WASHINGTON, DC – To kick off the 2024 Annual Meat Conference, the Meat Institute and FMI – The Food Industry Association announced 10 winners for the 2024 Leaders of Tomorrow Program.

The winners are: Kaylee Russell, Tyson Foods; Michael Yeater, Albertsons Companies; Tammy Gonzales, Cargill; Mike Van Drie, SpartanNash Co.; Nicole Koch, Seaboard Foods; Liz Holt Welnhofer, Pre Brands; Hillary Niblock, Superior Farms; Marie-Pier Labarre, Cascades; Zachary Stadler, Associated Wholesale Grocers; and Jennifer Hicks, Mitchell Grocery Corp.

“These 10 Leaders of Tomorrow proved themselves to be rising stars in the industry,” said Julie Anna Potts, president and CEO of the Meat Institute. “It’s exciting to think about the creativity and innovation these young leaders will bring to their respective companies and to the industry as a whole.”

“It’s inspiring to witness the leaders of tomorrow shape the future of meat category management,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI – The Food Industry Association. “We hear their stories of nurturing sustainable supply chains, fostering positive team development and contributing to their companies’ financial growth. And most importantly, their dedication to driving impactful strategies supports consumer-centric experiences that delight meat shoppers across this nation.”

The Meat Institute and FMI launched this program in 2019 for the meat retail industry to recognize future leaders and help them grow and connect with current leaders in the industry.

Candidates are nominated by their supervisors and winners are selected by a committee of retailers and packer/processors. The winners are chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Commitment to advancing the retail meat business
  • Track record of success
  • Individual initiative
  • Leadership potential
  • Communication skills

The winners receive complimentary registration to the Annual Meat Conference – where they will experience comprehensive educational programming that details the latest developments in meat retailing and consumer trends – and be partnered with a professional industry mentor to guide them during the Conference.


About the Meat Institute: The Meat Institute is a leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, as well as manufactures the equipment and ingredients needed to produce safe, high quality meat and poultry products. www.meatinstitute.org