NCA announces its 2021 Future Leadership Class

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

NCA president and CEO John Downs with last year's Future Leaders intake. Pic: NCA
NCA president and CEO John Downs with last year's Future Leaders intake. Pic: NCA

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The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has announced the five confectionery industry professionals selected for its 2021 Future Leadership Program, which is dedicated to helping young professionals in the US the confectionery industry access networking and professional development opportunities to grow their careers.

The Future Leadership Program has become a premier experience for young professionals in the confectionery industry​,” said John Downs, NCA president and CEO.

Our Future Leaders have been instrumental in everything from bolstering our advocacy efforts and understanding our role in social justice initiatives to reimagining and planning for the future of the industry – and much more in between. I look forward to working with the 2021 class – but more importantly, learning from them – as we continue to innovate to take NCA to a higher level of success in the years to come​.”

The 2021 class includes: Serena Bitzer​ Senior Business Analyst, The Hershey Company; Nisha Desai​, Director, Strategy and Business Development;, Inc; Mark Puch Jr​. (MJ), Key Account Specialist, Primrose Candy Company; Sandi Santa Ana​, Category Management Director, Ferrara Candy Company; Becky Silberfarb​, Director of Marketing; Bazooka Candy Brands, a Division of The Topps Company.

In addition to receiving educational and networking opportunities through the Future Leadership Program, the NCA said participants “will be matched with a highly-regarded industry leader who will serve as a formal mentor​”.

The 2021 mentors are: Troy Pearley​, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Divine Chocolate; Sarah Atkinson​, Executive Vice President, Atkinson Candy Company; Kirk Vashaw​; Chairman & CEO; Spangler Candy Company; Anthony Trani​, Vice President of Global Marketing, Bazooka Candy Brands, a Division of The Topps Company; Marty Palmer​; President & CEO, Palmer Candy Company.

The application process for the 2022 class will open in the summer. Those interested in applying for the program or learning more about how to get involved as a young professional or as a mentor should visit​.

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