The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has expanded its executive team.

Elise Fennig has been named to the newly created position of chief of staff, while Karen Horan was promoted to v.p. of global business development and Laura Shumow was promoted to v.p.of scientific and regulatory affairs. Both Horan and Shumow were senior directors in their positions before.

“Elise, Karen and Laura are welcome additions to the NCA executive team,” says John Downs, NCA president and ceo. “With their expertise and backgrounds, I’m confident all three will help the association on its path to fulfilling the confectionery industry’s vision: that the public understands and appreciates candy’s unique role in a happy, balanced lifestyle.”

Elise Fennig

Elise Fennig, chief of staff

As chief of staff for NCA, Fennig will work closely with Downs on priority special projects related to the annual business and strategic plan as well as provide oversight for the association’s industry affairs, membership, global business development and HR function.

Fennig was most recently with The Kraft Heinz Co., acting as a primary liaison between Kraft Heinz and the company’s retail customers and trade association partners.

She also held a leadership position at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, serving as v.p. of industry affairs where she directed and managed industry initiatives and projects in the areas of supply chain management, technology, sales and industry performance.

Karen Horan

Karen Horan, v.p. of global business development

In her new role as v.p. of global business development, Horan will continue to foster an international presence for American candy brands and build upon the association’s successful participation in USDA’s Market Access Program.

She has been with NCA for 15 years, having grown the MAP program to record high levels, using the funding for important NCA initiatives including, most recently, a comprehensive review of the global legislative and regulatory environment.

Her work in strengthening the global presence of customers at the Sweets and Snacks Expo has translated into increased revenue for the show’s exhibitors.


Laura Shumow

Laura Shumow, v.p.of scientific and regulatory affairs

Laura Shumow, who has served NCA for seven years, will oversee the association’s scientific and regulatory agendas. She has created a scientific knowledge-base for the confectionery industry that is the foundation of its moderation and responsibility messaging. Because of her efforts, confectionery became one of the first industries to have a definition of moderation accepted into a peer-reviewed journal.

In addition to being highly regarded by her peers at USDA and FDA, countless numbers of NCA members rely on her efficient, reliable counsel when it comes to fundamental questions regarding food safety and labeling.

“NCA has made tremendous strides towards achieving its new strategic plan over the past 18 months,” Downs says. “Elise, Karen and Laura each bring a unique skillset that will further execute our plan and ensure the association stays true to its mission of advancing, protecting and promoting the confectionery industry.”