Over 160 snack industry leaders and guests, including 33 first-time attendees, gathered Oct. 6-8 at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe for 2.5 days of education and networking. From economic insights and unique perspectives from snack and retail leaders, to actionable strategies for workforce development, ELF delivered on this year’s theme: “Elevate Your Vision: Navigating Industry Transformation.”
“I am very proud of the ELF program that the SNAC team, the event sponsors, and all of the speakers delivered in Lake Tahoe,” remarked SNAC Chairman Fritz Kohmann, CFO, Shearer’s Foods. “The mix of longstanding and first-time attendees created valuable networking opportunities. And, the program delivered a purposefully designed agenda with targeted content and industry relevant speakers which offered valuable education to the attendees.”
The conference kicked off with a reception on Sunday evening, October 6, where new attendees and long-standing members connected while taking in views of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
“Wyandot was delighted to bring our entire leadership team to ELF, several of whom have never been before,” said Rob Sarlls, President and CEO, Wyandot and Chairman of the Executive Leadership Forum Planning Committee. “Our team was excited about the diverse speaker topics and forums, but they truly enjoyed networking with industry peers and key suppliers in a fun and relaxed out of the plant environment. The team came away excited to explore and implement new ideas throughout the house!”
Over the next two days, attendees learned about a range of important topics, from managing in an uncertain economy to how to retain and attract employees. Panel discussions explored how snack producers and retailers must adapt and innovate to exceed consumer needs, as well as how private equity is disrupting the food industry. The second-ever WinS (Women in Snacks) Panel presented unique perspectives on empowering women in the workforce from three industry leaders. And the educational conference closed with an inspiring keynote address from Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy, who challenged attendees to use obstacles as outlets for growth and creativity.
Following the morning educational programs, attendees networked while participating in optional activities such as: touring the historic Thunderbird Lodge, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing and participating in the annual golf tournament.
“It was a special event,” said first-time attendee John Crean, President & CEO, Sonoma Creamery. “I especially enjoyed the networking time with other industry executives to socialize and learn more about what they do.”
“SNAC’s Executive Leadership Forum gets better every year,” said Cindy Kuester, Director of Sales, Snak King and Co-Chair of the WinS Steering Committee. “The three pillars: Advocacy, Networking, and Education are critical to the success of every organization and ELF delivered on all fronts. Our team evaluates the success of the event based on key takeaways, of which there were many.”
A special thanks to our sponsors for their generous support and to the Executive Leadership Forum Planning Committee for helping to plan a must-attend event. Join us next year for ELF 2020, Sep. 13-15 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado.