Erin Tolefree

Erin Tolefree

Power 100 list

Erin Tolefree

President, Baldwin Richardson Foods Company

[file name]Years in current role: 3 months

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Three things have always guided me. 1. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a good thing. Taking on risks and trying new things that take you out of your comfort zone most often lead to amazing growth and development, personally and professionally. 2. Living and leading through values with consistency, every day, will always help steer you in the right direction, regardless of the situation. 3. It may seem simple, but a guiding principle in my life and in business is one that my grandfather instilled in me, which is “The Golden Rule”: treat others as you want to be treated.

What’s been your biggest success?

What we do well allows us to do good, meaning, when we meet and exceed expectations with excellence, that allows us to give back to our employees, our partners and our community. Every time we can create these moments, it’s a big success.

What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?

My hope is for progressive community collaboration in action. In order for us to accelerate the recovery from this pandemic successfully, we must be united in uplifting the communities that were disproportionately affected by the virus and focus on racial and gender equality throughout our region. We must be bold in our approach and take the opportunity to accelerate our progress in rebuilding a healthy, vibrant, safe and thriving Rochester community that’s a great place to work, play and live for all its citizens.

What do you do to unplug in your free time?

Starting my day with a run is how I gain focus and start off on the right foot, literally. In addition to running, I have become an avid Orange Theory at Home follower and recently began taking up yoga through the amazing team at Breathe, which I am really enjoying. Lastly, I say this with so much love and pride, spending time with my husband, Truman, and three children truly centers and recharges me.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at