Food In Canada

Canadian Food Innovation Network announces leadership team

By Food in Canada staff   

Business Operations Canadian Food Innovation Network CFIN Editor pick

Joseph Lake

The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) has unveiled its new leadership team. The appointments of Joseph Lake as CEO, Dana McCauley as CXO and Melanie DiReto as CFO signal CFIN’s commitment to become a 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.

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.

Dana McCauley

“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.


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

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,” said Lake.

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