Edward N. Basha III
Edward N. Basha III currently serves as the President of Bashas’ Operating Company, a division of the Raley’s Companies. The entity that purchased Bashas’ Inc. – the family-owned grocer that operates Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store, and Bashas’ Diné Supermarkets.
Edward’s grandfather and great uncle founded the Arizona-based company in 1932. At the time, every family member worked for just one Bashas’ market, helping to fulfill the needs of the surrounding community. Edward’s first job, in fact, was serving as a carryout for Bashas’ when he was 12 years old. He’s been with the company ever since. His roles within Bashas’ management have been in Real Estate, Finance, Legal, and Retail. Prior to the sale, Edward was the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bashas’ Inc. Working with other family members, he played a role in preparing the company for sale and negotiating the sale of the operating assets of Bashas’ Inc.
A lifelong resident of Chandler, he earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Arizona State University.
Edward is extremely involved in the community. He has served on the Board of Directors of the East Valley Child Crisis Center, as a member of and president of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Cancer Center, as a member of and president of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and as a member of the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has also served on numerous committees for the Chandler Unified School District and the City of Chandler. He currently serves as a member of the Dean’s Council at WP Carey College of Business at Arizona State University, as the past Chairman and a member of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance (AFMA), as a member of the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC), and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Food Industry Association (FMI).
He and his wife LeAnn are actively involved in serving in the community and in their faith.
Edward and LeAnn are the proud parents of five children and fourteen grandchildren, and they enjoy spending their free time with all of them.
Brendan is the current head of State Affairs for the Consumer Brands Association. Prior to Consumer Brands, Brendan oversaw State Relations for the National Restaurant Association. In previous roles Brendan also led Federal Affairs at the National Restaurant Association and led State Affairs at the International Franchise Association. Brendan has also served on the legislative teams for a State Senator and Congressional Representative.
Bob Harris, CAE
Bob Harris, CAE (certified association executive), works with thousands of organizations to improve performance and outcomes. Outside the USA he works with business associations in Jordan, Japan, Egypt, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Belarus, Republic of Georgia, Albania, and Cambodia.
He believes nonprofit organizations should be as efficient and effective as any commercial business or franchise. He’s been called the “Martha Stewart of association management” for providing tips and templates to make governance and management efficient. The tools are free at www.nonprofitcenter.com.
Simultaneous to his association work, he has worked in hospitality for Hyatt Hotels in Florida for 35 years.
Michelle Hurd is the president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association. Michelle has been with the association since March of 2006. Prior to being named the association’s president in 2012 she served in the role as vice president of marketing and membership for six years.
Michelle has a Bachelor's of Science degree in marketing from Upper Iowa University and 22 years of experience in association management. In 2011, she earned a Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation.
Michelle lives in Ankeny with her husband Matt and her two children, Kale, 15, and Reagan, 13.
In addition to overseeing the day-to-day activities for the Carolina Food Industry Council, Lindsey works on grocery-specific issues pertaining to SNAP, WIC, Food Safety, and more. Prior to joining the Council in 2007, Lindsey was the Director of Research and Education at the North Carolina Forum for Research and Economic Education (NCFREE), where she analyzed financial data, election results, and district information to predict the outcome of statewide and state legislative races.
As a native of San Diego, California, Lindsey moved to North Carolina to attended Wake Forest University, where she earned her degree in Political Science with a minor in Latin American Studies. Lindsey is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management program, a four-year program for those in nonprofit management. She serves on the board of directors of the Food Industry Association Executives, a national professional association of local, state and regional food association executives.
Lindsey lives with her husband and two sons in Raleigh, NC.
Kathy Kuzava has been president of the Georgia Food Industry Association since 1989. She began her grocery career as a cashier at 17 and has never left the grocery industry. She held several positions in retail and wholesale before beginning her career in association management.
In her role as president of the GFIA, Kuzava has been passionate about representing the grocery industry at both the state capitol and before regulatory agencies.
Kuzava received her bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University while working in the grocery industry. Kuzava is thankful that the grocery industry not only financed her education, but also gave her the opportunity to meet her husband, Al. The couple have two adult children and two adorable grandsons.
Chris Jones is the SVP of Government Relations and Counsel for the National Grocers Association leading NGA’s team of lobbyists. He joined NGA after serving nearly 8 years as a staffer on Capitol Hill. He worked in a senior legislative role from 2010-2017 and managed the agriculture and nutrition portfolio for a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee. Chris is a barred attorney and earned his J.D. in 2016 at George Mason University in the night program.
Beverly J. Lynch
Beverly Lynch enjoys a 42+ year career working in all aspects of association management and lobbying. In 2015, she was named President of the Food Industry Association Executives, a national professional association representing local, state and regional food association executives, who in turn represent over 95 percent of the grocery retail industry. In January 2018, she took over management of the Council of State Retail Associations. CSRA acts as a portal for communication between all state retail associations, primarily concerning state legislation and providing tools to successfully manage their associations.
Previously, she was a founding principal of the Advocacy and Management Group (AMG) , headquartered in Trenton, NJ. AMG manages state-based associations and lobbies for a variety of professional clients. AMG was formed in 2011, when she merged her company - B. Lynch Associates – with New Jersey lobbyist AJ Sabath. B. Lynch Associates was established in 2002 as a full-service management and lobbying firm – offering personalized, pro-active services to professional societies, corporations and non-profit agencies.
Prior to establishing her own company, she spent eight years with the Trenton-based lobbying firm Martin-Bontempo, Inc. During her tenure at Martin-Bontempo, Ms. Lynch served as the Executive Director of three state-based associations, and lobbied for numerous clients, including GPU Energy, the Medical Society of New Jersey, New Jersey Breathes, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and five medical specialty associations. From 1992-1994, she was Director of Communications and Government Relations for the New Jersey Department of Commerce and Economic Development.
From 1987 to 1992, Ms. Lynch was Vice President of the New Jersey Food Council, performing all aspects of association management, including advocating for legislative and regulatory issues, events coordination, communications and public relations. She was Director of Office Administration for the Center for Claims Resolution, Princeton, NJ, and Director, Conventions and Meetings for the Washington-DC based National Grocers Association.
She is a past president of the YWCA of Trenton, a multi-cultural social services agency and served on the Board of Directors of Gilda’s House in Warminster, PA. She holds degrees from Notre Dame University of Maryland and Stevenson College, both in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mark Miller is the 9th president of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance since 1943. Mark enjoyed a successful 36-year career as a Senior Vice President for the Hensley Beverage Company, the local distributor of Anheuser-Busch products followed by three years with Talking Rain. He has served as a consultant for the City of Hope and as president of the Arizona Food Council.
Mark was honored by AFMA in 1998 as the “Supplier of the Year.”
Bryanne Olsen is the current Chairperson for the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance (AFMA) Board of Directors. She helped AFMA to set a new “CLEAR” vision statement in 2021. The CLEAR vision is an acronym for Community, Legislature, Education, Alliance, and Regulation.
Bryanne graduated from Cal State Bakersfield in 1972. She went on to get her California teaching certificate from San Diego State University and became a teacher, following in the footsteps of her mother, grandmother, and aunts.
She was living in Yuma, Arizona when she met Don Olsen at a neighborhood picnic. Don was a tall Norwegian who was proud of his Viking heritage. They were married in 2002 and enjoyed their life together until 2016 when Don passed away. They were always partners in marriage and in business.
Don and Bryanne opened Olsen’s IGA store in Ajo, Arizona, a small town about 2 hours from downtown Phoenix. Bryanne and her team continue to manage the store that serves the small-town residents and visitors on their way to Mexico by providing a wide variety of foods, beverages and staple items to satisfy them all.
They saw the need for a hardware store in their small town. So, they worked with Ace Hardware to open a 4,000-foot hardware store in her grocery store. Bryanne always laughs when she sees a customer with a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and a toilet seat go through the checkout lane.
Bryanne has continued to participate in the church and the community events that were important to her and Don. She holds on to the small-town values that they enjoyed together.
Leslie G. Sarasin
FMI – The Food Industry Association
Leslie G. Sarasin is the president and chief executive officer of FMI – The Food Industry Association. FMI is a champion for the food industry and the issues that make a difference to our members’ fundamental mission of feeding and enriching society. The reach and impact of our work is extensive, ultimately touching the lives of over 100 million households in the United States and representing an $800 billion industry with nearly 6 million employees.
Under her leadership, FMI has emerged as a member-centered organization helping food retailing venues find new and future facing ways of feeding families and enriching lives. A committed collaborator, Sarasin has infused FMI with a vision of cooperative action that amplifies the association’s ability to assist its members in addressing the critical industry issues of the day.
Prior to joining FMI more than a decade ago, Sarasin spent 19 years at the American Frozen Food Institute, serving as president and CEO for the last nine of those years. She also held positions at the National Food Brokers Association, Crest International Corporation and Salomon Brothers. Sarasin holds a JD from the University of San Diego and a BA in economics from Smith College.
Sarasin is admitted to practice law in California and the District of Columbia. Her professional, social and personal commitments are reflected through service on the Boards of the Partnership for a Healthier America, National Chamber Foundation, the Congressional Hunger Center, the Corporate Advisory Board of So Others Might Eat (SOME) and Gonzaga College High School. Additional leadership roles include membership on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100 and active participation in the International Women’s Forum of Washington, D.C.
Sarasin has been recognized multiple times among Supermarket News’ “Power Fifty,” Progressive Grocer’s list of “Top Women in Grocery” and Mass Market Retailer’s “Most Influential Women.” She was awarded the prestigious Hospitality Good Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America in 2019. In 2021, Sarasin was named “Association CEO of the Year” by CEO Update.
Kevin Paul Scott
Kevin Paul Scott has traveled to six continents and spoken to leaders from more than 100 countries. Kevin co-founded the leadership consultancy ADDO, which is Latin for "Inspire." For the last two years, ADDO was #1 on the Best Places to Work list in Atlanta. ADDO developed the national Chick-fil-A Leader Academy program, the Baltimore Ravens Leadership Institute, and helps companies attract and develop top talent.
Kevin is the author of three books, including his latest, The Lens. Kevin is a frequent guest on numerous media outlets, including Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. www.KevinPaulScott.com
National Grocers Association
Laura Strange is the senior vice president communications and external affairs at the National Grocers Association. In this role, she manages a broad portfolio that includes the organization’s strategic communications and messaging, marketing and advertising strategy for programs, initiatives, and events, content strategy for publications and all NGA outlets, including digital, as well as public affairs and media relations. In 2021, Strange led the association's comprehensive rebranding efforts. This was the first such brand enhancement since NGA was founded in 1982, with a new logo, refreshed graphics and color package, and stakeholder messaging.
Strange came to NGA in 2013 from Capitol Hill where she served as communications director for Members of Congress serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, she held positions in the government relations department for Yahoo! Inc., where she managed an issue portfolio on federal and state levels, and in the communications and marketing division for a state taxpayer trade association. Strange started her career as a staff assistant in the U.S. Senate, and eventually worked her way to take on a role as deputy press secretary. She has a master’s degree in strategic public relations from George Washington University and an undergraduate degree in public relations from the University of South Carolina.
Elizabeth Tansing is Vice President of State Government Affairs for FMI, The Food Industry Association. Prior to FMI, she worked for Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA). In 2021, she was recognized among Progressive Grocer’s list of “Top Women in Grocery.” Since 1995, she has served on the Board of Directors for the We Card Coalition and her personal commitments are reflected through her work on the St. Mark Catholic School Board of Directors, as a Girl Scout Leader and in her volunteer work for the St. Paul VI Catholic High School Athletic Boosters.