Make No Mis-Steak: These Women Got Game

Women shatter glass ceiling in stereotypically male industry

By Kim Vatis
|  Monday, Aug 24, 2009  |  Updated 9:15 PM CDT
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Women Behind the Steak

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Women Behind the Steak

The Great American Steakhouse has always been considered a man?s game. But at Morton?s in Chicago, the sizzle in their steaks along with that masculine feel is really run with the help of a large cast of females.
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Beef and booze is  the life of fat cats and powerbrokers, but here in Chicago some women are shattering the glass ceiling and stereotypes that once held them back.

The Great American Steakhouse has always been considered a man’s game. But at Morton’s in Chicago, the sizzle in their steaks along with that masculine feel is really run with the help of a large cast of females.

Edie Ames is President of Morton’s. She runs operations in 78 locations around the world.  With 5,000 employees, she has a team of women among her top leaders including 4 Vice Presidents.
 
"It’s really not about being female to us, we’re just proud of what we can accomplish," said Ames.
 
She is amused, however, by all the people who assume she is a man. "Surprised," is how she describes people on the other end of a phone line when they realize the President is a woman. 

"I do have to say if a letter comes to me and says Eddie Ames it’s tossed in the garbage, because they haven’t done their homework," she explained.

 
Peggy Reilly who is Vice President of Purchasing buys all the beef. She’s been in the business 20 years.   Often she says she’s been the "only woman among all the butchers" she deals with. But she says, "I never felt it held me back."
 
Sue Kissel is Vice President of accounting.  She has 3 daughers at home.  "I hope it's an example they see!"
 
Women in top restaurant roles are rare. While more than half  of  the employees in restaurants are women, statistics researched by Catalyst show among the elite posts in the restaurant industry only 14% make it to corporate officer, 8% to the board of directors and 4% to the highest titles.
 
But, these women appear to be changing the face of the industry one steak at a time.
 

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