After 12 years as executive director of the foodservice networking organization, Women Who Really Cook, LoAnn Mockler is stepping down. “Happily she is not leaving us completely, and will still serve as a member of the WWRC board of directors, said Sue Zelickson, who founded the organization 27 years ago. Sara Bloms and Kelly Allard, both members, will be taking over the volunteer executive director position as co-directors.
Running a networking group, where members share resources with one another, has been challenging in the current social distancing world. “We've taken the limitations thrust upon us for current in-person monthly meetings and hope that the website and virtual happenings will keep us connected in new and exciting ways,” Zelickson said. A recent online meeting featured a cooking class with Shelagh Mullen of shecooks.design.
Mockler said she originally intended to help with a little light meeting planning and “soon, I found myself taking on membership, recruiting new board members and a few more things...and now it's 12 years later.” During that time, WWRC has become “an organization with an active board of directors with real job descriptions (all of us volunteers), and a solid foundation for moving forward,” she said. In the 14 years she’s been at the helm, some of the activities the group accomplished that she's most proud of are:
Two website changes and a new logo and identity;
Holding numerous Food & Wine show events;
Co-hosting a 100th birthday party for culinary superstar, Julia Child;
An all-day learning and networking event called Cooking Up Business;
A day of demonstrations and conversations at the State Fair;
Pop-up sales events at locations around the Twin Cities;
Giving thousands of dollars in grants to students in culinary school (thanks to member dues and donations);
Being hosted by members at more than100 meetings at locations in the metro and out of town field trips.
The two new co-directors took over in October. Bloms, a registered dietitian with 12-plus years in the food industry, specializing in restaurant menu labeling, nutrition composition and regulatory matters. She is the owner of The Everyday Table. Allard is a freelance food writer and a former food blogger.
In a joint statement, they said: “We have both experienced the value of Women Who Really Cook firsthand and have seen how the organization helps women to thrive in the food industry. We are excited about giving WWRC a new voice and look forward to providing resources to help many more women network, forge strong relationships and grow professionally.”
“We look forward to their leadership and the exciting changes brought along with this change,” Zelickson added.
The ACF Minneapolis Chapter held its October meeting—the last chance to nominate candidates for board positions on the last Tuesday in October at the Stonebrook Golf Club in Shakopee. The evening started with a "social distance hour" followed by a half hour educational presentation by Royalee Rhondes and MN Beef.
The November meeting will be on November 17th, from 5:30 to 8:30.