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Megan McKenna receives Foodservice Editorial Council’s top award

The International Foodservice Editorial Council announced Megan McKenna, senior director of marketing and foodservice for the National Watermelon Promotion Board, as the recipient of the 2021 Betty Bastion Outstanding Service Award. The council’s highest honor, informally called the “Betty,” is presented annually to an IFEC member who has made significant contributions to the well-being of IFEC and the field of foodservice communications through outstanding leadership, service and professionalism.  McKenna received the award during IFEC’s annual conference in Annapolis, MD, in October.

An active participant in IFEC for 15 years, McKenna immediately involved herself in committee work and has continued actively participating since she joined. She has served on 15 different committees, many for several years, served on the board of directors from 2010 to 2012, and is currently serving from 2020 until 2022. In addition to chairing many of the committees, she has taken on each of the executive committee leadership positions, serving as vice president in 2011, as president in 2012, most recently served as secretary in 2021 and will act as treasurer in 2022. Notably, she is the first IFEC member to have received both of the association’s top awards since she also received the TerrIFECer award in 2013.

“Megan is a ‘lead by example’ leader who generates excitement and interest without a lot of drama. Quiet but effective, she’s a soft hand in an iron glove type of leader who brings new thinking and ideas to IFEC, as well as to her own organization,” said one of several IFEC colleagues who nominated McKenna for the Betty. Another nominator detailed that McKenna “brings grace, leadership and positivity to all she does — including IFEC. She is a thoughtful professional, always willing to share her insights with colleagues.”

McKenna has been with the Watermelon Board since December 2014, starting as the director of foodservice and marketing when the watermelon industry added a primary focus of increasing demand of watermelon in foodservice. She works with decision-makers in foodservice such as culinary, marketing, purchasing, nutrition and more, to place more watermelon on menus. Previous to the NWPB, McKenna was with the National Mango Board, starting as the marketing specialist in 2007, and left the organization as the director of marketing in 2014. Before falling in love with the produce and foodservice industries, McKenna graduated from the University of Central Florida and worked for the Historical Society of Central Florida. A born and raised Floridian, McKenna lives in Winter Park, FL, with her husband, Jay, children, Sara Mae and James, and pup, Griswold.

The Betty is named for IFEC’s first executive director, Betty Bastion Varese, who retired in 1991 and continues as an honorary member. IFEC is a 200-member professional association that brings foodservice editors and public relations and marketing communications professionals together to exchange ideas and share resources.

Photo: IFEC Executive Director Jen Mac Kay, TerrIFECer award winner Kelsey Casselbury and Megan McKenna.

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