Promoting Gender Diversity in Food & Beverage Leadership

December 3, 2012 in Career and Job Search Tips, Food & Beverage Industry Information, HR Best Practices



Neuroscientists have reported that men think differently than women.

But that doesn’t mean they’re better leaders.

Current statistics, however, might cause you to believe differently.  While women have made great strides in every profession – including those in the food & beverage industry – they still find fewer opportunities in executive offices and corporate boardrooms.  Case in point? Only 18 of today’s Fortune 500 have female leaders (according to

The question is: “Why?”  Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Personal and social pressures may make it harder for them to succeed as leaders.  Factors like maternal and domestic priorities, greater societal pressures, office behavior double-standards and the burden of maintaining physical appearances place additional pressures on women.
  • Standards in the business world are primarily made and enforced by men.
  • Many companies espouse a commitment to gender diversity but do not know how to fully integrate it into their culture.  This allows for persistent stereotypes and biases against women to endure.
  • Women may lack opportunities to join informal networks and role models to support their professional growth.  As a result, they keep lower level jobs, change companies or drop out of the workforce all together.

Realities like these are especially unfortunate, when studies continually find that companies with a high number of women executives and board members perform better, both organizationally and financially:

  • According to Catalyst research, the 25 Fortune 500 companies with the best records for promoting women to senior positions have 69 percent higher returns than the Fortune 500 median for their industry.
  • A 2010 McKinsey Global Survey found companies with the highest gender diversity also had higher returns on equity, operating results and growth in market valuation than the averages in their respective sectors.

In a time when strong leadership is definitely needed in the food & beverage industry, the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has answered the call.  Founded in 1989, the organization promotes gender diversity as both the right social move and a smart business decision.  They have played a principal role in not only raising the issue of gender among senior teams, but also inspiring and supporting its female members to pursue and succeed in high-level roles.

Over the past two years,  the WFF has implemented a new strategy to accelerate the impact its organization has on advancing women leaders:

  • Talent Pipeline Development. The WFF helps women and men develop their leadership competencies, building stronger teams, resulting in more successful organizations.
  • Strategic Connections. Organizations that are a part of the WFF community create strategic, transformational connections with peers and companies across all segments within the industry.
  • Brand Distinction. Member organizations positioned themselves as companies where leaders grow leaders, helping them attract, retain and engage the best talent in the industry.

To learn more about conferences, alliances, leadership programs, scholarships and other services offered by the WFF, visit their website.

Kinsa Recruiters are proud members of  the WFF, and the Kinsa Group has been a WFF Partner organization at the Supporter level since 2011.  We developed, created, host and support their online Career Center and job board, to help further their goals of advancing women leaders in the foodservice industry.