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Alex Baloga

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Alex Baloga became PFMA President and CEO on July 1, 2017. After joining PFMA in 2013 as director of government relations, he was promoted to director of government and public relations in 2014 and to vice president of external relations in 2015. Baloga leads PFMA's day-to-day operations and helps implement its strategic vision, working with the board of directors, of which he is a member. He leads PFMA’s government relations efforts at the local, state and federal levels. He also manages PFMA’s federal, state and Philadelphia Food PACs along with PFMA’s Legislative, Pharmacy and WIC Stakeholder’s committees.


He serves on the Classification and Ratings Committee for the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau. He is a board member on the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund. He joined the Pennsylvania Department of Health's newly formed Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Advisory Group in 2022. He sits on the Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE) Board of Directors, the Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association Board of Directors and the NACS Legislative Committee. In addition, he represents PFMA members on the Pennsylvania Lottery Sales Advisory Council.

Baloga previously served as deputy finance director for Robert P. Casey’s re-election campaign for U.S. Senator, where he directed the fund raising activities in central Pennsylvania. He has extensive contacts from his experience as an associate lobbyist for Greenlee Partners, LLC, a premier government relations firm with offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

In addition, he worked in U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s Government office as a regional field manager, serving as the senator’s liaison to government, community and constituent groups in central Pennsylvania; monitoring local issues and developments, and representing Senator Casey at civic meetings and community events.

Baloga has earned recognition for his work in the food retail industry on several 40 under 40 lists, including Central Penn Business Journal, City & State PA and The Griffin Report. He recently was recognized in City & State PA’s 2022 PA Agriculture Power 100. He also earned the 2018 Excellent in Government Affairs Award from the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Baloga earned his bachelor’s degree in history with a specialty in Political Science from West Virginia University.

Natalie Born

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Natalie Born is a Principal Consultant with Arch and Tower, a keynote speaker, and the host of a top 25 innovation podcast called Innovation Meets Leadership that is listened to in over 80 countries. She also hosts a podcast called Thrive Today for women in leadership. This year she authored her first book called “Set It On Fire: The Art of Innovation”.


Natalie has collaborated on two approved US patents and has over 20 years of experience leading product development, strategy, and innovation teams working globally in over 18 countries.

Natalie is married to Aaron and they have two wonderful girls.  Follow Natalie @innovationmeetsleadership on Instagram, Facebook, or Linkedin or head over to for more innovation resources.

Kathy Kuzava


Kathy Kuzava has been president of the Georgia Food Industry Association since 1989. She began her grocery career as a cashier at 17 and has never left the grocery industry.  She held several positions in retail and wholesale before beginning her career in association management.

In her role as president of the GFIA, Kuzava has been passionate about representing the grocery industry at both the state capitol and before regulatory agencies.

Kuzava received her bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University while working in the grocery industry. Kuzava is thankful that the grocery industry not only financed her education, but also gave her the opportunity to meet her husband, Al. The couple have two adult children and two adorable grandsons.

Linda Doherty

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Linda M. Doherty serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC), a Trenton-based business trade association representing supermarkets, convenience stores and the food distribution industry in the Garden State.  NJFC represents some of the largest and finest employers in NJ, with a $136 billion economy feeding almost 10 million New Jerseyans a day.  Ms. Doherty is the fifth and longest serving NJFC President in its 53-year history.

Prior to her promotion by the NJFC Board of Directors, Ms. Doherty served as executive vice president, vice president, and has also held the position of director of communications and public affairs for the association.  This year, she celebrates her 30th anniversary with the Food Council and 20th anniversary as president & CEO.

Additionally, Ms. Doherty is President of the NJ Clean Communities Council, past Chair of the State WIC Advisory Council, sits on the Board of the NJ Food Processors Association as a strategic partner, and serves as an External Advisory Board member for the NJ Institute for Food, Nutrition & Health at Rutgers University.  She was nominated by Governor Murphy to sit on the NJ Restart and Recovery Advisory Council to help formulate the State’s COVID-19 response and is a member of the NJ Child Labor Law Enforcement Advisory Board in the NJ Department of Labor.  She is former Chair of the Food Industry Association of Executives Board of Directors, a national organization of state executives in the grocery and retail industry representing 95 percent of the grocery and food industry in the United States. Ms. Doherty served on the Board of Directors of the National Grocers Association.

She is also a Sector representative on the NJ Infrastructure Advisory Committee. Under her leadership, Ms. Doherty has been instrumental in creating and developing Emergency Management, and Food Safety & Defense programs for NJFC members in conjunction with government partners. 

Considered a food policy expert and business leader, she was named to NJBIZ Power 100 list in 2023 and to NJ Influencers Power List, was ranked 10th on the NJ Food & Beverage 100 Power List, and was recognized by ROI-NJ as a Manufacturing Influencer. She has also been named a Top 100 Policymaker by InsiderNJ and was recognized by NJBIZ as one of the Best 50 Women in Business in NJ.  She was named a NJ Top 25 Leading Women Brand Builder. Ms. Doherty was named 2016 Female Executive of the Year by The Griffin Report and she received the Excellence in Leadership Award from the NJFC Board of Directors. She is a recipient of the Friends of the Food Industry Award.  She was recognized as the Person of the Year by the NJ Weights and Measures Association and was the recipient of the Business Partner and Environmental Quality Awards presented by the NJ Clean Communities Council.  Also, Ms. Doherty was honored with the Food Marketing Institute's Donald H. MacManus Association Executive Award for her extraordinary leadership in public affairs.  Ms. Doherty was also honored three times by the national Consumer Brands Association, formerly the Grocery Manufacturers Association with the prestigious “Excellence in Government Affairs” Award for her work on food retailer and supplier issues. 

Prior to joining NJFC, Ms. Doherty was communications specialist with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  While at DEP, she was awarded EPA’s Environmental Quality Award for managing a communications campaign on marina recycling.

Ms. Doherty received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.  She is married to former Mayor William Tilton, Jr. of North Hanover, NJ, has three children and two grandchildren.

Michael Durant

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Michael was named President and Chief Executive Officer for the Food Industry Alliance in April 2018. While leading the organization to maintain and grow as the premier voice for the grocery industry, Michael coordinates the public policy, communications and trade relations efforts for the organization.

Prior to joining FIA, Michael was an advocate for New York’s small businesses as State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business for nearly 8 years. He also served in a variety of roles on former New York Governor George E. Pataki’s staff and has worked in the state legislature.

Durant received his bachelor’s degree from Siena College in 2000 and resides in Malta with his wife and two children.

Lorena Holley


Lorena Holley joined the Florida Retail Federation as General Counsel & Vice President in March of 2018. Prior to joining FRF, she served as General Counsel of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam beginning in January of 2011.  Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Holley spent a number of years with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), most recently serving as a Senior Attorney with the Commission’s Office of General Counsel Division of Appeals, Rules and Mediation.  During her years at the PSC, Ms. Holley also served as a Chief Advisor to a Commissioner, advising on legal and policy issues related to the economic regulation of Florida’s electric, gas, telecommunications, and water and wastewater utility industries.

Ms. Holley also spent several years working in private practice for the law firm of Rutledge, Ecenia, Purnell & Hoffman, P.A., where she provided legal representation to local governments and private utility companies.

Prior to joining the PSC, Ms. Holley was a staff attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. where she worked as an advocate and representative of indigent clients before various forums including the United States Social Security Administration, Citizen and Immigration Services, and the Florida Department of Children and Families.  She received her J.D. in 1999 from the Texas Tech School of Law in Lubbock, Texas and is a member of the Florida Bar.  Originally from Chile, Ms. Holley grew up in Austin, Texas, and now resides in Tallahassee, Florida with her two sons.  

Olivia Lucanie


Olivia Lucanie is a Policy Manager at Torrey Advisory Group, where she provides advocacy support to clients spanning the entire agricultural supply chain. Her portfolio covers topics within food retail, nutrition, food assistance programs, and agricultural labor.

Prior to her role at Torrey Advisory Group, Olivia was a Senior Associate at Prism Group, where she handled food and agriculture policy spanning all 50 states. On their federal team, Olivia worked to form healthcare and workforce coalitions from the ground up, as well as advocating to get priorities for her clients in must-pass legislative vehicles. 

Olivia also interned for Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) and graduated from The George Washington University with a B.S. degree in Public Health and a minor in Economics.

Preston Poore

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Preston is an award-winning and results oriented executive with over 30 years of Fortune 500 experience including tenures at The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, and Ralston Purina.


His corporate work has been recognized through many awards such as winning the Dale Carnegie Sales Talk Championship, a two-time winner of The Hershey Company’s President’s Cup, a coveted national sales award, Design of the Times Platinum Award for Best Merchandising Display and The Coca-Cola Company’s Woodruff Cup, a global top performance award.

Preston is a Maxwell Team Certified Speaker, Trainer, and Executive Coach. Also, Preston holds an MBA from Samford University and a BS in management from Colorado State University.

Preston shares his hard-earned experience with audiences to help them become the best version of themselves.


When he has spare time, he enjoys reading, exercising, and traveling. Preston and his family make their home in the Atlanta Metro Area.

Eboni Russell

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Eboni Russell is the state association advocacy manager of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). NACS is a global organization, dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing, and serves more than 1,500 retailer and 1,600 supplier members in over 50 countries. It represents an extremely diverse $650 billion industry—from retail organizations operating one store to those operating more than 20,000 stores—by providing knowledge, connections, and advocacy.

At NACS, Eboni maintains day-to-day relationships with 140+ state and ethnic community trade associations across the United States that participate in the NACS State Association Advocacy Program. The program, created to support regional and state associations that advocate for NACS retail members, provides resources to mobilize support and boost advocacy efforts at the state and local levels.

Eboni has over a decade of experience in associations and non-profits. Prior to joining NACS, she was the director of membership for the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD). During her tenure as director of membership, she led a group of future automobile dealers in succession planning and career progression (called Next Gen). Her accomplishments at NAMAD garnered her The Network Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award—an award that honors black professionals for significant contributions to their respective industries and professions.

As a self-professed “life-long learner,” Eboni values professional development and continuing education and is enrolled in the non-profit and association management graduate program at the University of Maryland Global Campus.  She has been an engaged member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) since 2016. Eboni also served on ASAE’s Young Professional Advisory Committee (YPAC) and participated in the 2021 cohort of the Next Gen Association Summit. In 2021, Eboni was a recipient of Association Forum’s Forty Under 40 Award.

Eboni was born and raised in Fairfax County, Virginia, and received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys delivering food to senior citizens for Zion Church of Landover’s Food Pantry with her daughter and traveling.

Scott Shalley


R. Scott Shalley currently serves as President & CEO of the Florida Retail Federation (FRF). For over 80 years FRF has served as the voice of Florida’s immense retail industry. As President & CEO, Mr. Shalley maintains responsibility for all areas of FRF operations including oversight of Georgia Retailers, FRF Services, FRF Realty and other related ventures. He joined FRF in 2017 and has over 30 years of experience in lobbying, association management and private sector business management.

Prior to joining FRF, Mr. Shalley served as Executive Director of the Florida Association of Counties. He has worked extensively with lawmakers and government agencies throughout Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.  Mr. Shalley previously served as Vice President/Director of Business Management for an internationally recognized bridge engineering firm. His responsibilities included contract negotiation and business development throughout the United States as well as in South America and Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Shalley is a lifelong Florida resident, and a graduate of Florida State University.

Kelly Smith

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Kelly Smith is Vice President, Institutional Affairs at Ferrero, where she leads engagement on all policy issues impacting the company in the U.S. She is a policy expert with extensive experience managing issues at all levels of government and is skilled at bringing stakeholders together in impactful coalitions. Prior to joining Ferrero, Kelly worked on the government affairs and sustainability teams at Keurig Dr Pepper, handling a broad portfolio of issues. Kelly started her career at the American Beverage Association after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kelly lives in Arlington, VA, with her husband and two sons, where her main roles are chauffeur and sports cheerleader.

Laura Strange

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Laura Strange is the senior vice president communications and external affairs at the National Grocers Association. In this role, she manages a broad portfolio that includes the organization’s strategic communications and messaging, marketing and advertising strategy for programs, initiatives, and events, content strategy for publications and all NGA outlets, including digital, as well as public affairs and media relations. In 2021, Strange led the association's comprehensive rebranding efforts. This was the first such brand enhancement since NGA was founded in 1982, with a new logo, refreshed graphics and color package, and stakeholder messaging.

Strange came to NGA in 2013 from Capitol Hill where she served as communications director for Members of Congress serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, she held positions in the government relations department for Yahoo! Inc., where she managed an issue portfolio on federal and state levels, and in the communications and marketing division for a state taxpayer trade association. Strange started her career as a staff assistant in the U.S. Senate, and eventually worked her way to take on a role as deputy press secretary. She has a master’s degree in strategic public relations from George Washington University and an undergraduate degree in public relations from the University of South Carolina.

Elizabeth K. Tansing

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Elizabeth K. Tansing is Vice President of State Government Affairs for FMI, The Food Industry Association. She directs the work of FMI State Affairs, which provides FMI member companies and state association executives with resources and support in the form of studies, research, testimony, and regional and national meetings, to assist in managing the wide range of state public policy challenges that impact the food industry across the nation. She began her career with FMI in 1997. In 2021, she was recognized among Progressive Grocer’s list of “Top Women in Grocery.”  Elizabeth currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE).

Ellie Taylor

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Ellie Taylor has served as association President/CEO of the Alabama Grocers Association since 2007 and has served the members of the association in various roles for over 28 years. She is responsible for the overall management of the association and plays a key role in representing AGA membership and the grocery industry before elected officials and regulatory agencies in the state of Alabama.

In addition, Ellie serves as President of the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation and oversees the Foundation’s education, research, and college scholarship programs. To date, the AGEF has awarded over $1.4 million dollars in scholarships to deserving students.

Ellie is also the Executive Director of the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association, an association that promotes products made, manufactured, produced and headquartered in the state of Alabama through their Buy Alabama’s Best Program. The program partners with local Alabama charities and to date has raised over three quarters of a million dollars for hunger and curing childhood cancer.

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