Class of 2018
Laura A. Christian, was born on December 17, 1959, in Evanston, IL, and was the first of five children to George and Elizabeth Ritter Christian. Laura says a strong belief in helping others and giving back was instilled in her by her parents, which led to an initial career goal of working in special education. Pursuing her goal, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education at the University of Kansas.
After graduating a semester early in 1981, Laura looked for a short-term position to fill her time before attending graduate school. The “short-term” position she took was with Bell Flavors & Fragrances, where she remains today with the title of national accounts manager.
Shortly after joining the company, Laura was asked to volunteer at an American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT) event. And true to her loyal nature, Laura jumped in, serving on the Board of the Chicago Section of AACT for more than 30 years — she currently sits on its Governing Board. Recognized for her dedication to the group, Laura was awarded the AACT Chicago Section Supplier Member of the Year award in 1997. She is also a member of the Chicago, Keystone and Milwaukee sections of the Institute of Food Technologists.
In support of NCA, Laura was on the Supplier Advisory Committee from 2004 until 2010, has served on the Women’s Leadership Committee since 2016 and has volunteered in the State of the Industry Ambassador Program since 2009. One of the most memorable experiences in her career, she says, was serving alongside industry icons representing the supplier community on the first All Candy Expo committee in 1997.
Believing continuing support for education in the industry is crucial, Laura makes a point of mentoring, including participating in the Professional Manufacturing Confectioners’ Association Student Outreach Program in 2015. She was also a Sweets & Snacks Expo Mentor Guide for the Confectionery Foundation’s Next Generation Program in 2018.
Laura has also volunteered at the “Making Candy with Special People” event through the Chicago chapter of the AACT and as a Just Harvest volunteer with the greater Chicago food depository. In her community, she is a loyal supporter of numerous local fundraisers, including co-chairing Northfield School District’s fundraiser in suburban Chicago.
Away from work, Laura enjoys sports, travelling, cooking, biking and volunteering. Despite claiming she is actually shy, Laura loves meeting new people, learning about other cultures and, as she says: “Living life!”