Women in Baking panel to highlight women’s challenges, successes
March 1, 2023
By Bakers Journal staff
Bakery Showcase panel to lift up women from all corners of the baking industry
Mother’s Day falls on May 14, Day 1 of Bakery Showcase. To honour women and moms everywhere, the BAC’s annual gathering will celebrate successful women who lead in the dynamic baking industry.
“It is important to highlight the success of women in baking or in any industry,” says Elaine O’Doherty, marketing lead Canada at Ardent Mills, sponsor of the Women in Baking panel at Bakery Showcase in May. O’Doherty will moderate the panel, which includes Tracey Muzzolini of Christies Bakery in Saskatoon, Mary Mackay, Terra Breads Inc. in Vancouver, and other successful entrepreneurs.
“It provides younger generations with someone to look up to, to aspire to be, thus creating a pipeline for the future in this industry. Highlighting successful women can change things for the better, fostering opportunities that will promote a diverse workforce and elevate underrepresented voices. When this happens, we see amazing results. Diverse backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints lead to new ways of thinking, doing things and innovating.”
O’Doherty says employee resource groups (ERGs) also can help provide a supportive environment for those feeling marginalized, for example, Ardent Mills’ Women of Wheat, known as WOW.
“Recently we expanded WOW outreach to be more impactful to team members across the organization including Lean-In Circles for women at Ardent Mills. These allow for engagement with allies, help educate and empower team members to drive improvement in women’s careers, help with recruitment and retention of women in this industry, and foster much needed conversations such as micro-aggressions and work-life balance.
“I got involved to support this work. WOW focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion by recognizing where we are now, and then driving change through education, networking and career development. Women are feeling more connected and yearning for more information, more networking and more resources to support their growth. We want to grow our representation of women in roles across leadership and management.”
O’Doherty points to Angie Goldberg, the company’s chief growth officer, or CGO, as a leader in the industry. In the three years she’s been in the position, Goldberg has brought leadership change to Ardent Mills, and a fresh perspective, O’Doherty says.
O’Doherty, who has worked for many years in what has essentially been a male-dominated industry, says that when any demographic is underrepresented, their voice can be muted. “They may be too afraid to speak up, or the majority just does not see your way of thinking, and if you can’t have your voice heard, ideas are not shared and changes may not be adopted.”
O’Doherty suggests women build leadership skills by joining company or industry associations: “Lead where you can even if it is not in your discipline. For years I organized and ran the company golf event, was part of the safety committee and put my hand up when there was a need for help.”
Another helpful tool is mentorship. O’Doherty recommends women and anyone entering a new role or industry ask someone they admire to help with career development.
“We need to continue to cultivate a culture of inclusion and empower people to bring their entire selves to their role. Everyone has a voice, and it should be heard. The more we can have teams and companies with diverse perspectives and experiences, the better we can serve our customers and retain our employees. I am encouraged by the progress that I have seen over the last several years that has brought positive changes for the better.
O’Doherty is excited the Showcase panel will highlight women in the baking industry and tell their stories.
“We all need examples to shine the light on what is possible. Ardent Mills is committed to providing an environment of mutual respect and equity, where each person is comfortable being themselves and is valued for being unique. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mission is to lead our industry toward a more inclusive, diverse and equitable environment in which all belong and contribute.”
Come out to the panel talk on Sunday, May 14, at 11 a.m. to learn from top entrepreneurs in baking, ask questions and find inspiration to apply to your own work!
Register now at bakeryshowcasecanada.ca!
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