Long-term veteran appointed Craft Bakers Association lead

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Karen Dear. Pic: CBA
Karen Dear. Pic: CBA

Related tags Craft Bakers Association

Karen Dear – who has worked at the CBA for nearly 23 years – has been promoted to CEO.

Dear has covered all roles within the association during her two decade tenure, currently responsible for the day to day management as director of Operations.

“We are delighted to announce that Karen Dear has been appointed chief executive of the CBA in recognition of her dedicated service and leadership to the organisation,” ​said Nick Harris, CBA’s chairman.

“The appointment supports our ambitious future growth and development goals, while enabling us to build for the future.”

Dear is ardent about raising the profile of this hardworking industry​ and as CEO, will be consulting with government to ensure the craft bakery sector voice is heard. She does, however, intend to maintain her personal contact with members, as noted on the association’s website that “working with members and talking to member about their business issues and wider industry concerns is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job.

“This is an exciting time for the CBA and I’m looking forward to taking on this challenge.

“My new role will enable me to focus on growing the organisation, while also ensuring CBA membership continues to be valuable to all our members and industry supporters.”

Futureproofing your business

Baker shaking hands with consumer Ilhor Bulyhin
Pic: GettyImages

The CBA has issued an invitation to craft bakers and industry supporters to attend its Business Day on 14 June 2023.

The first in-person event in four years is designed to help empower bakers to futureproof their businesses ​with a varied programme of presentations on key topics such as consumer attitudes to craft bakery, Primary Authority Legislation and how to make the media work for your business. Speakers include Amy North, editor of Bakery&Snacks’ sister publication British Baker, Dr Devon Petrie from the National Bakery School and Howard Saunders from Retail Futurist.

Before the presentations though, the day begins with the CBA’s AGM, which will see Patrick Wilkins taking over from Neil Woods as national president for 2023/24.

Bakers are also invited to showcase their expertise in a new competition, which will be judged on the day to single out the best-in-class in several categories – including Sourdough, Vegan and Innovation – as well as CBA’s Champion Baker and Member of the Year.

Winners will be announced at the gala dinner, which features keynote speaker Felicity Cloake, author of six cookbooks, food writer for The Guardian and the New Statesman and a past winner of the Guild of Food Writers’ Food Journalist of the Year.

The event will end in spectacular fashion with a performance from ITV Starstruck’s Fil Straughan.

“We are very excited to welcome CBA members, supporters and other members of the baking industry to our Business Day,”​ said Dear.

“It’ll be a great opportunity to showcase all that the craft baking industry has to offer and acknowledge the resilience and importance of the industry, especially during the challenging times we have all faced recently and continue to do so.

“We’re also looking forward to thanking Neil for his outstanding work and welcoming incoming president Patrick, who we’re sure will be a great addition to the association.”

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