2023 Speakers

Michael Brennan

Director, Baker Tilly

Mike is a director in Baker Tilly’s risk advisory practice and he has been working in the internal audit profession for over 35 years. He has extensive experience in performing/managing internal audits as well as enterprise risk assessment activities in the retail, manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, higher education, real estate and financial services industries.

Peter Cadigan

Partner, Assurance Services and Senior Industry Analyst, RSM US LLP

Peter Cadigan is an audit partner in RSM US LLP’s New York Office, servicing closely held and private equity owned consumer product and food and beverage companies. With over 15 years of accounting and audit experience, Peter has specific expertise dealing with accounting and auditing issues that affect the consumer product industry, including revenue recognition, lease accounting, trade spend and promotion and acquisition accounting. Peter participates on the RSM’s national consumer products team and uses his consumer product and financial expertise to develop and deliver internal and external webcasts geared towards consumer product clients and prospects. Peter Cadigan is a senior consumer products analyst as part of RSM’s Industry Eminence Program. In this role, he uses he analyzes, forecasts and communicate economic, business and technology trends shaping the consumer products industry. Peter advises clients on conditions influencing middle market leaders in the consumer products industry.

Adam Chusid

Partner - Financial Accounting Advisory Services, Ernst & Young

Courtney Clark

Author and Speaker

Courtney Clark is the luckiest unlucky person in the world. After a series of major struggles beginning in her mid-20s, she has built two successful businesses and is the author of two books, including her most recent book The Successful Struggle: Powerful Techniques to Achieve Accelerated Resilience. She works with people who want to adapt faster and achieve more, and has spoken worldwide to organizations like Procter & Gamble, Dell, S&P, Humana, Cisco, and Cardinal Health. Courtney’s resilience work has been called “practical,” “powerful,” and “empowering” by industry leaders, and she’s been featured in Forbes, Psychology Today, USA Today, and The Chicago Tribune. If she wasn’t writing and speaking about resilience, Courtney would have wanted to be a tap dancer. Thankfully for her audiences, she wasn't very good at it.

Mike Graziano

Director, Transaction Advisory Services, RSM US LLP

Mike Graziano is a director in RSM’s transaction advisory practice, providing both buy- and sell-side financial advisory services to middle market focused private equity funds, strategic acquirers, and entrepreneur-owned enterprises. Mike also serves as a consumer products senior analyst with a focus on analyzing and forecasting economic, business and technology trends impacting the consumer products industry. As part of Mike’s work as a consumer products senior analyst he has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Reuters, Barrons, Axios, as well as other national and industry specific publications. Mike graduated with a degree in business management from The University of Scranton and received his Master’s in Accountancy from Rider University. He is a registered CPA in the State of New York.

Andy S. Harig

Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development

Andrew S. Harig currently serves as Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development at FMI-The Food Industry Association. In this position, he is responsible for lobbying Congress and the Administration on behalf of FMI members, with a primary focus on agriculture, taxes, trade, sustainability, food waste, and pensions. Prior to joining FMI, Andy was an associate trade advisor and speechwriter for the Senate Finance Committee under its Chairman, Max Baucus (D-MT).  From 1999-2001, he was the senior research associate for the Global Economic Policy Project at the New America Foundation, a Washington, DC-based think tank. Andy holds a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

Lauren Kennedy

VP of Customer Success and Training, Upshop

As Vice President of Customer Success and Training, Lauren Kennedy builds and nurtures a team of dedicated retail account managers who serve as the primary point of contact to develop long-lasting relationships with Upshop’s most valuable customers. This includes improving strategies focused on customer retention and success through exceptional results, while coaching the Upshop Customer Success team on strategy execution. Kennedy focuses on driving adoption and positive outcomes as well as growth of existing accounts in collaboration with internal teams.

In her role at the helm of Customer Success and Training, Kennedy’s sphere of influence ranges widely across Upshop’s 150+ clients. She collaborates with senior retail leadership to ensure trust and satisfaction, as well as partnering with cross-functional and senior leadership to ensure all team-managed accounts are supported.

She supports and consults with Upshop’s Professional Services team in ongoing projects and managing priorities to obtain measurable and sustainable benefits. Her collaboration with the sales team fosters revenue growth opportunities, as her work with the Customer Success team helps to develop account plans and strategies to drive client adoption outcomes.

John Kirkeide

EVP, CFO, Partner, Audit Technology Group, LLC

John Kirkeide is Executive Vice President, CFO, and Partner at the Audit Technology Group LLC, having joined the company in 2004 with the merger of his company, Audit Excellence. Over the years, John has shared executive audit operations responsibilities while managing the firm's finances. He has over 30 years of recovery audit experience. 

Before starting his company, John was Vice President, Audit Development at PRG, responsible for creating audit plans and processes to optimize technology and results for their largest grocery clients. He joined PRG with their acquisition of Robert Beck & Associates, Inc., where he served as a principal. RBA was the premiere niche provider of computer-supported accounts payable audit recovery services. Here John pioneered database technology to produce dramatic results for several of RBA's clients, increasing verified recoveries by several hundred percent.  

Prior to entering the recovery audit industry, John was the CFO for LeeWards Creative Crafts, Inc., the leading retailer of craft products at the time. As a senior executive, he led the management buy-out of LeeWards from Munford, Inc. Earlier, John worked for General Mills, having held several financial positions; prior, he was a Senior Auditor with Ernst & Ernst in Minneapolis.

John holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree in business economics from North Dakota State University and an accounting degree from Minnesota State University. He earned both a CPA and CMA, having achieved the nation's top score on his CMA exam.

Don Loveridge

Regional Vice President, PRGX Global Inc.

Steve Markenson

Steve Markenson, Vice President, Research, FMI

In his role at FMI, Markenson oversees the research & insights practice. He leads the discovery process on the latest industry trends and operational insights that champion FMI as a credible voice of the food retail industry. Markenson is a market research executive with 30 years of progressive experience in his field. His diverse experience includes research design, information/data collection and analysis and strategic planning.

Markenson was formerly the president of WBA Research, a national market research firm founded in 1987, where he oversaw more than 30 full-time professionals, along with a part-time staff of more than 100 telephone interviewers, field interviewers and support staff. Earlier in his career, Markenson worked at Snyder Communications, where he directed all aspects of more than 90 annual market research studies and presented results to brand management, market research departments, advertising and promotion agencies.

Gregg Maxwell

Group Vice President NSC, Controller Retail Accounting and Payroll, Albertsons Companies

Gregg Maxwell, Group Vice President Controller of Albertsons/Safeway, has led the National Accounting Service Center for the past 18 years and was instrumental in the implementation of Sarbanes Oxley Section 404 compliance efforts in 2004. With the merger of Safeway and Albertsons, the National Service Center is now responsible for all aspects of the retail accounting processes and payroll for 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 20 manufacturing plants with 20 different banners throughout the United States. Prior to joining Albertsons/Safeway, Gregg worked for the Dial Corporation for 18 years. He was Director of Finance for the International Division, including Asia/Australia and lived in Hong Kong for a time. Gregg is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Master’s Degree in Business.


Jerome Mayne

Author and Speaker

For over 20 years Jerome Mayne has been an author, keynote speaker and comedian. Before that he was Federal Inmate Number 08657-041. Early in his career he was a finance professional, founder of 2 corporations and respected in his business community. When he received a 21-month prison sentence for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering – crimes that took place before his entrepreneurial climb, his life was changed forever. Jerome now delivers his primary keynote, Choices and Consequences, for associations and Fortune 500 companies around the country. He has appeared on numerous panels, radio shows and web-cast productions helping business professionals understand the importance of critical decision making and consequences. He is the author of the book Diary of a White Collar Criminal (Audible and Amazon) and co-author of Mortgage Fraud and Predatory Lending – what every agent should know (Dearborn/Kaplan). He has also been a contributing columnist for numerous industry trade publications including the Business Journal and the California CPA Magazine.

Vanessa McMichael

CTP, Director, Wells Fargo & Company

Vanessa McMichael is the head of Corporate and Public Entity Strategy within the Fixed Income Strategy team at Wells Fargo Securities. She is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Vanessa has more than 13 years of financial industry experience. She joined Wells Fargo through a predecessor firm, Wachovia Securities, and began her career in 2007 specializing in public finance as an investment banking analyst. In her current role, she partners with corporate and public entity cash investors.  

She publishes daily commentary on front-end fixed income markets titled The Daily Short Stuff. She also speaks at a wide variety of regional and national conferences such as GIOA, GFOA, and AFP, amongst others. Outside of day-to-day work responsibilities, Vanessa is an active part of the Women GoFar Network at Wells Fargo and participates in various mentorship programs. In her free time, Vanessa enjoys snowboarding and salsa dancing. 

In addition to a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University and a Master’s in business from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Vanessa holds Series 7, 24 and 63 securities licenses and is a Certified Treasury Professional as designated by the Association for Financial Professionals. 

David Mell

Managing Director, Rothschild & Co. Global Financial Advisory

David Mell is a Managing Director in the Global Financial Advisory Group based in New York, focused on the Retail, Connected Commerce and related Distribution sectors primarily in North America. Mr. Mell joined Rothschild in 2022. Previously, he worked at both RBC Capital Markets and Wells Fargo Securities covering similar sectors and was an investor at Coller Capital and MacAndrews & Forbes. Mr. Mell has over 20 years of experience, completing a full range of transactions from equity and debt financings, restructurings / recapitalizations, sell side advisory and buy side advisory as well as principal investing. Mr. Mell has completed over $45 bill ion in M&A transaction volume and has served as lead industry banker on debt and equity financings. In 2018, Mr. Mell was named an Emerging Leader by The M&A Advisor and won the Inaugural Progressive Grocer GenNext award.

Bill Naughton

Corporate Internal Audit Director, SpartanNash Company

Bill was recently promoted to Corporate Audit Director and prior to that he was the Corporate Internal Audit Manager for the past 11 years.  Bill is responsible for auditing the Corporate, Distribution and Vendor Promotional allowance functions for SpartanNash.  His responsibilities include internal control and risk assessment, regulatory compliance, external audit and regulator coordination, scheduling, staff evaluation, hiring/termination, and reporting findings to management and the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. Bill has over 37 years of audit management experience in all aspects of auditing including compliance, operations, finance and IT, using a process auditing approach. He has performed process review-based internal control methodologies for companies in the financial services, healthcare, retail, distribution and manufacturing industries.  He has participated in Sarbanes Oxley 404 Certification testing at an electronics distributor, a large financial institution, manufacturers, and a retail/distribution company.  

Bill has a Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting and Computer Science from Kent State University and a degree from the School of Bank Administration, Madison, Wisconsin, Audit Major. He holds a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP) (expired) designation.  He has been a past instructor of audit processes and has been a speaker at multiple professional chapter meetings and seminars, including FMI's  Audit and Finance Seminars (2016, 2013 & 2009). 

Brian Nichols

Vice President , Assistant Corporate Controller of The Kroger Co.

Richard Sigmon

CPA, CFF, CGMA, Corporate Internal Audit Director, Alex Lee

Richard has been attending the FMI Internal Audit Conference since 1999 and diligently  serves on the conference planning committee.  He has over 35 years of experience in the accounting and auditing profession and has been with Alex Lee, Inc., for over 19 years. His responsibilities include overseeing the Lowe’s Foods Store Audit functions as well as overseeing and performing operational and financial audits throughout all Alex Lee subsidiaries.  Richard is a graduate of Western Carolina University.

Kevin Stubbs

 Senior Director, Process Improvement and Governance, Southeastern Grocers, Inc.

Bryan Tyler

Vice President of Internal Audit, Brookshire Brothers, Inc.

Bryan is currently the Vice President of Internal Audit at Brookshire Brothers.   His previous positions at Brookshire Brothers include: Director of Treasury, internal auditor and financial analyst.  Bryan began working at Brookshire Brothers as a store director trainee in April 2008. 

Bryan was born and raised in the North Texas area and graduated from the University of North Texas with a BBA in Marketing / Logistics Management and Finance in 2001.  Bryan also spent a semester in Cuernavaca, Mexico studying International Finance and Spanish through UNT’s study abroad program.  Mr. Tyler has had 8 years of audit experience and 7 years of finance experience and previous positions include: Vice President at First Bank & Trust of East Texas, Vice President and co-founder of Pinnacle Hills Mortgage Services and worked as an acquisition/flow specialist and a mortgage consultant at Citibank.

Bryan is currently serving on the board for Harold’s House and the Texas Forestry Museum, is currently involved in this year’s Leadership Lufkin course and is on the conference planning committee for FMI's Financial Executive and Internal Auditor’s Conference.

Rob Weisberg

EVP & President, Incentive & Loyalty Division, Inmar

Rob Weisberg most recently served as the Chief Executive Officer of Invaluable which he joined in October 2012 and built it into the world’s leading online marketplace for buying fine art, antiques and collectibles.

Prior to Invaluable, Rob was Chief Marketing Officer at Zipcar, where he helped lead the company to 760,000 members and through its successful 2011 IPO.

Rob was also Vice President of Multimedia Marketing at Domino's Pizza, where he led the development and launch of Domino’s Online Ordering, which is now responsible for over 55% of system-wide sales.

Prior to joining Domino’s Pizza, Rob rose through the agency account services team ranks at a number of leading Madison Avenue agencies including Grey and Ogilvy, working on world class brands such as: Microsoft, Six Flags, Hotels.com, Nestle, Sunglass Hut, Guinness, Reebok, IBM, American Express, Kraft Foods and others.

Weisberg received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and a certificate in business management with a concentration in marketing from the University of Rochester in New York.