By Heather Soubra, Chief of Staff, International Dairy Foods Association

If the COVID-19 crisis has brought one clear lesson to the forefront, it’s that dairy industry leaders will continue to face a myriad of challenges in the months and years ahead—challenges expected and unexpected.  This crisis has also provided opportunities for true and lasting leadership to emerge and the clarity born of strife is often what will shape our next reality.  It is important that we continue to put people at the center of everything we do for our industry as we address the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The success of today’s dairy industry can be attributed in large part to its people, who have blazed a path of innovation, forward-thinking, and commitment to building a better future for our workforce and our communities. To further accelerate innovation in workforce and leadership development in the dairy industry, today IDFA is debuting a brand new organizational effort, The IDFA People Strategy.

IDFA’s People Strategy has four principles: it puts people at the center of everything we do; it focuses on building the workforce of the future; it nurtures diversity and inclusion across the dairy industry; and it gives us the tools to foster organizational wellbeing.

As part of our new People Strategy, IDFA is proud to introduce a new suite of programs for our members and the dairy industry focused on people and leadership – and they include something for everyone.

IDFA’s NextGen Leadership Program is designed to support, guide and prepare mid- and senior-level dairy industry professionals to take the next step in their leadership journey. After a successful launch of the program in 2019, we’ll open the application process for the next class of NextGen beginning on May 18.

Earlier this year, IDFA launched the Women in Dairy network to empower and support women through leadership development, mentoring and networking events. More than 400 women and men from across the dairy industry are already engaged in this effort, meeting at Dairy Forum, participating in webinars, and networking through the new Women in Dairy member page on the IDFA website. Registration is rolling and open to all IDFA members.

This month, IDFA held the first virtual gathering of HR Leaders in Dairy, a new community of human resource officers across the dairy industry to share best practices, network, and gain insights from the latest trends in workforce wellbeing. Interested chief human resource and chief people officers can register to join the community.

Finally, IDFA is pleased to announce The Power of People conference in October, in knowledge collaboration with Egon Zehnder and McKinsey & Company. The Power of People conference is designed for CEOs, Chief Human Resources officers as well as talent and workforce leaders within our member companies. It will deliver an interactive program of best practices and suggested strategies in recruitment, training, retention, succession planning, diversity and inclusion, and building organizations of the future.

Thought-provoking, forward thinking and bold, The Power of People conference will examine the trends driving organizations to think and behave differently and offer real solutions for our industry. Of course, the health and safety of IDFA members and participants of IDFA-hosted events and conferences is our top consideration during these challenging times, so IDFA will continue to monitor COVID-19 and will continually assess the best format for IDFA-hosted events based on guidance from the CDC and other public health experts.  

The future of the dairy industry and our ability to remain globally competitive depends on how we develop the workforce of the future, cultivate the next generation of leaders, and empower and support diversity in leadership roles.

Here’s how you can get involved in each IDFA People Strategy program today:

  • Women in Dairy has already topped more than 400 members since its start earlier this year. Join the network that is working to empower and support women through leadership development, mentoring and networking events.
  • IDFA recently held the first virtual gathering of HR Leaders in Dairy, a new community of human resources and people officers across the dairy industry to share best practices, network, and gain insights from the latest trends in workforce wellbeing. Interested CEOs and chief human resource officers are encouraged to join the community.
  • IDFA is pleased to announce The Power of People conference, in partnership with Egon Zehnder and McKinsey & Company, to be held in October. Register now to join other CEOs, Chief Human Resource officers, and other talent and workforce leaders at this thought-provoking, forward-thinking new conference.

IDFA People Strategy Contact

Heather Soubra

Chief of Staff