WASHINGTON — Liliana Economakis, division vice president, customer development non-commercial at Aspire Bakeries, has been named the new co-chair of NextGenBaker, according to the American Bakers Association. She succeeds Kelly Mariotti, director of people programs and processes at Weston Foods, who has left to pursue a new career opportunity.

“Co-chairing NextGenBaker with Kelly over the past two years has been phenomenal,” said Campbell Williams, co-chair of NextGenBaker and co-president of B.C. Williams Bakery Service and BCW Food Products. “She has been such a strong partner to have as we sought to expand the program’s offerings, and I am so proud of what we accomplished together. And now I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Lili to the role as we head into a big year for NextGenBaker. With her passion for the baking industry and firm belief in the value of professional development, I am confident Lili’s leadership will ensure we deliver an incredible program for the NextGenBaker community.”

Ms. Economakis has more than 30 years of experience in the foodservice industry, and in her current role at Aspire Bakeries she leads the strategic relationship with Foodbuy/Compass business by partnering with the procurement, culinary and marketing teams to provide industry, category and brand expertise.

“From the first Leadership Forum I attended, I saw the value of NextGenBaker, and I am so honored to step into the role of co-chair,” Ms. Economakis said. “I believe the industry relationships formed in this program and the emphasis on investing in our development as leaders is incredibly valuable not only to the individuals who participate but to the companies they represent. I hope Campbell and I have the chance to welcome even more rising leaders into NextGenBaker this year.”

NextGenBaker is dedicated to developing the baking industry’s leaders with programming focused on four pillars: professional development, public policy engagement, relationship building and industry trends education. Members of NextGenBaker are baking and allied industry executives who have experience with growth potential. These individuals range in all positions from managers and directors to vice presidents and senior vice presidents, within all departments of a company.

The group has three in-person events scheduled in 2022: NextGenBaker Brunch at the 2022 ABA convention in Palm Springs, Calif., on March 27; NextGenBaker Leadership Forum in Washington on April 26-28; and the NextGenBaker Leadership Forum at IBIE in Las Vegas on Sept. 20.