2019 Speakers

Matthew Gardner


Matt advises clients on a wide range of cybersecurity issues, including preparing for and responding to cyber incidents and interacting with regulators and law enforcement. He has extensive experience working with critical infrastructure companies to manage cyber risk, and he routinely advises clients on complicated issues involving the intersection of law and emerging technologies. Matt frequently helps clients prepare for and respond to network vulnerabilities, including working with the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS) to find creative solutions to challenging security issues. Prior to joining Wiley Rein, Matt was a federal prosecutor with a focus on investigating and prosecuting computer crimes.

Sara Kalis

Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Sara Kalis represents management in all aspects of labor law, with a particular focus on matters involving union organizing campaigns, organized labor and labor relations counseling. She has handled collective bargaining negotiations, labor arbitrations and grievance proceedings, mediation and matters involving the National Labor Relations Act before the National Labor Relations Board. She has successfully represented companies throughout the country in union organizing campaigns. Littler clients have benefited from Sara’s expertise in assisting clients in preventive strategic planning, vulnerability audits, supervisory training, and aggressive representation. Fortune 500 companies nationally as well as local employers across various industries (including manufacturing, healthcare, services, and others), seek Sara’s expertise in remaining union-free and in managing their union-represented workplaces.

Alyssa Rebensdorf

Counsel, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

Alyssa Rebensdorf leverages more than a decade of experience to help food industry clients solve litigation and regulatory challenges. She provides client-centered counsel during litigation in state and federal courts nationwide and advises clients on risk management and compliance to avoid litigation. She also helps clients, including entrepreneurial natural and organic food companies, sort through the many business issues faced by small and emerging companies, ranging from how to comply with product labeling regulations to effective contracting with suppliers.

Leslie G. Sarasin

President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute

Leslie G. Sarasin is the president and chief executive officer of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the association of food retailers and wholesalers, which represents more than 1,500 member companies in the United States and around the world. Under Sarasin's leadership, FMI has become a forward focused and member centered organization committed to help supermarkets excel in their role of feeding families and enriching lives. Her synergistic style and determined spirit of collaboration has infused FMI with a renewed commitment to help its members address the critical industry issues of the day - food safety and the emerging importance of health and wellness. Prior to coming to FMI, Sarasin was president and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute.

Mark Schneider

Shareholder, Co-Chair, Traditional Labor Practice Group, Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Mark W. Schneider focuses his international practice on representing management in all phases of labor law and labor relations before the National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Labor, as well as other State and Federal agencies. Mark regularly assists domestic and multi-national companies with strategic planning, negotiates labor contracts, litigates labor arbitration, matters before the National Labor Relations Board, and assists in development and implementation of positive employee relations programs. Mark speaks nationally and conducts training for employer groups and trade organizations, including the Society for Human Resource Management, the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, as well as other trade associations and private industry. In addition, he has been a lecturer on labor law for the Graduate School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has taught labor law for the State Bar of Wisconsin. Currently, Mark serves as co-chair of the firm's Traditional Labor Practice Group, and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Steven Steinborn

Partner, Hogan Lovells

Steven Steinborn literally wrote the book on food labeling as a principal author of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) labeling guide. On top of that, he offers clients 28 years of experience in guiding informed business decisions, considering food laws and other regulations, as well as the environment in which companies operate.

Representing food processors, restaurant chains, foodservice operators, ingredient suppliers, and trade associations, Steven focuses on advertising, labeling, and food safety. He is also a strong advocate in enforcement matters brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the USDA, and state regulators as well.

Joan Stewart

Attorney at Law

Joan Stewart is Of Counsel with Wiley Rein LLP in Washington D.C.  She counsels clients on issues of regulatory compliance and privacy, including state and federal regulations, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Act (GDPR).  Joan evaluates and advises clients on the applicability of various laws to their business and the obligations imposed by state, federal and international regulations relating to their collection, use, and sharing of data.  She assists clients in developing policies—internal and external facing—that clearly communicate their privacy practices.  Joan is CIPP/E certified. 

Hilary Thesmar

Chief Food & Product Safety Officer & VP, Food Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute

In her role as the Chief Food & Product Safety Officer & Senior Vice President of Food Safety Programs for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Dr. Hilary Thesmar provides leadership for all safety programs for FMI’s retail and wholesale members and provides support for members on food safety training programs, FSMA training, recall plans and management, crisis management, research, and overall safety and sanitation programs.   She also works with the FMI Foundation on food safety education and research projects.  

Dr. Thesmar has a Ph.D. in Food Technology from Clemson University, a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from Winthrop University, a bachelor’s degree in Food Science from Clemson, and she is a Registered Dietitian.  She has over a decade of experience in scientific and regulatory affairs with food trade associations.  

Dr. Thesmar is an active member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the International Association for Food Protection and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Dr. Thesmar currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Partnership for Food Safety Education.