Board of Directors
President & CEO, Dairy Management Inc. President & CEO, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy & GENYOUth Board Chair
Barbara O’Brien has more than 20 years of experience working on behalf of America’s 31,000 dairy farmers and dairy importers, and delivering results globally, nationally and locally. O’Brien is the President & CEO of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the domestic dairy checkoff program that drives trust and sales of dairy products. In this capacity, she oversees the work of the National Dairy Council, the U.S. Dairy Export Council and GENYOUth Foundation, which raises funds and resources to support youth wellness programming, most notably through its flagship in-school program, Fuel Up to Play 60.
She also serves as President & CEO of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, a pre-competitive forum that advances collaboration among dairy companies, farmers and others in the dairy community to help ensure a socially responsible and economically viable industry in the future.
In her role as President & CEO of the Innovation Center, she has brought together the leadership of 27 dairy companies and organizations to advance pre-competitive efforts and action within key areas like animal welfare, environmental sustainability, hunger and community impact. Under her leadership, 34 companies representing 75% of the U.S. milk supply have signed the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment – dairy’s social responsibility pledge to customers and consumers. That Commitment also helped lay the groundwork for the announcement of U.S. Dairy’s 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals.
O’Brien leads with a results-driven mentality to deliver tangible impacts for farmers from field to fork and positively position U.S. dairy in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. Through an evolution of the checkoff business plan, O’Brien created stronger integration and category strategies that have grown the market for America’s dairy farmers, as well as driven increases in positive consumer perceptions around dairy and dairy farming. She is also focused on building a bench of next generation leadership among staff and dairy farmers to ensure the checkoff’s long-term success on behalf of the dairy industry.
Prior to joining DMI, O’Brien directed Burson Marsteller’s Chicago-based healthcare consultancy. During her tenure, she provided executive-level counsel for Fortune 500 consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical clients including Procter & Gamble, Dow Corning, Quaker Oats and Abbott Labs, establishing new business strategies for growing clients’ market share. She went on to co-found a healthcare consultancy that served the business and marketing planning needs of Chicago-area hospitals and health systems as well as companies in the medical device, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition segments.
O’Brien is a proud mother of two children and resides in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mark.