NCA unveils latest industry intake of key Future Leaders Programme

A total of eight ambitious young industry professionals have formed the latest intake of the National Confectioners Association 2024 Future Leadership Programme, designed to inspire and develop the next generation of management stars within the sector, writes Neill Barston.

The scheme, which was launched in 2016, has seen a wide variety of companies engage with the initiative, from smaller independent businesses, through to major corporations active in the global market, which have all been eager to foster the talent within their ranks and wider business.

The 2024 class includes major representation from businesses including Perfetti Van Melle, Barry Callebaut, Storck USA, and Mars (main image), with the NCA recognising the key value of enabling the development of companies’ management teams as they help shape the future of their respective businesses.

“The Future Leaders are shaking things up in the world of chocolate and candy, and they’ve got what it takes to drive our industry ahead,” John Downs, NCA President and CEO, said. “Our Future Leadership Program ensures they get the right tools to flourish and achieve their fullest potential. I am excited to work alongside these inspiring individuals and watch their career paths unfold.”

The NCA confirmed that the application process for the 2025 class of the Future Leadership Program opens on August 4, for more details visit

  • This year’s intake includes Chase Brown (below), regional Business Manager- Grocery & Convenience – Texas/New Mexico, Perfetti Van Melle

Lori Davis (below), Director of Sales West, Burdette Beckmann, Inc.

Kate Duffy (below), Director of Human Resources, North America

Storck USA, L.P.


Steve Edminister (below), Team Leader Russell Stover Chocolates


Cody Heinz (below) Director of Sales, Bell Flavors & Fragrances


Christina Jenkins (below), Customer Cocoa Research and Development Project Manager, Barry Callebaut

Mark Slusser (below), General Manager, Blommer Chocolate Company







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