The baking industry is facing unprecedented challenges, including a pandemic, a nationwide labor shortage and supply chain issues. In light of these obstacles, this year’s American Bakers Association (ABA) Convention will help bakers navigate an ever-changing industry while also celebrating their perseverance.

“Despite the pandemic and other challenges, nearly 800,000 people continue to create a rich and vibrant community,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer, American Bakers Association. “In 2022, we are celebrating the resilience of the industry and its accomplishments.”

With the ABA also celebrating its 125th anniversary, the convention theme is fittingly “Celebrate Bakery.”

The convention will feature business strategy experts, customer panels and networking for bakers, suppliers and industry partners, all to help members stay ahead of rapidly evolving technologies and trends.

“Some highlights include the ‘New Attendee and NextGenBaker Brunch’ with former NFL and NBA business executive, leadership and culture expert Paul Epstein,” Mr. MacKie said. “He will share some of the guiding principles of living and leading on purpose. Another can’t-miss session is ‘How to Build a Security Program That Succeeds’ with Michael Coates, former chief information security officer at Twitter and former head of security at Mozilla. Michael will talk through controversial stances and hard realities, uncovering a strategy for securing the future of technology for businesses.”

The convention will be held March 27-30 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, Calif., bringing together baking and supplier executives from across the industry. It’s also the first in-person ABA Convention since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and Mr. MacKie said the in-person connection is what he’s most looking forward to.

“While the virtual 2021 convention was successful, it is not the same as being in the same place as colleagues, shaking hands or bumping elbows,” Mr. MacKie said. “We hope the 2022 convention will be like an industry family reunion. So much happens organically in and around the ABA Convention. There is no virtual space that can replace the feeling of greeting industry colleagues and building new relationships.”

The convention is also bringing back a popular session from the 2021 convention: the Executive Roundtables.

“Executive Roundtables are topic-focused networking sessions facilitated by guest hosts,” Mr. MacKie said. “Attendees will connect with one another in these face-to-face conversations to share best-practices, innovative experiences and more.”

The roundtables will cover the most pressing issues facing the industry, including Supply Chain Challenges, Workforce Recruitment and Retention, and Leadership on Purpose.

New attendees are also encouraged to attend the complimentary NextGenBaker Brunch to learn more about the convention experience and meet other attendees before the main programming begins, Mr. Mackie said.