ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has promoted Erica Oakley to Vice President of Programs. Oakley joined USW in 2015 as Program Manager and was promoted to Director of Programs in 2017.
Oakley’s promotion signals a structure change in USW’s Headquarters Office, splitting the previous Program and Planning department. Previously serving the organization as Vice President of Programs and Planning, Jennifer Sydney will shift titles to Vice President of Planning. In this role, Sydney will continue leading USW’s annual planning process and manage all facets of its intersection with federal programs, finance, and overseas office operations.
Oakley will oversee all domestic components of USW programs in support of overseas offices in her new role, including export market development activities, consulting assignments, customer trade teams, USW director delegations, and customer conferences. Oakley will also continue leading the development of USW’s annual Crop Quality Report and seminars.
“It is important as an organization to adapt based on the needs of its customers and stakeholders and how the skills and commitment of its employees can best serve its mission,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Erica has been an exceptional asset to the organization, especially through all of the challenges and changes we faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are confident this change is in the best interest of USW’s mission and look forward to both Erica and Jennifer’s continued leadership.”
Before joining USW, Oakley worked as an Associate at Humanitas Global, Washington, D.C. She also worked as a Program Associate at the Academy for Educational Development, now FHI 360, supporting a USAID Title II-funded Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance project to strengthen food security and nutrition policies, programs and systems. Before that, Oakley was a Project Associate at Washington-based Futures Group. A native of North Carolina, Oakley earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies at Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C., and a master’s degree in international relations from Utrecht University in The Netherlands.
Reporting to Oakley will be Catherine Miller, whose title will shift from Programs and Planning Coordinator to Program Coordinator with additional responsibilities. Also reporting to Oakley will be Program Coordinator Maybelis Fernandez who coordinates program travel arrangements.
Reporting to Sydney will be Nada Obaid, whose title will shift from Office Manager to Planning and Administrative Assistant. She will assume more responsibility in the day-to-day planning operations and continue administrative office management.
U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.
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