The natural products industry is composed of a truly incredible group of people. Over the years, I’ve heard tons of amazing stories about entrepreneurs and thought-leaders who are determined to reach the peak of the mountain—no matter how steep the climb may be. The goal? To initiate positive change in this world one step at a time.

People often ask me what the best part of being the editor ofWholeFoodsMagazine is. The samples? The article bylines? The travel? No, I think the best part is getting to tap into such a driven and creative group of professionals. Their passion is infectious, and it has never felt like a job to share their stories. I, like so many others, am a better person because of everything I’ve learned from those who call this industry their own.

With that being said, it is with much sadness that I am taking a step out of this world and moving on fromWholeFoodsMagazine. While I love what I do at the magazine, I’ve decided to take on a new editorial role that will give me more time with my growing family.

While I’m technically “moving on” fromWholeFoods, I can’t say I’ll be leaving this chapter of my life behind completely. The lessons I’ve learned from the editor’s chair have changed me as a person and have completely influenced the way I’m raising my children and the lessons about the world and their health I’m trying to teach them. It’s been an absolute privilege to get to know so many wonderfulWholeFoodsreaders, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the life (and nutrition) lessons that you’ve given me.

Person of the YearBut before I go, I have had the pleasure of working on two last tasks. First, it is an honor to introduce the 2016WholeFoodsPerson of the Year: Cara Welch, senior advisor for the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA, p. 20). The industry had been anxiously awaiting news of what would happen with the updated new dietary ingredients guidance (NDIG). Would our concerns be addressed? Would the NDIG negatively affect our business? It’s been a source of great anticipation, and industry has been craving information.

So, when FDA released its most recent update to the NDIG earlier this year, it was noteworthy that Welch was the most outspoken person from the agency explaining the document. And, she was immediately available to industry members for questions and concerns through several trade association workshops. This is commendable, appreciated, and worthy of designation as the 2016 WholeFoodsPerson of the Year.

And my last project for the magazine for now has been the 2016 WholeFoods Retailer Survey, which will print next month. Stay tuned for some really interesting analysis, with some truly industry-exclusive information about how independent retailer sales shook out in 2016.

Welcome, Julissa!Readers will be in good hands with the newWholeFoodseditor Julissa Catalan, who has a wealth of experience writing health-related web and print content. It will be fun to see how she leads the editorial team forward in her new role. Best of luck, Julissa. I know you’re going to love getting to know this amazing industry.WFEditorial

Kaylynn Chiarello-Ebner Editor/Associate Publisher

Published in WholeFoods Magazine December 2016