Women’s Foodservice Forum Announces New Board Members to Advance Gender Equity and Create New Paths for Women to Succeed

Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has elected four senior leaders to its 2021 Board of Directors and named new positions for its Executive Committee members. The robust board of industry executives, and the global brands they represent, are steadfastly committed to increasing opportunities for women and cultivating gender-diverse leadership.
 
“At this critical time for our industry, the need to adapt to current realities and build new capabilities is evident,“ said WFF President & CEO Therese Gearhart. “With bold steps and adoption of best practices, we can help Partner companies retain and grow their female talent to drive gender equity, as well as help with the distinct challenges women face during the COVID-19 crisis,” Gearhart added.
 
Kathleen Ciaramello, Chief Customer Officer, Coca-Cola North America, and newly named WFF Board Chair for 2021, knows that WFF will hold a pivotal role for driving gender equity in the Food Industry. “With our strong and passionate Board of Directors, and under the tenacious leadership of WFF’s President & CEO, Therese Gearhart, WFF is committed to help organizations accelerate the advancement of female leaders and lay the foundation for an equitable workplace,” Ciaramello said.
 
CIARAMELLO APPOINTED CHAIR
Board Chair-Elect and Chief Customer Officer, Coca-Cola North America, Kathleen Ciaramello, has succeeded to Chair. Kathleen has responsibility for customers across the full portfolio and all routes to market, including retail, drug, restaurants, hospitality, entertainment and more.  The Coca-Cola Company is a total beverage company, offering over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories. 
 
SKEANS APPOINTED CHAIR-ELECT
Board Treasurer and Yum! Brands Chief Operating Officer and Chief People Officer Tracy Skeans has been appointed Chair-Elect and will succeed to Chair in the next year. Skeans reports to the Yum! Brands CEO and is responsible for driving cross-brand collaboration on operational execution, people capability and customer experience imperatives that will fuel same-store sales and net-new unit growth. Yum! Brands operates restaurant brands including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill and has over 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries and territories, making it a leader in global retail development.
 
ANITA ZIELINSKI APPOINTED TREASURER
Board Executive Committee Member and SVP, Chief Accounting Officer at Sysco, Anita Zielinski, has been appointed Treasurer and will succeed to Chair-Elect and Chair over the next three years. Zielinski joined Sysco in 2017 and oversees the Company’s accounting functions, with responsibility for financial accounting and reporting, accounting policy, tax compliance and strategy and internal controls. With more than 57,000 associates, Sysco operates 326 distribution facilities and serves more than 625,000 customer locations worldwide.
 
NEW BOARD MEMBERS
New WFF Board members serve two successive, three-year terms beginning January 1, 2021 and concluding December 31, 2026.  
 
Christina Clarke has served as Wingstop’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer since September 2019. Christina joined the Wingstop team in October 2018 as the Vice President of Marketing. Prior to Wingstop, Christina held many marketing positions at PepsiCo where she led various Frito-Lay North America teams across brand, foodservice, innovation, shopper, and portfolio marketing.

Catherine Fox is the Vice President of Brand and Product Marketing for Land O’Lakes, Inc.'s Dairy Foods Foodservice and Retail businesses, which include Butter and Spreads, Cheese, Kozy Shack, Licensing and New Products. Prior to joining Land O’Lakes, Catherine was a leader for 14 years in food marketing with nine years in consumer products at Pillsbury and General Mills.

Kelly Lefferts is the Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. She began her career at Bloomin’ Brands in 1997 as Corporate Counsel and has held positions of increasing responsibility within the Bloomin’ Brands legal department. She is the Founder and Steering Committee Member of Bloomin’ Brands, Inc.’s Women’s’ Interests Network, and an Executive Sponsor and member of the company’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Coley O’Brien has served as Chief People Officer at The Wendy’s Company since March 2018, beginning his career with the Company in 2007. During his time at Wendy’s, Coley has established the Top General Manager program, celebrating restaurant General Managers for their leadership, performance, and dedication to the brand. He has also implemented a new employment branding strategy, and increased focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Coley serves as the executive sponsor of Wendy’s Young Professional Resource Group, which is focused on the growth and development of young professionals. Prior to Wendy’s, Coley worked at Sears Holdings Corporation, where he served as Director of Retail Training and began his career with Arthur Andersen LLP as a Senior Consultant.
 
WFF 2021 Board Executive Committee Members
  • Chair: Kathleen Ciaramello, Chief Customer Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
  • CEO: Therese Gearhart, President & CEO, WFF
  • Chair-Elect: Tracy Skeans, Chief Operating Officer and Chief People Officer, Yum! Brands, Inc.
  • Treasurer: Anita Zielinski, SVP & Chief Accounting Officer, Sysco Corporation
 
Executive Committee Members at Large
  • Ryan Elwart, SVP, Global Sales, Georgia Pacific
  • Sarah King, Chief Human Resources Officer, Darden Restaurants
  • Ann Mamer Lloyd, SVP Distributor Sales, Ecolab
  • Kelli Valade, President & CEO, Black Box Intelligence 
 
WFF 2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS 
  • Jean Chick, Principal, Deloitte Consulting, Inc.
  • Christina Clarke, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Wingstop Restaurants, Inc.
  • Catherine Fox, VP of Brand & Product Marketing, Dairy Foods, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
  • Alisa Gmelich, Chief Brand Officer, Auntie Anne’s
  • Blaine Hurst, Vice Chairman, Panera Bread, LLC
  • Katherine Jaspon, SVP, Chief Financial Officer, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.
  • Julie Juvera, SVP, Crew Resources, Fry Cook & Cashier, Raising Cane's
  • Kelly Lefferts, EVP, Chief Legal Officer & Secretary, Bloomin’ Brands
  • Jamie McKeon, SVP, Demand Creation, Rich Products Corporation
  • Heather Neary, Former President, Auntie Anne’s
  • Coley O’Brien, Chief People Officer, The Wendy’s Company
  • Shawn O'Grady, Group President, Convenience & Foodservice; SVP, Global Revenue Development, General Mills
  • Salli Setta, Immediate Past Chair, WFF and Former President and Chief Concept Officer, Red Lobster
  • Merary Simeon, VP, Diversity & Engagement, PepsiCo North America
  • Libby Wanamaker, VP, Talent Experience, Chick-fil-A
  • Jennifer Williamson, SVP, Brand and Communications, Sodexo USA, Inc.
  • Colleen Wolf, SVP & Chief Information Officer, Ventura Foods
  • Loraine Yalch, SVP, Client Solutions Group & Business Development, ARMADA Supply Chain Solutions, LLC
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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 leverages 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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