A record number of women from the baking and allied industries — more than 70 — attended the annual meeting and dinner of the Society of Bakery Women (SBW), held Feb. 25, the day before the American Society of Baking opened BakingTech 2017.

Participants enjoyed networking, dinner, and an interactive professional development panel discussion, moderated by Lisa Turano, vice-president of legal for Turano Baking Co., Berwyn, Ill. This session enabled women in different stages of their careers to share tips on their success.
Bringing their viewpoints to the panel were Valerie Wayland, regulatory compliance director, Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga.; Beth Fahey, president of the Retail Bakers of America (RBA) and owner of Creative Cakes Bakery and Café, Chicago; Jesse Stinson, senior manager, sweet goods applications, Corbion, Lenexa, Kas.; and Sarah Moore, product development technologist, Pepperidge Farm, Norwalk, Conn. Among the topics discussed were work-life balance, adapting to change, prioritization, and boundary setting.
In another first, the group awarded a record number of scholarships — four — to Kansas State University female students: Chloe Shearon, Sophia Pitney, Sierra McCain, and Georgeanna Stockemer. Two $1,000 upperclassmen awards and two $500 underclassmen awards were announced during the Early Bird Breakfast of the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry (ATBI) by Lee Sanders, SBW president and senior vice-president, government relations and public affairs, for the American Bakers Association (ABA).
Ms. Sanders credited the generosity of SBW sponsors for allowing the group to add to its scholarship grants. The 2017 sponsors were AB Mauri North America, the ABA, BAKERpedia, BEMA, Corbion, Delavau Food Partners, DSM Food Specialties, DuPont Nutrition & Health, Gold Coast Ingredients, Kudos Blends, Lallemand, Mother Murphy’s Laboratories, the RBA, and Watson, Inc.
At the dinner, SBW recognized Laurie Gorton, executive editor, Baking & Snack, as a founder of the group and for her 42 years of service to the baking industry.
“The purpose of SBW is to create a network for women in the baking industry,” Ms. Sanders said, “to provide opportunities to gather, share their strategies and supply resources and professional stories from their experiences.”
Mentoring is an important focus for SWB, and at the ATBI breakfast, Ms. Sanders and Tom McCurry, ATBI president and executive vice-president, sales and marketing, Cain Food Industries, Dallas, announced the two groups’ joint program to increase mentoring efforts in both the baking and allied industries.