One of my favorite initiatives since I began my tenure at NCA has been the establishment of the Future Leadership Program. Launched last year, the program provides support, education, access and opportunity to young professionals who wish to advance into the ranks of leadership within the confectionery industry.
The inaugural 2016 class of Future Leaders featured one of the confectionery industryâ€™s youngest CEOs, several people who have grown-up in the industry watching their family businesses flourish, and a young confectionery broker. You can read more about these fine individuals here.
Weâ€™re proud of what the 2016 class was able to accomplish and look forward to their commitment to the industry in the years to come. As the Future Leadership Program progresses, weâ€™re excited to strengthen the program with the addition of the 2017 class. This yearâ€™s class showcases more of the best and brightest young professionals in our industry.
Members of the 2017 class include a rising confectionery broker from Carlin Group, Becca Mandru; an emerging entrepreneur from Bixby & Co., founder Kate McAleer; and three innovative marketing professionals in Ross Rutherford from Star Brands North America, Caitlin Servian from Just Born, Inc. and Anthony Trani from Topps Confections.
These five individuals will be paired with a highly regarded leader within the industry who will serve as a formal mentor. In addition to a formal mentor, program participants will receive complimentary registration to NCAâ€™s State of the Industry Conference, the Sweets & Snacks Expo, the Washington Forum and NCSAâ€™s Candy Hall of Fame.
I am also pleased to welcome both the 2016 and 2017 classes to this yearâ€™s Summer Board & Leadership Strategy Meeting where their fresh perspectives on the future of the confectionery industry will be well-received.
The future of our industry is bright as long as we continue to recognize and develop the young leaders that will carry the industry torch in the not too distant future. I look forward to my continued interaction with the 2016 class and getting to know the 2017 class as Iâ€™m excited to track their future success.