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NMPF advances sustainability leadership, member service with promotions

Nicole Ayache becomes first ever chief sustainability officer for organization.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) named Nicole Ayache its first ever chief sustainability officer and Emily Yeiser Stepp the first ever executive director of its National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program, bolstering its sustainability leadership and member service in staff promotions. 

NMPF also elevated Louise Kamali and Sage Saffran in recognition of their growing and expanding roles with the organization. Kamali is becoming vice president of meetings and office services, while Saffran has been promoted to manager of sustainability initiatives.

Each staff member brings unique talents to NMPF, Mulhern said.

“As dairy cooperatives continuously improve their own sustainability and develop new opportunities to benefit their members and their communities, NMPF is excited to have Nicole leading our work in the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “As the leader of the FARM Program’s Environmental Stewardship initiative, Nicole has already shown how dairy leads agriculture in best practices and stewardship principles. By expanding her role, we are ensuring that both FARM and NMPF’s efforts in these areas will grow under energetic leadership.”

Yeiser Stepp’s new position as executive director of the FARM Program comes after nearly five years leading FARM’s strategic initiatives for the U.S. dairy industry’s social responsibility program, encompassing animal care, antibiotic stewardship, biosecurity, environmental stewardship and workforce development. She first joined FARM, a joint initiative of NMPF and Dairy Management Inc., in 2016 and has been integral to its increasingly important role in U.S. dairy.

“Emily’s new role reflects her success in leading our comprehensive efforts to develop FARM as one that assists the entire dairy producer community in addressing and communicating its record of success in managing high quality animal care, as well as farm biosecurity and workforce development,” Mulhern said. “Her strong record of achievement in working with a wide range of industry stakeholders, of managing a growing staff, and of staying ahead of rapidly evolving industry challenges positions her well for her new role – and NMPF for continued success benefiting from her leadership.”

Louise Kamali’s promotion to vice president of meetings and office services recognizes her significant and long-standing contributions to the efficient and effective management of numerous organizational meetings as well as the internal administrative functions for both NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, with which NMPF shares office resources.

“Louise is a unifying presence within our jointly operated office, dedicated to making sure that NMPF and USDEC staff have the tools, assistance, and resources necessary to achieve their best on-the-job results,” Mulhern said. “Whether working with service providers or meeting facilities -- or most importantly, our members -- as a frontline representative, her expertise, attention to detail, and thorough knowledge of the many moving parts of our organizations continue to significantly and successfully bolster our efforts in ways large and small.”  

Kamali has more than 31 years of association experience. February marks her 21st anniversary with NMPF.

Sage Saffran has been promoted to manager of sustainability initiatives. Her new role reflects her expanded responsibilities in managing internal operations for the FARM Environmental Stewardship (ES) and Workforce Development (WFD) programs. Saffran oversees the evaluator training for both initiatives; she also coordinates efforts with FARM team members and contractors to grow evaluator and farmer resources, improve database functionality, develop communications, and promote stakeholder engagement.

In addition to her work with FARM, Saffran contributes to important NMPF initiatives, such as the internship program, the Young Cooperators program, and the annual scholarship raffle. 

“Since joining NMPF two years ago, Sage has quickly asserted herself as key to the FARM team’s progress and expansion,” Mulhern said. “Her contributions are highly valued, and we look forward to her continued growth as an essential part of NMPF.”

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