WASHINGTON — Behind a goal of promoting and growing the baking industry, the American Bakers Association recently took steps to clarify the roles of its existing leadership team to capitalize on their areas of expertise while adding several new members to strengthen the organization.
Kelly Knowles has been promoted to vice-president of political and state affairs. Ms. Knowles most recently was senior director of political affairs.
In her new role, Ms. Knowles will work closely with Lee Sanders, senior vice-president of government relations and public affairs, to expand the A.B.A.’s federal advocacy strength into key states. She also will collaborate with A.B.A. members to identify crucial states and prioritize issues to protect the industry from government overreach. Ms. Knowles also plans to coordinate state advocacy operations with the A.B.A.’s food and business partners.
To drive increased A.B.A. member engagement and collaboration with industry and supply chain partners, the association has refocused Kelly Kotche’s role and promoted Christina Donnelly.
Ms. Kotche, who most recently was director of membership and marketing and IBIE registration manager, is now director of membership engagement. Ms. Donnelly has been promoted to director of industry relations and strategic initiatives after previously serving as assistant director of executive office and strategic initiatives.
Ms. Kotche and Samantha Moore, director of meetings and education, will be supported by new membership engagement coordinator Zach Decker, the A.B.A. said.
“The success of A.B.A. is predicated on our members and partners sharing their expertise, guidance and passion with our staff,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer. “I am confident that the highly focused team will significantly boost member involvement. A.B.A. represents almost 800,000 skilled employees, and we look forward to interfacing with more of them.”
To strengthen and refine its communications and marketing efforts, the A.B.A. has hired Katie Juhl as director of communications. Ms. Juhl has nearly two decades of private sector, non-profit and broadcast journalism experience and will work with Amy-Gabrielle Bartolac, marketing and communications manager, to propel A.B.A.’s current communications efforts.
On the operations side of the association, Jennifer Colfelt has been named vice-president of finance operations. She succeeds Charles P. Wellard, who left the A.B.A. this past summer. Ms. Cofelt joins the A.B.A. from the National Asphalt Paving Association and will work with newly-promoted office manager Lauren Alam and A.B.A.’s director of finance Teresa Grant.
“Whether it’s Capitol Hill, state government or the marketplace, the baking industry environment has never been more complex,” said Erin Sharp, chair of the A.B.A. and group vice-president of manufacturing at The Kroger Co. “We need an industry organization that is dynamic and adept to meet our needs today and in the future. I am extremely excited and energized by the enhancements to our A.B.A. team and look forward to working with them to drive industry results.”