RICHARDSON, NY. — Baldwin Richardson Foods, a custom ingredients manufacturer for the food and beverage industry and one of the largest African American family-owned and -operated businesses in the food industry, has promoted Cara J. Hughes to vice president of customer and community.

In her new role, Ms. Hughes will build and maintain relationships with community organizations, as well as oversee culinary innovation, customer relations, sales and marketing to ensure customer expectations and revenue goals are continually met.

Ms. Hughes has been with Baldwin Richardson Foods since 2005, most recently as senior director of sales, marketing and innovation. She also has worked as a principal business relations manager, industrial products sales manager and senior national account manager.

“Cara’s leadership has been pivotal at Baldwin Richardson Foods for the past 16 years through her successful work across roles in sales, marketing and innovation,” said Eric Johnson, chief executive officer of Baldwin Richardson Foods. “In 2020, Cara helped lead our community efforts, and having her spearhead that work will sharpen our focus on supporting underserved children and educational causes in the communities where we operate. We have always devoted resources to these efforts, and we’re thrilled to have her dedication to advance our community-based enrichment work in the future.”

Erin Tolefree, who was promoted to president in December 2020, highlighted several company accomplishments since Ms. Hughes took on greater responsibility.

“Since Cara assumed a leadership role in sales seven years ago, we have grown revenue by 45%, opened a new innovation center, and even grown during this challenging past year,” Ms. Tolefree said. “Cara has demonstrated excellence in managing and developing relationships, and her dedication primes our customers for success. We’re thrilled to have her in this leadership role.”

Ms. Hughes received a bachelor’s degree in economics at Spelman College and is a board trustee. She also serves on the board of After School Matters and previously was a board member for Perspective Charter School.

“Cara has long been committed to community, and her leadership in this area serves as an example of how not only individuals but also companies can partner with organizations to create long-lasting, meaningful impact,” said Mary Ellen Caron, CEO of After School Matters.

“Spelman College is so proud of Spelman alumna Cara J. Hughes on her recent promotion to the position of vice president, customer and community, at Baldwin Richardson Foods, one of the nation’s most successful African American family businesses,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, PhD, president of Spelman College. “Cara’s leadership is sure to keep the company at the forefront of continued growth, innovation and community collaboration.”