The Women’s Foodservice Forum has honored five emerging leaders with the second annual Women Making Their Mark award, which identifies and celebrates up-and-coming women executives in foodservice.  

The winners, selected among this year’s 23 nominations from 16 different foodservice organizations, will be honored at the WFF 2014 Annual Leadership Development Conference, which will take place March 23-26 in Dallas. The group includes women leaders from McDonald’s, Rich Products, Dunkin’ Brands, Kellogg Company and Church’s Chicken.   

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"We want to recognize the next generation of women leaders," said Anna Mason, WFF general manager and vice president of operations. "These women have demonstrated the courage to lead and disrupted the status quo — all while taking others with them."

WFF, the premier leadership development organization working to advance women in foodservice, is celebrating its 25th year throughout 2014. The annual conference is expected to bring together more than 3,000 attendees next week.

The Women Making Their Mark awards are focused on emerging talent in positions under the vice president level at foodservice organizations. Nominees are submitted by senior-level executives and must meet set criteria. An anonymous panel of female executives reviews and scores all nominations, and the five winners in 2014 were the highest-scoring entries. Celebrated qualities include innovation and initiative leading to a positive impact on the organization, business, industry or colleagues.  

Following are snapshots of the 2014 Women Making Their Mark winners.

Cathy LoblawCathy Loblaw

Senior director, McDonald’s Canada

Loblaw leads her organization in raising awareness, understanding and funding for Canada's Ronald McDonald Houses, which offers housing for families of seriously ill children who are receiving treatment at a nearby hospital. Under Cathy's leadership, RMH Canada has increased its support to Ronald McDonald Houses that provide 470 bedrooms for over 10,000 families annually, which is about 40 percent of the families of Canada’s most sick children.

The remarkable growth at Ronald McDonald Houses also included the launch of Canada's first Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, which delivers free medical, dental and health education services to underserved families. Loblaw is passionate about women's leadership and is known for leading with integrity and leveraging resources in unconditional ways.

Nominated by: Richard Ellis, senior vice president, communications, public affairs and corporate social responsibility, McDonald’s

Maureen LynchMaureen Lynch

Sales and operations leader, Rich Products Corporation

Lynch has led Rich's sales and operations process covering the United States and Canada since January 2012. Under Lynch's guidance, the company has met or exceeded key business objectives and undertook an evaluation of monthly projects for product, demand, supply and financials, all while allocating resources for customer needs.

Lynch's leadership of this cross-divisional, cross-functional initiative led to Rich's achieving the Oliver Wight "Class A" Advanced certification, an award received by very few companies. This success has led to an expansion of sales and operations planning initiatives into the company's international markets. Lynch has also started a leadership and mentoring program for associates to cultivate talent and inspire others.

Nominated by: Bob Pavone, vice president of customer service and logistics, Rich Products

Tracy TreadwellTracy Treadwell

Operations director, Dunkin’ Brands

Treadwell has successfully implemented the 300-restaurant "GAP" initiative to enhance the Dunkin' Donuts restaurant culture by focusing on people, improving speed, adding equipment with modified layouts and leveraging technology. While a sales-growth goal was set at 66-percent greater than non-GAP locations, after implementation, GAP locations exceeded the forecast and saw sales rise nearly 75 percent.

The Northeast-centered initiative, involving rollout plans, internal team education, training materials and more, is now a national program that may impact nearly 7,700 restaurants. Her leadership played a key role over this long-term strategy. Treadwell currently leads a team of operations mangers overseeing nearly 400 restaurants and 50 franchisee networks in the Boston market. Her passion and energy have helped build strong relationships, and through her leadership she has influenced many in their personal development.

Nominated by: William Bode, regional vice president, Northeast, Dunkin Brands

Susan WascoSusan Wasco

Director of customer marketing, Kellogg Company

Though this is Wasco’s first role in customer marketing and she is managing the largest team of her career, she has challenged her team’s approach to the business and has driven alignment across the organization while realizing financial objectives. Since taking the lead on the GS1 supply chain and information sharing initiative — a complex project that has made real-time information on Kellogg’s product line available to the industry — the company has been recognized as one of the leaders of this initiative by Kellogg customers.

Wasco is focused on obtaining results but also helps develop team leadership at the same time. She also gives back to the industry through service on many WFF committees.

Nominated by: Ben Wexler, vice president of marketing and innovation, Kellogg

Felicia WhiteFelicia White

Director of National Field Training, Church’s Chicken

Last year, White was put in charge of the development and implementation of training programs for nearly 25,000 Church’s Chicken employees. Within her first month as a director she created a completely redesigned training program that focused on using technology, producing all materials in a digital format, and involving actual employees in production — and she did this with a budget of less than $100,000.

A full system conversion took place in just under 10 months and has been regarded as a significant positive change by all of the company’s teams. White is known for leading with integrity, and bringing enthusiasm to every project she works on.

Nominated by: Peter Servold, VP of Operations Support, Church's Chicken

Editor’s Note: Award winners’ information and bios were supplied by the Women’s Foodservice Forum.