Inaugural Class of NCA’s Future Leadership Program Announced



Washington (January 5, 2016) –Five young professionals have been chosen as the inaugural class of NCA’s Future Leadership Program. The 2016 class includes one of the confectionery industry’s youngest CEOs, several people who have grown-up in the industry watching their family businesses flourish, and a young confectionery broker. 

“Aligned with NCA’s vision of advancing the confectionery industry, the Future Leadership Program was developed to help build knowledge and leadership skills while raising the visibility of talented young professionals,” said NCA President and CEO John Downs. “Congratulations to the inaugural class, I look forward to interacting with each of them and tracking their future success.”

The one-year program will last for the duration of the 2016 calendar year and includes complimentary registration to NCA’s State of the Industry Conference (February 28-March 2 in Miami), the Sweets & Snacks Expo (May 24-26) and the Washington Forum (September 28-29 in Washington DC). Program participants will also be paired with a highly regarded leader within the confectionery industry who will serve as a formal mentor.

The 2016 Future Leadership Program class is:

Sarah Atkinson
Director of Marketing
Atkinson Candy Company

Elizabeth Clair
National Confectionery Sales Manager
Barry Callebaut

Byard Ebling
Client Development Manager/Business Manager
Shankman & Associates

Amy Guittard
Director of Marketing
Guittard Chocolate Company

Chris Jenco
Jenco Brothers’ Candy

The Future Leadership program is designed to provide support, education, access and opportunity to individuals within the confectionery industry who wish to advance into the ranks of leadership. The application process for the 2017 class will be open in August. If you are interested in applying for the program, or learning more about how to get involved as either a young professional or as a mentor, contact VJ Mayor at 202.534.1440 of [email protected]


The National Confectioners Association is the trade organization that advances, protects and promotes chocolate, candy, gum and mints, and the companies that make these special treats. As the leading association for the $35 billion U.S. confectionery industry, NCA educates the public to help ensure that it understands and appreciates the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Confections are produced in all 50 states, creating jobs for approximately 55,000 workers in more than 1,000 manufacturing facilities across the country. More than 400,000 jobs in agriculture, retail, transportation and other industries rely in part on the sale of confections for their livelihood. For every one job that is created by confectionery companies, another seven are supported in related industries. Learn more about the “Power of Sweet” at, or follow NCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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