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By Kirk O’Donnell

IBIE Program Promotes Leadership Training

The baking industry is at a crossroads. After successfully weathering the low-carb storm and a rash of consolidations, it is starting to see encouraging signs of growth.
Now, more than ever, effective leadership will be critical for managing costs without stifling growth, inspiring loyalty in employees and customers, and attracting and developing talent to replace the generation of skilled employees who are retiring in large numbers.
Bakers have to do more with less. When we use all of our energies “fighting fires” by dealing with the urgent issues, we tend to neglect the important issues such as strategic planning, coaching and developing the next generation of leaders.
To get the industry out of the mess that it is in, baking companies must become employers of choice for young people. By continuing to build the value of your brand, potential employees will become interested in joining your team.
Generating interest is not enough, but it is a good start. Other activities should include, but not be limited to, involvement in the community, giving tours of your bakery, attending career fairs, sponsoring a military unit and offering internships.
From the pool of those potential employees who are interested in joining your team, you should look for the characteristics of integrity, passion, ability to communicate, desire to learn and ability to work with people as prerequisites of successful candidates.
Once you have hired employees with growth potential, then your business has a chance to grow in the long-term. However, employees currently are not as patient as the generation of workers who are retiring, because younger workers simply have more options. Companies that can successfully guide the next generation of talented people will have the competitive advantage over those that do not
To learn more about how you can do more with less and other challenges of leadership, attend the International Baking Industry Exposition in Orlando, Fla., and the education program, which runs October 7-9 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
On October 7, the program includes: Disney Institute presents: The Disney Approach to Leadership; Trends in the Baking Industry by Mark Sabo, Sosland Publishing; and The “Smart” Bakery by Rick Dempster, AIB International.
On October 8, the program includes: Disney Institute presents: The Disney Approach to People Management; The “No Down-Time” Bakery by Jeff Dearduff, director of U.S. bakeries for East Balt, Inc. and Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery columnist; and Federal Regulatory Update by Lee Sanders, American Bakers Association.
On October 9, the program includes: Disney Institute presents: The Disney Approach to Loyalty and Quality Service, and Developing Leaders for the Baking Industry by Kirk O’Donnell, AIB International.
For additional information and to register, visit All participants will receive supporting handouts with each presentation.

Editor’s Note: Kirk O’Donnell is vice president of education for AIB International.