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Three of Woods’ children — Crysta Pikes, Clyde Pikes III and Caleb Pikes — accepted the award in honor of their mother.

“Most people have a difficult time accepting these awards as it requires them to talk about themselves, which no one really wants to do,” said Crysta Pikes. “We, however, have the honor and privilege of accepting this award on our mother’s behalf.

“At last year’s awesome conference, I asked my mom what were her plans after she left as CEO at WFF,” she continued. “I told her she needed to do something amazing so she could achieve a Trailblazer award and stand in the elite circle of men and women who changed this industry.”

Clyde Pikes III recalled noting his mother’s passion early in his own education. “She had a very simple ‘Do your best, or die’ philosophy,” he said, to laughter from conference attendees. “Whatever she did, she did it with all her heart. That passion has left lasting memories with everyone she encountered. As she encouraged us, I encourage you: Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and chart the course to follow your own passion. It was her leap into this organization that blazed trails for thousands of women leaders today. Find that thing you love and work it tirelessly.”

Woods familyCaleb Pikes said he was proud of his mother’s determination. “From her humble beginnings, she was determined to excel at whatever she put her mind to and expected nothing less from those around her,” he said. “When we’d meet her employees, they’d ask, ‘Man, is your mom as tough at home as she is at work?’ To which we’d respond: ‘She’s much tougher, and there’s no HR department at home.’”

After Woods’ death, the WFF established the Fritzi Pikes Woods Aspire Higher Fund to provide resources for leadership development in the industry.  Hattie Hill, president and chief executive of Hattie Hill Enterprises Inc., a management and human relations consulting and training firm, heads fundraising for the fund and said it had raised more than $400,000 toward a $1 million goal.

The group is also creating the Aspire Higher Institute to provide customized leadership programs and education scholarships. “With your help, we can assure that Fritzi’s impact will be felt by women today and into the future,” Hill said.

With the Trailblazer Award, Burns said WFF continues its tradition of fostering leadership in the foodservice industry.

“For the past 25 years, WFF has helped women turn glass ceilings into windows of opportunity,” she said. “Along the way, there have been extraordinary women and men who have mentored, challenged, led and blazed the trail for others.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 27, 2014: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Clyde Pikes III.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless