The National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) Young Professionals Network has opened the application for the 2021 class of its Future Leadership Program, which provides professional development resources to young professionals aspiring to leadership roles in the confectionery industry.

“A successful future for the chocolate and candy industry depends on the development of our next generation of leaders,” said John Downs, NCA president and CEO. “We seek and value their input and perspectives on projects across the organization – most recently, Thrive in 2025, the strategic plan that will guide the association’s priorities over the next five years.”

Established in 2016, the Future Leadership Program is entering its sixth year as a joint initiative led by NCA’s YPN Committee and supported by the Candy Hall of Fame.

“The Future Leadership Program has been such an enriching, rewarding and incredibly fun experience and has afforded me many amazing opportunities to build strong connections with peers and leaders across the industry,” said Lisa Eustic, member of the 2020 Future Leadership class and senior marketing director at The Promotion In Motion Companies. “The relationships forged will carry forward well beyond this year, and because of this program, I have access to many great people who are only a phone call away and are more than willing to lend a helping hand.”

The program connects the Future Leadership class with formal mentors in the confectionery industry selected based on the career goals of the Future Leader and gives the Future Leader complimentary access to NCA’s signature events, including the State of the Industry Conference, the Sweets & Snacks Expo and the Washington Forum.

“One of the most amazing perks of the Future Leadership Program is being matched with an industry mentor, who is there to help guide and provide support,” Eustic said. “My mentor was Mitchell Goetze, CEO of Goetze's Candy Co. Mitchell has been a tremendous resource to me this year, and I look forward to staying in touch with him after the program officially ends.”

The deadline to apply is Oct. 10, 2020. Employees of NCA member companies and qualified retail customers who are 40 years old and younger are eligible to apply. More information about the Future Leadership Program and the application can be found on NCA’s website.