As vice president of corporate communications for Hormel Foods Corporation, Wendy Watkins oversees public affairs and strategic communications for the company’s global operations. In this capacity, Watkins has overall responsibility for internal and external communications, the company’s digital presence, issues management, corporate social responsibility initiatives and the consumer response and engagement group. She serves as the company’s chief spokesperson and is responsible for Studio H — the company’s creative and culinary services group. She also serves as director of the Hormel Foods Charitable Trust and leads the company’s charitable giving efforts.
Watkins joined the company as vice president of corporate communications in 2015 with more than 25 years of experience in strategic communications, marketing and media relations. Prior to joining Hormel Foods, Watkins spent 15 years as global vice president of corporate communications for Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and foodservice. She joined Delaware North after more than a decade in global corporate communications leadership with the Marriott family of companies, which includes Host Marriott and Host Marriott Services.
Watkins has been active in foodservice, as well as travel and tourism industry. She was part of the initial launch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity initiative and the Chefs Move to School program. She was also an advisor and staff representative to the Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and US Travel CEO Roundtable. Watkins served two terms on the New York State Health Research Science Board, appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Watkins is president of the board of directors for the Cancer Nutrition Consortium and has been recognized for her work in breast cancer advocacy, including being honored by Art beCAUSE, breast cancer research foundation, at its annual gala. She currently serves on its board of directors. She was named a Woman of Influence in 2011 by New York’s Business First. She is currently Chairperson of the Grocery Manufacturers Association Communications Committee.
Watkins received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has lived in Florida, the Washington, D.C., area and New York and currently lives with her family in Austin, Minn.
She and her husband, Larry, have two children.