WASHINGTON – During her first week on the job as the new president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Julie Anna Potts was immersed in the industry, touring meat plants and meeting NAMI members in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Her second week on the job was spent meeting more members in Washington, DC, at the NAMI Fall Forum and Board Meeting

“I’m joining an awesome industry,” Potts said to the attendees of the Fall Forum meet and greet breakfast on Oct. 5. “It’s such an honor to be given the responsibility to speak for you in Washington and to advocate for your interests.”

Potts was named the successor to Barry Carpenter Aug. 22. Carpenter announced his retirement last December. He will stay on as an advisor to Potts through the end of the year.

“There is so much knowledge and experience and relationships that Barry Carpenter has,” Potts said. “I’m trying to extract anything I can.”

Potts served as executive vice president and treasurer of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) since 2011. She first joined AFBF in 2004 as general counsel. She maintained that role until 2009 when she was named chief counsel of the Senate Agriculture Committee, serving under then-Chairman Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

“My background is in law and policy,” she explained. “Bringing folks together and creating a consensus and alignment around strategies and policy is something that I enjoy, and I feel is very important. When you have multiple constituencies, you get very accustomed to what needs to be communicated and how, and that is something I am hoping to bring to this organization as we start this journey together.”

Potts believes communication with consumers and industry transparency are important goals for NAMI and its member companies. “Figuring out how to communicate the great story of the meat industry more effectively is something that I feel very strongly that I want to help lead and want to continue to work on.

“We need to have a dialogue with consumers effectively that says, ‘We know what we’re doing – we make safe, healthy and nutritious products and you can feel really good about eating bacon – and lots of it.’”