WASHINGTON – Twenty mid- to senior-level meat and poultry industry professionals are taking the next step in their “leadership journey” as the inaugural class of the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) Emerging Leaders Program. This new program – sponsored by the Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) – is a spin-off from NAMI’s involvement in the Protein PACT for People, Animals and the Climate of Tomorrow – an effort to “strengthen animal protein’s contributions to healthy people, healthy animals, healthy communities and a healthy environment.”

“While staying committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, this unique program convenes classes of NAMI members for a multi-faceted, yearlong curriculum centered around the core pillars of NAMI’s Protein PACT, which are, animal welfare, environmental impact, food safety, health and wellness, and labor and human rights,” according to NAMI.

NAMI selected the 20 participants based off their commitment to continuous improvement in the industry, their leadership potential and individual initiative within the industry. 

“FSNS has a long history of supporting career development through scholarships, internships, and ongoing education,” said John Bellinger, chief executive officer of Food Safety Net Services. “The NAMI Emerging Leaders Program is a critical extension of our current initiatives, and we are honored to be partnering with NAMI to support the next generation of leaders in the industry.” 

The 20 participants are: Andrea Perkins, Superior Farms; Ashley Lembke, American Foods Group LLC; Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board; Greta Shimon, Amcor; Hugh Albert, Kayem Foods; Janeen Butterfield, Old Trapper Smoked Products; Jenine Rinn, Sonoma County Meat Co.; Jennifer Raspaldo, OSI Group; Jennifer Dibbern, American Foods Group; Jessica Finck, Merck Animal Health; Laura Parvin, EW Grobbel; Lyndsey Jones, JBS USA; MacKenzie Waro, Meyer Natural Foods; Mindy Henry, Tyson Fresh Meats; Nicole Erceg, Certified Angus Beef; Paula M McGee, Swaggerty’s; Sean Flynn, Niman Ranch; Suzanne Finstad, Tyson Foods, Inc.; Therese Borneman, Jones Dairy Farm; and Vincent Gaudio, OSI Group.

Throughout the yearlong program, participants will participate in NAMI conferences and webinars and will attend the 2021 and 2022 Protein PACT Summit – held this year Oct. 28-29 in San Antonio. They will also have access to other NAMI meetings and networking events throughout the year.

More information about the Emerging Leaders Program can be found here. This annual program will accept applications for the 2022-2023 class next fall.