Finding Role Models

WFF conference is THE place to find inspiring role models 

Seeing someone very much like you excelling in aspirational roles helps women set their sights higher and start charting the way there. Being able to actually connect with those women and hear the challenges faced and bold decisions made along the way is a critical element of the WFF Leadership Conference. The 2020 Conference (March 29-April 1) features even more opportunities to learn from inspiring role models from the Food Industry and beyond.  


With images and examples of successful women in diverse career roles far less prevalent in the media and, unfortunately, still in real life, female role models are critical to helping women expand their vision of what’s possible.  Access to industry role models and women breaking through boundaries for themselves and leading the charge for others provides powerful motivation to grow your career aspirations. 

A recent study published by the National Library of Medicine finds that women exposed to female leader role models tend to imitate their nonverbal behaviors, a process the researchers call empowering mimicry. According to the study, “Female leader role models can show women how to behave in challenging situations — how to speak, stand, or move. In turn, women may model those behaviors and, as a result, be empowered by the female leader role models.” 

The researchers conclude that increasing women’s visibility in leadership is the engine that can further drive the advancement of other women in leadership. “Early in my career, I had the opportunity to talk with executive women at Sodexo who combined powerful careers and family,” explains Jennifer Williamson, Sodexo Senior Vice President for Brand & Communications and WFF Board member. “Their examples shifted my thinking and I began to believe I could do more and to stretch myself into new areas.”    

Role models are particularly important, and especially scarce, for women of color. "As women of color, we often have to cast our net wider and be very proactive in searching for role models because there are far fewer people of color in leadership throughout the industry," shares LaSalle Crosby, corporate recruiter with John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. She found inspiration at a WFF Conference by networking with an African American male speaker. "We've kept in touch throughout the year and I've sought his advice on D&I initiatives my company is implementing."  

WFF’s sweet spot: inspiration and access 

Especially if female role models are not plentiful in your immediate work environment, WFF affords numerous opportunities to see women leaders in action and learn more about their personal career journeys (the highs and lows).  

“When you see that many women in a room at the WFF Conference and hear these accomplished women sharing their journeys, it is extremely powerful,” Williamson says. “Women need to know they are not alone in facing workplace challenges and that support is available to grow their careers.”  

New opportunities to connect 

WFF is expanding the impact of inspiration and role modeling with even more opportunities to ‘see it so you can be it’ at the 2020 LIMITLESS Leadership Conference (March 29-April 1 in Dallas). Opportunities include: 

Leader's Corner 

Our new Leader's Corner will offer smaller group interaction with senior industry leaders in more intimate settings where they can share career and professional insights and host a Q&A with participants.   

Networking with Leaders Lunch 

Get connected and inspired at our popular Networking with Leaders Lunch where table discussion is facilitated by a senior industry executive. 

Functional Networking Lunch 

Our new All Attendee Functional Networking Lunch will connect colleagues with similar responsibilities to forge strategic relationships around shared challenges, opportunities and ongoing networking. A facilitator will lead discussion on a timely topic.   

Keynote speakers from diverse fields 

In addition to learning from senior women in the Food Industry, provocative speakers from other fields will also challenge you to expand your concept of personal success and possibility. Keynote presenters include:  

  • Tina Brown, author, founding editor of The Daily Beast and former editor of Vanity Fair magazine in an address sponsored by PepsiCo. 

  • Jill Ellis, legendary Head Coach of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team.  

  • Ana Navarro, political strategist and commentator and co-host of ABC’s The View. 

  • Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1 national best seller, The Happiness Project. 

  • Abby Wambach, FIFA World Cup Champion, author, highest all-time international male or female soccer goal scorer and co-founder of Wolfpack Endeavor in an address sponsored by P&G Professional. 

Communities of Interest (COI)  

Our online Communities of Interest (COIs) connect working women with shared interests and challenges to help you grow professionally and personally. During Conference, the COI’s meet in person so plan to join the discussion topics that resonate most with you.     

REGISTER now for the 2020 Leadership Conference and connect with colleagues and role models who will inspire you to own your LIMITLESS potential.  

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