According to the 2018 Fortune report, only 24 of the 500 most profitable companies in America have female CEOs, a 25% reduction from the 2017 report. Despite this disproportionate representation at the helm of Fortune 500 companies, the impact of women leaders in corporate world is quite remarkable.
This article focuses on highlighting the work of some impressive female leaders in the food industry. The impact of their work extend beyond their local communities to communities in remote parts of the world.
These six women listed in alphabetical order (last name), are leading mission driven organizations, impacting communities and improving lives.
Sharon Cittone, CCO at Seeds & Chips – Connecting & educating food industry leaders around the globe to create a better food system
Cittone has been an integral part of creating a strong community that brings together innovators from around the world to their hub in Milan, Italy.
According to the company, their events Global Food Innovation Summit brings together over 12,000 food industry leaders from around the world together every year for conversations on tackling issues such as climate change, food insecurity, waste, water conservation and soil regeneration .
Cittone oversees all of the creative and technical content development for Seeds&Chips, designing a comprehensive platform that unites startups, corporations, investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers and institutions towards a more sustainable future.
Cittone describes her mission “I believe that the future of food is collaborative. I work everyday in creating and strengthening a global food ecosystem that touches on every vertical and giving all the stakeholders the possibility to collaborate together.
The food system employs 40% of the global workforce, it touches many different industries from energy to logistics to packaging but its all connected and all I try to do is connect the dots and create opportunities for others.
There are so many wonderful projects that could be used in different parts of the globe if only they were known and shared. I see that today the system is still very fragmented and in silos, we all work with the ecosystem we belong to but my feeling is that we need to brake these barriers down and create a global community that wants to use innovation to create a better future for all while also making a profit.”
Lisa Curtis , CEO of Kuli Kuli Inc – Empowering women in rural communities while providing nutrient-dense products to American homes
Curtis journey to social entrepreneurship started when she discovered a nutrient dense plant called moringa while volunteering with the Peace Corps in Niger, Africa. She has since turned the peace corps dream into a multi-million dollar company with products in over 7,000 stores.
Curtis describes her company’s mission saying: “Kuli Kuli has three overarching impact objectives for the communities where we work: to end malnutrition, empower women to achieve gender equality and plant a tree for every household.
To date, Kuli Kuli has planted over 1 million moringa trees and partnered with over 1,000 farmers, providing more $1.5M in income to women-led farming cooperatives and family farms. Additionally, Kuli Kuli has invested over $20,000 in supporting nonprofits in the communities where we work.”
Curtis was named Forbes 30 Under 30, 30 Under 30 Leader by GreenBiz and the University of California along with several other awards and recognition.
Colleen Lindholz, President, Kroger Health – Leading initiatives and creating innovations to help people live healthier lives.
Lindholz is President of Kroger Health, the healthcare arm of The Kroger Co. where she leads a team of 22,000 health care professionals. Together with her team, they provide health and wellness solution to over 13 million people each year.
She’s a passionate believer in Kroger Health’s vision to help people live healthier lives. She is the lead architect of the company’s “Food as Medicine” strategy, connecting customers’ grocery experience with their healthcare needs through innovations in recruiting, training, and technology.
Colleen describes her mission ” I am advocating LESS prescriptions per person, and instead a focus on holistic, preventative care that begins with the foods you eat.
We aspire to see more prescription for food, we also aspire to see the incidence of obesity go down along with type 2 diabetes. We are putting the right tools in place to make this to help achieve this.”
Colleen is the recipient of Kroger’s Chairman’s Award, Kroger’s Leadership Award, and Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery Rising Star Award in 2012. She was named one of the “Most Inspirational Female Leaders of the Year” in 2018 by the Break the Ceiling global summit.
Sheryl O’Loughlin , CEO of REBBL. – Combating human trafficking while producing nourishing beverage for American families
O’Loughlin was previously CEO of Clif Bar and co-founder/CEO of Plum Inc. She leads REBBL a plant-based, super herb adaptogen beverage company. Through their non profit organization called Not For Sale, REBBL supports victims of human trafficking.
O’Loughlin describes their mission ” With Not For Sale, REBBL works toward co-creating a future without human trafficking — which is the fastest-growing illegal industry in the world.
We donate 2.5% of net sales of every bottle to Not For Sale, and we leverage our business as a tool to support economic, social and environmental sustainability.
We now source our organic ingredients from almost 30 countries, and in early 2019, we reached a major milestone: over $1 million in total donations.
These donations include programs to support survivors of trafficking including housing, education, job training and long-term counseling. The donations also helped a community in Peru become Fair Trade and organically certified in order for them to get a more premium price for their wild Brazil nuts — which help preserve the biodiversity of the natural ecosystem.”
O’Loughlin is also the author of Killing It: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart. REBBL was awarded Entrepreneur Magazine Entrepreneur 360 Award (2018 & 2017)
Kristin Groos Richmond and Kirsten Saenz Tobey, Co-founders Revolution Foods- Providing access to healthy meals to school children.
Richmond and Tobey founded Revolution Foods in 2006 with the goal to solve the problem of limited access to healthy meals for every child in America. According to the company, they have designed, produced and delivered over 320 million healthy meals nationwide.
“Our mission is to build lifelong healthy eaters by making kid-inspired, chef-crafted food accessible to all because everyone deserves access to real, high-quality food made with carefully considered ingredients.
Our goal is to promote citywide wellness and equip parents, teachers and students with valuable tools and resources to continue positive nutrition education beyond the lunch line.
As a Certified B Corp, we aim to drive systems change—from policy and food systems evolution to driving positive student academic and health outcomes, we are setting the standard for how businesses can build a brighter future for our nation’s youth and families.”- Richmond and Tobey
Kristin and Kirsten were named by the Schwab Foundation and World Economic Forum as Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2015. They were also listed among Fortune’s 40 under 40 for 2013, identified as Time Magazine’s Education Activists of 2011, and co-named Entrepreneur of the Year by New Schools Venture Fund in 2010