ORLANDO, Fla. — FMI's new president and chief executive officer last week unveiled her plans for the organization, with a promise to “increase the value of FMI” for its members.
In an address at FMI's Midwinter Executive Conference here, Leslie G. Sarasin outlined her broad plans to improve the organization, engage with members, collaborate with other associations and work with the new Congress and President.
Sarasin began her role in early November, succeeding Tim Hammonds, who had led FMI for 15 years. She was previously president and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute.
“I am determined to build on the many strengths of this organization — and, candidly, to fix the portions that need repair,” Sarasin told the Midwinter audience.
She vowed to “develop a high-performance business model” and to hit the road in order to visit members in their geographic areas.
Sarasin promised an acceleration of collaborative efforts between FMI and other associations. At last week's meeting, the FMI and GMA agreed to more closely link their agendas and explore synergies on the meetings front.
She said the association will “revitalize the FMI Show for 2010 to ensure it will be relevant and visionary.”
She pointed to the organization's ongoing work on the sustainability front, noting that “FMI's sustainability initiative will soon unveil a carbon footprint calculator and will continue to address issues that are top-of-mind for consumers, government and nongovernmental organizations.”
Sarasin outlined progress on the food safety front and cited FMI's new recall program. “I'm very excited about the new, highly innovative Product Recall Portal,” she said. “It is the industry's most comprehensive product recall communication system for retailers, wholesalers and suppliers — and a superb example of cross-industry collaboration.”
FMI plans to press its government agenda at a time of major political changes in Washington, she said.
“We have already begun meeting with the Obama administration and will continue to be engaged,” she said.
“We will work with all sides — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — to promote issues critical to our member companies.”
Sarasin said key government-related issues for FMI now include the Employee Free Choice Act, food safety, health care reform and related pharmacy issues, interchange fees, organized retail crime, pension fund solvency and taxes.