Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”

That’s one critical lesson that the American Bakers Association (A.B.A.) plans to reinforce at its annual convention to be held March 29-April 1 at The Ritz Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla. In fact, the theme for this year’s gathering — and a message that A.B.A. plans to hammer home throughout all of 2015 — is about leveraging the “Power of Baking.” To elaborate on this theme, the association is promoting a series of “power facts” on that demonstrate how important the baking industry is to the retail market and the economy as a whole.

“Driven by economic, consumer and nutrition research, this year’s convention will focus on educating bakers on the value of their products, our strength as an industry and what it will take to keep baked goods the No. 1 retail driver and a leading growth category,” noted Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A.

“I encourage anyone in the baking industry to attend this convention where A.B.A. will be unveiling critical research about the impact of baking in the retail marketplace and supporting data that proves baking is one of America’s most powerful industries,” he added. “With our strong speaker program that will focus on the ‘Power of Leadership,’ attendees will also leave with takeaways on what it will take going forward to keep baked goods a leading growth category.” 

This year’s speakers include Liz Claman, the Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of Fox Business Countdown to the Closing Bell and After the Bell. In her presentation, “The New Economy: How and When Will America Soar Again?” she will offer her thoughts on the current economic environment at a macro level and incorporate stories of her experience with some of the country’s leading business executives.

In a presentation entitled “The Power of Bakery Categories,” Todd Hale, principal at Todd Hale L.L.C. and former senior vice-president, consumer and shopper insights, Nielsen, will provide A.B.A.-exclusive research on the strength that makes the baked goods category the leading retailer driver in the marketplace.

On an inspirational note, Ben Carson, former director of pediatric neurosurgery at an internationally renowned medical center, will tackle “The Power of Leadership” by revealing a philosophy that has helped him overcome life’s obstacles. He will demonstrate that maintaining discipline and exhibiting good character are at the core of achieving success at every level.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will explore “Politics in Washington — What’s Ahead for America?” Specifically, he will provide a candid look at the political scene in America and around the world and provide an insider’s view into the major headlines of the day as well as the upcoming 2016 presidential election.

In addition to the business sessions and meetings, the A.B.A. convention will offer a number of social and networking receptions as well as the Paul Abenante PAC Golf Tournament and a tennis tournament.

For more on the program and information on hotel and meeting registration, go to