First Choice

Rich’s Sponsors Women’s Foodservice Forum Career Progression Study

In July, the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) presented the results of a career progression study that Rich’s sponsored at the 12th Annual WFF 2014 Executive Summit in New Orleans.

As a strong advocate for internal professional development and cross-functional training for its associates, Rich’s provided a significant grant to fund the research that was introduced to more than 300 foodservice industry executives. The study was designed to deepen the industry’s understanding of leadership skills and explore future trends in career advancement for women.

The results were revealed in a white paper, “A Roadmap to the C-Suite,” that is available as a free download at the following link:

www.womensfoodserviceforum.com/CPWhitePaper

“It was of the utmost importance for Rich Products to support this endeavor as it mirrors the value our organization places on career development and advancing women leaders within Rich Products,” said Bill Gisel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rich Products. “We too will use the study findings to reinforce our current career development strategies at Rich’s, and we are also very proud of the positive implications this will have on the industry at large.”

With sights set on gender parity on executive teams, WFF, the trusted leadership development organization in the foodservice sector, and Kenexa, an IBM company that is a pioneer in employee research and workforce performance, unveiled the findings of the year-long study on the factors and competencies that influence women’s leadership development and advancement to the C-Suite.

“We conducted this research study to acquire an understanding into the key competencies and factors that have contributed to success for those who have already achieved C-level roles,” said Hattie Hill, WFF President & CEO. “We are thankful for Rich’s sponsorship of the research study and longtime support of the WFF mission. The key findings will enable us to continuously evolve our training and development for our members, at all levels of their careers, and best serve our mission of advancing women leaders.”

WFF members were asked to respond to a series of questions related to the critical factors that influenced their success at different levels of their careers:

  • Emerging Leader [Managers]
  • Emerging Executive [Directors]
  • Executive [Vice Presidents]
  • C-Suite [CXO]

The participants addressed one fundamental question: “What factors influence women’s success in achieving the highest levels of leadership in the foodservice industry?”

The results indicated several valuable conclusions that correlate to WFF’s Leadership Competency Model:

• Early in their careers, women at the top gained competence in delivering results and demonstrating financial acumen. Pivotal competencies such as Strategic Thinking and Visioning and understanding the business climate, become most critical in their ascension to the C-Suite.

• Executive leaders are confident and take action. They make things happen and they are not easily deterred, even when the stakes and the pressures are high.

• Executive leaders drive for results and aren’t afraid to take risks to gain success. They are more willing to push themselves out of their comfort zones to take on new assignments, experiences and roles – even if they don’t think they are fully prepared.

• Regardless of functional expertise, building overall business and financial acumen has been important in their career growth and success.

• Women in the top spots didn’t get there by accident. Most set their sights on the top spots early in their careers by establishing career goals and following personal development plans.

By recognizing the key factors that have proven successful for women currently in top business positions, the WFF can develop leaders and increase the representation of women in the C-Suite and boardroom.