Food Industry Executives Join 2020 WFF Board to Advance Gender Equity and Accelerate Women’s Progress

DALLAS — Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) has elected six senior leaders to its 2020 Board of Directors and named an Executive Committee member to serve as Treasurer. The robust board of industry executives, and the global brands they represent, are committed to supporting WFF as it amplifies its role as the thought leader on gender equity solutions and premier leadership development organization for women.

“WFF will continue to accelerate women’s advancement across the Food Industry by creating inclusive work environments where women thrive and gender-diverse organizations reap the reward of sustained business growth,” said WFF President & CEO Therese Gearhart. “We continue to accelerate learnings and adoption of best practices to help Partner companies drive gender equity and provide unmatched leadership development, role modeling and networking opportunities for their team members and next generation of leaders,” Gearhart added. 

Salli Setta, WFF Board Chair and President and Chief Concept Officer for Red Lobster, believes WFF’s impact on driving gender equity in the Food Industry will increase substantially over the next year.  “With the leadership of WFF’s new President & CEO, Therese Gearhart, and a strong and committed Board of Directors, WFF is focused on achieving gender-equity in the Food Industry through strategic initiatives designed to accelerate the advancement of female leaders,” Setta said.

Board Executive Committee Member and Chief Transformation & People Officer of Yum! Brands, Inc., Tracy Skeans, has been appointed Treasurer and will succeed to Chair-Elect and Chair over the next three years. Skeans reports to the Yum! Brands’ CEO and leads business transformation and global people capability strategies to build powerful brands and fuel sustainable results around the world. Yum! Brands, Inc. has over 49,000 restaurants in more than 145 countries and territories primarily operating the company’s restaurant brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.   

New WFF Board members serve two successive, three-year terms beginning January 1, 2020 and concluding December 31, 2025.  

Jean Chick is a Principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Restaurant and Foodservice Industry Leader. With 27 years of experience with the organization, she has led large company transformations with Deloitte’s consumer products, automotive, travel, hospitality and services clients. She has navigated complex financial and operational issues while balancing change management and critical strategic considerations to drive adoption and impact for clients.

Alisa Gmelich is VP, Marketing for IHOP Restaurants and has worked on ground-breaking programs such as the IHOb campaign that generated record-setting engagement levels and strong business results. She has 20 years of experience as a restaurant marketing strategist including developing campaigns for top brands such as McDonald’s and Burger King.

Heather Neary is President of Auntie Anne’s and responsible for the overall strategic direction for all functional areas of the organization. Since joining the company in 2005, she has held various leadership roles including oversight of marketing, communications, operations, research and development, product innovation and the Franchisee Advisory Council prior to being named President in 2015.

Merary Simeon is VP, Diversity & Engagement for PepsiCo North America and a proven human resource leader with more than 20 years of experience working for various Fortune 100 companies in North America and Latin America. Her leadership experiences include Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Management, Leadership Consulting, Culture Change and Executive Coaching. Her diverse backgrounds have equipped her with a deep understanding of the needs and opportunities critical to leaders and associates alike at all levels.

Libby Wanamaker is a veteran HR leader who currently serves as VP, Talent Experience for Chick-fil-A. She leads Human Resources for the brand’s corporate staffing including talent acquisition, total rewards, talent development and talent operations. She also spent more than 18 years at The Coca-Cola Company in a variety of HR leadership roles.

Colleen Wolf is SVP & Chief Information Officer at Ventura Foods. With more than 20 years of IT management experience, she has led diverse technical functions in both manufacturing and service companies. She is responsible for the information technology strategy and execution that support Ventura Foods’ operations and growth objectives.

WFF 2020 Board Executive Committee Members
Chair:Salli Setta, President & Chief Concept Officer, Red Lobster
CEO:Therese Gearhart, President & CEO, WFF
Chair-Elect:Kathleen Ciaramello, President, Foodservice & On-Premise, The Coca-Cola Company
Treasurer:Tracy Skeans, Chief Transformation & People Officer, Yum! Brands, Inc.

Executive Committee Members at Large

  • Carla Balakgie, President & CEO, National Automatic Merchandising Association
  • Ryan Elwart, SVP, Global Sales, Georgia Pacific
  • Chris Roberts, EVP & COO, Dairy Foods, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
  • Kelli Valade, President & CEO, Black Box Intelligence 


  • Jean Chick, Principal, Deloitte Consulting, Inc.
  • Alisa Gmelich, VP, Marketing, IHOP Restaurants
  • Blaine Hurst, Vice Chairman, Panera Bread, LLC
  • Katherine Jaspon, SVP, Chief Financial Officer, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.
  • Julie Juvera, VP, Crew Resources, Fry Cook & Cashier, Raising Cane’s
  • Sarah King, Chief Human Resources Officer, Darden Restaurants
  • Ann Mamer Lloyd, SVP, Marketing, Ecolab, Inc.
  • Jamie McKeon, SVP, Demand Creation, Rich Products Corporation
  • Heather Neary, President, Auntie Anne’s
  • Shawn O’Grady, Group President, Convenience & Foodservice; SVP, Global Revenue Development, General Mills
  • Denny Marie Post, Immediate Past Chair, WFF and Former CEO, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews
  • Merary Simeon, VP, Diversity & Engagement, PepsiCo North America
  • Libby Wanamaker, VP, Talent Experience, Chick-fil-A
  • Jennifer Williamson, SVP, Brand and Communications, Sodexo USA, Inc.
  • Colleen Wolf, SVP & Chief Information Officer, Ventura Foods
  • Loraine Yalch, SVP, Client Solutions Group & Business Development, ARMADA Supply Chain Solutions. LLC
  • Anita Zielinski, SVP & Chief Accounting Officer, Sysco Corporation

ABOUT WOMEN’S FOODSERVICE FORUM: Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) is the Food Industry’s thought leader on gender equity. WFF leverages research, insights and best practice solutions that enable food companies to address the pressing need for talent, drive better consumer insights and increase business performance by realizing the full potential of women leaders. Working since 1989 to provide the tools and resources to help women build leadership competencies that enhance career advancement, WFF also partners with the Food Industry to create work environments where women thrive and organizations reap the rewards of a gender-diverse workforce. For more information, visit