With so much talk about the workforce skills gap, the baking and snack industries should also be concerned about another issue — namely the female leadership crisis. That’s why SNAC International recently launched the Women in Snacks Network (WinS), an initiative that seeks to foster leadership development for snack industry executives that are women.

Under the leadership of SNAC chairwoman Jolie Weber, c.e.o., Wise Foods, and Elizabeth Avery, the association’s president and c.e.o, WinS plans to organize regular opportunities for the network’s members to gather, learn and build important connections, including at SNAXPO19, being held March 31- April 2, in Orlando, Fla.

During SNAC’s Executive Leadership Forum this fall, Sarah Alter, c.e.o. of the Network of Executive Women, shared exclusive research that shows senior executive women are heading for the exit ramps at an astonishing clip.

“If the leading industry companies we studied do not come up with a retention solution — fast — the female executive population is projected to decline by more than 50% over the next decade,” the report concluded. “If the status quo remains, women will comprise just 15% of executive ranks by 2027, compared to 35% today — a trend in the wrong direction.”

To download this comprehensive report, go to newonline.org/crisis. To spearhead this initiative, a volunteer steering committee of women and men industry leaders will work together. It’s an effort that needs everyone’s support to foster professional development for women in the snack industry and provide greater diversity in the executive level, said Ms. Avery.

“The good news is that our rising leaders are well-diversified,” she observed. WinS is a major step to ensure that the snack industry moves forward to ensure its long-term vitality and growth.