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The IFMA Education Foundation is committed to giving support to qualified culinary, marketing, sales, supply chain and food science students. One of the initiatives is to have students join in attendance at IFMA events, giving them an inside look into the foodservice industry.

This month, the Education Foundation brought 6 students to IFMA’s 2019 Presidents Conference. Here they gained insights into the industry by attending and participating in content filled sessions, viewing a back-of-the-house tour, and networking with Presidents, CEOs and Executives from many of the top companies in the industry.


Hear what the students had to say about their experience at Presidents Conference:

“IFMA's Presidents Conference opened up many doors for me in the foodservice industry. As a senior at Michigan State University looking to foster positive change and growth, I was reminded why foodservice is such a great industry to be in. At Presidents Conference I saw how much passion and dedication is present, I am so excited to be apart of it one day.

I was able to network with foodservice professionals and share different perspectives on issues, movements, and other trends within the industry. I also was given the opportunity to speak on a panel with some heavily experienced professionals to share our varying perspectives on the challenges of recruiting young professionals into this industry that are the 'best fit' for the role. I cannot thank IFMA enough for fostering growth, passion, and new learning experiences within foodservice by having me attend Presidents Conference. I hope to attend many more in the future!”

- Marina Beale, Michigan State University

“Thank you so much for having me for this year's IFMA Presidents Conference! I thought the speaker sessions were really insightful and educational for me as a Food Science major who doesn't typically consider or learn much about the business side of the industry.

It was a great opportunity to learn more about IFMA and the steps being taken to reach and encourage college and high school level students to get involved. The disconnect between the collegiate level and the industry is something I have experienced in my job search this fall, so it is exciting to know you are encouraging companies to recruit at our level.”

- Erick Gustafson, University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign

“It was an incredible learning experience where we were able to learn from some of the industry's best. We all appreciated the hospitality that was shown in the last few days and I think all of us are even more excited to be in this industry, ready to start making an impact!”

- Chandarith Scott Chhay, Penn State University

“The thing I liked most about IFMA's Presidents Conference was meeting and networking with the other students in hospitality. Hearing about what they learn comparatively to my food science focused curriculum was incredibly eye-opening, as was meeting the executives from companies I use every week, and learning about a new side of the industry I love. I am definitely walking away with a broadened horizons!”

- Juan Ricardo Lopez III, University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign


 “The conference was absolutely wonderful and I am forever grateful for this experience. I had a wonderful time at Presidents Conference and was able to make a lot of connections with attendees.”

- Alexis "Byrdie" Thagard, Michigan Stat University


If you would like to learn more about the IFMA Education Foundation, it's People Future 2025 initiative or contribute to the next generation of foodservice leaders, click here.