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Michaels, Sojka Honored as WFF Change Makers

Former FSN Editor Laura Michaels on stage accepting her Change Makers award from the Women's Foodservice Forum at its conference in Dallas, March 10-13.

Courtesy of WFF


Being nominated by her company for the Women’s Foodservice Forum’s Change Makers award came at an opportune time for Laura Michaels, who was just promoted to editor of Franchise Times magazine.

Michaels, who was serving as events editor for Foodservice News as well as managing editor for the national publication, had already proven she was up to the plum job of editor of Franchise Times when the current editor in chief moved to Chicago. And the award, along with the emerging leadership sessions she attended at the forum’s annual convention empowered her to negotiate her new role and salary. "The timing was perfect for leadership," she said, about her newfound responsibilities of managing an editorial staff as well as the day-to-day writing and editing process. 

Abigail Sojka, manager of General Mills’ New England Convenience & Foodservice business.

Along with being recognized on stage, the award gave her access at VIP events to another group of power brokers, the Industry Titans, who have decades of experience in foodservice. Among the impressive list of Titans are two local successes, Doug Baker, CEO and chairman of Ecolab, and Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’ Lakes. The VIPs also included numerous franchise-related CEOs, such as McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook and Dan Cathy, CEO and chairman of Chick-fil-A, who are great contacts for her new role, Michaels said.

The young women were singled out by their companies for driving strong business results and exemplifying inclusive leadership.In addition to the onstage shout out, Michaels said the plan is to keep the group of Change Makers connected, as both an initial data point to track the trajectory of their careers, and as a networking, support group. For Michaels, who already met a master franchisee from Dubai at the reception, it’s also a story-generating mechanism.  

Abigail Sojka, who manages General Mills’ New England Convenience & Foodservice business, was also honored. Sojka was singled out by General Mills for "her ability to drive growth, develop deep relationships with her customers and for her strong sense of collaboration with her teammates." a release said.  General Mills is a longstanding partner and supporter of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, whose mission is to advance women leaders.

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