NCA Announces 2021 Future Leadership Class

NCA Announces 2021 Future Leadership Class

WASHINGTON – The National Confectioners Association today announced the five confectionery industry professionals selected for the 2021 Future Leadership Program, which is dedicated to helping young professionals across the confectionery industry access networking and professional development opportunities to grow their careers.

“The Future Leadership Program has become a premier experience for young professionals in the confectionery industry,” John Downs, NCA president and CEO, said. “Our Future Leaders have been instrumental in everything from bolstering our advocacy efforts and understanding our role in social justice initiatives to reimagining and planning for the future of the industry – and much more in between. I look forward to working with the 2021 class – but more importantly learning from them – as we continue to innovate to take NCA to a higher level of success in the years to come.”

The 2021 class includes:

  • Serena Bitzer
    Senior Business Analyst
    The Hershey Company
  • Nisha Desai
    Director, Strategy and Business Development
    1-800-Flowers.com, Inc.
  • Mark Puch Jr. (MJ)
    Key Account Specialist
    Primrose Candy Company
  • Sandi Santa Ana
    Category Management Director
    Ferrara Candy Company
  • Becky Silberfarb
    Director of Marketing
    Bazooka Candy Brands, a Division of The Topps Company

In addition to receiving educational and networking opportunities through the Future Leadership Program, participants will be matched with a highly-regarded industry leader who will serve as a formal mentor.

The 2021 mentors are:

  • Troy Pearley
    Executive Vice President & General Manager
    Divine Chocolate
  • Sarah Atkinson
    Executive Vice President
    Atkinson Candy Company
  • Kirk Vashaw
    Chairman & CEO
    Spangler Candy Company
  • Anthony Trani
    Vice President of Global Marketing
    Bazooka Candy Brands, a Division of The Topps Company
  • Marty Palmer
    President & CEO
    Palmer Candy Company

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. The application process for the 2022 class will open in the summer. Those interested in applying for the program or learning more about how to get involved as a young professional or as a mentor should visit CandyUSA.com/FutureLeaders.

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About the National Confectioners Association (NCA):
The National Confectioners Association is the trade organization that 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 create an environment that enables candy makers and confectionery retailers to thrive. As the leading association for the $36 billion U.S. confectionery industry, NCA works to ensure that chocolate and candy are celebrated for their contributions to culture, society, the economy and everyday moments of joy. Confections are produced in all 50 states, creating jobs for approximately 55,000 workers in more than 1,300 manufacturing facilities across the country. Learn more at CandyUSA.com or follow NCA on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.