The American Bakers Association Convention, themed ‘Power of Baking,’ will convey the industry’s story and empower attendees with key leadership messages throughout the convention's expert speaker presentations, educational sessions and social events. 

aba conventionThe 2015 American Bakers Association (ABA) Convention will be held March 29 to April 1 at the Ritz Grande Lakes in Orlando, FL. Open to both ABA members and nonmembers, the annual event will once again bring together the baking industry’s top leaders—bakers, retailers, suppliers and partner organizations—to hear from business and political speakers, learn about the latest trends, share ideas, develop positions on baking issues, connect with industry colleagues and more. 

“The baking industry is a strong and powerful industry,” says Robb MacKie, president and CEO, ABA, Washington, DC. “Baking is the No. 1 driver of retail, it has a strong economic impact, there is a strong household penetration of our products, and it’s a strong growth category. The baking industry has a great story to tell, and ABA plans to illustrate and communicate that message by carrying out a yearlong theme for 2015—‘The Power of Baking.’”  

The convention kicks off on Sunday, March 29, with an all-membership meeting from 1:30–4 p.m., followed by three receptions: the ABA Executive Leadership Development Committee (ELDC) reception from 4:15–5:15 p.m.; the New Attendees reception from 5:30–6 p.m., where new attendees can meet ABA board members and staff; and the Miller’s Welcome Reception from 6–7:30 p.m.

The Allied Trades of the Baking Industry (ATBI) will hold its board of directors meeting on Monday, March 30, from 6:45–7:30 a.m., followed by the ATBI Leadership Breakfast. During the breakfast, guest speaker Dr. Ben Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at an internationally renowned medical center and an author, will present “The Power of Leadership,” an inspirational look at the philosophy that helped him meet and overcome life’s obstacles. 

ABA’s morning business sessions will follow and run from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Todd Hale, principal, Todd Hale LLC and former senior vice president, consumer and shopper insights, Nielsen, will present “The Power of Bakery Categories.” He will share the results of his ABA-exclusive research on the impact of baking in the retail marketplace. The “Power of Baking” theme stemmed from his research on the baked goods category’s strength and growth that makes it the No. 1 retail driver. Spouse events also will be held on Monday from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Following a barbecue luncheon from 12:15–1:30 p.m., convention attendees will be ready for intellectual stimulation during the afternoon business sessions, which will run until 3 p.m. Liz Claman, an Emmy Award–winning journalist and anchor of “Countdown to the Closing Bell” and “After the Bell” on Fox News will present “The New Economy: How and When Will America Soar Again?” She will offer her thoughts on the current economic environment at a macro level, as well as incorporate stories of her experiences with the country’s business leaders. She’ll also provide insight into the “special something” that famed CEOs and business leaders possess, and how attendees can adopt some of their ideas. 

Convention attendees can relax after a full day of sessions at a cocktail reception from 6–7:30 p.m. It will be followed by the American Bakers PAC dinner, which will feature a guest speaker.

Tuesday’s convention agenda will feature two optional, paid events, both of which are open to attendees, spouses and guests. 

The Paul Abenante PEC Golf Tournament will take place from 7:15 a.m.–1 p.m. It will be preceded by a breakfast at 7 a.m. Named for former ABA president and CEO Paul Abenante, the event raises money for ABA’s political education fund, which pays political speaker fees, for Congressional directories for ABA members and other expenses. 

Tennis enthusiasts, meanwhile, can participate in a tennis tournament from 2:30–4:30 p.m. Prizes and beverages will be provided. 

A farewell reception on Tuesday, March 31, from 6:30–8:30 p.m., will give attendees a final opportunity to socialize with old and new friends and colleagues. 

The 2015 convention wraps up on Wednesday, April 1, with a get-away breakfast from 7–9 a.m.

To register for or learn more about the convention, visit

Special Events At-A-Glance

Sunday, March 29
5:30–6 p.m. — New Attendees Reception
6–7:30 p.m. — Miller’s Welcome Reception
Monday, March 30
7:30–9:15 a.m. — Allied Trades of the Baking Industry (ATBI) breakfast
6–7:30 p.m. — Cocktail reception
7:30–9:30 p.m. — ABA PAC dinner
Tuesday, March 31
7:15 a.m.–1 p.m. — PEC golf tournament
2:30–4:30 p.m. — Tennis tournament
Wednesday, April 1
7–9 a.m. — Get-away breakfast