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In the spring of 2009, the Women in Flavor & Fragrance Commerce (WFFC) technical affairs and education committee met to decide the topic of this year’s fall seminar. The intent was to focus on the most relevant issue and design a program that would help the WFFC members not only navigate towards, but also to create, their own success in the industry. Accordingly, this year’s fall seminar discussed a topic that is continues to weigh on everyone’s mind—the economy and its effect on corporations and individuals.
The seminar began with Linda Bowden, regional president, PNC Bank, Northern New Jersey, presenting some challenges that women face in the industry. Bowden noted that during the recession women’s wages fell faster than men’s, and that women are more likely than men to hold subprime mortgages. Moreover, statistics suggest that, as recently as 2005, for every $1.00 that men earn, women earn $0.77. However, she added, we also live in what is sometimes referred to as the “Lipstick Economy,” where for every 100 men that graduate from a college or university, 135 women graduate, and women hold 60% of graduate degrees. As such, while women have a bright future, they have to build and use their networks, seek out mentors, and offer to mentor others.