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2015 Leadership Awards

The Awards honor influential and innovative entrepreneurs who are transforming the way the specialty food industry does business.

The Specialty Food Association Leadership honor Association members who are true leaders in the $88.3 billion specialty food industry, and beyond. These leaders are making a difference by advancing food standards in society with their commitment to creating social and environmental impact through their innovation and vision.

The judges, a panel of specialty food professionals and industry influencers, will meet at SFA’s New York office to evaluate entries and choose the winners. Winners will be honored at a special ceremony on January 11, 2015 at the 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.

View 2014's honorees here >>

View 2013's honorees here >>

Awards Criteria

The awards honor leaders whose work is exceptional in these arenas:

  • Ethics
  • Professionalism
  • Transparency
  • Practices and business models
  • Advancing food standards
  • Championing positive role of food in society

Entry Regulations

The Leadership Awards are open to Specialty Food Association members in good standing. Nominations are welcome from individuals outside the Association; however the nominee must be an Association member.

Awards are considered for the qualities of:


For improving the lives of people and communities in areas such as the environment, sustainability, hunger relief and literacy.

Business Leadership

For advancing best practices in the food industry to create economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for food industry personnel.


For pioneering new approaches, innovative products and business models that have set in motion positive change and progress.


“Winning the award gained us more recognition with buyers and industry partners for the impact we're having on communities, and not just for the quality of our products.”

Tyler Gage
Co-Founder & Co-CEO / RUNA

“It was an exceptional honor to receive this level of recognition from my peers for the work we are trying to do in this world. Throughout the year it has re-inspired me and given me fresh energy and confidence to take on new leadership challenges.”

Caryl Levine
Co-Founder & Co-Owner / Lotus Foods

“Being selected the Business Leader by SFA, has inspired me to continue to enrich people’s lives through premium teas, education and innovation.“

Ron Rubin
Minister of Tea – the Republic of Tea

To learn about becoming a Specialty Food Association member, go to the Membership Page here.



October 15, 2014


November 3, 2014

The panel of independent judges convenes to review entries and select honorees.


January 11, 2015

The 2015 Leadership Awards Ceremony will be held at the
upcoming Winter Fancy
Food Show in San Francisco