The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has announced the recipients of its annual awards honoring outstanding performance and achievement in the foodservice industry. The award recipients will be honored at the 2011 WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference, in Orlando, April 10-13.

  • Trailblazer Award: Denise Morrison, executive vice president and CEO, Campbell Soup Company
  • Leadership Award: Karen King, east division president, McDonald’s USA, LLC
  • Volunteer of the Year Award:Michele Varian, vice president, strategic sourcing, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.
  • Jackie B. Trujillo SOAR Award: Darden Restaurants
  • 2011 Outstanding Board Service Award:Hattie Hill, CEO, Hattie Hill Enterprises, Inc. and WFF board member-at-large

“These individuals and corporations are reflective of the very best in the industry,” says Fritzi Woods, president and CEO of WFF.” We’re proud to honor these recipients and recognize their achievements and best practices during this year’s annual conference.”

Trailblazer Award

Denise Morrison, executive vice president and CEO, Campbell Soup Company.

During her eight-year tenure at Campbell, Morrison has been a strong and vocal supporter of diversity and inclusion. She has been instrumental in the development and continuous evolution of Campbell’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She has heightened Campbell’s focus on inclusion and helped ensure that Campbell casts a wide net when recruiting talent. As a result, women hold more than 40% of management and leadership positions and people of color hold 18% of these positions with Campbell’s. Denise also continues to work to leverage Campbell’s affinity network groups to help drive consumer insights and business results.

Leadership Award

Karen King, east division president, McDonald’s USA, LLC.

King is an exemplary, innovative leader, who leverages institutional, intellectual and personal power to orchestrate strategy and drive results for the McDonald’s business and within the foodservice industry. As a former McDonald’s crew employee, King is a proven business leader and restaurateur who keeps the customer at the forefront of every business decision. In her current role, she leads all aspects of restaurant operations, franchisee relations, and market and brand development to drive long-term growth for more than 5,200 McDonald’s restaurants in the eastern U.S. She was promoted to this position in March 2005.

King serves on several boards that are committed to the advancement and development of women, both at McDonald’s and in the business world at large. Committed to the foodservice industry by promoting job and career opportunities, she is an active member of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Board of Directors and a trustee on the NRA Educational Foundation.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Michele Varian, vice president, strategic sourcing, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.

Varian’s volunteer career with the WFF has covered several years during which she has served in a variety of roles across several committees. Her intelligence, thoughtful approach and leadership are strong traits that have contributed to her success within the WFF and have led to her being the go-to volunteer leader to head up important WFF projects. Specifically, the virtual events committee, under Varian’s leadership, has delivered tremendous results throughout this year and has left a legacy that has helped WFF put a strong, positive momentum in place.

Named vice president, strategic sourcing in May 2009, Varian is responsible for all aspects of strategic sourcing supporting the restaurant business of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., including distribution and supply chain.

Jackie B. Trujillo SOAR Award

Darden Restaurants.

Darden has long understood the value of a culture that embraces and celebrates different perspectives, thoughts and experiences for its business. For this reason, Darden was founded with the knowledge that a successful restaurant operation can exist only when the “best and the brightest” talent has been identified and empowered, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality or sexual orientation. This understanding led to the company’s commitment to diversity as a driver of its success and the establishment of the company’s diversity initiative.

Darden proactively recruits women-owned businesses as vendor partners to supply its restaurants. In FY 2010, Darden spent $125 million with women-owned businesses, 3.3% of the company’s total purchasing budget. The organization was ranked in Fortune magazine 2011 “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

2011 Outstanding Board Service Award

Hattie Hill, CEO, Hattie Hill Enterprises, Inc. and WFF Board member-at-large.

Hattie Hill has been a WFF board member since 2010, and since then she has volunteered countless hours to create, energize and engage top leaders in foodservice to become part of its Executive Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Advisory Group. A result of the group’s work is a new series of conversations that will occur at WFF’s Annual Leadership Development Conference in regard to Communities of Interest (COI). These defined COIs (such as caregivers, young professionals, women of color, military families and GBLT communities) will enable those with common interests, life stages or needs to interact in a more intimate and meaningful way. Hill deserves thanks and recognition for assembling this tremendous group of industry leaders around a topic of high interest and high impact in the industry.

Hill has more than 28 years’ experience as a businesswoman, author, professional speaker and international management consultant. She and the Hattie Hill Enterprises Consulting team works with large and medium size companies to address issues of leadership, diversity and inclusion. Her expertise in global leadership, customer service, diversity and inclusion has been shared with major organizations throughout North America and 42 other countries. 

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