NCA Names Members Of The 2022 Future Leadership Program


Washington — Eight young professionals from across the industry have been selected for NCA’s 2022 Future Leadership Program. The initiative is part of the Association’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) with support from the NCSA Candy Hall of Fame and is dedicated to helping young professionals across the confectionery industry access networking and professional development opportunities to grow their careers.

Launched in 2016, the Future Leadership Program provides support, education, access and opportunity to young professionals who wish to develop leadership skills and grow their careers in the confectionery industry.

“We’ve expanded this year’s class to eight young professionals as a way of signaling our investment in the future of the confectionery industry,” notes John Downs, NCA president and CEO. “With professionals from across the confectionery category represented, this year’s class of Future Leaders provides a cross-section of the potential our industry has for continued growth and innovation.”

Members of the class of 2022 are:

  • Ashton Batten
    Customer Business Leader, Mars Wrigley North America
  • William Felder
    Key Account Manager – Target, Ferrara Candy Co., Inc.
  • Tony Fontana 
    National Account Manager, Haribo of America, Inc. 
  • Jonathan Hartigan
    Director of Sales, North, Shankman & Associates, Inc.
  • Rebecca Kuehn
    R&D Manager, Guittard Chocolate Co.
  • Danielle Laubenstein
    Director of Global Marketing, Hawaiian Host Group
  • Daniel Mendelsohn
    Associate Director, Seasonals and Innovations, PIM Brands, Inc.
  • Miguel Zorrilla
    Marketing Brand Director, Ferrero USA, Inc.

As part of the program, the participants will be invited to attend NCA’s State of the Industry Conference, the Sweets & Snacks Expo, NCA’s Summer Board & Leadership Strategy Meeting, the Washington Forum and the Candy Hall of Fame weekend. In addition to receiving educational and networking opportunities through the Future Leadership Program, participants will be matched with an industry leader who will serve as a mentor.

The application process for the 2023 class of the Future Leadership Program will begin in late summer 2022. More information is available at