Barbara O’Brien is president of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), where she leads the strategic planning and daily operations for the domestic dairy checkoff program. O’Brien also continues to serve as president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, a precompetitive 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.
As a member of the DMI executive team, she instills an aggressive sales and “to what end” mentality within her leadership team and staff, while also spearheading programs and operating structures for business development, partner management, sales planning and insights. As part of the checkoff business plan evolution, O’Brien led the translation of farmer priorities into industry-wide category strategies for growth that have led to new food service and retail partnerships, and an evolved marketing communications plan. Her skills are instrumental in engaging the industry on behalf of U.S. dairy farmers, to a common end: to increase trust and sales for dairy among today’s consumers.
Prior to joining DMI, O’Brien directed Burson Marstellar’s Chicago-based healthcare consultancy. During her tenure, she provided executive-level counsel for Fortune 500 consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical clients including Proctor & 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.