Thank You For A Successful Convention 2021


Another BEMA Convention is in the books and after 15 months of virtual connection overload, it was great to be back in person. One attendee observed that the connections, information and sharing that look place over the four days of Convention would take months to replicate in the virtual environment.

As evidenced by the hugs, smiles and handshakes, it goes without saying that attendees were thrilled to be back in-person. The benefit of in-person might be best summed up by one of the Ask-a-Baker panelists who shared being in person allowed him to “crash” conversations where he heard others were encountering similar problems and issues in their business.

The opportunity to bring people together for networking, problem solving and fun is part of what makes Convention so special and what we believe encourages people to become part of the BEMA family. This year, that included the opportunity for more people to join Convention as part of our inaugural Workforce Wednesday edition, enabling those who were not able to travel to join the Convention action through four unique sessions.


Workforce Wednesday participants tuned in for a high-level view of the Baking Industry Forum’s Overall Risk Assessment tool; learned how to create a more dynamic LinkedIn presence; explored tools to overcome challenges and conflicts through the Insights Discovery system of self-awareness; and learned about the importance of pivoting to stay ahead of the workplace changes ahead.

Workforce participants later joined us virtually for an incredible two days of networking, collaboration and a glimpse into what the industry can do to remain vital. This included take-home tips from keynote speaker Duncan Wardle, former head of innovation and creativity at Disney. Demystifying design thinking, Duncan offered a lighthearted approach to shake up the status quo by breathing in creativity and encouraging a ‘yes-and’ approach into the next workplace meeting or discussion.

Thursday’s QSR Industry Insight Discussion highlighted how creativity and open lines of communication are enabling suppliers and their baker partners to stage a bold comeback in 2021. Embracing nimbleness and simplicity, these industry players are discerning the signals and listening to gut feelings to help this sector achieve incredible growth over the next six years.

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On Friday, attendees received a look at the capabilities of the BEMA Intel tool and the data insights collected over the last year. The panel demonstrated how quarterly data and analysis provides industry insights designed to assist with more accurate forecast projections and more informed conversations. Next, direct from Rwanda, Africa, we were able to see the industry in action with a report on the success stories of The Women’s Bakery where the making of bread is changing lives one piece at a time.

Robb MacKie, American Bakers Association, and Brad Alexander, Flowers Foods, joined Rick Hoskins, Colborne Foodbotics, and Kerwin Brown, BEMA, for a thoughtful and timely conversation related to the state of the supply chain in the baking industry.  While the basic principles of supply and demand are in play due to the changes in consumer buying trends and current challenge with basic global logistics, the hurdle of sourcing a skilled and stable workforce is proving to be one that will require creative and unique solutions.

Throughout Convention, our panels and conversations proved that our industry remains in great flux, making communication, open-minded thinking and innovation some of the many keys to building a brighter future. Until Convention 2022, we hope you’ll continue these conversations, looking for ways to network and innovate together. Thank you for joining us in Florida and/or virtually. We’re so glad to be back!

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