The 2024 IFMA Education Foundation Summit was one for the history books! Not only did we feature some of the industry’s top talent, but we also hosted six different colleges and universities for this jammed packed day of education and networking. Thank you to the executives who donated their time and all the students and their advisors from Purdue, University of Illinois, Kansas State University, Florida International University, Northern Arizona State, and Michigan State University for helping to make this the biggest and most robust event to date! For those who missed the summit, below are the key takeaways from each of the sessions throughout the day.


From Cashier to Industry Icon: The Inspiring Journey of Roz Mallet

Embarking on a career in the restaurant industry can be as surprising as it is rewarding. For Roz Mallet, President & CEO of PhaseNext Hospitality, it started accidentally and turned into a fulfilling lifelong journey. 
Roz emphasized the importance of continuous learning and self-improvement. She encouraged the audience to take responsibility for their own learning, stressing that education doesn't end with a degree but continues throughout one’s career. One of the most fulfilling aspects of Roz's career to date has been helping others build their livelihoods. She spoke about the gratification that comes from leadership in the industry, which involves not only running successful restaurants, but also contributing to the community. The key takeaway here was to strive to be a servant leader, to put others ahead of yourself and continue to give back. 


Navigating Career Success: A Discussion with Joel Pasiuk 

During the second session of the day, IFMA President & CEO, Phil Kafarakis engaged in a discussion with Joel Pasiuk, Sr. VP of Human Resources at ECOLAB. Joel highlighted the importance of strategic thinking for job candidates, urging them to align their experiences with their career goals. He emphasized the value of curiosity, a willingness to learn, and problem-solving skills, advising candidates to showcase their passion during interactions with potential employers. 

Pathways to Success: Three Industry Veterans Share their Best Advice

The afternoon’s panel discussion featured industry veterans Tim Wayne, Sr. VP & General Manager, Away-From-Home & International – The J.M. Smucker Company, Ian Roberts, VP & General Manager Foodservice – Conagra and Fleur Veldhoven, VP of Marketing – food – Nestlé Professional. They shared valuable insights for aspiring professionals from the importance of being open to new opportunities and the diverse entry points within the industry. Tim Wayne stressed the significance of seeking out mentors and understanding the financial aspects of the business. Ian Roberts discussed the importance of agility and the ability to pivot in one’s career. And Fleur Veldhoven advised the students to show up with pride and confidence, be authentic in their relationships, and leverage industry resources and events. Veldhoven also highlighted the importance of finding mentors who provide honest feedback and help navigate career challenges.



Lunchtime Inspiration with Phil Hickey Jr.

Phil Hickey Jr., Gold & Silver Plate Society Member & CEO, emphasized the importance of surrounding oneself with smarter individuals and maintaining humility to achieve great things. Among telling his story of his incredible 40+ year career, Phil gave the students his seven essential leadership qualities:

    Act with integrity: This defines your character.
    Learn to overcome adversity: Adapt and adjust to challenges.
    Be relentless: Pursue goals with curiosity and determination.
    Achieve measurable results: Effort must be quantifiable.
    Give more than expected: Always go above and beyond.
    Set long and short-term goals: Write them down to achieve them.
    Help others achieve their goals: Support those above and below you.
    Academic Advisors Panel: Insights on What Students are Looking for in a Job

The panel discussion, featuring Dr. Mary Molt, Director of Dining Services at Kansas State University, Dr. Mark Molinaro, Executive Director at Northern Arizona University and Dr. Jeffrey Swada, Director of Food Science at Michigan State University, provided valuable insights into the expectations and needs of students entering the workforce.
Dr. Mary Molt kicked off the conversation by emphasizing the importance of work-life balance and company culture to the students seeking new opportunities. She wants to help recruiters understand that students seek meaningful work, good compensation, and recognition. 

Dr. Mark Molinaro noted the current generation's curiosity and drive to make a difference. He suggested companies reach out to students for a value match, involve industry professionals in classrooms, and help identify key focus areas. 

Dr. Jeffrey Swada recommended keeping career options open and viewing students as a diverse ecosystem. He stressed the importance of early touch points to expose students to different industry aspects and career paths.

Overall, the group agreed that companies should align with students' values, offer meaningful work, and engage with students early to support their career development.


Executive Panel: How to Interview and Get the Job

Our distinguished panel of Dora Marquez, Marketing Director at Nestlé Professional, Maria Bryant, Manager, Planning & Communication at J.M. Smucker Company and Joseph Williams, Sr. Director of Sales, Multi-Unit at Kerry helped the students understand the key areas of the interview process. 

Joseph emphasized the importance of a well-crafted resume that highlights key events and indicators of success, ensuring consistency and tailoring it to reflect the job you’re applying for. While Dora advised to highlight the ability to collaborate and coming to the interview with well-thought-out questions.

Marie stressed the importance of thinking critically in the moment and using confidence-boosting techniques like the "Superman pose." She also shared that it’s okay to be vulnerable and admit if you can’t answer a question. It’s these tips and more that will help the students position themselves as strong candidates for any job.

Hands On Advice: Round Table Advisory Sessions

For a few hours that afternoon the students had the opportunity to sit down with three separate industry executives to have real conversations, ask questions and network. Thank you to all our executives who took the time to talk with these students and share priceless advice to help position themselves for the future. Shout out to Tim Wayne, Fleur Veldhoven, Herb Ring, Ben Wexler, Joel Pasiuk, Ian Roberts, Anna Sarvello and Dora Marquez for the valuable advice you shared with each student.

Tim Wayne Emphasizes the Importance of Home to end an Incredible Day

Tim Wayne, Sr. VP & General Manager, Away-From-Home & International at The J.M. Smucker Company, brought it home by telling the story of his incredible career journey. Through his trials and tribulations, he’s worked his way through ‘finding the fit’ and talked about the importance of finding a job or company where you feel at home.

We couldn’t be more excited about the future of the IFMA Educational Foundation. The team has significant growth plans in the works to make sure we’re building a bright future for our industry. We’re dedicated to building a pipeline of talent for the Food-Away-From-Home ecosystem that positions us for future success. 

Learn more about the IFMA Education Foundation here >>


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