WASHINGTON – National Confectioners Association (NCA) President & CEO John Downs today announced the promotion of three key senior leaders that will unlock operational efficiency and effectiveness, bolster the membership value proposition, and continue to enhance the organization’s advocacy, communications, industry affairs, and regulatory support for the 620 manufacturers, suppliers and brokers that are members of NCA.
“In less than four years we’ve made tremendous progress on our transformational change journey, having created a positive brand identity for NCA, built a clear and compelling strategic plan, and executed the plan with laser-like precision. We have established a powerful, favorable narrative for our industry, recruited high-caliber CEOs and senior executives to serve on our Board of Trustees, modernized our governance process, and achieved our financial growth targets to fuel our advocacy and communications initiatives,” John Downs said. “Now is the time to take NCA to a higher level of success and further integrate our functions to drive innovation and alignment around our strategic priorities. The promotion of these three key senior team members will help us shape bold thinking around NCA’s multidimensional value proposition.”
In the past year, NCA has established the industry’s big ideal – the Always A Treat Initiative – which proactively positions the confectionery industry as a thought leader with consumers and in the food policy space. And now Downs is looking over the horizon to the next phase of NCA, emphasizing integration and innovation. With three key staff promotions set to take effect immediately, Downs is driving a strategic evolution of the organization while maintaining NCA’s unique and special culture.
“Our companies produce and sell America’s best-tasting, fun treats and there is an emotional bond created with our consumers through chocolate and candy,” Downs said. “We are taking our member companies’ lead as it relates to this bond in establishing an NCA brand promise that has come to life over the last four years with all of our stakeholders as we have created a solid, mission-driven advocacy organization.”
Liz Clark, currently vice president of government affairs, has been promoted to senior vice president of public policy. In her new role, Clark will lead NCA’s federal, state and local government affairs and PAC strategy, as well as work closely with the scientific / regulatory team to support NCA member companies.
“Under the public policy umbrella, deeper integration of NCA’s government affairs and regulatory functions will help the industry present a unified front to Capitol Hill, the administration, state and local lawmakers and regulators,” Downs said. “Liz’s list of accomplishments and seven-year tenure with the association speak volumes about her ability to manage the complex issues facing the confectionery industry.”
Downs announced that Christopher Gindlesperger, currently vice president of public affairs & communications, has been promoted to senior vice president of public affairs & communications. In his new capacity, Gindlesperger will lead a revamped department that is fully integrated into all functions across the organization and focused on ensuring consistency of messaging, as well as recruiting, educating and activating key stakeholder groups. Gindlesperger will also oversee all media relations activity and a new integrated marketing communications operation that is essential to the association’s ability to effectively communicate the breadth of tools and resources available to assist members in their business and in the marketplace.
“Chris’s leadership in the public affairs and communications discipline related to the strategic planning around the Always A Treat Initiative has helped us create a strong and highly respected brand identity for NCA inside the beltway and across the country,” Downs said. “Our signature events are now key communications assets, and with a streamlined public affairs and communications operation that includes an enterprise-wide marketing component, we will be able to even more adeptly share our three-pronged industry narrative: Power of Sweet, Always A Treat, Fun & Unique.”
Downs also announced that NCA Chief of Staff Elise Fennig has been promoted to chief of staff and senior vice president of operations. Fennig will continue to have oversight of human resources, IT, and operations at NCA, and assumes responsibility for the continued integration of the industry affairs, global business development, meetings and membership operations.
“Since joining NCA in 2016, Elise has been instrumental in the formulation of and execution against NCA’s highest priority projects,” Downs said. “Elise has demonstrated a strong track record of driving consensus, alignment and focus both inside the organization and within the membership. Her attention to further integrating internal operations to support the association’s activities, particularly around the Sweets & Snacks Expo, the State of the Industry Conference, and business development efforts both domestic and global, will be critical as we look to drive continued value for our members small and large.”
About the National Confectioners Association (NCA):
The National Confectioners Association is the trade organization that advances, protects and promotes the unique role of chocolate, candy, gum and mints in a happy, balanced lifestyle and the companies that make these special treats. Through advocacy and regulatory guidance, communications, industry insights and retail and supply chain engagement, NCA helps foster an environment that enables candy makers to thrive. Confections are produced in all 50 states, creating jobs for approximately 54,000 workers in more than 1,300 manufacturing facilities across the country. Learn more at AlwaysATreat.com or follow NCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.