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Canadian Food Innovation Network announces leadership team​


3 August 2021 - The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is delighted to announce its new leadership team today. The appointments of CEO, CXO, and CFO signal CFIN’s commitment to its vision to be the world-leading innovation network for food.

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. What set Joe apart from other excellent candidates is his breadth and depth of global experience, and his passion for accelerating innovation across Canada,” said Sandy Somers, Chair, Interim Board of CFIN.

Joseph Lake | Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Lake joins CFIN from McCain Foods where he held positions with increasing scope and responsibility in research, development and global innovation strategy management since 2009. Lake developed and led global innovation targeting future-horizon growth. Previously he worked in diverse areas, from marine biology to brewing science and analytical services. Lake holds a PhD in Food Science and Technology from Dalhousie University, and he is fluent in English and French.

"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. 

Dana McCauley | Chief Experience Officer (CXO), effective August 30, 2021

McCauley is a brand builder, business leader and customer experience professional. She has championed growth and sparked innovation at Canadian food and beverage enterprises of all sizes throughout her career. She was most recently Director of New Venture Creation at the University of Guelph. Previously, McCauley was the founding Executive Director for a food business incubator, accelerator and shared production facility.  She is President of the SIAL Canada Innovation Award jury.

As CXO, Dana will champion CFIN’s member user experience with innovation project funding, connectivity, events and other services. Dana will be supported by regional innovation directors, as well as communications and program specialists,” said Lake.

Melanie DiReto | Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

DiReto is an established financial professional with over 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. DiReto is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and has achieved an additional designation of Certified Association Executive. She is fluent in English and French.

"Melanie’s association and financial management experience will be instrumental in support of CFIN members and innovation project funding recipients meeting their innovation needs,” Lake continues.


Barbara Miller | Chief Executive Officer (interim)

Barbara Miller became interim CEO in July 2020, leading an interim management team through the process of CFIN’s incorporation to launch.

Barb has done an outstanding job of laying the foundation for the next steps for CFIN. We are grateful for the time, energy and leadership she has dedicated to this initiative,” added Sandy Somers.


About CFIN

The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is an exciting new global hub for food innovation. CFIN will accelerate innovation by stimulating connections, collaborations and investments across Canada’s food ecosystem. Starting in September, a series of programs and services will be launched that will bring together key players to advance Canada’s food industry.  



Media contact: Andrea Murray, or 1-888-773-8247