The Retail Bakers of America has made an important move that expands the role for staff member Marissa Velie, who recently stepped into her new position as the RBA Certification & Education Director. She started with the RBA in September of 2018 as the Certification Director. During that time, she has successfully grown the RBA Certification program, as well as creating the BakeryX program that currently welcomes more than 60 students per year.
“My goals are to increase the number of educational events, and slowly get back to more in-person events,” Velie says. “We want to gauge what is needed in this changing industry and respond to the industry’s knowledge needs.”
Velie began her baking career at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. After school, Velie headed for Boston where she worked at Flour Bakery and later baked her way through kitchens in New York, serving as pastry chef at The Castle on the Hudson in Tarrytown, as well as The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls in Beacon, New York.
Velie also earned her master’s degree in Food Studies at New York University, where she focused her research on culture and gender in the professional kitchen. Most recently, she has worked as an adjunct professor at The Culinary Institute of America and teaches Baking Ingredients & Equipment Technology. She currently resides in Ohio and co-owns a BIGGBY Coffee franchise.
“Marissa has shown her love and dedication to the baking industry. Our team is so excited to have her expertise and energy as we continue to grow as an association. She is a gem!” says Bernadette Shanahan-Haas, RBA Executive Director.
In her new role, Velie will be creating industry-specific training programs and developing small business programs for our RBA members and partners. She will continue her work on setting industry standards through professional certification, industry research, and school programs. Velie will also be stepping into the RBA partnership with IBIE as an integral member of the IBIEducate Task Force.
"It is a privilege to work with so many talented bakers through RBA’s certification program. I am constantly amazed by the skill of our baking community and how much we can learn through collaboration. There is so much to share and learn and I'm looking forward to expanding my role, developing RBA’s education programs and working with the IBIE team!" she says.
In 2021, on the certification side, RBA certified one new certified baker and one new certified master baker, moving the total of certified master bakers (CMBs) to more than 300.
“One of the most critical things ahead is recruitment and retainment,” Velie says. “There is always a need and demand to hone in on baking skills.’
She values the work the RBA provides to elevate the knowledge and expertise of the industry, and looks forward to a new future in which more bakers are updating their training online.
“We are helping to create a more desirable work environment, and developing a sense of community in the bakery,” she says. “That makes a difference in retainment.”