Key leaders of the baking industry addressed a sold-out crowd during the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) 2013 show at the American Bakers Association (ABA) Executive Leadership Development Committee (ELDC) forum at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Mike McKee, McKee Foods Corp.; Paula Marshall, The Bama Companies; Miles Jones, Dawn Food Products; and Fred Penny, Bimbo Bakeries USA, served on the panel moderated by ELDC co-chairs Connie Vaughan, McKee Foods, and Pete Frederick, Milner Milling. More than 220 attendees turned out to hear the leaders’ views on core strengths needed by effective leaders, identifying and managing talent and the value of participating in ABA to build valuable networks.

Topics highlighted by the panel included doing business overseas and managing multiple cultures when it comes to customers as well as employees, the value of integrity throughout your leadership experience, the willingness to see your team succeed and to be a team player, the importance of diversifying your workforce, mentorship and the impact changing consumer demographics will have on the industry.

“We can all look back and say, ‘I wish I had done this or that,’ but having the humility to admit you don’t know everything and to ask as many questions as you can are very important to overall success,” said Marshall.

The panel stressed how critical it is to mentor and guide young industry leaders. “It’s key to network within the industry and become a member of the ABA and the ELDC,” Jones emphasized. “Talk with successful bakers and ask them how they solved problems and how they grew. You also need to stay sensitive to the people you’re working with and who work for you. After all, they usually spend more time at work than they do with their families, so make this an important goal.”

Among the many other topics the group discussed during the Oct. 8 forum were succession planning for future generations, which is quite critical, according to the panel. Panel members also they agreed that always listening to your intuition should be a priority.