On February 20th, Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) Board Chair Lorna Donatone and President/CEO Fritzi Woods led a delegation of more than 30 women executives from the foodservice industry to the White House to forge a strategic alliance. WFF members in attendance included executives from The Coca-Cola Company, Darden Restaurants, KFC Corporation, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Starbucks, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, and YUM! Brands.
During the meeting, which addressed the advancement of women leaders in the foodservice industry, WFF leaders were briefed on policy issues by key White House Staff. Among those addressing the WFF were Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama and chair, White House Council on Women and Girls; Sam Kass, assistant White House chef and senior policy advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives; Christina (Tina) Tchen, chief of staff to the First Lady and executive director, White House Council on Women and Girls; and Felicia Escobar, senior policy director for immigration.
The WFF representatives had the opportunity to voice their experiences, challenges, and questions about advancing women leaders, menu labeling, immigration, and other key initiatives.
“Today marks a historic milestone for the WFF,” says Donatone, President/COO of Sodexo Education. “I have been at the briefing table before but never with this many women. Women leaders in foodservice have a critical role to play and must have a seat at all tables—including discussions in the highest level of government that impact women, businesses, communities, and our homes.”
“This day at the White House was an excellent opportunity for the leaders in foodservice to expand their perspectives on issues impacting our industry,” says Woods. “Together our voices were heard loud and clear. We are certain this new alignment with senior government officials will create unlimited possibilities. Access was the winning ingredient for both the White House and our leaders.”