ARLINGTON, VA. – Leslie Sarasin, the president and chief executive officer of FMI – The Food Industry Association, was named the 2021 Association CEO of the Year by CEO Update. This recognition is awarded annually to the outstanding trade association chief executive officer.  

FMI Chairman Randy Edeker, chairman, president and CEO of Hy-Vee, Inc., released the following statement about Sarasin’s award: 

“The FMI Board of Directors felt strongly that Leslie should be recognized, and so we as Board members collaborated on nominating her for this acknowledgment,” said Randy Edeker FMI’s board chairman, and president and CEO of Hy-Vee. “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, Leslie 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. 

“Leslie provides leadership, vision, and guidance to FMI-The Food Industry Association.  She manages a $30 million budget and a staff of more than 75, as well as a Board of Directors of 85 industry executives, in directing FMI’s efforts on behalf of the $800 billion food industry with nearly 6 million employees to advance a safer, healthier and more efficient consumer food supply.  

“Recognizing that the food industry is undergoing significant change, in 2019 Leslie was acknowledged for her work that has resulted in a re-invigorated vision and a revised FMI brand that better aligns with the new realities of the food industry. FMI’s reshaped identity as a highly relevant association is opening the necessary growth channels for it to become the organization the food industry needs well into the future. Far beyond a new look and new logo, the results of her work include reconfigured bylaws that allows FMI a broader membership base potential; a Board that is more representative of the entire food industry; and a staff with an expanded vision of the scope and depth of services it provides.  

“When a national emergency was declared on March 13, 2020, Leslie guided FMI staff to work diligently to ensure the food industry was included as part of the nation’s essential workforce from Day 1, and that industry and customer needs were on the radars of a wide array of different government entities at the federal, state and local levels. We couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments.”