Notable Food and Beverage Executives: Heidi Chada

Vice President of Food Services / Centers for Independence

  • Category: Notable Food and Beverage Executives
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 20
  • Undergrad degree/university: University of Wisconsin-Madison, dietetics
  • Graduate degree/university: Mount Mary University, dietetics

Heidi Chada, vice president of food services for the Centers for Independence, has worked with the organization since 2008. Her program is responsible for preparing, packaging and distributing meals to more than 100 schools and early childhood learning centers in Milwaukee. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close, Chada revamped her department’s entire process to ensure children and their families would not go hungry.

Her department began creating meal kits to distribute to community centers and other locations throughout the city, providing children with food while they learned remotely or were in quarantine. Chada’s department distributed 2.5 million free meals from the pandemic’s onset to the end of December 2020. 

Schools and others organization that partner with Chada’s department receive complementary education and newsletters on nutrition and its relationship to health. CFI’s food services offers paid training for people of all backgrounds, including those with criminal histories, to enter the food-service industry, which is struggling with a severe labor shortage.

Chada also serves on the boards of Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Near West Side Partners.