The Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA), McLean, Va., announced the inaugural Women’s Alliance Network Red Circle Honors recipients. The honorees include three women and an FPSA member company that have had a positive impact on women’s careers and gender balance in the food and beverage industry. The Red Circle Honors will be presented at the Women’s Alliance Network Breakfast on Oct. 10 during Process Expo in Chicago.

FPSA said the Women’s Alliance Network Red Circle Honors recipients include:

Career Excellence — Nancy Corriveau, Blentech Corp.:

The Career Excellence Honor recognizes a woman who is dedicated to the food and beverage industry and has taken a proactive approach to both personal and professional development. Immediately after graduating from high school, Corriveau started working in the manufacturing business that evolved into Blentech Corp.. Established in 1986, the company originally had eight employees, Now it has 90 employees, and Corriveau is the director of operations.

She climbed through the ranks from parts sales to accounting, and into operations management and service oversight, FPSA said. Although her accomplishments are numerous, her highest impact accomplishment was developing the infrastructure needed to help Blentech scale its operations. During Corriveau’s continuing career, Blentech's sales climbed from around $1 million annually to in excess of $22 million.

She is a role model to young women in the food processing industry and advises that it can be an exciting and rewarding career, FPSA said. She reminds her colleagues that each one can make a global impact to bring process and equipment solutions that deliver safe, economical, nutritious and good-tasting foods to the world. She encourages and mentors the young professionals at Blentech with her motto, “If it’s not right for you, it’s what’s right for all 89 other people at Blentech.”

Corriveau was selected for the 2018 Influential Women in Manufacturing by Food Processing magazine, and was awarded the 2018 North Bay Women in Business by the North Bay Business Journal.

Rising Star — Nicole Chestnut, Rome Grinding Solutions:

The Rising Star Honor recognizes a woman with less than five years of industry experience who has made a noticeable impact via professional achievements and personal influence in the food and beverage industry. In 2015, with degrees in sociology and psychology, Chestnut began working at Rome Grinding Solutions as a receptionist, FPSA said. After several months, she was promoted to an inside sales customer service representative.

She quickly made her ascension to her current roles as customer service manager and safety director, due in part to her eagerness to be knowledgeable about the products and processes that Rome offers. She built a rapport with both clients and team members as someone they can count on and trust. Chestnut is an active volunteer for the FPSA Women’s Alliance Network and started its book club, which focuses on topics that empower and help women with their careers, FPSA noted.

Innovation and Inspiration — Carole Tonello-Samson, Hiperbaric:

The Innovation and Inspiration Honor recognizes a woman who has brought game-changing innovation or an inspiring idea in the last 18 months to her company and/or industry. Tonello-Samson is the commercial and applications director for Hiperbaric. With more than 25 years in the business, she oversees Hiperbaric’s global scientific and technological support for high-pressure-processing (HPP) users and leads the business development and marketing departments, FPSA said.

Tonello-Samson was a key leader in the design and development of Hiperbaric’s new in-bulk technology and new 525 in-bulk HPP machine. The product enables a leaner approach to HPP processing, while broadening the variety of final packaging. HPP ensures food safety, extends shelf life and enables food to maintain its nutritional value and taste without preservatives. The in-bulk technology allows more juice to be processed and a variety of packaging options, FPSA said, regardless of the material, design or size.

While it is too soon to determine the financial evidence of success, the first machine was purchased by Ateliers Hermes Boissons, a French independent juice and beverage co-manufacturer and bottler. Tonello-Samson is a member of the executive committee of the Nonthermal Processing Division (NPD) of the Institute of Food Technology and has served as a member-at-large, secretary and chair. She received the NPD Outstanding Service Award in 2019 and the Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2016, FPSA said.

Achievement in Developing and Promoting Women — The Haskell Co.:

This honor recognizes an FPSA member company that actively supports and develops the careers of women and works toward professional gender balance in its organization. Building toward the future for the organization and the industry, in 2017 the Haskell Co. announced an effort to engage diverse perspectives and build an inclusive culture as a key pillar in its organizational vision, FPSA said.

To support and advance that commitment, the Haskell Women’s Network (HWN) was created for the purpose of developing, advancing and retaining women as leaders across the organization. The network, guided by 14 female advisory board members, has developed initiatives to expand opportunities, create awareness and design programs to educate employees and support the growth of female leaders.

Key initiatives have included:

  • Developing interoffice mentoring opportunities (sponsor/protégé program, which pairs an executive “sponsor” with a future female leader).
  • Recommending and promoting policies and guidelines to enhance work-life balance.
  • Encouraging participation in external women’s networking events such as conferences, industry meetings and training/leadership development programs.
  • Initiating enterprisewide dialogue in creating a healthy, inclusive, performance-oriented culture that values differences.
  • Participation as a proud member of Catalyst, a global nonprofit organization that focuses on building better workplaces.
  • Providing a resource site for men (MARC — Men Advocating Real Change) to help women advance and gain success.
  • Annual International Women’s Day Event: This past March, HWN and the executive leadership team of Haskell hosted a live panel conversation called “Discussing Things That Matter with Women Leaders in Haskell’s Core Markets.”
  • HWN roundtable idea sessions to garner feedback from female professionals companywide.
  • Educational networking circles to provide peer-mentorship, and content to support growth and development.

Haskell continues to develop and implement new objectives to build on this foundation and toward the vision of creating the “Best Job of Your Life” for all team members.

“Women have contributed so much to FPSA and the food and beverage industry,” said Mary George, FPSA Women’s Alliance Network co-chair. “It is the right time to recognize their achievements, as well as an FPSA member company for its role in promoting workplace gender balance.”

In addition to meeting the award recipients, breakfast attendees will have the chance to hear keynote speaker Suzanne Strassburger, CEO of Strassburger Steaks and president of Suzy Sirloin.

“We are thrilled to have Suzanne as the keynote presenter at our breakfast during Process Expo,” said Kate Rome, president of Rome Grinding Solutions and Women’s Alliance Network co-chair. “This event gives female executives a wonderful opportunity to hear from a leader in the industry.”

To register for the Women’s Alliance Network Breakfast on Oct. 10 during Process Expo at McCormick Place, visit The breakfast is free and open to all, but registration is recommended as space is limited.

To register for the show or for more information on attending, please visit