NCA Announces 2023 Future Leadership Program Class

NCA Announces 2023 Future Leadership Program Class

WASHINGTON – The National Confectioners Association today announced six confectionery industry professionals selected for the 2023 Future Leadership Program. The program is dedicated to helping young professionals across the confectionery industry access networking and professional development opportunities to grow their careers.  

“Our Future Leaders play a pivotal role in the confectionery industry, as they have the capabilities to innovate and move our industry forward,” John Downs, NCA president and CEO, said. “The Future Leadership Program helps ensure that these exceptional young professionals are provided the tools needed to continue their success and reach their potential. I look forward to working alongside these impressive individuals and watching their careers develop.” 

The 2023 class includes:  

Kelsea Ferrato
Director of Marketing  
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory  

Emily Gordon  
Senior Category Manager  

AJ Khoury  
Director of Technical Sales  
Capol LLC  

Stephanie Laub  
Customer Business Lead – Disney  
Mars Wrigley  

Carly Meck  
R&D Manager – Product Development  
Blommer Chocolate Company  

Ryan Miller  
Vice President – Supply Chain  
Spangler 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. Participants are matched with a highly regarded industry leader as a mentor and are invited to attend NCA’s signature events, which include the State of the Industry Conference, Sweets & Snacks Expo, NCA’s Summer Board & Leadership Strategy Meeting and the Washington Forum along with the Candy Hall of Fame weekend.    

The application process for the 2024 class of the Future Leadership Program opens in late summer 2023. Those interested in applying for the program or learning more about how to get involved as a young professional or mentor should visit


About the National Confectioners Association (NCA):
The National Confectioners Association is the leading trade organization for the $48 billion U.S. confectionery industry. NCA advocates for an environment that enables candy makers to thrive and works to ensure that chocolate, candy, gum and mints are celebrated for their contributions to culture, society, the economy and everyday moments of joy. The industry employs nearly 58,000 workers in more than 1,600 manufacturing facilities across all 50 states and supports an additional 635,000 jobs in related fields. The U.S. confectionery industry has made a commitment to increasing transparency, providing more portion guidance options and educating consumers about the role of confectionery in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Learn more at or follow NCA on Facebook, X and Instagram.