From the Desk of the CEO: December 2023

I am excited for 2024. It will mark the beginning of my second year as CEO and Executive Director of Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast. Much of my first year was spent evaluating where we were as an organization, actively listening to staff, suppliers, board members, and stakeholders about where we can better amplify our strengths and better navigate challenges present now and in the future. We made changes to the structure of the leadership and realigned teams to ensure that we work cohesively as a unit and not as separate program areas. The accomplishments of Food Export staff this year have been nothing short of transformative. 

This year, we brought in new team members, said farewell to some esteemed colleagues, made technological upgrades, and reevaluated procedures. It has been a dynamic and productive year for our team in Chicago and Philadelphia. 

The most critical project we worked on was refining our sense of shared purpose and culture: our Mission, Vision, and Values. It was important to me to develop statements that authentically reflect who we are as an organization, represent our beliefs, and reaffirms our commitment to exporting American agricultural and seafood.   

I am exceptionally proud of the work and effort that was put into developing these statements. We conducted numerous interviews and synthesized thoughts and comments into cohesive pieces that embody Food Export’s Mission, Vision, and Values. As organizations committed (and well-positioned) to grow in the years to come, these will be invaluable as guiding principles. 

Let me share with you our Mission, Vision, and Values.  


At Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast, our mission is to empower small- and medium-sized businesses in our regions to sell their food and agricultural products internationally by:  

  • Simplifying Success: Reducing the risk and complexity of exporting value-added food, agricultural, seafood, and forestry products through education, market development, and promotion. 
  • Enriching Exchange: Connecting the world’s importers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers to the best U.S. products and producers to strengthen the vitality of our regions, businesses, and communities.  
  • Realizing Resources: Partnering effectively with our 23 member-state agencies and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service to invest in the future of our member states and U.S. agriculture.   


At Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast, we envision a future where small- and medium-sized businesses in our regions thrive in the global marketplace. Our vision is to lead this transformation by fully embodying our mission: 

1. Simplifying Success 

In our vision, we see a future where exporting value-added food, agricultural, seafood, and forestry products is simple, accessible, and low-risk for small- and medium-sized businesses. We take a leadership role, leveraging technology, expertise, and innovation to provide businesses, especially the underserved, with customized tools and unwavering support to thrive in international markets. 

2. Enriching Exchange 

We aim to create a global network where importers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers actively seek out the finest products and producers from our regions. By connecting businesses, we envision economic vitality, thriving enterprises, and flourishing local communities. Our organization serves as the bridge that fosters partnerships and trade relationships worldwide. 

3. Realizing Resources 

In our vision, we serve as the linchpin of collaboration and support, forming strong partnerships with our 23 member-state agencies and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. We see a future where these alliances drive significant investment in the growth and prosperity of our member states and U.S. agriculture. As mindful stewards, we ensure the effective and optimized use of these public resources for the benefit of businesses and for the positive impact on the communities they support. 


  1. Cultivating Global Relationships. We nurture lasting relationships across borders and boundaries and work collaboratively to help our stakeholders.   
  1. Rooted In Trust. We invest in and support our stakeholders then trust them to take ownership over their work. We are responsible stewards of our resources and work with integrity.  
  1. Producing Results. We are focused on the long-term success of the stakeholders in our regions; we’re driven to help them succeed through innovation and expertise.   

Over the course of the next several weeks, we will begin implementing language from these statements into our different methods of communication. We will have visual reminders throughout our offices, and we plan to have products that we can share externally that showcase our Mission, Vision, and Values. 

Happy holidays and best wishes for 2024. 

Brendan Wilson 

CEO/Executive Director 

Your Input Matters: If there is a topic you wish for me to discuss in this space, let me know. You can reach me at Just put Attn: Brendan Wilson in the subject line.