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Top Women Spotlight, from page 32

Kelly: My executive team operates with a very high level of autonomy, allowing me to focus on developing business operations that promote our food philosophy and vision and drive our growth. How would you describe the needs of your customers? Beth: Years ago, school lunch was much simpler. Today, natural, nutritious, locally sourced food is the norm. Our role is to help Districts accomplish their goals with the resources available. Kelly: We have a diverse range of customers, from students and business professionals, to healthcare patients and senior citizens. They all expect our team to be engaging, responsive, professional and friendly. In your opinion, what are the changes you see to the foodservice marketplace? Beth: People are looking for clean, fresh, and organic ingredients; they care more about what they eat than ever before. Kelly: Clean label initiatives. There is a demand for foods with short ingredient lists and organics from companies with strong sustainability practices. How have those needs evolved and what has your company done to respond to those needs? Beth: Our food philosophy, Simply Rooted®, is based on wholesome foods that taste great. Our customers can trust that they are eating meals made free from harmful ingredients. Kelly: Whitsons has been at the forefront of this initiative for over 12 years. We required our suppliers to remove ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and unnecessary additives from

their products, allowing us to offer customers the same food we serve our own families. You are a businesswoman in a male-dominated field, what are your thoughts on the cracking or elimination of the glass ceiling in our industry? Beth: As the only woman among 7 brothers, I’m accustomed to being in the minority. But in our organization and in our family, the best ideas win out, regardless of gender. I sincerely believe the glass ceiling does not exist at Whitsons. Kelly: I’m stunned that real data supports the overall success of women in executive positions, yet men still occupy the largest percentage of senior leadership roles. I’m fortunate to work in an environment where women are regarded highly for their efforts, contributions, and commitment. Share your secrets to success, your tips for young businesswomen. Beth: Be open to new ideas and approaches to problems. Continue learning, especially outside your wheelhouse. Maintain your integrity at all times. Share your knowledge and learn from others. Kelly: Set goals. Commit to them and be willing to make sacrifices. Make the journey fun; if you’re not enjoying it, it’s not worth the trip. Crystal ball. What’s next on your agenda? Beth: Our customers can continue to expect us to be ahead of the curve as we expand our use of local and organic ingredients in our programs. Kelly: Expanding our geographical service areas. I believe it’s paramount to our long-term growth strategy.

102 • July 2019 • Total Food Service • www.totalfood.com

Profile for Total Food Service

July 2019 - Total Food Service  

From totalfood.com - Total Food Service's July 2019 Digital Issue features an exclusive Q&A Interview with restaurateur & author Stratis Mor...

July 2019 - Total Food Service  

From totalfood.com - Total Food Service's July 2019 Digital Issue features an exclusive Q&A Interview with restaurateur & author Stratis Mor...