At the moment, Hillary Clinton hasn't yet admitted defeat in the Democratic presidential primary, but it is pretty much a done deal.
By the time this magazine mails, it's no gamble to say it will officially be Barack Obama on the Democratic side and John McCain on the Republican side in the race for President of the United States.
I try to avoid politics in this column for all the same reasons you avoid them at the dinner table. I'm definitely pro-business, which shouldn't put me on either side of the party line really. (Although, someone once sent me an email comparing me to Rush Limbaugh for a supportive slant I took on behalf of small business. Now, that's just plain silly. I guess it would be worse if this person said I looked like him too.)
No matter how you feel about Hillary as a presidential candidate or as a person — and I know her name alone sparks a reaction from many — she's put up a good fight, and I respect her for that.
Looking around our industry, this is another strong year for women in baking as well.
The Retail Bakers of America (RBA) just tapped Lynn Schurman as president of the association. Lynn is a long-time member and active leader of the RBA and co-owns a full-line retail bakery in Cold Spring, Minn.
We all know about the two women on the 2008 Bread Bakers Guild Team USA. The guild also has organized an educational tour that spotlights the many talented female bakers who belong to the BBGA as instructors.
Even on the industrial side of the baking industry, more women are choosing baking science careers. At the American Society of Baking's Baking Tech conference held in Chicago this spring, the 2008 graduating class from Kansas State University's grain science and industry department was recognized at the conference. The majority of those in attendance were young women.
Some of the best-run supermarket in-store bakeries are directed by women, and many at the in-store bakery manager level are female. Sendik's Food Markets, this month's featured in-store operation, is a shining example of what a few savvy female bakery managers are doing.
A recent USA Today article pointed out that the number of women business founders is on the rise. In fact, twice as many women are launching new businesses as men. However, only three that were founded by women grew to be Fortune 1000 companies, according to USA Today. The article cites a number of different possible reasons for this, but I don't think achieving that sort of landmark is as important for most women as other priorities.
The article quotes Maxine Clark, founder and C.E.O. of Build-A-Bear Workshop, which generated $474 million in 2007. “Maybe size is not what drives a female entrepreneur but relative profitability, impact on society, company culture, employee satisfaction and other values,” Clark said.
I think Clark is on to something here. That is certainly true of most female entrepreneurs in the baking industry. Of course, it is also true of many of the men in this industry. There are much easier professions than a bakery business to make it to any Fortune list. Profitability is absolutely necessary, but to be a success in this business requires a passion for something more than a buck.