WASHINGTON, DC — The American Bakers Association (ABA)’s NextGenBaker Leadership Conference has been moved to a fully virtual event, to be held Sept. 14 and 16. The shift to online makes the two days of virtual programming and networking more accessible than ever before.

ABA plans to hold an in-person event April 26-28, 2022.

“While we are disappointed to have to postpone the in-person programming until the spring event, the virtual format allows us to open the Leadership Forum to even more of the industry’s rising leaders,” said Christina Donnelly, director, industry relations and strategic initiatives, ABA. “Under the leadership of NextGenBaker Co-Chairs Kelly Mariotti and Campbell Williams, we have continued to grow our NextGenBaker community and deliver meaningful development in areas that are most relevant to the industry.”

With the move to a virtual event, ABA has also bulked up the educational programming. On Sept. 14, attendees will hear from Cyrille Filott, global strategist, consumer food, Rabbobank, and JP Frossard, vice president, consumer foods analyst, Rabobank, on the pandemic’s long-lasting effects on consumer shopping habits and preferences.     

On Sept. 16, up-and-coming leaders in the baking industry can learn how emotional intelligence impacts leadership from Kevin Ames, founder of Ames Leadership Instituted. And in the afternoon, attendees can participate in a discussion on diversity and inclusion in the baking industry. Attendees will hear from panelists Nikki Long, head of diversity and equity and belonging, Bimbo Bakeries USA, Horsham, Pa.; Isaac Rocha, director, West zone, McDonald’s, and chief inclusion officer, The BAMA Companies, Inc., Dallas; Felisa Stockwell, senior director of global people and culture, Dawn Foods, Jackson, Mich., and Kelly Mariotti, NextGenBaker co-chair, and director of people programs and processes, Weston Foods, Toronto.

Both days of the conference will also give NextGenBaker attendees the opportunity to learn more about the baking industry’s engagement on Capitol Hill through the American Bakers PAC Townhall and a session on The Future of Capitol Hill. Speakers for these sessions include Stephanie Tillman, chief legal counsel, Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga.; Juan Williams, Fox contributor and best-selling author; Cyrus Artz, staff director, Republican House Education and Labor Committee; and Nick Rockwell, legislative director, Representative G.T. Thompson (R-PA).

NextGenBaker aims to develop the next generation of leaders in the wholesale baking industry. Those attending virtually will have multiple opportunities to also network and meet with their peers in the industry as well as established leaders.

Attendees can register for the virtual event here.