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President & CEO
Women's Foodservice Forum
Fritzi offers the inspiration she lives by:
“When a person shows who they really are, believe them.”
- Maya Angelou
“Life is about choices, you get to make choices and your choices will make you.”
- Author unknown
“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny."
- Author unknown
More from Fritzi...
On raising her children:
“I want to be ‘Mom’ when it comes to my kids rather than President or CEO. Still they have seen me on stage, in my office, and interacting with people at various levels at work, because I want them to see that I love what I do. I’ve told my children that if you apply yourself and work hard, you will have positive experiences and big fun. Do what you’re good at and you’ll enjoy it.”
Her advice to her younger self:
“I would tell myself not to personalize everything, to stay focused on what I’m trying to accomplish and not bring any baggage with me. Also, I’d tell myself to dream bigger and find reflective time to step back and reevaluate.”
On knowing her strengths & weaknesses:
“Self-awareness is a big part of what makes me who I am today. When I recognized I wasn’t good at something, I would seek out a mentor to help me improve that skill. It’s just as important to know your talents, so you don’t let them go to waste.”
In the next five years:
"I am thrilled with the opportunity to lead the Women’s Foodservice Forum and committed to executing our strategy, resulting in more women on boards, in the C-Suite, and executive positions. Personally, I would like to serve on a public board again. I also look forward to all of my children, living their dreams, becoming self-sustaining and contributing to the world.”
As one of ten children, Fritzi Woods’ family dinners were full of dynamic, intelligent conversation. While she wasn’t the most outspoken of her siblings, the open, non-judgmental environment fostered by her parents taught her the importance of listening. Now as a working mother with five children of her own, she can get attention in any loud and crowded room. Fritzi attributes her success as a global leader to the lessons she learned early on.
She is majority owner and executive chairman at PrimeSource FoodService Equipment, the tenth largest foodservice equipment distributor in the world. She is also president and CEO of a prestigious association, Women’s Foodservice Forum, whose mission is to elevate women leaders. This dynamic woman is at the top of her game and her ability to build and maintain relationships has gotten her there. Here are Fritzi’s strategies for power negotiating in the workplace and at home.
Negotiating with Vendors or Clients
“Many people are uncomfortable in silence, but you can learn a lot when you’re not distracted by the sound of your own voice. Negotiating is not about talking, it’s about listening. You also have to leave your ego at home—some may like working only with the people they relate to and that person may not be you. It’s not necessarily about prejudice, but affinity. At the end of the day, if it’s easier for the vendor to relate to someone else in your company, and you sell your product or service, then so be it.”
Negotiating with Family
“Being a working mother is who I am. With each job I took, I made it clear that making time for my children was important. With that said, from an early age my kids knew they had to negotiate with me. I was never a PTA or homeroom mom; I couldn’t go to all their events, so they had to tell me which ones were most important to them. We have family meetings on Sundays and a calendar that we use to organize our weeks. My kids have learned that if they don’t communicate their schedules with the rest of the family, they might not get to their game or dance practice. The value of trade-offs is also very important: if you want to do “x” then you can’t do “y”. We have negotiated allowances, extra chores and vacations. Now that my kids are older, I find myself negotiating with them as they control and manage their own lives, schedules and priorities.”
Negotiating with Others at Work
“Co-worker, employee, superior, board member—you need to clarify the objectives around your goals. You have to ask, how do these things align with our vision? Be in an inquiry mode rather than a persecution mode—listen to the other side and try to understand their perspective. Assuming positive intent is a powerful thing. This will show your coworkers that you trust their decisions and value their input. Pointing fingers is a waste of time for both parties—get to the heart of the issue with open discussion and a cooperative attitude.”
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