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The Favorites Game: Leadership Development 2.0

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, April/May 2012 Intelligence

By: Kristin Clarke

Summary: Women's Foodservice Forum CEO Fritzi Woods on her favorite professional risk, business icon, and more.

Formal leadership development today means boosting understanding of global issues, adopting deeper listening skills, and creating multifunctional expertise, according to Fritzi Woods, president and CEO of the Women's Foodservice Forum and an advisor to Northwestern University's Center for Executive Women.

"The day is gone when we can all be siloed or just have functional expertise," she says. "We have to have that and … at least a basic understanding of the fundamentals of multiple functions," such as supply-chain management, strategy creation, social media, and human resources, "because things are so matrixed now."

Business schools, including Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, also are teaching students how to ask questions that drill to core issues. "They don't have to know the answer, but they have to be able to triangulate enough information and data that come to them to ask the right questions and apply that to the business," says Woods. Here, she responds to other queries:

Favorite business book: Why Not You? 28 Days to Build Authentic Confidence by Valorie Burton

Favorite professional risk: Buying a company.

Favorite business icon: My answer is kind of cheesy, but it's right—Oprah—because of the way she owned her contract when she really started to take off.

Favorite board experience: A risk assessment and strategic discussion around changing the strategy of a company.

Favorite advice from a board colleague: Speak louder.

Favorite mentoring experience: Someone I've been mentoring for 20 years just got promoted to executive vice president in a pretty big company, and I was the first person she called.

Favorite self-descriptor: Resilient.

Contributed by Kristin Clarke, a business journalist and writer for ASAE. Email:

Woods will lead a Game Changer session at ASAE's 2012 Annual Meeting & Expo in Dallas, August 11-14.

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