Women’s Foodservice Forum Appoints New Leaders to its Board

WFF board members work together to grow opportunities for and accelerate the advancement of women, helping ensure a robust talent pool and competitive advantage across all segments of the foodservice industry, the organization said.

Dallas-based Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has announced the appointment of two industry leaders who will join its 2024 board of directors and named the senior leaders who will serve on the board executive committee.

As members of the WFF board, the organization said these leaders work together to grow opportunities for and accelerate the advancement of women, helping ensure a robust talent pool and competitive advantage across all segments of the foodservice industry.

“The research is clear today that organizations with diverse senior leadership drive better performance,” WFF President and CEO Therese Gearhart said in a statement. “WFF is honored to work with partners across the foodservice community who are committed to cultivating women leaders, removing obstacles to advancement, and leading the way to stronger organization and industry performance. Together, we are Changing the Face of Leadership.”

Sarah King, chief people and diversity officer at Darden Restaurants, will lead the 2024 WFF board as chair.

She leads the execution of Darden’s people strategy as well as building organizational capability and employee culture to further enable Darden’s growth, WFF said. King is also responsible for all aspects of the HR functions within Darden, including oversight of the HR organizations within each of Darden’s operating companies.

King said that WFF has been a pioneer in advancing women leaders and continues to increase opportunities for women to grow their professional skills, networks, and visibility.

“This year, we are so proud to celebrate the 35th anniversary of WFF’s founding and to note the important gains women have made in leadership positions,” King said. “The powerful synergies between WFF, the industry, and women leaders are helping drive that progress.”

King added: “As individuals, organizations, and an industry, we know we can accomplish even more as we continue to work together for change. With extensive in-person and virtual resources that provide endless professional development, networking and learning opportunities, WFF is a tireless non-profit partner that continues to help talented, ambitious women break through barriers and expand their careers in the foodservice industry.”

New board members and executive committee

WFF said it also is welcoming two new members to the board: Sumi DeBenedittis, senior director of industry relations, PepsiCo, and Shannon Garcia, global chief operating and digital and technology officer of the Pizza Hut Division of Yum! Brands.

Here’s the WFF 2024 executive committee:

Chair: Sarah King, Chief People and Diversity Officer, Darden Restaurants

Chair-Elect: Kate Jaspon, Chief Financial Officer, Inspire Brands

Treasurer: Elizabeth Horvath, Vice President, Marketing, North America, Kerry Group

Executive Committee:

  • Ann Mamer Lloyd, SVP Distributor Sales, Ecolab
  • Coley O’Brien, chief people officer, The Wendy’s Co.
  • Dawn Rasmussen, chief revenue officer, Woodland Foods
  • Loraine Yalch, president, National Accounts Division, Armada Supply Chain Solutions

More on WFF

Women’s Foodservice Forum said it is the foodservice industry’s thought leader on gender equity.

The organization said it leverages research, insights, and best practice solutions that enable food companies to address the pressing need for talent, drive better consumer insights, and increase business performance by realizing the full potential of women leaders.

Established in 1989, it aims to provide the tools and resources to help women build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.  

R E A D   N E X T

  • A 50/50 Women on Boards event on Oct. 17 at SMU connects female leaders with insights on gaining board seats. A panel, coaches, and eight honorees are on the agenda to advance women in corporate pipelines and board diversity.

  • "Since data is crucial for maintaining ongoing DEIB initiatives and dedication, Kanarys leads the way in establishing quantifiable DEIB strategies, thanks to its data-centric methodology aimed at creating a fairer future for all work settings," says Google CDO and Kanary's Board Member Melonie Parker.

  • After recently losing her nonprofit's former work space, Small has found a new one in Comerica Bank's near East Grand Avenue. The VWEC will be Comerica Bank's community incubation partner at its new BusinessHQ collaborative space on East R.L. Thornton, offering six small businesses dedicated/private office space, one-on-one cultivation support, and consultations with small business capital providers, as well as exclusive access to a content creation studio.

  • Are you a woman entrepreneur looking to kickstart your innovative business idea? Here's an incubator program based in Denton that could transform your dreams into reality. Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs, in collaboration with Stoke Coworking, is opening applications for the fourth installment of AccelerateHER, a unique incubator program exclusively for women-owned businesses. Eight woman-owned businesses will be picked to participate. Stoke Executive Director Heather Gregory says the collaboration with the TWU Center for Women Entrepreneurs is significant. According to Gregory, the partnership plays a pivotal role in empowering women and women-identifying entrepreneurs with the necessary resources and…

  • First fund from Wendi McGowan-Ellis’s Cassandra Capital also intends to invest in women-owned VC firms.