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McDonald's Yolanda Cook Named First Chris Lowe Scholars Award Recipient by WFF and The Coca-Cola Company

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DALLAS, April 14, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WFF, the premier leadership development organization in the foodservice sector, and The Coca-Cola Company announced today that Yolanda Cook, quality, service and cleanliness vice president for McDonald's Raleigh region, is being honored with the first Chris Lowe Scholars Award.

Sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, the annual Chris Lowe Scholars Award recognizes high potential women in the foodservice industry. The award is named for Chris Lowe, a Coca-Cola veteran who championed women's leadership and development at the company.

"Yolanda Cook is an inspirational leader at McDonald's who exemplifies Chris Lowe's dedication to women's advancement and the core mission of the WFF," said Kathleen Ciaramello, president, national food service & on-premise, Coca-Cola North America. "Not only has Yolanda risen to her position based on a superior skill set driven by operational results, but at the same time she has a passion for helping others develop at her company."

Cook leads one of the largest business units in the McDonald's U.S. System overseeing operations, training, technology and deployment in the Raleigh region. The region comprises of nearly 800 restaurants in six states and serves over a million guests daily. She started at McDonald's as a crew member and held several mid-management positions before joining the U.S. Operations team in 2004, when she helped to deploy new products across 14,000 U.S.-based restaurants. Cook later became senior director of operations in the Chicago region before being named to her current vice president role.

"We are extremely proud of Yolanda and the accomplishments that contributed to her success and this recognition," said Debbie Roberts, senior vice president, restaurant support officer, McDonald's East Division. "Yolanda is a great example of the strong, talented women we have among our leadership ranks at McDonald's and we appreciate all she does to empower and elevate others in our organization."

"Thanks to The Coca-Cola Company Chris Lowe Award, we are able to send one outstanding leader to our renowned Executive Leadership Program," said Anna Mason, general manager of WFF. "We are honored to recognize Yolanda Cook, whose leadership at McDonald's has included an emphasis on helping others advance in their own careers."

Cook is also a Divisional Lead for McDonald's African American Council and a member of McDonald's Leadership Network.

The WFF Executive Leadership Program, led by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management Faculty, is exclusively for the foodservice industry and provides high-potential leaders a global management perspective. Participants in the program have the opportunity to build the skill set necessary to successfully lead organizations while building strategic connections with industry peers. Sessions are held at Kellogg campuses and during the WFF's Executive Summit.

ABOUT WFF

The WFF is the industry's premier leadership development organization with more than 20 years of experience advancing women in the foodservice industry. WFF serves thousands of individuals and hundreds of employers in all segments of the industry including operations, manufacturing, distribution, publishing, consulting, and more. Through highly effective and educational events such as the Annual Leadership Development Conference, Executive Summit and Regional Connects as well as professional development and rich networking opportunities, WFF provides the competence and strategic connections needed to make a positive difference in the careers of women in the foodservice industry. For more information, visit wff.org

ABOUT THE COCA-COLA COMPANY

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio features 16 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.

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Source:Women's Foodservice Forum;The Coca-Cola Company