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Canadian Food Innovation Network announces leadership team

New food innovation hub brings on Joseph Lake, Dana McCauley and Melanie DiReto to lead
CFIN leadership team
Left to right: Joseph Lake, Dana McCauley, Melanie DiReto

The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN), a new global hub for food innovation, has announced its leadership team with the appointments of its CEO, CXO and CFO. 

Joseph Lake will be CEO, Dana McCauley will be the CXO (Chief Experience Officer), and Melanie DiReto will be CFO (Chief Financial Officer).

“After a rigorous and competitive recruitment process, on behalf of CFIN, I am pleased to welcome Joseph Lake to take over the helm of Canada’s new global hub for food innovation as CEO,” said Sandy Somers, chair, interim board of CFIN, in a press release. “What set Joe apart from other excellent candidates is his breadth and depth of global experience, and his passion for accelerating innovation across Canada.” 

Lake joins CFIN from McCain Foods, where he’s held positions in research, development and global innovation strategy management since 2009. He holds a PhD in food science and technology from Dalhousie University. "I am honoured and excited that I will be working with Dana McCauley and Melanie DiReto to advance Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing industry and enable collaborations across Canada’s food ecosystem as well as globally,” said Lake in a release.

As CXO, McCauley brings her extensive experience in Canada’s food industry, having championed growth and innovation at Canadian food and beverage businesses throughout her career. She was most recently director of New Venture Creation at the University of Guelph; and previously, McCauley was the founding executive director for Food Starter, a Toronto-based food business incubator, accelerator and shared production facility. She is also president of the SIAL Canada Innovation Award jury.

And CFO DiReto is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) with more than 18 years of private sector and not-for-profit experience. Since 2013, she has provided financial services and reporting for Canadian Food Innovators, among other clients. 

CFIN aims to be a world-leading innovation network for food, according to the organization. Its goal is to accelerate innovation by “stimulating connections, collaborations and investments across Canada’s food ecosystem.” Beginning in September, it will launch a series of programs and services to bring key players together to advance Canada’s food industry. 


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