FMI, Meat Institute Honor Young Pros in Protein

10 winners chosen as 2024 Leaders of Tomorrow
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Winners of the 2024 Leaders of Tomorrow Program were recognized before and during the Annual Meat Conference in Nashville.

As upwards of 2,300 industry professionals gather in Nashville this week for the Annual Meat Conference (AMC) hosted by FMI - The Food Industry Association and the Meat Institute, several rising stars were recognized for their efforts to shape the future of meat production and meat retailing. On March 17, the groups celebrated 10 individuals selected for the Leaders of Tomorrow Program.

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This year’s winners include the following:

  • Tammy Gonzales, Cargill
  • Jennifer Hicks, Mitchell Grocery Corp.
  • Nicole Koch, Seaboard Foods
  • Marie-Pier Labarre, Cascades
  • Hillary Niblock, Superior Farms
  • Kaylee Russell, Tyson Foods
  • Zachary Stadler, Associated Wholesale Grocers
  • Mike Van Drie, SpartanNash Co.
  • Liz Holt Welnhofer, Pre Brands
  • Michael Yeater, Albertsons Cos.

Members of the 2024 class were lauded for shared industry commitments and future potential. “These 10 Leaders of Tomorrow proved themselves to be rising stars in the industry,” said Julie Anna Potts, president and CEO of the Meat Institute. “It’s exciting to think about the creativity and innovation these young leaders will bring to their respective companies and to the industry as a whole.”

Added Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI: “It’s inspiring to witness the leaders of tomorrow shape the future of meat category management. We hear their stories of nurturing sustainable supply chains, fostering positive team development and contributing to their companies’ financial growth. And most importantly, their dedication to driving impactful strategies supports consumer-centric experiences that delight meat shoppers across this nation.”

In 2019, the organizations teamed up to create the Leaders of Tomorrow program to strengthen the industry’s foundation and pipeline of talent. A committee of retailers and packers/processors evaluate candidates, who are nominated by their supervisors, and select winners based on their dedication to advancing the retail meat business, a track record of success, individual initiative, leadership potential and communication skills.

The ceremony took place the night before FMI’s and the Meat Institute’s joint conference. The winners were then paired with a professional industry mentor to guide them during the three-day event.

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