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Headed For the Top

Headed For the Top

Bonus Appearance: Keynoter Carly Fiorina (l.) stuck around to share negotiating tips during Dr. victoria Medvec's executive track session.

Time For A Toast: There was plenty to celebrate at the Women's Foodservice Forum's 18th annual Leadership Development Conference in Orlando, including record attendance.

The attendance figures at this spring's Women's Foodservice (WFF) Forum Annual Leadership Development Conference tell you all you need to know about how valuable WFF is to its members. The group has slightly more than 3,000 professionals on its membership rolls; fully 3,000 of them traveled to Orlando in April to take part in the 18th edition of WFF's signature event.

What was the attraction? WFF's mission is to launch women into positions of leadership. Its stated goals are to have at least three female executives on all foodservice teams and boards of directors by 2010, and to achieve gender parity on senior teams and boards by 2020. Right now, some members are emerging leaders; others have already reached executive status. This year's Leadership Development Conference aimed to provide relevant programming that would help women in both categories master four of the WFF's core leadership competencies— strategic thinking, building networks, developing others and risk-taking.

"This is an amazing year for WFF," said WFF president Mary Bentley. "We not only had a record turnout at conference, but we are proud to announce double-digit growth in membership and growth in sponsorship companies, as well. This is a clear signal that organizations within this industry are continuing to get the message that when we elevate women leaders, the entire industry benefits."

General sessions featured keynote speakers Patricia Russell-McCloud and former Hewlett-Packard chair and c.e.o. Carly Fiorina. Both provided inspirational insight into maximizing potential, overcoming challenges and reaching ultimate goals.

In addition to previously announced WFF awards (2007 Trailblazer Pat Anton and 2007 Emerging Leader Lynette McKee), the group named Kat Cole, vice president of training and development for Hooters of America, as its 2007 Volunteer of the Year.

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