Emerging Leaders Network

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 and network skills to enhance and grow their careers.

The program is designed to bridge the gap between participants’ academic experience and on-the-job training. Participants can expect to establish meaningful, lifelong connections; gain new insights into scientific and technological issues; and develop the critical leadership skills needed to communicate the value of the profession.

Applications for the 2021 Emerging Leaders Network program are now closed.

What does participation in the Emerging Leaders Network look like?

As a member of ELN, you will: 

  • Participate in an intensive, 6-week virtual course. The ELN program will be held weekly. Weekly sessions will take place 9–11 a.m. (CT) on Wednesdays from July 14, 2021 to August 18, 2021.
  • Homework will be required to complete prior to each class
  • Enjoy access to IFT volunteer leadership, mentorship, and peer collaboration opportunities
  • 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 management change


ELN Participation Information

To be eligible for participation, you must fit the following criteria

  • Current full-time employment in the science of food profession
  • Fewer than 10 years of professional experience in academia, government, or industry at the time of application
  • Plan 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 live program each week

A one-time fee is due upon acceptance to the program. The fee for industry professionals is $600.00 (USD).

Individuals working for non-profit organizations, including academic institutions and government agencies, will be offered a reduced registration fee. Please contact Shannon Conkright for details. Additionally, if you are not a member of IFT and would like to be a part of the program, please reach out for pricing and details.

All past ELN participants are eligible to apply to become Peer Mentors. An ELN Peer Mentor serve as support to participants, answer their questions, encourage networking, and guide their navigation of the ELN program. The peer mentors will collaborate with IFT staff to offer feedback and guidance on the curriculum. Additionally, we ask they run weekly open forum meetings throughout the program.

As part of the 2021 program, we will ask Peer Mentors to deliver IGNITE presentations throughout ELN 2021. Ignite presentations are short and casual presentations. If selected as a peer mentor, we will offer communication coaching to prepare you for your Ignite presentations.

Individuals selected as Peer Mentors will receive the following:

  • ELN program fee will be fully covered
  • Individual recognition at the IFT Annual Event Awards Ceremony, 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
If you have questions, please contact Shannon Conkright.

Q: What do I need to submit with my application?
A: Each applicant will be asked a series of questions and three essay questions. In addition, you will also have to submit the following: 

  • Letter of reference
  • CV/Resume
  • Photo
  • Cover letter

Q: Whom should my Letter of Reference be from? Whom should it be addressed to?
A: 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”

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