Emerging Leaders Network

The Emerging Leaders Network Program application will open October 2019.

IFT Emerging Leaders Network Program

The IFT Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) is a highly selective global leadership program established for new professionals in the science of food who are eager to expand their leadership skills. The program is designed to bridge the gap between the participant’s academic experience and their on–the–job training.

In addition to attending a two–and–a–half day intensive leadership seminar at IFT20 in Chicago, Illinois, (July 10- 12, 2020)), participants can expect to establish meaningful, lifelong connections; gain new insights into scientific and technological issues; and develop critical leadership skills needed to communicate the value of the profession.

Click here to meet the 2019 Emerging Leaders Network Award Recipients!

All individuals applying for the Emerging Leaders Network Program, will be automatically considered for the Emerging Leaders Network Award! For more information on the program and award, please refer to the information below:

As an IFT Emerging Leader, you’ll:

Participate in an intensive two–and–a–half day leadership seminar at IFT20in Chicago (July 10-12, 2020) plus have full registration to IFT20 Annual Event in Chicago (July 13-15, 2020)

Have personal access to IFT volunteer leadership as well as mentorship and peer collaboration opportunities Receive on–stage recognition at the IFT20 Awards Ceremony

Gain an understanding of the current state of the profession and what the future may hold

Learn and practice critical skills, such as leading through conflict management, team dynamics, and change management

Participant Criteria

Please make sure you fit the following criteria:

  • IFT membership
  • Current full–time employment within the science of food profession
  • Under 10 years of professional experience in academia, government, or industry (at time of application)
  • Plans to continue in a role that supports the advancement of the profession
  • Demonstration of leadership skills and potential for further development
  • Availability and commitment to attend the IFT20 Emerging Leaders Network seminar, Friday, July 10 -- Sunday, July 12, 2020, in Chicago.


Program Fees

A one–time program fee is due upon acceptance to the program. The fee for industry professionals is $700.00. This fee includes the IFT20 registration fee and meals during the seminar.  Non-profit organizations including academic institutions and government agencies will be offered a reduced registration fee; please contact Shannon Conkright for details.


Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) Award


The Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) Award will be given to select candidates who demonstrate high potential for success in leadership roles and a strong commitment to the profession. (make the following bold and italic) All individuals applying for the 2020 Emerging Leaders Network Program will automatically be considers for the ELN Award.

If selected to be an ELN awardee recipient, an awardee will receive the following:

  • ELN program fee will be fully covered.
  • Hotel accommodations for five nights in New Orleans during IFT20
  • Individual recognition at the IFT20 Awards Ceremony, as well as in IFT communications, Food Technology magazine, and on the IFT website
  • Three mentoring sessions with either an IFT Fellow or member of the IFT Board of Directors
  • Opportunity to serve as a 2021 ELN Peer Mentor

If you have questions, please contact Shannon Conkright at sconkright@ift.org


Here you will find some answers to regularly asked questions:

What do I need to submit with my application?
 Each application will be asked a series of questions, and three essay questions. Additionally, you will have to submit the following supporting materials:

  • Letter of Reference*
  • CV/Resume*
  • Photo*
  • Optional: Cover Letter

*Required for submission

Who should my letter of reference be from, and who should it address?
Your Letter of Reference can be from a supervisor, mentor, or someone who knows you in the workplace.
You can address the letter of reference to: ‘To Whom it May Concern”

How do I apply for the ELN Award
Applying for the ELN program will automatically make you considered for the ELN Award.