WFF Congratulates the Second Graduating Class of Its Executive Leadership Program Fueled by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management

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DALLAS, April 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WFF, the premier leadership development organization in the foodservice sector, announced today the second graduating class of its Executive Leadership Program, fueled by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and sponsored by PepsiCo.

The WFF Executive Leadership Program provides leaders with a global management perspective to help drive their careers to the next level. 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 over the course of 24 months, and include the guidance of an Executive Coach.

Participants not only expand their education and management skills through the WFF Executive Leadership Program, but they also convert those learnings to real career advancement. In fact, 65 percent of all graduates to date have earned a promotion or change in their responsibility and scope of work at their organizations after completing the program.

"The Kellogg School of Management and the Kellogg Center for Executive Women partner with the WFF to provide a unique and high-quality curriculum for the WFF's Executive Leadership Program," said Catherine Taylor, manager of the Kellogg Center for Executive Women. "This program focuses on developing the skills necessary for high-potential executives to successfully lead their organizations in an ever-changing global environment. Congratulations to the recent program graduates. We are looking forward to welcoming another group of esteemed foodservice leaders into the WFF Executive Leadership Program."

"This one-of-a-kind program prepares executives to utilize their leadership, their talents, and their innovative ideas to rise to the highest ranks of the foodservice business," said Kirk Tanner, president of PepsiCo Foodservice. "As a proud supporter of this program PepsiCo offers a heartfelt congratulations to these new graduates."

The latest 11 graduates hold a cross-section of leadership roles at their respective organizations and include: Juli Barry, business manager, Kraft Food Group; Jane Bullock, vice president, administration, A.J. Antunes & Co.; Cindy Demeules, vice president, human resources, Starbucks Coffee Company; Deborah Franta, regional vice president, Darden Restaurants, Inc.; Michelle Giovine, senior director of marketing, Ninety Nine Restaurants (ABRH); Julia Lazzara, sales director, ConAgra/Lamb Weston; Valerie Leduc, vice president, operations, Angelo's Restaurant; Claire Prager, vice president, talent selection, The Cheesecake Factory; David Stephens, director, Pizza Hut from PepsiCo Foodservice; Carla Variglotti, vice president of support services, The Cuyahoga Group; and Dayna Walters, director of national accounts, Campbell Soup Company.

"What is so interesting and unique to this program is that each student has the opportunity to navigate their own experience," said Caroline Wolters, HR & operations, WFF. "Students chose which session they attend for credit, which include the WFF core leadership competencies as well as cutting-edge business topics from Northwestern. Each graduate gains knowledge, strategic networking opportunities, and competencies that help them take huge career leaps and visibility within their organizations."

For more information about the Executive Leadership Program, please visit:


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


PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Our main businesses - Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola - make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit

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Source:Women's Foodservice Forum