The National Turkey Federation (NTF) announced today that Leslee Oden has been named NTF President & CEO and will assume the leadership position in July when current President & CEO Joel Brandenberger retires after 17 years as head of the organization. The announcement was made by NTF Chairman John Zimmerman.

“On behalf of the NTF Executive Committee, Board of Directors and membership, we are excited for a new chapter at NTF with Leslee at the helm,” said Zimmerman. “We conducted a thorough search, and it was abundantly clear that Leslee was the candidate with the in-depth knowledge needed to help navigate our industry through the intricate and challenging issues the turkey industry is up against. Her tenure at NTF brings a wealth of knowledge, steadfast dedication, key industry relationships and a deep understanding of legislative and regulatory priorities that will continue to lead the turkey industry into the future.”  

Brandenberger announced his retirement plans in October of 2023 after 33 years with NTF and immediately a thorough, nationwide search was conducted to identify a new President and CEO to lead NTF.

As NTF President & CEO, Oden will oversee the day-to-day operations of NTF, lead the NTF staff and provide authoritative guidance for all NTF members on a variety of issues and topics. She will assume her new role on July 1, 2024.

“I am thrilled to lead NTF into the future and am incredibly grateful for the guidance and support that our Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, Joel, current and former NTF staff, and all of our members have shown me throughout the years,” said Oden. “I am eager to start this new chapter for NTF and will continue to be dedicated in carving a path forward for our industry and represent our members in the best way possible.”

Oden, 38, has been a member of the NTF team for the past 15 years. She joined NTF in 2009 as an intern and at the end of her internship she enjoyed a brief stint as a fellow for Representative Parker Griffith (AL). She returned to NTF in January of 2010 as Legislative Affairs Manager, advanced to Director of Legislative Affairs in 2015 and was named Sr. Vice President of Legislative Affairs in 2018. During her tenure at NTF, Oden has been a part of countless legislative and regulatory victories over the years because of her advocacy for the turkey industry on Capitol Hill. She has also facilitated more than a dozen National Thanksgiving Turkey presentations and created and executed the successful Turkey Smoke marketing program. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in poultry science from Texas A&M University and is a native of Leona, Texas. Oden resides in Washington, D.C. with her dog, Louie.