By: Carol Abel, Vice President of Education, Food Marketing Institute

Future Leaders In ActionIn every business recruiting, retaining and developing talent is always an important ingredient to success. But this year in food retail the focus on the right talent recipe seems to grow with every passing week.

Nearly anytime two or more food retail leaders have gathered, the conversations seem to steer toward talent: from participants in the Retail Management Certificate Summit and webinars this summer to conversations during the Annual Business Conference last month to session recommendations at planning meetings for 2017 conferences. The topic is top of mind.

This is why FMI is committed to offering the Future Leaders conference in 2017 in June in Chicago. Future Leaders is the industry’s premier executive training program where current leaders, high-potentials and the whole team can engage together in honing their leadership and management skills and learning more about the breadth and depth of the industry.

In response to the increasing conversations about the importance of harnessing and nurturing talent, in 2017 we plan to take Future Leaders to the next level. This month (October 26-27) the Future Leaders Planning Committee will be meeting at FMI Headquarters to outline the 2017 event. It used to be that we could chart the path to the CEO’s corner office from his beginnings of bagging groceries for the company, but now we seek a workforce that represents myriad educational and experience backgrounds. The Future Leaders Planning Committee will help us build a 2017 program that will be a tool our members can use to develop that workforce.

We’re listening to our members and want your ideas. If you have thoughts on ways that Future Leaders could be enhanced, please share these with the committee by taking this brief survey. I look forward to your ideas and to seeing you and your teams in Chicago for Future Leaders next year.