Three new staff positions were recently added at BEMA to expand the association’s capabilities and help drive strategic initiatives forward. Bringing on two new team members and promoting one from within, equips the staff with the desired combination of subject matter expertise and baking industry experience. 

Communication specialist, Laura Sanderson, will manage and facilitate external communications with membership and industry communities. She will also manage BEMA’s membership database, online registration and website. Overall, she will promote the “Value Added” brand and control the dissemination of information on the association’s behalf. Laura earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and her Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing from Kansas University. Her professional experiences include work with Radio Disney and Nebraska Furniture Mart, as well as several impressive freelance projects.

Executive assistant, Melva Brownlee, will provide executive support to the CEO, serve as the liaison to the Board of Directors and facilitate the board development and strategy plans. Additionally, she will organize and coordinate outreach and external relations efforts. Ms. Brownlee’s previous professional experience is focused in the non-profit sector, having made contributions locally to both the Urban League of Greater Kansas City and Avila University. A graduate of the University of Central Missouri, Melva earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work.

Accepting an internal promotion, Kelly Allen will continue her tenure and service at BEMA in the newly created position of manager, membership and special events. In this full-time role, Kelly will create and implement various membership programs and affinity offerings for BEMA.  Kelly will also focus her efforts on member recruitment and retention. Additionally, Kelly will be the lead for BEMA’s special events and sponsorships, responsibilities that require a creative and diverse skill set. Kelly’s knowledge of the baking industry and professional relationships with our members, combined with her experience in event management, makes her the ideal person for this new position. Kelly joined the BEMA staff in February of 2016. Previously, she spent 9 years in the beef and dairy industries working for the Nutrition Physiology Company. Focusing her studies on Music Therapy, Kelly attended Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri.

BEMA’s vision is to create an overwhelming competitive advantage for its membership. President and CEO, Kerwin Brown stated, “The process of assembling a high performing team to maximize BEMA’s service potential for member companies was an investment in time and resources that I think will pay dividends to the association in the long run. I’m excited to welcome our new staff members to the BEMA family at Convention.”