connections in a small, trusted circle can also empower you to launch honest conversations about the organization climate and culture and help move it toward greater inclusivity.”
 
Research on Millennials in particular shows these team members sometimes rank a sense of connection and purpose at work even higher than salary in terms of work satisfaction.

Use people data as a guide
Guiding the Executive Leadership Cohort, author and SVP, Center for Human Capital Innovation (CHCI), Anne Loehr, helps senior executives become transformational leaders who can increase employee retention and drive a healthy bottom line.
 
“You have to start with your people data,” Loehr advises. “When you run the data first, you can spot problem areas and trends that will focus your interventions. You might notice, for example, that men and women enter your organization in roughly equal numbers but, 14 months in, there are far fewer women in that same cohort. You zero in there.”
 
Loehr will guide participants in exploring important steps they can take to retain women leaders by making their organizations great places for women to succeed. 
 
REGISTER today!


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FIND & FIX SKILL GAPS

January 28, 2019

We often think of skills gaps on a company-wide or even global scale with predictable complaints about new grads who can’t think critically or older workers who lack technical literacy. But sometimes it’s us who are not quite up to snuff. We all have areas where we need to improve.
 
Although it requires a bit of courage, proactively exploring and addressing weaknesses can accelerate your progress far faster than hiding them. You will expand your skills and build your reputation. 
 
Start with probing questions and an honest self-assessment
What am I truly good at in my current job?
What responsibilities do I struggle with or avoid?
Do others in similar positions have critical skills I lack?
What skills would I need to be promoted?
Does my organization place especially high value on specific skills I have not yet mastered?
 
Confirm your findings
Ask a mentor, sponsor, boss or trusted friend to candidly share where they feel you most need to build your skills.
 
If you want a little privacy in discussing your shortcomings, reach out to professional contacts from conferences, industry meetings or LinkedIn. They won’t know you as well as people within your company, but they can share information about the skills they seek in people who occupy the type of positions you desire.
 
Close the gap
Once you identify the top two or three areas that need work, it’s time to get growing. Again, with the probing questions.
Are there people in my department or organization who could help me improve?
Could I volunteer for an assignment that would facilitate growth?
Would my boss approve my participation in a company training program or industry conference?
 
Share your self-assessment with your boss, along with a plan for improvement and request her insight and support.
 
Share the wealth
Just as you have tapped others to help you master new skills, generously share your know-how as well. Co-workers can be especially effective two-way teachers as you likely have slightly different areas of expertise yet share a common workplace language, understanding and experience.
 
Knowledge transfer among peers is also less intimidating than opening up about professional gaps with more senior staff — especially if the skills you lack are ones you feel should already be in your toolkit.
 
Whether you access free online courses, get the greenlight for a high-impact conference or share peer training with coworkers, closing your skills gaps opens new paths to growth, opportunity and advancement. 


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FEMALE BONDING ACROSS THE AGES

January 28, 2019

For motivational speaker and slayer of fear (100dayswithoutfear.com), Michelle Poler, friendship with a woman 20 years her senior helps her see the world through different eyes.
 
“She already has this strong career trajectory and that enables her to help and guide me,” Poler says of mentor and branding expert Debbie Millman. “It’s really relevant that she’s older than I am because I’m able to see the world through her experiences.”
 
An intergenerational mix
Women across the country are seeing increased value in connecting across the generations. A recent New York Times article chronicled the experiences of several groups bringing women from their twenties to their nineties together to “share their stories, concerns and triumphs not just with people in their same age group, but across generations.”  
 
Groups like Moxie and the Spaghetti Project bring women together in settings similar to LeanIn Circles, but with a broader emphasis connecting those of diverse ages. Generation Women engages women from multiple generations in reading essays loosely centered around a theme.

A new view
“From millennials to baby boomers, we tend to stick with a same-aged cohort, rarely associating out of the office with people in very different life stages,” said James Pogue, Ph.D., intergenerational expert. “But there is real value in interaction across the ages where young people gain the perspective and long-view from their elders and more seasoned folks gain new insights, energy and understanding from people coming of age with a whole different set of opportunities and pressures,” he said.
 
Poler launched her 100 Days Without Fear (shared at the 2017 and 2018 WFF Conferences), speaking and writing career based on a course assignment in Millman’s class at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. “Debbie changed my life through her course A Brand Called You where I gained a better understanding of obstacles that stood in the way of my goals. It just would not be the same to have these conversations with someone who is my age,” Poler said.

Poler is returning the favor. She has spent a year touring girls’ middle and high schools to share her message of moving through fear. “Because my relationship with Debbie has meant so much to me, I want to be that same person for younger people,” Poler said.

As you grow your professional and personal network, consider the value of interacting with people of all ages.


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LISTEN UP . . .

January 28, 2019

As you start managing other team members, or begin leading larger groups, there can be a certain pressure to prove yourself by having an answer for everything.  Why else were you hired or promoted if not for your great ideas?
 
But there’s the trap. Because when you’re talking, you’re not listening. And when you’re not listening, you’re not taking in new information and learning. The most effective managers tend to listen more than they talk because that’s where the new insights live.
 
Listening at all levels
Company CEOs often launch “listening tours” when they take on a new post to get the inside scoop from the frontlines. When you are still climbing the ladder, however, it takes confidence and self-discipline to step back and listen rather than charging ahead with ideas you hope will get you noticed.
 
But real listening may help you uncover new ideas and innovative solutions that will make you and your team shine.  It also demonstrates respect and interest in others and provides a critical avenue for gaining feedback on your own performance. 

So, good to go, right? Well, although listening is a natural ability, it’s not necessarily a natural skill. It requires intention. Here are some great first steps to becoming a better listener — and more effective manager. As a bonus, relationships with your spouse, children and friends may improve too.

“Do” listening the way you perform more obviously active tasks. Remove distractions and focus. You can’t listen while browsing emails, cleaning up your desk or rushing to your next meeting.

Put your body into it. Start with eye contact, align your body with those you’re listening to, lean forward, adopt an open and welcoming posture, nod and use short phrases that show you are engaged.

Open (and quiet) your mind. Personal biases and preconceived ideas can lead to hearing only what you want to hear and missing great stuff that will inspire new thoughts. Intentionally quiet and open your mind first.

Paraphrase and ask questions. Let the person express thoughts fully before jumping in and then ask questions to clarify your understanding. You can paraphrase in your own words to make sure you are getting it right.

Value others. You probably turn your listening skills up to high gear with your boss. Dial into that same intensity when listening to colleagues and direct reports. Ask open-ended questions that allow others to bring the fullness of their thinking to the situation.

Show and train. Set the example for your team and then fine-tune your listening skills together.  Include listening skills in employee evaluations and step in during meetings as needed to foster better listening.


A workplace study by Siemens found that employees spend 17 hours every week just clarifying communication issues and breakdowns between peers, leadership and customers! Intentional, focused listening is a great way increase your professional impact, stop problems before they grow and uncover novel approaches to driving better performance.
 


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THE CASE FOR GOOFING AROUND

January 28, 2019

All work and no play may make Jane a dull girl, but it can also lull her brain to sleep. “Nothing lights up the brain like play,” according to Stuart Brown, M.D., founder of the National Institute for Play, TED speaker and author of Play. How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul.

“Three-dimensional play fires up the cerebellum, puts a lot of impulses into the frontal lobe (the executive portion), helps contextual memory be developed and — and, and and,” Brown says. Brown actually first discovered the critical importance of play throughout the human life cycle by observing the negative impact of its absence in his work with criminals and drunk drivers.

“The thing that’s so unique about our species is that we’re really designed to play through our whole lifetime,” he says.

Fun means flexible
Being playful, research shows, gives us greater flexibility and adaptability and tends to make us better problem solvers. Adults who are able to adopt a playful demeanor can transform stressful situations into more positive, productive and even entertaining experiences.
 
“At work, play has been found to speed up learning, enhance productivity and increase job satisfaction . . .” according to Lynn Barnett, professor of recreation, sports and tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign quoted in The Washington Post.

Go with the flow
In fact, what we consider adult work is often most effective when it resembles play, opening you up to that state of total immersion, or flow, where concentration is high and distractions fade away.
 
Brown urges adults to explore backwards in time to the most clear, joyful, playful images they can remember and then look for ways to incorporate those types of activities and emotions into daily life.  It is more effective to infuse your life minute by minute with various forms of play rather than separating work time and play time.
“We now know that play is a biological imperative, like sleep,” Brown says. “It’s hugely important in learning. It’s not just something you do in your spare time. You will enrich your life by prioritizing it and paying attention to it.”
 
Get in the game
If you’re ready play, your options are many. You can play a favorite sport, solve puzzles, enjoy board games, take a cooking class or even simply — and perhaps most powerfully — bring a playful mindset to everyday work and home experiences.
 
Although you don’t want to turn the workplace into a sandbox, bringing a playful spirit to challenging situations, enjoying a board game with colleagues on a lunch break and even joking with coworkers and clients in positive, upbeat ways can reduce stress, increase creativity and increase moments of flow.  


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AMY PURDY, PARALYMPIC SNOWBOARDING MEDALIST & AUTHOR, TO SPEAK AT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM’S 2019 ANNUAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE

February 5, 2019

AMY PURDY, PARALYMPIC SNOWBOARDING MEDALIST & AUTHOR, TO SPEAK AT 
WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM’S 2019 ANNUAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE

Sponsored by P&G Professional, Purdy will share her story to equip nearly 3,000 women leaders with motivation and tools for resilience
 
Dallas (Feb. 5, 2018) – Three-time Paralympic Snowboarding Medalist & Author, Amy Purdy, will take the closing session stage at the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference held March 10-13 in Dallas, hosted by Women’s Foodservice Forum.
 
In this main-stage session sponsored by P&G Professional, Amy will share her inspiring journey, from her death-defying battle with meningitis that claimed her legs, spleen and kidney function to making history as the most decorated Paralympic snowboarder in U.S. history, having secured medals at both the 2014 & 2018 Paralympic Games, to her standout performance on Dancing With The Stars as the first double amputee contestant.

“We are proud to partner with Amy Purdy and the Women’s Foodservice Forum to help motivate and inspire people throughout the industry. Amy’s story is one of strength, growth and perseverance, which pairs perfectly with P&G’s commitment to diversity, gender equality, and doing the right thing. Bringing her story to the Women’s Foodservice Forum is a great honor for us,” Paul Edmondson, General Manager, North America P&G Professional.

In addition to her athletic achievements, Amy is the author of the internationally acclaimed New York Times best-seller, On My Own Two Feet, and one of the top inspirational speakers in the world.
 
“This year’s Conference theme is LIMITLESS!, and Amy Purdy is our theme, personified,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO. “I’m excited for her to share her journey and insight, reminding our Conference audience that there are truly no limits when a woman is determined, motivated, focused and fierce!”
 
Conference is an immersive leadership development experience where nearly 3,000 women connect with and learn from industry influencers, experts and each other. Most notably, this annual event provides a unique opportunity for major-brand food industry companies, who are competitors, to collaborate to accelerate gender equity and make the food industry the employer of choice.
 
For more information, visit aldc.wff.org
When women do better, we all do better.


Pre-Conference Interviews Available: Hattie Hill, President & CEO of Women’s Foodservice Forum, select WFF board members and conference speakers, pending availability.
 
ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM: Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the Food Industry’s thought leader on gender equity. WFF provides the research, insights and best practice solutions that enable food companies to address the pressing need for talent, drive better consumer insights and increase business performance by realizing the full potential of women leaders. Working since 1989 to provide the tools and resources to help women build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement, WFF also partners with the Food Industry to create work environments where women thrive and organizations reap the rewards of a gender-diverse workforce. For more information, visit wff.org.
 
ABOUT P&G PROFESSIONAL: P&G Professional is the away-from-home division of Procter & Gamble, offering innovative total foodservice solutions featuring top trusted brands such as Dawn® Professional and Cascade® Professional. We are unique in that our total solutions are founded in customer and patron understanding, superior products that help save time and cut overall costs, and a five star service group that is based on customer satisfaction, not commissions.  For more information on how we Make Every Experience Count, please visit www.pgpro.com.


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Select Early to Mid-Career Women Named “Change Makers,” Tapped to Help Shape the Food Industry

February 5, 2019

SELECT EARLY TO MID-CAREER WOMEN NAMED “CHANGE MAKERS,” TAPPED TO HELP SHAPE THE FOOD INDUSTRY 

Dallas (February 5, 2019)
 –  Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), the national thought-leader on gender equity solutions in the food industry, believes that growth in the industry depends on advancing the next generation of leaders, and that winning the war for talent means winning the war for women.
Driving those efforts, WFF will recognize a notable group of the food industry’s rising stars as Change Makers, part of WFF's 30th Anniversary Celebration during the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference, March 10-13 in Dallas.
 
A Living Laboratory For Women's Advancement 
In addition to celebrating the women at conference, WFF will also actively engage Change Makers at the event and then with touchpoints throughout 2019.
 
The women will participate in ongoing research surveys and focus groups tracking their career goals and trajectories. This will help WFF identify key factors that influence success early in a woman's career and provide participating companies with greater insight into how to most effectively support the development of young women leaders.
 
Change Makers will also receive permanent membership in WFF, allowing access to mentorship opportunities, plus tools to advance their careers and expand their network.
 
On site at conference, the early-career leaders will have unique access to some of the industry’s most influential leaders and C-suite executives, including major-brand CEOs recently named Industry Titans by WFF for their work in their own corporations driving gender equity. Change Makers are part of an unprecedented full-circle approach with WFF’s Industry Titans Leading the Way.
 
Nominated by her employer, a Change Maker is a woman early in her career who is already driving strong business results, exemplifies inclusive leadership and is seen as a future industry leader.
 
“As WFF launches its next 30 years of advancing women, and with a growing body of research that makes clear the value of women’s contributions to the workplace and to driving stronger business growth, this is an especially important time to nurture our next generation of leaders who will guide the food industry to its bright future,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO.
 
The current list of 2019 Change Makers can be found HERE. 
 
When women do better, we all do better.
For more information about the Change Makers, or about WFF's 30 years of advancing women leaders in the food industry, visit aldc.wff.org.


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THE LEADERSHIP SKILL MORE WOMEN NEED TO SUCCEED

February 14, 2019

Sometimes referred to as the “The Missing 33%™” of the career success equation for women, weak or absent financial skills can cause women to miss career opportunities.

“Women often receive positive reinforcement for strong communication skills, team building and personal attributes but don’t get a clear message about the importance of building their financial acumen,” explains Susan Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls.

Although men and women enter roles with profit and loss (P&L) responsibility at similar levels early in their careers, the presence of women in P&L roles by the VP or SVP levels drops off significantly, according to the Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org. That can thwart career progress because P&L responsibility is often a prerequisite for senior leadership.

You can close that skill gap at our 2019 Conference, LIMITLESS: Drive Solutions, Accelerate Growth where a key focus will be The Bottom Line: How Profit & Loss Experience Drives Advancement at All Levels. Content will be targeted to each Leadership Cohort: Directors, Managers and Executives.

“Managers still tend to expect women to be good with people and men to be good with strategy and business,” Colantuono adds. “But, at a certain level, you cannot be a viable leadership candidate without being known for your business, strategic and financial acumen.”

She points to her research showing the vast majority of Fortune 500 women CEOs globally have P&L experience or have been responsible for a strategic business function such as mergers and acquisitions. Colantuono will lead the Director Leadership Cohort in exploring financial concepts.

Learning to Speak Finance
General Manager of Acumen Learning, Kenny Snarr, finds that many leaders, women and men, have gaps in their financial knowledge. He works with organizations to help them understand their own financial statements and how their leaders impact them.

“Finance is the language of business so you need to understand it, but there are a lot of ways to describe the same financial concepts so it can be a difficult language to follow,” Snarr explains. He will lead the financial session for the Manager Cohort and his colleague, Kevin Cope, will lead the Executive Cohort.

“Participants in our sessions will learn the drivers that influence business strategy and levers to activate to impact P&L performance,” Snarr said. “They will also learn to articulate financial principles clearly and quantify the value they create by using financial statements and principles.”  

Colantuono shares similar goals for her director-level sessions. “Attendees will leave with a crystal-clear understanding of why business, strategic and financial acumen matter,” she explains. “They will gain a clear model for understanding the business and interpreting financial reporting and action steps to deepen their developing skills. They will also learn how to mentor their protegees to develop these skills.”

Those who lack financial acumen, or who possess the skills but don’t know how to demonstrate them, are often frustrated by slow career progress, according to Colantuono.  Individuals who master business, strategic and financial acumen — and can demonstrate it — tend to rise more quickly.


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NEXT STOP INTERNATIONAL?

February 28, 2019

That moment when the idea of an international assignment becomes an offer can launch you into mental and emotional gymnastics. Personal and professional concerns come into high contrast as you consider the impact on yourself, your career and your family.

Research reported in Harvard Business Review found that 32% of those surveyed who turned down an international assignment did so because they did not want to relocate their families and 28% to protect their marriages.  About 13% of women (compared to only 1% of men) also reported turning down international assignments due to cultural concerns. Many who do make the leap, however, experience strong professional and personal growth. Even interacting stateside with your company's global operations can build important skills and perspectives.
 
Family Affair
“International assignments are full family commitments,” said Bethany Quam, Group President, Europe/Australia for General Mills who has worked in Switzerland for more than two years on her first international assignment. Quam will share her experience during the Signature Pre-Conference Session: Global Impact of Women presented by Lamb Weston.
 
“My top considerations revolved around my spouse being supportive of the move, a deep belief that this would be a good experience for our teenage daughters and that the job provided a differential experience that would stretch my skills and allow me to have a positive impact on the people and business of General Mills,” Quam said.
 
Session presenter Sharon Miller, a Canadian who, in the past 13 years, has lived in the U.S. and the Netherlands working with Lamb Weston, also urges thinking through all family scenarios. That includes the impact on kids who will move with you and those who may not and how the move might change your spouse’s ability to work and his or her career progression. She is currently responsible for Lamb Weston’s business in Latin America and Asia Pacific as SVP and General Manager, Global Business Unit.
 
Lynn Keays, VP of Human Resources for Sysco Europe and Global Impact session presenter, started from a similar vantage point when considering both of her international assignments. Originally from Canada, Keays completed a three-year assignment in Houston, Texas and has worked for the past 17 months in the United Kingdom.
 
“Once I establish that the assignment will provide interesting, relevant work that I’m qualified for, I start by thinking how it will affect my immediate and extended family,” Keays said. “Then, I look at the level of support available from my organization to make the transition successful.”  
 
Wisdom from the Trenches
Keays, Miller and Quam will dive deep into the plusses and challenges of international assignments during their session, but offer a few insights here.  
 

  • Talk with past expats. People who have lived in the location you are considering are extremely helpful.

 

  • It may not feel like the same company. Differences in the scale and approach of the company as well as local political, retailer and cultural norms can drive different business conditions.

 

  • Choose your experience intentionally. “International experiences can be narrow or broad,” Miller adds.  “If you are curious about working internationally, seek local assignments in your company that give you exposure to different countries and cultures to gain some relevant insights before you make the big decision.”

 

  • A new outlook on the world. “The opportunity to directly experience different cultures and business environments is a major positive of working and living abroad,” Keays said.

 

  • It’s a lot to take in. “There is so much new at one time. It is a growth experience for sure and with that growth sometimes comes growing pains,” Quam said.

 

  • Stretch assignments drive career and personal growth. “Being able to experience different functions, countries and operating models has been critical to my development as a leader,” Quam said.  


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STOP DREAMING AND LAND A GREAT JOB

February 28, 2019

Dream jobs are like unicorns; they don’t really exist. There are always tradeoffs. The work is fascinating and the hours tough. The team is amazing and the commute long. The work-life balance is real and the opportunities limited. But an imperfect opportunity to move up or over can still be a great stepping stone to something just a little closer to dreamy.
 
The key is figuring out how well the opportunity fits into your career plan and current life stage. Wally Doolin, Founder and Chairman of TDn2K, the restaurant industry analytics firm known for its People Report, advises women evaluating new opportunities to look at two key considerations. Consider how well the values of the organization and team fit with yours and explore whether there are already other successful women on the team.
 
“If you are going to be the first woman at that level or in that segment of the business, it’s important to know the leadership has a strong talent strategy going forward. You need to know they are committed to your success and the success of other women leaders in the organization,” Doolin said.
 
Keys to consider in evaluating job opportunities:
 

  • Is the role relevant? Will it provide experience in an area you are passionate about or want to excel at in the future? Will it provide experiences that will help close a skill gap? “Sometimes even a lateral move can be the right one if it enables you to fill in your understanding of the business and skill sets you need to advance,” Doolin said.
 
  • Who’s on the team? If your new boss is someone you admire and can learn from, the position may make sense even if salary or title remain about the same. The opportunity to lead an exceptionally strong team might also be a major draw, especially at points in your personal life where you may need to lean on others and are not in a position to build from the ground up.

 

  • Are related sacrifices likely to pay off? “Most people who are successful in their careers have accepted some degree of personal difficulty along the way, whether that’s the job location, time commitment or even financial commitment,” Doolin said. “It’s important to determine if a short-term sacrifice may lead to long-term gain. Although do not set yourself up for an untenable work or home life arrangement.”  

 

  • Is the organization on the move? If your company has exciting new endeavors on the horizon or is growing into new areas, you can likely grow with them. They may also be especially open to your creative new ideas. 

 
Dream jobs may only exist in fairy tales, but great jobs in the real world can provide major opportunities for growth — and the magic needed to prepare for your next break through.


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WARTS AND ALL . . . AUTHENTICITY AT WORK

February 28, 2019

When NBA player for the Toronto Raptors, DeMar DeRozan, tweeted last year about his struggle with depression, athletes and sports fans responded with support and shared candid struggles of their own. Often missing from the workplace, vulnerability is a prerequisite for human connection and research shows it can improve relationships and performance.
 
The error in flawless
Although we often adopt an all-knowing, unflappable façade at work in an effort to garner respect, research at the University of Wisconsin found that humans can quickly spot inauthenticity and react with suspicion and lack of trust.

Real at work
Extensive research reported in Harvard Business Review and elsewhere points to numerous benefits of vulnerability in the workplace. “We’ve found that when a leader, a person in charge, is able to be vulnerable and say, ‘I’m human just like you, and I make mistakes,’ it empowers the group,” according to sports psychologist Graham Betchart in an interview with CNBC.
 
We’re not talking airing your dirty laundry exactly, but sharing basic human concerns and frailties with direct reports, your team and your boss to forge greater connection and a more productive and supportive work environment.

Opening up and allowing for vulnerability at work creates a culture where mistakes are opportunities for learning and improvement rather than cause for punishment. That sort of environment leads to:

  • Increased trust of colleagues and superiors

  • More room for creativity

  • Increased physical safety as team members feel comfortable asking for help

  • Greater teamwork and more honest feedback

 
Being yourself
You can practice greater authenticity by candidly asking for help on a difficult project or letting a trusted coworker or boss know you are having a tough week due to a personal challenge. Sharing your humanity encourages others to share theirs.


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NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES NEARBY

February 14, 2019

“I’ve gained confidence, connections, mentors and friends through WFF and want to bring those same opportunities to others,” said Felicia White, Senior Director, Training and Development, Church’s Chicken. She welcomed more than 40 attendees to the first Atlanta WFF Exchange along with co-leader Jessica Brown, Process Change Lead, Digital Core Program with Georgia-Pacific.
 
“Especially in Atlanta where there are so many different corporate offices for major food companies, the Exchange provides a great opportunity to share ideas and network,” White added. “We all have the same challenges and, even if we are competitors, can support and mentor one another.”
 
They invited fellow WFF members as well as colleagues in the region of all ages and career stages who had not participated with WFF previously.  
 
Local flavor
Because WFF Exchanges are member-led, each area and even each event within an area will differ depending on the organizers. The newly-launched Denver WFF Exchange organized their meeting around a “fireside” chat on a specific career-related topic and then transitioned to networking.
 
In Atlanta, the vibe was more informal. “For our first meeting, we wanted to let things flow organically and get people interacting,” Brown said. “In the future, we may do brief spotlights on someone from a different company each time but also allow plenty of opportunity for unstructured conversation.”
 
Brown advises others who might launch an Exchange in their region to confirm a location early in the process as, especially in large metropolitan areas, meeting rooms can be expensive. She also suggests relying on LinkedIn more than Facebook to reach people with your invitation. Finally, being able to provide guests with a small gift bag at the close of the evening with items donated from local companies was a big hit.
 
Getting started
“Ideally, we have two leads in each region who organize and host each event,” explains Dana Minton, WFF Director of Corporate Partnerships and Engagement. “The most important element is that the Exchange offers a way for people involved with WFF to meet one another, network locally and forge new connections.” Exchanges can opt to meet monthly, quarterly or whatever works in the market.
 
For more information about leading, hosting or joining a WFF Exchange in your area, contact Dana Minton at dminton@wff.org.


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BRENÉ BROWN TO LEAD AT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM’S 2019 ANNUAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE

February 18, 2019

BRENÉ BROWN TO LEAD AT WOMEN'S FOODSERVICE FORUM'S 2019 ANNUAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
The acclaimed researcher and storyteller to lead two different experiences during conference & 30th Anniversary Celebration, March 10-13 in Dallas
 
Dallas (Feb. 18, 2019) – Brené Brown will kick off the Women’s Foodservice Forum’s 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference (ALDC) in Dallas with the opening general session keynote address, as well as lead a conversational session designed for audience interaction with the leadership luminary. The conference is March 10-13 in Dallas.
 
Research professor at the University of Houston and 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference keynote speaker, Dr. Brene Brown, has researched vulnerability for years and her TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top give most viewed TED talks in the world. 
 
In it, Brown explains that people who feel worthy of love and belonging (she describes them as whole-hearted) have the courage to be imperfect. That imperfection, or authencity, resonates with others and enables genuine connection.
 
“WFF both leads and leverages research to advance women and drive gender equity, so it is fitting and exciting to welcome noted researcher, Brené Brown, as she demonstrates the power of sound data and action that drive big results,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO.
 
A powerful prelude to conference kick off, Brown will also lead a signature pre-conference Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion Session, the afternoon of March 10.  Attendees get the opportunity to ask their most pressing questions during the session, Conversation with Brené Brown.
 
Three Decades of Advancing Women
The 2019 conference will mark WFF’s 30th year helping women advance in the food industry. It is an immersive leadership development experience where nearly 3,000 women connect with and learn from industry influencers, experts and each other. Most notably, the conference provides a unique opportunity for companies, who are competitors, to collaborate to accelerate gender equity and make the food industry the employer of choice.
 
When women do better, we all do better.
For more information, visit www.ALDC.WFF.org
 
Pre-Conference Interviews Available: WFF C-Suite leadership, board members and conference speakers, pending availability
 
ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM: Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the Food Industry’s thought leader on gender equity. WFF provides the research, insights and best practice solutions that enable food companies to address the pressing need for talent, drive better consumer insights and increase business performance by realizing the full potential of women leaders. Working since 1989 to provide the tools and resources to help women build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement, WFF also partners with the Food Industry to create work environments where women thrive and organizations reap the rewards of a gender-diverse workforce. For more information, visit wff.org.
 


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HATTIE HILL TO RETIRE AS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM

March 13, 2019

HATTIE HILL TO RETIRE AS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM

DALLAS, March 13, 2019
— The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) announced today that Hattie Hill will retire as president and CEO. She will remain with the organization until a new successor is hired. Hill has been CEO and president since 2013.
 
“My six years at WFF have been the most impactful of my entire career,” Hill said. “WFF has given me the opportunity to champion gender parity in the workplace and introduced me to thousands of talented women who, I have no doubt, will run not only the food industry, but the world, in my lifetime.”
 
“WFF is celebrating 30 years in 2019, and I will stay on to celebrate with them and pass the baton to the next president and CEO,” Hill continued. “I will always advocate for the success of this organization and am confident our next leader will make significant strides in her tenure.”
 
Denny Marie Post, president and CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews and current WFF Board Executive Committee Chair, considers Hill an industry icon. “Without Hattie, WFF wouldn’t be where it is today,” Post said. “She pushes the industry to participate in seminal research which showed that while we’ve made progress, progress isn’t parity. That work is helping us create a roadmap for action.  I thank Hattie for leading WFF and for advancing women in our industry.”
 
Prior to joining WFF, Hill was founder and CEO of Hattie Hill Enterprises, a management consultancy. She’s a professional speaker and the author of several corporate books, including “Smart Women, Smart Choices.” Her accolades span her entire career, including being named one of the “40 under 40” top business and community leaders by the Dallas Business Journal and being recognized by Working Women magazine for “Entrepreneurial Excellence.”  
 
Hill is active in several industry organizations and her current and past board memberships include: the Federal Reserve, Emory University Goizueta Business School, National Restaurant Association, Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, and past chair of VisitDallas. She previously served on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and the Society of International Business Fellows. Hill holds bachelors and masters degrees from Arkansas State University.
 
ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM:
WFF is the industry's premier leadership development organization, working since 1989 to advance women in the food industry. Based in Dallas, WFF serves thousands of women and men, as well as hundreds of employers across the United States in all segments of the industry including operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing, consulting and more. For more information, visit wff.org
 
 Media Contact: Krista Gibson   -   Tel: 972-741-1736
 


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COURAGE IS THE HEART OF LEADERSHIP

March 27, 2019

Learning to stand up, speak out, and step forward despite your fears
If your stomach is churning, knees wobbling and still somehow you are striding forward, you may have what it takes to be an exceptional leader — courage. It is what many call the prerequisite skill for great leadership and it has absolutely nothing to do with being fearless.
 
In fact, courage only exists where there is fear, apprehension and uncertainty. Leaders need it because they must make decisions, plan a course of action, provide and accept difficult feedback and trust others to help them along the journey with no guarantee of success.
 
From taking a risk on an international assignment to creating bravely inclusive work environments, sharing case studies on gender equity and learning to reach your LIMITLESS potential, the message at the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference was clear: success favors the courageous. A record-breaking 3,200 leaders met to build their skills, build their courage and help WFF celebrate 30 years of boldly advancing women in the Food Industry.

Conference presenters on courage
Researcher, storyteller and five-time #1 New York Times best-selling author, Brené Brown, launched Conference with critical findings from 20 years of research, including the past seven studying leadership. She found real leadership is about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage.
 
Former Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, said courage was one of her top three skills for success because you have to be willing to step up, challenge the status quo and talk about your areas of expertise.
 
The Change Makers, outstanding women leaders early in their careers selected by their companies for recognition during WFF’s 30th Anniversary Celebration also echoed the need for courage. Director of PR & Communications for Brinker International, Aisha Fletcher, advised, “Surround yourself with people who push you. They are the ones who will make you better and urge you to reach higher.”
 
Closing speaker, two-time Olympian and assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, Becky Hammon, said, “Courage sets the great ones apart. When they make a mistake, they learn and move on.”
 
Here’s what you’ll need for your journey into courage.
The Courage to Try
Deciding to be courageous is a conscious choice. Because there will come a point when you look uncertainty and possible failure in the eye and decide to move forward. That’s your moment of courage and an opportunity to set a daring vision for others. 
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Theodore Roosevelt, US President
 
A Willingness to Accept Discomfort
Courage never involves the easy, comfortable, safe thing. But it helps to know those things are risky too. There are costs associated with fear, indecision and inaction.
“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”
Brené Brown, researcher and author
 
Hard Dose of Reality
Courageous leaders don’t pretend everything is ok. They seek dissenting views, embrace constructive criticism and hold themselves accountable. They also launch difficult conversations and give tough feedback when warranted.
“We have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay in our comfort zone.” 
Roy T. Bennett, author  

 
Trust and vulnerability
You don’t have all the answers and you might not even know what to do next. You are also human and have those annoying frailties. Get ready to not be 100% in control and trust your team and colleagues to come through for you.  
“When you are role modeling and rewarding the daring … the courage … the effort…the fact that you are willing to try, you create a culture of courage which emboldens other people to take more risks.”
Margie Warrell, Founder, Global Courage and host of the Live Brave Podcast
 
A Strong Voice
Leaders communicate openly and honestly and stand up for their beliefs. They also call out discrimination and unfairness and stand behind their team members and colleagues. 
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Coco Chanel, designer
 
If you want to help your team achieve more, advance in your career or simply grow your life, start with courage. 


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SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE LEARN TO BOUNCE . . . BACK

March 27, 2019

Resilience transforms setbacks into opportunity
From serious adversity to knotty work challenges, some face failure and loss with perspective and determination to move on and thrive. Others get stuck, give up and even sabotage their future. The difference often lies in resilience. Resilient people can call upon foundational beliefs in their own strength and ability to overcome. Fortunately, those skills can be learned.
 
President & CEO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews and WFF Chair, Denny Post, opened the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference by sharing her personal story and urging the audience to build their capacity for resilience. “A willingness to take purposeful risks, embrace mistakes and failures as key learning experiences and believe in your ability to persevere is a prerequisite for courageous leadership and significant career growth,” Post said.
 
Develop a growth mindset
One of the foremost researchers on motivation and resilience, Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck, Ph.D., developed the concept of two mindsets and the powerful difference they make in the outcomes we achieve when challenged.
 
If you hold a fixed mindset regarding your qualities and abilities, you tend to have a strong desire to prove yourself right rather than learn from mistakes. You will tend to avoid challenges, give up easily in the face of obstacles, see little point in exerting greater effort, ignore constructive feedback and feel threatened by others’ success.
 
In contrast, those with a growth mindset see their basic traits as a starting point for development and look for ways to stretch toward their potential. Individuals with a growth mindset are anxious to learn, embrace new challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the way to improve, learn from criticism and are inspired by the success of others.
 
Making the switch
By focusing first on developing a growth mindset, you create opportunities to take in helpful information that can lead to your growth and success. Dweck says, as we understand these concepts we can see, “. . . how a belief that your qualities are carved in stone leads to a host of thoughts and actions, and how a belief that your qualities can be cultivated leads to a host of different thoughts and actions . . .”
 
Post’s focus on a growth mindset has enabled her to move well beyond early setbacks to grow a highly successful career in the Food Industry and mentor countless other women to develop their potential. “For me, resilience is about first facing facts and fully understanding the nature of your challenge, staying strong with support from key people who lift you up, and then fully embracing a growth mindset that allows you to see every challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow.”
 
She worries that women often feel so pressured to do everything perfectly, that they aim too low and miss out on critical opportunities to grow.
 
Characteristics of resilience
In a Solutions 360 – Holistic Life session at Conference about mental and physical well-being, CEO & Co-founder of Mequilibrium, Jan Bruce, shared numerous traits you can cultivate to develop resilience. They include emotion and impulse control (so you can think clearly and make sound choices), realistic optimism, problem-solving skills, and both empathy and an ability to ask for help.
 
Commit to developing a growth mindset at work and at home and you will open the door to new possibilities. That’s something Dweck refers to as the land of “not yet.” As in, “Have I figured out the right solve to this problem? Not yet – but I’m working on it.”


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PULL UP A CHAIR

March 27, 2019

Yum! Brands employees and leadership celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 with a special toast at Yum!’s Restaurant Support Center in Louisville.

Driving inclusion by offering a seat at the table
In her first five months as Head of Communication for Pizza Hut International, Monica Clark already knows Yum! Brands, Inc.’s commitment to inclusion is real. And she loves it! “Every team member is valued for their unique contributions and that creates a positive and productive work environment,” she said. Clark’s experience mirrors the research showing inclusive culture drives greater engagement and performance.

Research by decision practices consulting firm Cloverpop shows a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. They analyzed 600 business decisions by 200 different business teams in a range of companies over two years. They found inclusive teams made better decisions 87% of the time and that decisions executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results.
 
McKinsey & Company continues to affirm the link between diversity and financial performance, theorizing that more diverse companies are better able to attract top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction and decision making. In their 2017 Why Diversity Matters report drawing on data from 1,000 companies in 12 countries, they found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
 
Pull Up a Chair
One way Yum! Brands encourages an inclusive culture is with its Seat At The Table program, where CEO Greg Creed, who is a member of the WFF CEO Advisory Council, invites high potential talent to shadow him on global trips and attend meetings across the brands. “It is an easy and effective way to expose more people to more aspects of the business and increase their engagement and contribution,” he explained during a session at the WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference. “Culture fuels results. You have to start with creating an inclusive culture.”
 
Creed expects people who participate in the program to pay it forward and offer similar opportunities to their team members.
 
Movable Meetings
Yum! Brands also takes C-Suite meetings directly to departments to build additional connections. “If we want to learn more about a new marketing initiative, for example, Greg will invite an emerging leader to make the presentation and then the executive team goes to that person’s work environment to hear directly from them,” explains Tracy Skeans, Yum! Brands Chief Transformation and People Officer who also serves on the Executive Committee of the WFF Board of Directors. “It gives them an opportunity to shine and creates more interaction across levels.”
 
Building Skills
Skeans also points to increased interaction between the senior team and all employees as a critical way to build skills. “Talking about diversity and inclusion as senior leaders is a good first step, but we have to empower people with the actual skills to nurture inclusivity in their own teams and departments,” Skeans said. Yum! Brands senior leaders do that through personal engagement with employees that allows for specific knowledge transfer, skill building and promoting the message that everyone’s ideas matters and everyone can make change happen. 


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BRING MORE WOMEN IN THE DOOR

March 27, 2019

Drew Facer, President & CEO and Kristie Ferriell-Beck, VP Human Resources of Idahoan Foods share best practices with Tom Bené, Chairman, President & CEO of Sysco Corporation during the WFF 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference in Dallas, TX.
 
Recruiting practices that deliver diversity
When Drew Facer, President & CEO of Idahoan Foods, found himself searching for a chief HR officer and facing a frustrating lack of women and diverse candidates in his company’s hiring pool, he dove in personally to become Idahoan’s ‘chief recruiting officer.’
 
“It’s not about filling a quota,” Facer said during a session at the 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference. “It’s about having a diverse pool of qualified candidates to choose from while also taking into account who in your current workforce is ready to take on a larger role.”
 
His first priority was to analyze historical recruiting practices at Idahoan and evaluate whether existing recruiting firms were really delivering the diverse candidate slates they promised. “My mission became the qualification and selection of recruiters that I personally visited,” Facer said. “Over the course of six months, I arranged meetings with qualified recruiters as I traveled for business and today, we work with three of those companies.”
 
Recruiting for diversity
The challenges can be similar for company recruiters working to fill positions in their own organizations. Corporate Recruiter for John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc., LaSalle Crosby, starts with research into niche sites she thinks will attract her potential audience. “To get more women into our candidate pools, I use sites like Women for Hire rather than Linked In or Indeed because that enables me to proactively build a more diverse slate of applicants,” she said.
 
Crosby often must proactively look for qualified female candidates to ensure a diverse slate. “If I don’t go searching for those candidates, they often don’t apply,” she said. She first announces jobs online as ads to test who is attracted to them and then develops her marketing plan from there, deciding where she will post the full job description and how to position it.
 
Research from PWC reported in Gaining an Edge in the Competition for Talent suggests Crosby is on the right track, stating, “It’s too easy to blame a lack of sufficient candidates for difficulties in recruiting women and people from minority groups. In reality, there are plenty of candidates that would be ideal for your business, but require a more active approach in targeting and attracting them.”
 
Matching qualifications to the work
Crosby also partners with hiring managers at Sanfilippo to ensure that position requirements accurately reflect the skill set truly needed for success. “We sometimes automatically require that someone hold a college degree when really substantial work experience might prepare someone even better for the role,” she explains. “It’s a job seekers market and we have to be more creative not only in how we reach out to prospective candidates but in who we consider as viable candidates.”
 
Whether recruiting is carried out by internal staff or through consultants, creating a wide funnel helps ensure as many qualified candidates make it through as possible.
 
“My goal is to ensure we have removed all barriers, embrace diversity and drive inclusion,” Facer said.  “The culture of the company will follow the CEO’s practices.”


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JOIN 2019 WOMEN IN WORKPLACE STUDY

March 27, 2019

Lead the Way to Gender Equity
Without accurate data, it’s impossible to know where your greatest challenges to recruiting and advancing women lie and where to invest in improvement. That’s why WFF leads the Food Industry’s robust participation in the Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org.
 
WFF convened 32 forward-thinking food companies to participate in the Study for the first time in 2017. In 2018, that number grew to 62 companies, making our data set even more robust and empowering almost twice as many companies with significant insights to drive gender equity and business growth.
 
What you get
There is no cost to participate in this comprehensive study but the benefits are many. You will receive critical insights about your pipeline, HR practices and, if you choose this optional portion, employee attitudes about career advancement, work-life issues and diversity. In connection with WFF’s Gender Equity Index (GEI), you will also be able to track your progress over time and develop effective strategies to increase your ability to attract, hire, retain and advance women and drive business growth.
 
Participating companies receive a confidential report that benchmarks your organization against others in the Food Industry as a whole, and segmented by distributors, manufacturers and operators. All of your data is kept strictly confidential and only aggregate data used for the Women in the Workplace report.
 
Your customized report will include:
Talent pipeline data
HR practices and programs benchmarked against peers
Employee Experience Survey (optional but highly recommended)
Solutions with recommendations and best practices to move forward
 
Who should participate
Based on McKinsey’s data calculation methodology, companies most appropriate for participation will have 400 or more employees with a business focus in the U.S. and Canada. If you choose to participate in the optional (but strongly recommended) Employee Experience Survey, a minimum of 400 employee responses is required which typically means having 1,000 or more employees complete the survey.
 
Register Today
The sign-up process for the Food Industry is conducted by WFF and open until the end of April, 2019. The Annual Report will be published in October, 2019 and companies will receive their individual reports by year end.
 
Please contact:
Omemma Gillani at ogillani@wff.org
Manager, Partner, Insights & Research
 
Tim Johnson at tjohnson@wff.org
VP, HR & Organizational Effectiveness


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WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM WITH INTERNATIONAL FOODSERVICE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION TO SALUTE MAJOR BRANDS COMMITTED TO INDUSTRY-WIDE GENDER EQUITY

May 16, 2018

WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM WITH INTERNATIONAL FOODSERVICE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION TO SALUTE MAJOR BRANDS COMMITTED TO INDUSTRY-WIDE GENDER EQUITY
Inaugural Women in Manufacturing Award highlights commitments to solve one of the industry’s, and nation’s, toughest challenges
 
Dallas (May 16, 2018) – The first-ever Women in Manufacturing Award, sponsored by Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) along with the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), will be presented to 11 major manufacturing brands that have shown commitment to drive gender equity in their organizations and across the industry.

The awardees are: Anheuser-Busch, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, Custom Foods of America, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Ecolab, General Mills, Griffith Foods, Kellogg’s, Nestle USA, PepsiCo, and S&D Coffee and Tea, Inc.
 
These companies will be recognized during the 2018 IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration, May 19, 2018, in Chicago.
 
Awardees were selected from 32 convening companies who exhibited bold leadership and unprecedented collaboration by answering WFF’s call to participate in the 2017 Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey and Company and LeanIn.org.

The study included Food-Industry specific data that illuminated equity gaps, and became the foundation for the WFF’s LEAD THE WAY initiative. LEAD THE WAY is the Food Industry’s gender equity movement, championed by WFF.
 
“Because of these pioneers and their commitment in their own companies to reach gender equity, I believe a way forward is possible,” said Hattie Hill, WFF CEO and President. “Increasing gender equity enables the food industry to drive bottom-line performance and win the war for talent. I’m excited to recognize these 11 champions who LEAD THE WAY, every day.”
 
The food industry is the second largest employer of women, yet women remain significantly underrepresented in leadership roles. More than data, LEAD THE WAY offers a roadmap with trackable metrics and tools, from best-practices to talent sourcing and leadership development, aimed to help companies shift toward more equitable work environments.
 
“We are pleased to join with WFF to recognize some of the top manufacturers in our industry who are making strides toward equity, ultimately benefitting our industry and the customers whom we serve,” said Larry Oberkfell, IFMA President and CEO.
 
For more information or for interview opportunities, contact Zakiya@QuestMediaTraining.com.
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ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM: Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the industry’s premier leadership development organization working since 1989 to advance women in the food industry. Based in Dallas, WFF serves thousands of individuals and hundreds of employers across North America in all segments of the industry including operators, manufacturers and distributors. WFF supports women by providing tools and resources to build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement. The organization also convenes critical data sources to assist member companies with research-based best practices that improve individual career growth and workplace talent management to enhance gender equity and make the food industry the employer of choice. For more information, visit wff.org.


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FOCUS IS THE NEW WORKPLACE IQ

May 8, 2019

Learn how to work deep and shallow
Ben Franklin knew it was easy to get distracted long before the black holes of Facebook and Instagram. He combatted it with dedicated blocks of time for deep work that required focused attention and scheduled shallow work when he was more likely to be tired, interrupted or distracted. His approach is timelier than ever and could actually help you get something done.
 
Focus is today’s competitive advantage
With a lot of hand wringing about digital distractions decreasing productivity and wigging out our brains, Georgetown University Assistant Professor Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, says the ability to focus has become a point of competitive advantage.
 
“The worst thing you can do, if you’re trying to use your mind at its maximum limit, would be what almost everyone does, which is let me just take a quick glance at the phone, or the web, or my email every ten to fifteen minutes. That’s like working with a significant cognitive handicap,” Newport said on the Work and Life podcast.

Research has proven that multitasking was always a total hoax and that all we were doing was constantly switching from one task to another, lowering productivity with every toggle. Even the briefest shift in your attention to a text, email or other distraction results in “cognitive residue.” It turns out distractions have a “stickiness” that remains and continues to use up brain space even once you turn back to the work at hand.
 
On the other hand, if you get your Ben Franklin on and create blocks of time for uninterrupted work, you get more done in less time. Everyone around you will freak out but that’s when you explain the economic impact. Newport says there is huge economic opportunity for individuals and organizations that learn to work deeper as the ability to focus is becoming more valuable as it becomes increasingly rare.
 
How to go deep
Ben Franklin did it with a detailed daily schedule that started with intentional thought about how to “prosecute the present.” He blocked out several hours early when he was well rested and sharp. Later in the day, he handled more mundane tasks and evaluated what he accomplished. You’ll need cooperation among colleagues to pull it off today, but those who do are likely to reap rewards in productivity and satisfaction.
 
Newport offers this modern-day approach.
 
Work deeply at a high level: Get aggressive about protecting time for uninterrupted work. This is where selling the team on its competitive advantage will go a long way to creating mutual support. “It’s the deep work that creates massive amounts of value that can’t be automated, can’t be outsourced,” Newport argues.
 
Consider launching as a two-week pilot. Can you commit to give each other 90 minutes of dedicated work time per day?
 
Embrace boredom: Whoa, we didn’t see that coming. But 90 minutes of uninterrupted time can be hard to handle at first. You may need to train yourself to dig in and not succumb to distraction fun. Newport says that whipping out your phone every time you lack stimulation actually weakens the ability of your brains’ executive center to focus and remain focused.
 
Quit social media: Is he nuts? No, dead serious. At the very least, become much more selective about what you let into what Newport calls your “attention landscape.” Evaluate your social media use with a more critical eye, weighing the costs and benefits of various platforms to your work. Media companies are conspiring to grab your attention for their benefit, not yours.
 
Drain your shallows: Be a careful gatekeeper of how many non-deep work obligations you accept. Open a conversation with your boss about the ratio of your deep work to shallow work. Taking stock of how much time you spend on shallow work can help identify things that aren’t adding enough value to warrant doing them or that could be done far less frequently.
 
Going deep can be scary but having the courage to focus can reap huge dividends for individuals, teams and companies. You may just start a revolution.


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YOU, IN 15 SECONDS

May 8, 2019

A powerful, personal elevator pitch
“What do you do?” is one of the most ubiquitous questions in our culture but the quality of your answer can spell the difference between a polite pivot and a powerful new connection. A polished, 15-second pitch enables you to present your skills and potential in a flattering light, pique a listener’s interest and demonstrate confidence, professionalism and preparation.
 
“Too often, we listen to messages from our inner critic telling us to downplay our strengths, be quiet or avoid interaction with someone at a more senior level,” explains Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., best-selling author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. “Creating a strong, personal elevator pitch can help you bypass that critic and enable you to deliver a powerful, confident snapshot of who you are and how you contribute in your organization.”
 
With that pitch in your back pocket, you can turn a 10-story elevator ride with the Senior Vice President into an opportunity to spotlight your potential, or open an interesting dialogue with a new colleague at a networking event. 
 
Putting it into words
Think of your personal elevator pitch like writing ad copy — choose every word with purpose and prune extraneous ones. In 15 seconds, you can comfortably speak about 35 words. Here are some ways to make them count.
 
Keep it simple and limit jargon.
You will engage listeners more quickly if they can understand what you’re saying without working too hard. It will also be much easier to remember and deliver your pitch, even in a stressful moment.
 
Focus on results
Rather than just stating a job title, share your results and your feelings. For example, instead of, “I’m an advertising manager,” you might say, “I make sure every promotion we run is supported by the right ads across the Northeast. I love it because it’s fast-paced and my role directly impacts sales and growth.”
 
Paint a picture
Choose colorful words that matter. You could say, “I’m an HR specialist” but how much more interesting if you said, “I search for the most talented and creative people to join our team.”
 
Practice and revise
Your pitch will be delivered out loud so practice it that way. Start in front of the mirror and then deliver it to family and friends. Ask for honest feedback. Is it boring? Hard to follow? Does it sound too self-serving or did you leave them wanting more?
 
Tailor to your audience
Like all good communications, tailor your pitch to your audience. If you both work in the Food Industry or the same company, you can get a bit more technical but you need to find points of commonality or general interest for other connections.
 
You will elevate your personal brand with an elevator pitch that shares not only what you do, but how you make a difference.
 


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CREATE A BETTER WORKPLACE

May 8, 2019

Employees want more than a paycheck
Today’s employees place especially high value on finding meaning and personal fulfillment at work. New research by PwC along with Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) and Imperative (a talent development platform) suggests that strong work relationships and opportunities for personal growth and impact are key to developing workplace fulfillment.
 
In Making Work More Meaningful: Building a fulfilling employee experience, the research partners share findings from their survey of more than 2,000 employees and executive interviews. Their conclusion is that a better understanding of neuroscience can help business leaders create work environments that do more to unlock human potential and workplace satisfaction.
 
Wired for connection and contribution
Our brains are wired for connection with other people and feelings of belonging are correlated with higher oxytocin levels in the brain, sometimes called the love hormone. Dopamine, on the other hand, (the feel-good hormone) drives motivation and our desire to grow and improve.
 
When these chemicals are triggered during the workday, employees are more likely to feel satisfied. According to the Fulfillment at Work survey, fulfilled employees plan to stay with their employer nearly three years longer than unfulfilled colleagues.
 
Culture is key
Organization cultures where employees enjoy significant opportunities to find fulfillment in their work can attract and retain top talent and help current team members rise to their potential. Building a genuinely inclusive culture that values everyone for their unique strengths, uses mistakes for learning rather than punishment and focuses on end results paves the way to a strong workplace culture where fulfillment is expected, and found.
 
Because fulfillment is closely tied to a sense of belonging, opportunities for personal growth and the ability to make an impact, building organization strength in those areas is a great place to start. Consider these approaches:
 
Build relationships and belonging

  • Get to know direct reports and colleagues personally
  • Promote open communication about priorities and timelines
  • Recognize individuals for strong performance
  • Offer rotational assignments, mentorship and reverse mentorship to help employees build more diverse relationships
Help team members make an impact
  • Demonstrate how everyone’s contribution fits into the big picture
  • Define clear and specific objectives for problem solving
  • Reward results and not simply activity
  • Provide stretch assignments and incentive programs where employees can up their impact
Create opportunities for growth
  • Create safe spaces for mistakes and failure and treat them as key learning experiences
  • Request and share specific feedback to help everyone improve
  • Foster purposeful risk-taking and challenge your team to try new things
  • Empower employees with leeway to interpret the impact they can make: some people are most motivated by helping an individual and others by their contribution to a much larger goal


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HOW TO GET HELPFUL FEEDBACK

May 8, 2019

It’s how you ask and how you listen
When a boss or colleague offers ‘helpful feedback’ or ‘constructive criticism,’ it can make your throat close. With some bad experiences in our past, we sometimes go right into defense mode or shut down.  But proactively seeking meaningful feedback from people you respect and who know your work is one of the most effective ways to speed progress and send a clear message that you are committed to growing.
 
“Feedback is like a compass to guide you on your career journey,” says author and career coach Katrina McGhee. “Too often we allow feedback to feel intimidating but it is simply data. It should feel much scarier to blindly move forward without input on whether we are moving in the right direction. Constructive, specific feedback helps us course-correct, improve and grow if we’re ready to hear it.”
 
The key is how you ask and how you listen.
 

  1. Ask people you really want to hear from. You are likely to have at least an annual performance evaluation with your boss and that should be a great opportunity for feedback. But there may be other people whose perspective you really value or from whom you would find it more palatable to receive a candid critique. You are not limited to getting feedback from one source.
 
  1. Open yourself to honesty. Maybe you need to meditate, re-read past emails of praise or indulge in an amazing chocolate muffin first, but prepare yourself to receive feedback openly. And let the person know that candor will be more helpful to you than praise.
 
  1. Dig deeper. Without being defensive, probe to get a better understanding of the feedback or ask for specific examples. Can she clarify how your presentation skills could be improved, or remember specific times when you could have stepped up more?
 
  1. Really listen. Whether you agree or disagree, avoid interrupting to explain or justify. If you let the person finish their thoughts, you are likely to get far more helpful information than if you immediately mount a defense.
 
  1. Write it down. Take specific notes during the meeting to communicate that you take the person’s time and input seriously and so you can revisit it later.
 
Feedback represents the viewpoint of the giver and isn’t always 100% accurate. But it does provide a window into how others perceive you and that alone is valuable. Regularly seeking feedback from those you respect is like having a great flashlight on a dark path — you get a much clearer idea of where you need to go.
 


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IDENTIFY KEY BUSINESS DRIVERS

May 8, 2019

Know your company’s critical success factors to increase yours
Understanding how your company makes money, and the metrics that reflect that, empowers you to focus on the right problems and make better decisions. Leaders in all functional areas need to understand their company’s key business drivers and how to impact them.
 
“Job specialization in large companies can distance employees from a full understanding of what makes the company successful,” says Kevin Cope, Founder and CEO of Acumen Learning and author of Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career and Company. “But everyone, from sales leaders to HR executives, need to know and be able to impact the key factors that build value across the organization,” he says.
 
You can increase your ability to analyze financial data, enhance results and build your network in four cities across Canada at WFF’s Spring Leadership Roundtables on Initiative and Business & Financial Acumen.
 
Success factors
Key business drivers are basically the critical factors that lead to success. They:

  • Reflect the performance and progress of your business
  • Are measurable
  • Enable comparison to a standard, such as a budget, prior year performance or an industry average
  • Are actionable
 
Many drivers are consistent across almost all organizations but even those, such as sales, must be understood within your context.
 
Interdependent web
A critical reason for clearly understanding your company’s most important drivers is to maximize those you can control, mitigate others, such as current economic conditions, that you cannot, and understand the interplay among them.
 
"Leadership requires an understanding of the overall business and moving into management positions means leaving behind a singular focus on function/profession and taking on the identity of a business woman. This is something that women aren't often told," says Susan Colantuono, author of No Ceiling, No Walls and Make the Most of Mentoring.
 
Five Business Drivers
Cope suggests a five-driver model composed of Cash, Profit, Assets, Growth and People with People at the center because the drivers come to life through the actions of team members. He also emphasizes the connection between these drivers and the three financial statements used by almost all businesses:
Statement of Cash Flows (aligns with the cash driver)
Profit & Loss Statement (aligns with the profit driver)
Balance Sheet (aligns with assets driver)
 
All five drivers exist across the Food Industry with differences in the details. A restaurant manager, for example, might focus on labor costs and shifting demographics and would need to know whether dine-in, takeout, catering or bar service drive the greatest revenue streams.
 
A manufacturer might be challenged by automation, labeling requirements and commodity costs while a distributor sees transportation costs and on-demand delivery services as key drivers to understand and influence.
 
As you develop a solid understanding of the key business drivers in your organization and how to influence them, you will build your business acumen, your value and your career potential.
 


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WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM ANNOUNCES THE 2019 WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING AWARD RECIPIENT

May 10, 2019

WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM ANNOUNCES THE
2019 WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING AWARD RECIPIENT
The Coca-Cola Company selected from a competitive pool of companies committed to gender equity

Dallas (May 10, 2019) – Now in its second year, the well-received Women in Manufacturing Award, sponsored by Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) along with the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), will be presented to The Coca-Cola Company.

After a nation-wide call for submissions, the recipient of the 2019 Women in Manufacturing Award was selected based on criteria that include: existence of a diversity and inclusion strategy promoting the advancement of female leaders, strategy to include proactive attraction of female talent, outreach and professional development opportunities to grow and retain female contributors, and the ability to demonstrate a working environment/culture that supports women.

The Coca-Cola Company has demonstrated its commitment to drive gender equality across its organization and industry through the company’s multi-faceted “Global Women’s Initiative.”

The award selection committee was particularly impressed by the results of the Global Women’s Leadership Council (GWLC,) created as part of the “Global Women’s Initiative.” Highlights of GWLC’s results to date include:
•    Women now represent 34.7% of senior leadership roles globally, compared to 23% in 2008.
•    The mid-level pipeline of female managers has increased from 28% in 2008 to 44.8% globally.
•    In the first quarter of 2019, 50% of global new hires were female across all job levels.

In its submission, The Coca-Cola Company stated an ambitious goal: “We want The Coca-Cola Company to be 50% driven by women.” Illustrating their effectiveness, women now make up 47.8% of the organization globally.

“WFF is proud to again partner with IFMA for the WFF/IFMA Women in Manufacturing Award,” said Hattie Hill, WFF CEO and President. “We congratulate The Coca-Cola Company for their tireless efforts and impressive results in creating an equitable work environment. All of the submissions were notable and encouraging. I know for sure that the future of the Food Industry, and especially the future of women in our industry, is limitless.”

The Coca-Cola Company will be recognized and presented with the award during the Sixty Fifth IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration, May 18, 2019, in Chicago.

“Thank you to WFF and IFMA for this distinguished recognition of our efforts as The Coca-Cola Company strives for a gender-equal workplace and world,” said Lisa Chang, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, The Coca-Cola Company. “We recognize that this work is a journey, and while we are proud of our results, we continue to focus on building, accelerating and sustaining our progress over time.”

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ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM: Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the Food Industry’s thought leader on gender equity. WFF provides the research, insights and best practice solutions that enable food companies to address the pressing need for talent, drive better consumer insights and increase business performance by realizing the full potential of women leaders. Working since 1989 to provide the tools and resources to help women build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement, WFF also partners with the Food Industry to create work environments where women thrive and organizations reap the rewards of a gender-diverse workforce. For more information, visit wff.org.


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