The National Confectioners Association (NCA) today announced six confectionery industry professionals selected for the 2023 Future Leadership Program. The program is dedicated to helping young professionals across the confectionery industry access networking and professional development opportunities to grow their careers.  

“Our Future Leaders play a pivotal role in the confectionery industry, as they have the capabilities to innovate and move our industry forward,” John Downs, NCA president and CEO, said. “The Future Leadership Program helps ensure that these exceptional young professionals are provided the tools needed to continue their success and reach their potential. I look forward to working alongside these impressive individuals and watching their careers develop.” 

The 2023 class includes:  

  • Kelsea Ferrato, director of marketing, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
  • Emily Gordon, senior category manager, Walgreens
  • AJ Khoury, director of technical sales, Capol LLC
  • Stephanie Laub, customer business lead - Disney, Mars Wrigley
  • Carly Meck, R&D manager - product development, Blommer Chocolate Company
  • Ryan Miller, vice president - supply chain, Spangler Candy Company

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. Participants are matched with a highly regarded industry leader as a mentor and are invited to attend NCA’s signature events, which include the State of the Industry Conference, Sweets & Snacks Expo, NCA’s Summer Board & Leadership Strategy Meeting, and the Washington Forum, along with the Candy Hall of Fame weekend.    

The application process for the 2024 class of the Future Leadership Program opens in late summer 2023. Those interested in applying for the program or learning more about how to get involved as a young professional or mentor should visit