The NextGenBaker Virtual Leadership Forum was held online, hosted by the American Bakers Association (ABA), on September 14 and 16, 2021.

ABA’s NextGenBaker is dedicated to developing the industry's rising leaders. NextGenBaker events connect baking and supplier company executives to learn and grow together in the program’s core goals of professional development, public policy engagement, relationship building, and industry trends education. NextGenBakers range across all positions, from managers and directors to vice presidents and senior VPs, within all departments of baking companies.

The 2021 two-day virtual forum included a variety of meet-and-greet networking sessions, as well as presentations featuring speakers covering a range of professional-development topics. Highlights from the proceedings included:

  • “New Ways of Shopping: The Bakery of 2022,” featuring Brad Alexander, COO, Flowers Foods; Cyrille Filott, global strategist, consumer food, Rabobank; J.P. Frossard, vice president, consumer foods analyst, Rabobank; and Kelly Mariotti, NextGenBaker co-chair and director, people programs and processes, Weston Foods
  • American Bakers Political Action Committee (PAC) Townhall, featuring Kelly Knowles VP, political and state affairs, American Bakers Association; Stephanie Tillman, chief legal counsel, Flowers Foods; and Juan Williams, Fox News contributor and best-selling author
  • “Leadership and Emotional Intelligence,” featuring Kevin Ames, founder, Ames Leadership Institute, and Campbell Williams, NextGenBaker co-chair and co-president, B.C. Williams Bakery Service and BCW Food Products
  • “A Discussion on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Baking Industry,” followed by “The Future of Capitol Hill Panel,” featuring Josh Kelley, chief of staff, Senator Mike Braun; Nikki Lang-Perkins, head of diversity, equity, and belonging, Bimbo Bakeries USA; Kelly Mariotti; Isaac Rocha, director, West Zone, McDonald's & chief inclusion officer, The Bama Companies, Inc.; Nick Rockwell, legislative director, Representative G.T. Thompson (PA-15); Felisa Stockwell, senior director, Global People & Culture, Dawn Foods; Lauren Williams, director of government relations, American Bakers Association

The 2022 NextGenBaker Virtual Leadership Forum will take place April 26 to 28, 2022. Click here to register.