Women's Foodservice Forum CEO Tells Graduates to be Authentic and Help Others

Hala Moddelmog

Hala Moddelmog Delivers Commencement Address at The Culinary Institute of America

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Jeff Levine
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Hyde Park, NY – Hala Moddelmog, interim CEO of the Women's Foodservice Forum, advised graduates of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) that authenticity is the key to their success—and once they succeed, they need to give back. Ms. Moddelmog was the commencement speaker at the CIA's Hyde Park, NY campus on Friday, November 8, 2013.

"To be successful comes down to being your authentic self," the Georgia native told 44 recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. "It takes a lot of energy to be someone else. And who you are is wonderful and perfect."

The former president of Arby's Restaurant Group, Ms. Moddelmog became the first woman to lead an international restaurant company when she was named president of Church's Chicken in 1995. In addition to her leadership of quick-service restaurant companies, the breast cancer survivor served three years as president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Moddelmog reminded graduates that one out of every five children in America doesn't know where his or her next meal is coming from. "The good thing is this is a solvable issue," she said, challenging them to help. "Your mission, elementally, is to feed people. Being at the CIA, you're nourishing people and feeding them emotionally. I know you'll give back because that's what this place is all about."

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image

Hala Moddelmog, interim CEO of the Women's Foodservice Forum, speaking to graduates of The Culinary Institute of America on November 8, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 45,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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