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2013 Power 50: Leslie G. Sarasin No. 1 in Associations/Government/Public Sphere

Leslie G. Sarasin
Leslie G. Sarasin

Leslie G. Sarasin has her work cut out for her this year.

She’s already putting the pieces together to reinstitute the traditional, annual Food Marketing Institute Show that retailers, vendors and others said they have missed.

With interviews and a series of surveys, FMI’s president and CEO has made extensive contact with association members and others in the industry to seek ideas on how FMI can best serve its members and all segments of the food industry. She found that a top priority of respondents was reinstitution of the former, industrywide, annual FMI show.

The reinstituted show is one of five parts that make up the new strategic plan, Sarasin said. The show’s launch is slated for June 2014.

“Our inaugural return to an annual gathering — FMI2014 — takes place in Chicago next June, and we are already hard at work putting the pieces in place that will help us achieve the high goals we’ve set for ourselves,” Sarasin told SN.

FMI2014 will incorporate some aspects of Future Connect, including the leadership training conferences that FMI has held the past few years.


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The five-part strategic plan was orchestrated by Sarasin with industry input, and the FMI Board’s approval — without dissent.

In addition to bringing back the annual show, the plan calls for FMI to grow its membership; to “strengthen FMI’s core proposition, especially in areas such as government relations, food safety and emerging issues”; to “lead in total store collaboration”; and to “upgrade FMI’s operating model to better support these endeavors.”

“Having completed most of the elements of the strategic plan that was adopted shortly after I came to FMI, it was time for us to develop a new plan that would continue FMI’s positive trajectory for the immediate future,” Sarasin said.

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Sarasin has been proactive on many fronts this past year to serve members and the food industry, including working with regulatory agencies on swipe fees, food labeling issues, pensions and other operational concerns.

“On the government relations side, this past year has seen a lot of political maneuvering with little productive action due to continued congressional gridlock, so FMI has been concentrating our efforts on the regulatory agencies whose rule-making and law-interpreting actions touch our industry every day,” Sarasin said.

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