International Dairy Foods Association Launches Women in Dairy Network to Expand the Presence and Influence of Women in the Dairy Industry ​

WASHINGTON — The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is pleased today to launch the Women in Dairy Network to support a stronger, more diverse future for U.S. dairy.

Since IDFA was established 30 years ago to harness the collective voice of the dairy industry, the association has developed and supported many initiatives to build knowledge, expertise, and cultivate leadership across the industry. The Women in Dairy Network continues and builds on that tradition by expanding the presence and influence of women across the dairy industry.

See more in IDFA’s video explainer:

The Women in Dairy Network brings together established leaders with young professionals to create a forum that fosters mentoring, supports development, builds networking opportunities, and encourages leadership. The Women in Dairy Network will support the future of the industry in four important ways:

  1. Provide a venue for women to support each other as they advance or start their careers in dairy;
  2. Connect established leaders with up-and-coming professionals;
  3. Offer a platform for women to discuss unique or similar challenges, and to work together to create shared strategies for advancing their careers; and
  4. Bring together women in all sorts of venues, from virtual to in-person, to learn, mentor and share best practices. 

The concept for the Women in Dairy Network began at Dairy Forum 2019—the dairy industry’s premier event for sharing knowledge, analyzing trends, and networking—during a discussion spearheaded by Cary Frye, IDFA’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs. Since that time, dozens of leaders and passionate professionals from across the dairy industry have offered their support for the Network, including their time and expertise. The Women in Dairy Network will mark its formal launch at Dairy Forum 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona, happening Jan. 26-29, with a series of sessions and special events for the Women in Dairy Network Advisory Council and others interested in joining.

“IDFA is proud to launch the Women in Dairy Network to build a stronger, more resilient and more diverse dairy industry for the future,” said Tracy Boyle, director of employee relations and administrative services at IDFA and coordinator for the Network. “The Network will empower, encourage and support women in the dairy industry through leadership development, mentoring and networking events.”

“As the one organization committed to advocating to ensure America’s dairy companies and people have the tools and resources they need to innovate and grow, IDFA is so pleased to offer the Women in Dairy Network as a platform to move our industry forward in a collaborative way,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA.

The Network will be guided by an Advisory Council of industry leaders from IDFA member companies and partners. They are:

Patty Andersen

Vice President of Human Resources & Training

Delkor Systems, Inc.

Courtney Bidney

Director, Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs


Abigail Blunt

Global Head of Government Affairs

The Kraft Heinz Company

Lynne Bohan

Vice President, Public Relations and Government Affairs


Miriam Erickson Brown

Chair & CEO

Anderson Erickson Dairy Company

Mirjana Curic-Bawden

Principal Scientist

Chr. Hansen, Inc.

Luconda Dager


Velvet Ice Cream Company

Crystal Dohner

Vice President of Growth and Innovation

Crystal Creamery

Heather Draper


The Ice Cream Club, Inc.

Rita Dagdelen-Keskinyan

Managing Director, Head of Consumer Group

Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

Betsy Erdelyi

Managing Director

BMO Harris Bank

Ann Gent

Senior Vice President & General Manager of Food & Beverage N.A.


Julie Kanak

Managing Director-Agribusiness and Food Practice Leader

Diversified Search LLC

Niamh Kelly

Senior Vice President

Glanbia Nutritionals

Rachel Kyllo

Senior Vice President, Innovation & Growth

Kemps LLC

Mary Ledman

Global Strategist

Rabobank – Chicago

Karen Olks

Director of Western Region and Wine & Fermented Beverages

Chr. Hansen, Inc.

Autumn Price

Vice President, Government Relations

Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Elizabeth Riordan

Divisional Vice President, Global Operations Dairy


Shelley Roth


Pierre’s Ice Cream Company

Erin Sharp

Group Vice President, Manufacturing

The Kroger Co.

Patricia Stroup

Global Vice President and Head of Commodities

Nestle S.A.

Sue Taylor          

Vice President – Dairy Economics Policy

Leprino Foods Company

Amy Vodraska

Associate Publisher

Dairy Foods Magazine

Tristan Zuber- Hrobuchak

Sales Account Manager – Culture & Enzymes

Chr. Hansen, Inc.

More information about IDFA’s Women in Dairy Network, including how to join the Network, can be found at or by contacting the Network’s coordinator, Tracy Boyle, at

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world.