Fresh, local goat milk makes all the difference.
Food Industry Executives Join 2020 WFF Board to Advance Gender Equity and Accelerate Women's Progress

Food Industry Executives Join 2020 WFF Board to Advance Gender Equity and Accelerate Women's Progress

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The Women's Foodservice Forum (WFF) recently elected six top executives to its 2020 Board of Directors while also naming an Executive Committee Member to serve as Treasurer. The Board is committed to supporting WFF as it amplifies its role as the thought leader on gender equity solutions and a leadership development organization for women.

Therese Gearhart, President and CEO, Women's Foodservice Forum"WFF will continue to accelerate women's advancement across the food industry by creating inclusive work environments where women thrive and gender-diverse organizations reap the reward of sustained business growth," said WFF President and CEO Therese Gearhart. "We continue to accelerate learnings and adoption of best practices to help partner companies drive gender equity and provide unmatched leadership development, role modeling, and networking opportunities for their team members and next generation of leaders.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Women's Foodservice Forum (@womensfoodserviceforum) on

Salli Setta, WFF Board Chair and President and Chief Concept Officer for Red Lobster, noted in a press release that she believes WFF's impact on driving gender equity in the food industry will increase substantially over the next year.

Salli Setta, President and Chief Concept Officer, Red Lobster, and Board Chair, Women's Foodservice Forum"With the leadership of WFF's new President and CEO, Therese Gearhart, and a strong and committed Board of Directors, WFF is focused on achieving gender-equity in the food industry through strategic initiatives designed to accelerate the advancement of female leaders," Setta said.

The new Board Members include:

  • Jean Chick is a Principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Restaurant and Foodservice Industry Leader. With 27 years of experience with the organization, she has led large company transformations with Deloitte's consumer products, automotive, travel, hospitality, and services clients.
  • Alisa Gmelich is Vice President, Marketing for IHOP Restaurants and has worked on ground-breaking programs such as the IHOb campaign that generated record-setting engagement levels and strong business results. She has 20 years of experience as a restaurant marketing strategist including developing campaigns for top brands such as McDonald's and Burger King.
  • Heather Neary is President of Auntie Anne's and responsible for the overall strategic direction for all functional areas of the organization. Since joining the company in 2005, she has held various leadership roles including oversight of marketing, communications, operations, research and development, product innovation, and the Franchisee Advisory Council prior to being named President in 2015.
  • Merary Simeon is Vice President, Diversity and Engagement for PepsiCo North America and a proven human resource leader with more than 20 years of experience working for various Fortune 100 companies in North America and Latin America. Her leadership experiences include Diversity and Inclusion, Talent Management, Leadership Consulting, Culture Change, and Executive Coaching.
  • Libby Wanamaker is a veteran HR leader who currently serves as Vice President, Talent Experience for Chick-fil-A. She leads Human Resources for the brand's corporate staffing including talent acquisition, total rewards, talent development, and talent operations. She also spent more than 18 years at The Coca-Cola Company in a variety of HR leadership roles.
  • Colleen Wolf is Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Ventura Foods. With more than 20 years of IT management experience, she has led diverse technical functions in both manufacturing and service companies. She is responsible for the information technology strategy and execution that support Ventura Foods' operations and growth objectives.

Tracy Skeans, Chief Transformation and People Officer, Yum! Brands, and Treasurer, Women's Foodservice ForumIn addition to these appointments, Board Executive Committee Member and Chief Transformation and People Officer of Yum! Brands, Tracy Skeans, has been appointed Treasurer and will succeed to Chair-Elect and Chair over the next three years. Skeans reports to the Yum! Brands' CEO and leads business transformation and global people capability strategies to build powerful brands and fuel sustainable results around the world. Yum! Brands has over 49,000 restaurants in more than 145 countries and territories primarily operating the company's restaurant brands—KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

How will forums like this change the face of the specialty food industry? Deli Market News will keep checking in.

Women's Foodservice Forum