Marks Launch of New CFI / FMI Initiative

GLADSTONE, Mo –  Jacquelyn Howard, vice president, global supply chain, The Starbucks Coffee Company, and Melissa Melshenker Ackerman, president of the Produce Alliance, will discuss racial justice, inclusion and diversity in the food system during the first Digital Dialogues, Mon., Nov. 2, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. CST. The webcast marks the official launch of the new Racial Justice, Inclusion and Diversity Initiative from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) and FMI, the Food Industry Association. The Digital Dialogues series is one component of the joint CFI/FMI partnership to enhance food industry engagement on racial justice, inclusion and diversity.  

“Our goal with the initiative is meaningful and measurable progress by first creating an environment that encourages and supports productive and transparent conversations,” said Charlie Arnot, CFI CEO. “We also want to identify, capture and promote examples of companies that are doing a good job of addressing race, inclusion and diversity to create models and practices that others can emulate, no matter where they are on their journey.”    

Howard and Ackerman are both members of the Racial Justice, Inclusion and Diversity Initiative advisory board.

Others include Dana Bolden, chief communications officer for Corteva Agriscience; Candace Croney, PhD, director of the Center for Animal Welfare Science, Purdue University; Brian George, president and CEO of Alex Lee; Russell T. Lund, III, president and CEO of  Lund Food Holdings; Terrez Marriott Thompson, vice president of global supplier diversity and inclusion, The Coca-Cola Company; and Elizabeth Sanders, County Director and Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Davidson County, Tennessee.

During the November 2 Digital Dialogues, facilitated by A’Yanna Webster, PhD, CEO of Winning Within & Associates, Howard and Ackerman will discuss how race and diversity are being addressed at their organizations, including challenges they’ve faced, progress and opportunities for the food system. It’s the first of a series of roundtables featuring food industry leaders as part of the broader initiative of CFI and FMI.

“These conversations can be difficult, but it’s imperative that we have them,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “This initiative is intended to help provide guidance and empower all participants in the food system to create a more inclusive and equitable future for everyone engaged throughout the system.”     

To register for Digital Dialogues, and for more information on the CFI/FMI initiative, visit  

The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) is a not-for-profit organization that helps today’s food system earn consumer trust. CFI members and project partners, who represent the diversity of the food system, are committed to providing accurate information and working together to address important issues in food and agriculture. The Center does not lobby or advocate for individual companies or brands. For more information, visit