WFF brings growth opportunities and more to women foodservice professionals

The 35th annual Women’s Foodservice Forum’s (WFF) Leadership Conference gave women from all parts of the foodservice industry an opportunity to connect and grow their career paths.
Isabella Pagana and Priscilla Rios
Aramark employees Isabella Pagana and Priscilla Rios both attended this year's Women’s Foodservice Forum’s Leadership Conference. | Photo courtesy of Benita Gingerella

Last month, thousands of women in the foodservice industry traveled to Dallas for the Women’s Foodservice Forum’s (WFF) Leadership Conference.

Now in its 35th year, the conference provides women with resources, best-practices and networking opportunities to advance their careers.

That opportunity to connect and grow is important for Isabella Pagana who currently serves as diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) program manager for Aramark.

“My role is about serving people and making sure we take care of our people,” says Pagana. “It is so important that we [give our employees] the opportunity to have this professional development experience to connect with their colleagues and spend dedicated time focusing on their development.”

For Pagana, DEI is about being intentional about finding ways to provide career growth opportunities to all Aramark employees, regardless of their background.  

“We are intentionally focused on building bridges with partners that are going to lead to advancing peoples’ career development and serving not only just underrepresented groups, but also serving everyone,” she notes.  

Corporate Marketing Director at Aramark Canada Priscilla Rios agrees, and believes that at its core, DEI is how you treat others. 

“When it comes to inclusion, in my personal opinion, it comes down to treating others with respect and integrity, no matter what their background is, then you are really being inclusive of everyone,” she says. “Just by treating others with respect, you are doing your job well.”

This year’s WFF conference is special for Rios. She is one of several women being honored as a 2024 WFF Change Maker.

“I'm super happy with the Change Maker nomination,” she says. “It is both an honor and a responsibility. And that also tells me that I'm on track to be the best version of myself.”

This is also the first year that Rios has been able to attend WFF in person after attending once virtually during the pandemic.

Both Rios and Pagana, are quick to stress the importance of connections and mentorship and how much they have played a role in both of their careers. In Rios’ case, for example, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Aramark Canada Louise Hudson has provided essential support as Rios has advanced through her career.

“Mentorship, whether it is informal mentorship or formal mentorship, I think is really, really important to further develop and grow in your career,” she says.



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