WASHINGTON — Lee Sanders, whose career with the American Bakers Association extends back 30 years, will be stepping down from the group in mid-August, the ABA announced July 31.

Ms. Sanders currently serves as ABA’s senior vice president of government relations and public affairs. In this role, Ms. Sanders has led the ABA government relations team representing the baking industry before Congress, federal agencies, state legislatures, and international policy making bodies. Additionally, Ms. Sanders has served as a spokesperson for the industry regarding numerous regulatory and legislative issues and has offered guidance to ABA members regarding important governmental issues. She is a founder and immediate past chair for the Food and Beverage Issue Alliance that serves as a platform for communications for over 50 FDA-regulated food industry trade associations working together to craft unified positions on nutrition and food safety issues, meeting quarterly with the FDA and other key federal government agencies.

“I am proud of the legislative, regulatory, and partnership work accomplished for the baking industry over the past three decades,” Ms. Sanders said. “The personal and professional relationships I have formed with members and the ABA team over the years are precious to me.  I look forward to a new chapter and am excited to consider fresh opportunities where I can leverage and elevate my expertise for the benefit of other organizations. My passion for the baking industry will never diminish.  I wish ABA all the best as it charts new territory and moves forward for a bright future.”

A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Ms. Sanders started her career in the office of Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, and later served in the White House under George H.W. Bush as an assistant to the associate counsel to the president and with the US Treasury as confidential assistant to the undersecretary for legislative affairs. She joined the ABA in 1993 as an assistant to the president for legislative and regulatory affairs and was named director of legislative and regulatory affairs two years later. She has held her current role since 2006 and has served as ABA’s corporate secretary since 2005.  

Ms. Sanders leads the Grain Chain coalition, comprised of farm-to-fork grain organizations, engaging in outreach, and developing critical messaging to achieve nutrition policy goals.   She was the founder and is the current president of the Society of Bakery Women, a 501(c) (3) organization promoting diversity in the baking industry. She is a past chair of the Wheat Quality Council. She is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Robert A. Fischer Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Baking, the Full Kernel Award from the WQC and the Myro D. “Mike” Baustian Memorial Award from AACCI.

Eric Dell, president and CEO of the ABA, hailed Ms. Sanders’ decades of dedicated service to the baking industry.

“Lee is greatly respected not only in the industry but also in Washington for her extensive knowledge of the issues and for the relationships she has been able to forge in order to elevate ABA’s policy goals and influence change,” Mr. Dell said.

Cordia Harrington, ABA chair and founder and CEO of Crown Bakeries, voiced appreciation for Ms. Sanders years of service and her “deep knowledge of everything ‘baking.’"