The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has announced the 2022 class of its Future Leadership Program, which is dedicated to helping young professionals in the confectionery industry access networking and professional development opportunities.

“We’ve expanded this year’s class to eight young professionals as a way of signaling our investment in the future of the confectionery industry,” said John Downs, NCA president and CEO. “With professionals from across the confectionery category represented, this year’s class of Future Leaders provides a cross-section of the potential our industry has for continued growth and innovation.”

The 2022 class includes:

  • Ashton Batten, customer business leader, Mars Wrigley North America
  • William Felder, key account manager – Target, Ferrara Candy Company
  • Tony Fontana, national account manager, HARIBO of America, Inc.
  • Jonathan Hartigan, director of sales, North, Shankman & Associates, Inc.
  • Rebecca Kuehn, R&D manager, Guittard Chocolate Company
  • Danielle Laubenstein, director of global marketing, Hawaiian Host Group
  • Daniel Mendelsohn, associate director, seasonals and innovations, PIM Brands, Inc.
  • Miguel Zorrilla, marketing brand director, Ferrero USA, Inc.

Launched in 2016, the Future Leadership Program provides support, education, access and opportunity to young professionals who wish to develop leadership skills and grow their careers in the confectionery industry. Future leaders will be invited to attend NCA’s State of the Industry Conference, the Sweets & Snacks Expo, NCA’s Summer Board & Leadership Strategy Meeting, the Washington Forum and the Candy Hall of Fame weekend. 

In addition to receiving educational and networking opportunities through the Future Leadership Program, participants will be matched with a highly-regarded industry leader who will serve as a formal mentor.

The application process for the 2023 class of the Future Leadership Program will begin in late summer 2022. Those interested in applying for the program or learning more about how to get involved as a young professional or as a mentor should visit