Taking Advantage of a Golden Opportunity
Kerwin Brown
President & CEO
BEMA’s recent “Go for the Gold!” campaign informs baking industry suppliers that BEMA membership offers “A Golden Opportunity to Impact the Baking Industry.” Reading on, the ad tells readers that membership in BEMA “gives you the golden touch.” These words are not merely ad slogans, but a true reflection of what BEMA is all about.
Having a golden touch means possessing the ability to influence the issues that shape our industry, weigh in on matters that affect our daily business, shape the baking agenda and advance common interests. In short, it means being a successful advocate on behalf of our members.
But success is not a one-way street. Rather, it is cultivated in a spirit of cooperation, teamwork and common purpose — not only amongst ourselves, but also by reaching out to others. In other words, success is a product of connectivity.
Thanks to developments that have taken place under the guidance of our last two chairmen, BEMA has become a very integrated association — on several levels — that enjoys an unprecedented level of cooperation with various industry organizations and segments. Reaching out to one another and beyond has allowed us to see the industry from a wider perspective and accumulate knowledge we did not have before. An initial step in this direction was to open our membership to all suppliers.
As BEMA’s new president and CEO, I have made it my priority to continue to connect with others. We believe there is great value in relationships, and our strategy to reach out within our own industry already is bearing fruit.
A great example of this is the Grain Foods Foundation. BEMA made an unprecedented step in funding the foundation’s consumer-education campaign about the wholesome goodness of grain-based foods. Although our members are not bakers, we recognize that our success rests upon the success of our customers. Pooling resources and talent and crossing once well-defined boundaries between industry segments and their immediate interests resulted in an unparalleled effort that benefits everyone in the baking industry. We have been able to change the public’s perception of the products we make. BEMA is proud to be making a difference.
Another step to becoming connected was taken with the launch of BEMA’s Baking Industry Forum (BIF), which has brought together engineering and operations managers from bakeries, BEMA members and the American Society of Baking. On a very intimate level, BEMA representatives are working with baker representatives on critical business issues that we all face daily. Lines of communication have been created that will result in simplifying and improving the way we do business.
Now, we are in the early stages of developing a joint baker-supplier lobby effort with the American Bakers Association. This will give BEMA member companies a direct connection to legislators, present a united industry front to Washington, D.C., and hopefully head-off any problems before they become serious.
BEMA recognizes that our members will succeed by helping others succeed. We are working to break down the barriers that impede connectivity. There is a great level of energy in our group, a variety of projects in the works and new things coming down the pike. If you are not involved in BEMA now, get involved, get connected. Now is the time to do it. We are moving forward like never before. We are “going for the gold.”
For more information on BEMA, visit www.bema.org or call 1-913-338-1300.