Executive Leadership Forum: October 14-16, 2024

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October 14-16, 2024 | The Ritz-Carlton Bacara | Santa Barbara, California

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Join leaders from every segment of the snack value chain – producers, marketers, suppliers and thought leaders – for 2.5 days of networking, collaboration and strategic insights to navigate today’s complex business landscape, while enjoying the breathtaking backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. The Forum allows executives to sharpen their business strategy as well as to step back from the daily grind and build relationships through networking activities, with an agenda that creates a business-first approach while maintaining the connection opportunities that make the event unique. 

Sessions include: 

  • The State of the Economy: Kick off two days of thought-provoking topics with a review of the macro-economy and the trends that drive the business cycle and consumer behavior.
  • The State of Snacking: Data-driven overview on the state of the snack category at retail. What’s up, what’s down, and what the industry needs to do to drive growth.
  • 2024 Election: As we gather just three weeks before the 2024 election, hear from an expert about the state of the race and what it means for business in 2025 and beyond.
  • AI @ Work: An interactive workshop led by a leading authority on ChatGPT and generative AI to unlock the potential of artificial intelligence for you and your team.
  • Health, Nutrition, and the Consumer: A panel discussion of scientific and medical professionals covering the leading topics in health and nutrition, including GLP-1 drugs and their role in the American diet in years ahead.
  • Profile of Snack Leadership: Hear directly from a senior leader of a major snacking company on their view of the category, plans for the future, and their personal path to the executive suite.
  • Sustainability and EPR: Update on the “extended producer responsibility” movement in state legislatures and what the industry needs to be prepared as consumer demand for sustainability takes shape in public policy.

Schedule at a Glance

Monday, October 14

  • 9:00am – 12:00pm: SNAC Committee Meetings
  • 12:00 – 5:00pm: Optional Recreation
  • 6:30 – 9:30pm: Opening Reception and Dinner

Tuesday, October 15

  • 9:00am – 5:00pm: Education Sessions
  • 6:15pm: Open Evening and Dine Around 

Wednesday, October 16

  • 9:00am – Noon: Education Sessions
  • 1:00 – 6:00pm: Optional Recreation
  • 6:30pm: Closing Reception and Dinner
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ELF 2023 Recap: 47th Executive Leadership Forum Held In Colorado Springs, CO Exceeds Expectations

Over 130 snack industry executives and guests gathered this week at the Broadmoor for 2.5 days of education and collaboration. The event featured business leaders and experts discussing topics like sustainability, snack trends, global economic issues, leading with purpose and more.

The Forum drew 43% more female attendees than in 2022, part of SNAC’s WinS (Women in Snacks) initiative to open the pipeline for female advancement in the snack industry. SNAC’s Rising Stars program brought 7 emerging leaders nominated by their company to Colorado, and 30 first time attendees overall.

Thank you Generous Sponsors for making the Executive Leadership Forum possible.

Presentations are now available to watch and download, as well as session summaries and photos below.

Welcome and State of the Industry
SNAC’s CEO Christine M. Cochran highlighted the benefits of attending the Forum and what attendees should expect over the next 2 days, including networking opportunities, leadership growth potential, and the current state of the snack industry, how it’s evolving, and ways to keep the industry thriving.
What’s Up in Snacking?
Circana EVP of Client Insights, Sally Lyons Wyatt shared the latest snack and consumer trends. “Snacking definitely remains a lifestyle, with 49% of consumers snacking three times or more a day, and it’s still growing, especially among younger consumers who are fueling this dynamic trend.”
View from a Category Leader: Hershey
SNAC President and CEO Christine Cochran interviewed Hector De La Barreda, Senior Vice President, Chief Global Business Platforms and Process Optimization Officer, The Hershey Company. “We always stayed true to our mission, which is making ‘moments of goodness’ and putting people in the center of everything that we do,” said De La Barreda regarding Hershey’s quest to become a snacking powerhouse.
Simulation: Leadership & Group Decision-Making
Rachel Pacheco led an interactive workshop at today’s Executive Leadership Forum, demonstrating how to efficiently and effectively work as a group when making leadership decisions – a skill highly prevalent in the snack industry and beyond. 
The Purpose Path to Growth
Jim Stengel shares a brand purpose checklist to ensure your brand’s success at the Executive Leadership Forum. The checklist includes Employee and Customer Motivation, Consistency and Coherence, and Performance Measurement, along with his five lessons from 25 years of industry experience.
American Politics & the 2024 Election
Seth Masket, author and professor of Politic Science at University of Denver, used his political expertise to present about the upcoming election at today’s Executive Leadership Forum. Masket gave attendees an overview of the candidates for the 2024 U.S. election and provided professional outlook on the country’s current political climate.
McCain’s Sustainability Journey
Jess Newman celebrates McCain’s sustainability journey through smart and sustainable farming and regenerative agriculture, and a look toward the farm of the future. 
The Future of a Safer, More Sustainable Food System
Frank Yiannas discusses the challenges surrounding food safety at the Executive Leadership Forum. He explores the changing food system, food borne surveillance, consumer trust bust, food fights & polarization, trace chemicals, climate change, and the opportunities to tackle these challenges.
What Kind of Economy Are We In?
Brian G. Belski from BMO Capital Markets shared fascinating insights about the current state of our economy at the Executive Leadership Forum. His analysis painted an optimistic picture – we’re not just on the road to recovery, but we’re also witnessing a return to the robust economic environment reminiscent of the 80s and 90s. He also confirmed that we are not heading into a recession – great news for all of us involved in this dynamic industry!