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Women Foodservice Executives Participate in High-Powered WFF Summit

The invitation-only event featured two keynote workshops led by professors from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Additionally, the Summit offered a content rich board readiness seminar and panel discussion that further prepared women working to achieve a seat on a board of directors.

"EWS provides a wonderful opportunity to network with outstanding executive women in the industry," said Julie London, vice president, diversity-talent development, Waffle House, Inc. "The negotiation and crisis management workshops were on point and well executed. It was a very professional event."

Dr. Leigh Thompson, J.Jay Gerber distinguished professor of dispute resolution and organizations, kicked off the event with a dynamic negotiations training program that focused on strengthening the following key skills: creating value in negotiations, leveraging influence and power in negotiations, and using both of these skills to reinforce and solidify the business relationship. All participants received feedback to improve their ability to reach a win-win outcome.

Attendees interested in elevating their career through board service visited the Creating Your Personal Plan to Obtain a Board Seat seminar. Deb Nelms, WFF Board consultant, led members through an informational and instructional session that provided critical action steps for achieving a board position. Immediately following was a panel discussion featuring WFF members that currently sit on a board: Sarah Palisi Chapin, president of The Chain Gang; Hala Moddelmog, president and ceo of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; Fritzi Woods, president of PrimeSource Foodservice; and Sheri Miksa, former ceo of Rubio's Restaurants. The session, moderated by Nelms, was designed to explore and develop the attendees' plans for achieving board positions.

"Each year we work to enhance our programming by listening to what our executive level members are looking to refine in their career," said Mary Bentley, WFF president. "The board readiness session was designed to help more women take that step to obtaining a board seat, which supports the WFF's goal of challenging companies to appoint at least three women to the senior teams and boardrooms of every company by 2010 and having women comprise 50 percent of every executive team and board by the year 2020."

An interactive hands-on culinary event placed WFF members on cooking teams lead by professional chefs and Chicago's very own Charlie Baggs, executive chef of Charlie Baggs Inc. Held at the Museum of Science and Industry, the evening presented an educational, cultural and delicious opportunity for members to interact and learn about the rich history of the famous Chicago landmark.

The Executive Women's Summit wrapped up with a strategic crisis leadership session by Dr. Daniel Diermeier, IBM distinguished professor of regulation and competitive practice and one of the world's top crisis management experts. Diermeier led EWS women through a half-day workshop that challenged beliefs on how to lead an organization in times of crises. Diermeier's program also featured cutting-edge crisis simulation exercises to assist in putting these skills into practical everyday use.

The 2006 WFF Executive Women's Summit was sponsored by: Brown-Forman, Coca Cola Company, Ecolab, General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice, Hartmann Luggage, Kellogg's Food Away From Home, PepsiCo Foodservice, UNICRU and U.S. Foodservice.

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