The Animal Agriculture Alliance board of directors has announced that Hannah Thompson-Weeman, currently serving as the Alliance’s vice president, strategic engagement, has been named the organization’s new president and CEO. Thompson-Weeman will assume the role on May 1 prior to the departure of longtime president and CEO Kay Johnson Smith later that month to join the staff of Alliance member organization Dairy MAX, one of the leading regional dairy councils in America representing more than 900 dairy farmers and serving communities in eight states.
Thompson-Weeman joined the Alliance in 2014 as director of communications and since that time has been promoted to vice president of communications before assuming her current role leading strategic engagement. She has led the Alliance’s issues management, crisis communications, animal rights extremist monitoring and influencer engagement work, as well as played an integral role in connecting with supporters and developing Alliance programs such as the Stakeholders Summit, Animal Ag Allies and College Aggies Online. Thompson-Weeman’s expertise and passion in these areas has made her a sought-after columnist for various publications and speaker for national and even international events, helping to build the Alliance brand. She holds a B.S. in agricultural communication with a minor in agricultural business and an M.S. in agricultural and extension education, both from The Ohio State University.
“Hannah’s history with the Alliance and energy for taking its mission to new heights make her the ideal choice for both a seamless transition and a bright future for the organization,” said Christina Lood, senior director, sustainability and innovation communications, Zoetis, and current Alliance chairperson. “The board of directors offers Kay the deepest gratitude for her nearly 28 years of commitment to the Alliance. The organization would not be what it is today if it weren’t for her pouring limitless time and energy into growing the Alliance’s resources, team and programs. We wish her all the best in her new role and look forward to continuing to engage with her both personally and professionally.”
Johnson Smith is departing the Alliance to join longtime Alliance member Dairy MAX as chief operating officer. A nonprofit organization headquartered in Texas and with operations in Colorado, southwest Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and Wyoming, Dairy MAX is part of a nationwide effort to promote dairy, develop new dairy foods, provide educational information and increase consumption.
“While it is certainly bittersweet to leave the Alliance after so many years, I am looking forward to remaining in the animal agriculture community and continuing to be the Alliance’s strongest advocate, now as part of a member organization,” said Johnson Smith. “The Alliance will be in exceptional hands with Hannah leading a strong team with deep roots at the organization. It has truly been an honor to have served the Alliance, our members and the broader animal agriculture community for all these years, and I’m thrilled to be able to continue to do so in a new role going forward.”
Thompson-Weeman will begin her new duties just prior to the Alliance’s 2022 Stakeholders Summit, set for May 11-12 in Kansas City. Both Johnson Smith and Thompson-Weeman’s time at the Alliance and new roles will be celebrated during the Chairperson’s Reception at the event. For more information on the Summit, themed “Come Together for Animal Ag: Be Informed, Be Ready, Be Here,” and how to register, visit bit.ly/AAA22Summit.
About the Alliance:
The Animal Agriculture Alliance safeguards the future of animal agriculture and its value to society by bridging the communication gap between the farm and food communities. We connect key food industry stakeholders to arm them with responses to emerging issues. We engage food chain influencers and promote consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture. We protect by exposing those who threaten our nation’s food security with damaging misinformation.