The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) announced the promotion of Heather Soubra to the new position of senior vice president, strategic initiatives, effective July 1. Soubra joined IDFA in 2008 and most recently served as chief of staff for the trade association, where she directed the organization’s key initiatives and led day-to-day operations of the Executive Office, often serving as strategist and consultant to colleagues and IDFA members to facilitate collaboration and inclusiveness to achieve organizational goals. She will report to Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based IDFA.

“I am passionate about cultivating workplaces where people thrive, creating their own paths for achievement while actively building team unity and open communication,” said Soubra. “I am honored and privileged to serve people leaders in the dairy industry with the tools, resources and community to support the creation of more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces, ones that are prepared for the workforce of the future.”

Soubra is the chief liaison with IDFA members and members of the IDFA governance structure. She also leads IDFA program development and execution, including IDFA’s Dairy Forum, which convenes 1,000-plus stakeholders annually for the industry’s best-in-class thought leadership and strategic sharing of next-practices, IDFA said.

She designed, implemented and leads the IDFA People Strategy. With it, Soubra created a suite of programs focused on leadership and the cultivation of organizational wellbeing, as well as on building the workforce and organizations of the future. The latest of these programs is the Dairy Diversity Coalition developed in collaboration with Egon Zehnder, IDFA said, with the goal of increasing and empowering diversity, equity and inclusion in the dairy industry.

IDFA also named Matt Herrick senior vice president of public affairs and communications and executive director of the IDFA Foundation. As senior vice president, Herrick will lead IDFA’s communications and public affairs activities, with a particular focus on advancing advocacy priorities, coordinating organizational strategy and leading media and marketing, IDFA said.

Herrick will also launch and lead the new IDFA Foundation this summer, serving as the entity’s executive director responsible for supporting research, grant-making and strategic collaboration for social impact, the association said. He also will report to Dykes.

Herrick most recently served as director of communications at the USDA in the Biden-Harris Administration under Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Prior to joining USDA, Herrick served as senior vice president of executive and strategic communications for IDFA from April 2019 until January 2021.

Once established, the IDFA Foundation will support efforts to enhance health and nutrition outcomes related to dairy foods and beverages, support the dairy industry’s efforts to address environmental sustainability, and offer research and educational tools to efforts focused on building a more diverse and inclusive workforce within the food and beverage sector, IDFA said.

“I’m excited to bring my experience back to IDFA to work on behalf of our innovative members who are investing in a healthy, inclusive, more sustainable future,” said Herrick. “It is an honor to launch and lead the IDFA Foundation to enable efforts in nutrition, sustainability and workforce that will make a positive difference in the lives of consumers.”

Before joining IDFA in 2019, Herrick served as managing director of communications for The Rockefeller Foundation. Prior to that, Herrick was senior vice president with Story Partners public affairs in Washington, D.C., where he founded and managed the agency’s food, nutrition and trade practice, working with trade associations, food companies, and foundations, IDFA said. He served in the Obama Administration, first as press director and spokesperson for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and then as communications director for USDA under Secretary Tom Vilsack.