Knappen Milling CEO: Celebrating Gender Balance & 90 Years of Kellogg Partnership
Emily Likens strikes the balance pose, showing her commitment to gender balance

As the fourth generation to lead Knappen Milling – and the first woman – I’m proud to continue my family’s legacy and lead us into the future.

March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is globally recognized as International Women’s Day (IWD). This has me reflecting on what #BalanceforBetter – the official IWD theme – means to me. I am President and Chief Executive Officer of Knappen Milling, the only woman-owned and operated flourmill in the United States. I am a trailblazer within my field and I want to encourage other women to become trailblazers, too.  

To me, balance is what makes the transition to a woman-owned and operated business work. Knappen Milling is a family business and it’s vital that together, we have the same vision for the future. My dad felt it was time for retirement and my aunt Sarah and I felt it was the right time to shift the company’s direction and create new opportunities for our business. But, it wasn’t solely his choice, my aunt’s or mine – it was a collective family decision.

Throughout our history, each generation has faced successes and challenges, and we’ve continued to redefine our niche as a company that adapts for success. Becoming woman-owned and operated was another opportunity for us to redefine our niche and continue to work together as a family. My aunt often reminds me that what we are doing isn’t just about business, it’s about people and changing the future. 

In a mostly male-dominated industry, I am proud to bring gender balance and innovative ways of thinking to the field. I hope by Knappen Milling taking the lead, other women recognize that they too can be leaders.

We must all do our part to drive a gender-balanced world. And, that’s why I find it important to partner with organizations like Kellogg Company – one that is committed to accelerating its gender equity progress to increase female representation across all areas of its business.

Our partnership with Kellogg isn’t new. My great-grandfather Charles established Knappen Milling 90 years ago as a specialty flourmill, initiating our partnership with Kellogg in 1929. As a Michigan-based company, we’re proud to collaborate with a global corporation like Kellogg, and bring our foods to the world. Today, our flour and wheat are included in brands like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran® and EGGO® Waffles.

Our partnership with Kellogg has continued to evolve over time. As we have started the process to become certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the Kellogg team has been incredibly supportive, providing networking opportunities, mentorship and encouragement throughout the entire process.

After 90 years of collaboration, Knappen Milling is proud to continue our partnership with Kellogg – a company that believes innovative foods that enrich and delight the world come from a culture that fosters inclusion, respects ideas and encourages diversity of thought.

For more information on Kellogg’s Supplier Diversity efforts, visit its site today. And, for more on Knappen Milling, visit our site here.


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