First for Forum: Cultivating the future of pet food at Petfood Forum 2024

In an effort to foster a dynamic and diverse pet food industry community, the First For Forum program returned to Petfood Forum 2024.

First for Forum provides an incredible opportunity for up-and-coming talent to:

  • Gain valuable industry insights from leading experts.
  • Network with established professionals and build lasting connections.
  • Discover the latest trends and innovations shaping the future of pet food.

The program received an overwhelming response, with over 100 nominations. Three ambassadors were chosen to attend Petfood Forum 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri, where they actively participated in the event.

The First For Forum program will return in 2024 with nominations launching October 2, 2023.

Meet the 2024 Ambassadors

First For Forum 2024 Ambassadors pictured left to right: Birjis Mukardamwala, Cally Toong, and Emily Rice

Birjis Mukardamwala is based out of Nashville, TN and is a chemist by education. She currently works as a sourcing analyst for Mars Petcare and has previous work experience in the oil and gas, personal care, and skincare industries. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, baking, and reading books.

Cally Toong is a senior product development scientist, specializing in pet consumables, with one of the largest retailers in the US. With extensive expertise in food science, Cally’s work is characterized by a strong commitment to innovation, quality and food safety. She has over 12+ years in the scientific community, including progressive advancement as a senior scientist with General Mills, Inc. Cally is absolutely passionate about pets, fostering collaboration and continuous learning. She holds a Masters in Food Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Bachelor of Science degree from Queen’s University, Canada.

Emily Rice is a product specialist in the technical applications group at Nestlé Purina Petcare Company. Her education and background were mainly rooted in meat science, until she entered into the pet food industry two years ago. Emily currently works in the pet treats category creating and scaling up new products into Nestlé factories. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her dog, Lucy, and horse, Ollie.

A Platform for Collaboration and Growth

First for Forum isn’t just about giving new professionals a chance to experience Petfood Forum. It’s about creating a space where industry veterans and newcomers can connect and collaborate. By fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, we can ensure the pet food industry continues to thrive.

The program provides a launchpad for new ideas and fresh perspectives. These emerging professionals bring a unique energy and enthusiasm that benefits everyone involved.

Petfood Forum 2025

Make plans to attend the 2025 edition of Petfood Forum  scheduled for April 28-30 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Petfood Forum 2025 includes an all-new agenda packed with opportunities to network and collaborate with industry professionals, learn the latest in pet food innovation and discover new tools for business success.