Cara J. Hughes, Vice President of Customer and Community at Baldwin Richardson Foods
Hughes, Whose Leadership Led to 45 Percent Company Growth in Recent Years, Will Assume New Role at Industry-Leading Food and Beverage Ingredients Manufacturer Whose Clients Include the Nation’s Leading Restaurants and Consumer Packaged Goods Companies

CHICAGO, June 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Baldwin Richardson Foods (BRF) today announced that Cara J. Hughes has been named Vice President, Customer and Community, cementing the legacy of one of the largest African American family-owned businesses in the food industry. This announcement formalizes Hughes’s long-standing work to ensure that the mission, vision, corporate strategy and core values that have united the company since 1992—including service, innovation, accountability and performance—are fully reflected in the way the company impacts the world at large.

“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 CEO Eric Johnson. “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.”
In addition to building and maintaining relationships with community organizations, Hughes will oversee Culinary Innovation, Customer Relations, Sales and Marketing to ensure customer expectations and revenue goals are continually met. In recent years, Hughes’ work as Senior Director of Sales, Marketing & Innovation has led to the company’s rapid growth.
“Since Cara assumed a leadership role in sales seven years ago, we have grown revenue by 45 percent, opened a new innovation center, and even grown during this challenging past year,” said Erin Tolefree, President of Baldwin Richardson Foods. “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.”
“I am delighted to step into this expanded role with Baldwin Richardson Foods as it represents the company’s historical commitment to ensuring our customers succeed while creating impact in the communities where we operate,” said Hughes. “Like all great companies, we deliver tremendous industry impact and help our customers win—but we don’t stop there. In my new role, I will continue creating deeply rooted connections that enable us to create opportunity by investing in others—and by empowering others to invest themselves in their own communities and pay it forward. I’m grateful for the opportunity to build on that vision, which has guided our African American family-owned company since 1992.”
“It is truly an honor to congratulate Cara Hughes on her well-earned promotion to Vice President, Customer and Community, at Baldwin Richardson Foods,” said Jacquelyn Howard, VP of Direct Sourcing at Starbucks Coffee Company. “Cara’s commitment to high levels of customer care and the innovation customers have come to expect has elevated Baldwin Richardson Foods to a leadership level within the food and beverage industry. Her dedication to the local, national and even international communities fully reflects the values of the company. It has been amazing to witness the company’s growth over the years and we look forward to supporting Cara’s success in this critically important role.”
BRF has a long history of impacting the world at large. The company and its employees devote resources to supporting education, providing childhood advantage and maintaining committed, long-term partnerships with organizations such as Spelman College, After School Matters and the Young Women’s College Prep Foundation. The company established scholarships at Babson College and Spelman College, which provide annually awarded full-tuition four-year scholarships. The company also built a primary and middle school, Ecole Nouvelle Zoranje, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and has supported its operations since the 2010 earthquake.
“Cara’s dedication to community impact is nothing short of exemplary,” said Rosalind Brewer, Board Chair of Spelman College and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Her commitment to education and youth development is creating measurable impact for young people in the U.S. and abroad, and her promotion to this new role shows the company’s commitment to customer success and community impact at the same time.”
Hughes is a Spelman graduate and serves as a Board Trustee. She also serves on the Board of After School Matters and previously was a board member for Perspectives Charter Schools.
“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, Ph.D., President of Spelman College. “Cara’s leadership is sure to keep the company at the forefront of continued growth, innovation and community collaboration.”
“Cara has long been committed to community and especially to youth in Chicago, and her leadership is an example of how individuals and companies can partner with organizations to create long-lasting, meaningful impact,” said Mary Ellen Caron, CEO of After School Matters.
This announcement comes on the heels of Erin Tolefree’s promotion to President of Baldwin Richardson Foods as the company enters a new phase of growth and development.