This month's issue of Baking Management includes the premier debut of a special feature called the Influential 20. Baking Management recognizes those who have had a significant impact on the baking industry. While the 20 plus individuals (we included one power duo) represents an eclectic mix of affiliations and contributions made to the industry, they are all leaders in one form or another. In many cases, those included in the Influential 20 are C.E.O.s or presidents of their organizations, but such a title isn't required to possess leadership skills or fulfill a leadership role.
As you read the Influential 20, you'll notice an overriding theme throughout many of the profiles. Baking industry organizations are pulling together and collaborating on issues affecting bakers, allieds and millers alike. Banding together and approaching legislators with like-minded goals gives the baking industry a stronger voice in Washington. And in some instances, Capitol Hill is starting to get the message.
Still, the majority of those profiled face uphill challenges. These issues were wide-ranging and included changing old ways of thinking; understanding consumers changing demands; staying flexible and responsive to the industry; making strategic decisions that please a diverse membership, and getting members to engage; managing the complexity of the industry; managing resources; and keeping focused on core issues that impact bakers' bottom line. Keeping pace with the growing number of issues and sheer volume of legislation and regulation also presents challenges for everyone involved in the industry.
In fact, one individual, who shall remain nameless, described one of the biggest obstacles currently affecting the baking industry. Rather, he spelled it as follows: O-b-a-m-a. Businesses may become financially burdened as this country seemingly moves toward socialism and government-controlled health care; faces greater control from labor unions; and increased environmental legislation.
Those included in the Influential 20 as well as countless other contributors who are passionate about the baking industry can band together once again to lobby against much of the anti-industry legislation currently being debated on the Hill.
After all, each of the Influential 20 demonstrates that if you possess the passion and drive for your organization and industry, you can make a difference.