The National Confectioners Association announced Kevin Jenkins and Sharon Montgomery as the recipients of the 2023 Golden Candy Dish and Silver Candy Dish Awards, respectively. The Candy Dish Awards are presented each year by NCA’s broker community to recognize one broker and one manufacturer who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the fields of confectionery sales, marketing, and management. Both recipients are selected based on the candidate’s leadership skills; ability to build relationships and cultivate new business opportunities; and versatility and perseverance through the current challenging business environment.   

Jenkins, president of Kahler-Senders Group, is receiving the 2023 Golden Candy Dish, honoring a broker industry member who has performed above and beyond the call of business to promote and grow the confectionery industry. Montgomery, director of sales and marketing at Adams & Brooks, is being honored with the 2023 Silver Candy Dish, which recognizes a leader in confectionery manufacturing who has made significant contributions to growing the confectionery category in support of the broker community. 

“Growing and expanding the chocolate and candy market is vital to the success of our industry, and that is where Kevin and Sharon excel, making both incredibly deserving of these distinctions,” John Downs, NCA president and CEO, said. “The manufacturer-broker relationship is very special, and this year’s honorees understand that implicitly. Each exemplifies the requisites of their awards because of their leadership and dedication to pushing the confectionery industry toward the future.” 

For more than 25 years, Jenkins has demonstrated his dedication to the confectionery industry and worked to ensure its successful future. An active participant on NCA’s Broker Advisory Council, he also volunteers his time for numerous industry groups, serving on various boards including the National Confectionery Sales Association and CandyRific, as well as several philanthropic organizations. Jenkins is also an engaged member of the Western Association of Food Chains and the Consolidated Sales Network. His fellow brokers praised him for his listening skills that allow his customers and colleagues to feel heard and acknowledged, as well as his knowledge of the industry and willingness to volunteer his time for any initiative that will better the category.   

With 14 years of experience in the confectionery industry, Montgomery is known for her ability to advance the industry’s objectives and goals by developing strategies and products to fit the needs of brokers and customers. An active member of NCA’s Young Professionals Network since its inception, Montgomery was named one of five Future Leaders in 2017. She is also very involved with the activities of NCA’s Women’s Leadership Group. Industry colleagues report that Montgomery is extraordinarily collaborative and works to ensure the best outcomes for all parties with each new program.  

This year marks the first time the Golden and Silver Candy Dish Awards will be presented at the State of the Industry Conference. Award winners were previously honored at the Sweets & Snacks Expo. Both recipients will be recognized at the State of the Industry Welcome Reception & Awards Ceremony taking place on Sunday, March 5, beginning at 5:30 p.m.