This week, leaders from General Mills’ Bakeries & Foodservice division took home a prestigious industry award for their efforts to advance and develop talented women.
The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), a group dedicated to developing gender-diverse leadership in the foodservice industry, honored General Mills with the 2012 Jackie B. Trujillo Outstanding SOAR Award.
WFF says the SOAR Award recognizes companies that are proven “standard-setters for opportunity, advancement and recognition for women.”
Susan Kujava, the director of industry relations for Bakeries & Foodservice, attended WFF’s conference and was among the women and leaders recognized.
I asked her to provide some background and perspective on the award.
Describe what it felt like to receive the SOAR award.
Kujava: I am so proud to be working for a great company like General Mills. It’s such an honor to be recognized by WFF, an organization focused on supporting women’s leadership development in the foodservice industry. It was amazing to be recognized at the general session in front of 24 of our division’s women and executives and thousands of our customers and industry peers.
What makes General Mills’ diversity and inclusion efforts stand out? Why do you think we won?
Kujava: In Bakeries & Foodservice, we have amazing leadership support and women who want to make a difference. Five years ago, we initiated a “Women in Industry” network. This group is made up of sales, marketing and other cross-functional groups in Bakeries & Foodservice.
Our volunteers have been doing great things aligned with the broader Women’s Network vision of “Leveraging Women for Championship Results.”
We established mentoring circles for women in the field, away from headquarters, with 60 women participating this year. Women have also established regional connections to build supportive communities for all of our employees across the U.S. We have also been focused on workplace flexibility by increasing awareness of the options available and by encouraging employees to work with their supervisors to ask for what they need.
What makes you proud to be a female leader in the Bakeries & Foodservice division?
Kujava: I love this industry and the Bakeries & Foodservice division and culture. Our people are passionate, deeply care about our customers and are the best in the industry. I have great support and a divisional commitment to develop our future leaders.