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CEO / Staff

Joe Leader, Chief Executive Officer 






Russell Lemieux, Chief Operating Officer 

Mr. Lemieux guides the overall progress of the association under the purview of the Board of Directors in all areas including administration, finances, strategic planning, membership recruitment and retention, meeting management and public relations. He works closely with the Executive Director and the overall team to ensure client needs are met and association interests are protected and championed. He also serves to guide the overall mission of the IFSA Foundation.  

Phone: +1 678.303.3041

Lauren Costello, Executive Director

Ms. Costello is responsible for the overall management of the Association and oversees project management related to administration, finances, strategic planning, government affairs and education, membership recruitment and retention, meeting management and communications. She guides staff responsible for promotional, meeting and administrative functions to ensure best practices are followed, client needs are met and association interests are kept top of mind and promoted.

Phone: +1 212.297.2155

Nicole Blackshear, General Manager

Ms. Blackshear works closely with Executive Director and various committees to execute the association’s strategic direction. She serves as the lead liaison for the IFSA Foundation overseeing its administration and programs. In addition, Ms. Blackshear is responsible for generating sponsorship revenue for all IFSA events by building and implementing creatives strategies to drive sales.  

Phone: +1 678.303.3021

James Cole, Membership Services Coordinator 

Mr. Cole serves as the primary point of contact for membership inquiries and requests. As the Membership Services Coordinator, he welcomes all new members and works to strengthen relationships with renewing members by providing superior customer service, advising of membership benefits and promoting the value of the association. He also handles registration for IFSA’s events, invoicing, and tracking. 

Phone:  +1 212.297.2150


Morgan Dukes, Senior Communications Manager

Ms. Dukes creates all content for IFSA website, newsletters, and marketing collateral, and monitors trade and consumer media. Ms. Dukes works closely with the Communications Committee and  manages all media requests and cultivates relationships with journalists/bloggers and other media to secure placements. She designs and implements the digital and social media strategy for IFSA. 

Phone:  +1 678.303.2993



Kristi Johnson,  Program/ Expo Manager

Ms. Johnson works closely with the Executive Director to facilitate many of the administrative functions of the Association. She is the lead liaison to the Ideation Committee, manages IFSA Foundation scholarship applications, and has an active role with the EXPO Planning Committee. As the EXPO Manager, Ms. Johnson is responsible for all EXPO exhibitor sales and contracts, developing new prospects, serving as a primary contact on the EXPO floor, and working with the Meetings Manger to ensure a successful event.


Phone:  +1 678.303.3009

Michelle Smolarski, General Manager of Government Affairs  

Ms. Smolarski serves as the lead liaison for the IFSA Government Affairs and Education Committee and EU Task Force. She is responsible for executing for a variety of legislative and regulatory activities as defined by the committee and Board of Directors and directed by the membership. She maintains an open dialogue with appropriate worldwide regulatory and legislative bodies in order to represent IFSA’s interests before these groups and works cooperatively toward the common goal for public health, safety and security.

Phone: +1 202.207.1128


Darrell McCook, Meetings Manager

 Mr. McCook, working closely with the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, manages IFSA's conference and meetings from conception to completion, including onsite management. He is the point person for the Company Demonstration, site selection, budgeting, contract negotiation, and registration.  

Phone:  +1 678.303.3028





Margaux Rundstadler, EU Government Affairs Manager

Ms. Rundstadler is based in Brussels and works closely with the Government Affairs Director as she is in charge of the IFSA EU Task Force. Margaux is responsible for the IFSA’s EU outreach, monitoring and presence in Brussels. She monitors relevant topics for IFSA at EU level, focusing mostly on food policy, she interacts with the EU institutions and attends meetings in order to represent IFSA’s interests towards policymakers.  


Phone: 02 761 16 00 (Belgium)