Speakers

Jane Andrews

Retail Nutrition Consultant

Jane Andrews is a retail nutrition consultant who focuses on the health implications and consumer understanding of innovative food production technologies. After 30 years of service she recently retired as Nutrition & Labeling Manager for Wegmans Food Markets. She regularly speaks to national groups on nutrition issues from the retail perspective. 

Jane Andrews at Wegmans is widely regarded as the grande dame of supermarket dietitians” according to the New York Times in 2012. She is a 2014 inductee to the Purdue University Nutrition Science Hall of Fame and was honored to present the 2014 Lenna Francis Cooper Lecture at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting in Atlanta. In August Jane was honored by the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance to receive the 2018 Jane Andrews Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Mark Batenic

Chairman, IGA, Inc

Mark Batenic served as the chief executive officer and president of IGA, Inc. from 2006 until October 2017 and has been the company’s chairman since 2006. Batenic began his career in the food industry as a manager at Fleming Company where he held various positions before being named senior vice president of northeast operations. Prior to joining IGA, he was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Clemens Markets in Kulpsville, Pennsylvania. Batenic is engaged with the board of the IGA Coca-Cola Institute and Food Marketing Institute. Batenic has served on the boards of Food for All and Saint Joseph’s University Academy of Food Marketing, National Grocers Association, Food Industry Crusade Against Hunger and the New Jersey Food Council. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and attended Cornell University’s Food Industry Executive Program and the Strategic Marketing Planning Program at the University of Michigan.

Mark Baum

Chief Collaboration Officer & Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute

Mark Baum currently serves as Senior Vice President of Industry Relations and Chief Collaboration Officer for the Food Marketing Institute. In this role, Baum engages retailer, manufacturer, supplier, and service provider CEOs to further trading partner collaboration, leading to operational improvements and growth opportunities across all segments of the food retail supply chain. Prior to joining FMI, Baum was a Managing Partner of MARCAT Group, LLC a consulting/advisory firm specializing in business, market, channel, and customer development. Baum is known for his intricate knowledge of every aspect of the food, beverage and related businesses, and is recognized among the foremost experts in the design, management, and execution of strategy, sales, marketing, and merchandising activities throughout the industry.

Thom Blischok

Chairman and CEO at The Dialogic Group, LLC

Thom Blischok is Chairman and CEO of The Dialogic Group. LLC, a growth and results-driven professional services firm serving both the Retail and CPG industries. His record of achievements include advising major retailers on growth and market re-positioning strategies in the Drug, Apparel, Convenience Store, Grocery, Dollar, e-Commerce, Mass, Specialty, and Club retail sectors with special emphasis on improving merchandising, marketing, supply chain, and technology capabilities.

Ron Bodkin

Technical Director, Applied Artificial Intelligence, Google

Ron is a Technical Director on the Applied Artificial Intelligence team. In this role, Ron provides leadership for AI success for customers in Google’s Cloud CTO office. Ron engages deeply with Global F500 enterprises to unlock strategic value with AI, acts as executive sponsor with Google Product and Engineering to deliver value from AI solutions, and leads strategic initiatives working with customers and partners.

Alison Bodor

President and CEO, American Frozen Food Institute

Alison Bodor is President and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), the member driven national trade association that advances the interests of all segments of the $50 billion frozen food and beverage industry. Bodor is leading efforts to deliver on AFFI’s strategic plan to advance food safety, advocate for frozen, increase consumption and grow resources. Her mission is to ensure that frozen foods and beverages are proudly chosen to meet the needs of a changing world. 

Prior to her tenure at AFFI, Bodor served as executive vice president of the National Confectioner's Association (NCA) where she provided strategic leadership across multiple disciplines while directly leading the association’s public policy and advocacy team. In this capacity, she oversaw NCA’s legislative, regulatory and research priorities around health, food safety, agriculture and trade policy, and the cocoa supply chain. 

Bodor also held positions in domestic and international regulatory compliance at McCormick & Company and the U.S. Dairy Export Council before joining NCA in 2000. Early in her career, Alison worked for Technical Assessment Systems and then Environ International Corporation conducting dietary risk assessments for the food and agricultural industries. 

Randy Burt

Partner, Chicago Office Consumer & Retail Practice, A.T. Kearney

Randy Burt is a Partner in the Consumer and Retail Practice at A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm with 61 offices in over 40 countries. Randy is the lead partner for the firm’s Chicago office and the Food, Drug, Mass Retail sector for the Americas. He has 20 years of industry and consulting experience focused in food and food retail on topics including growth strategy, merchandising (assortment, price, promo, physical and online merchandising), and omnichannel. Randy spent five years at The Nielsen Company, managing operations, consumer market research and client facing business intelligence solutions. He is a regular speaker and commenter on CPG, food and food retail topics and is regularly quoted in top tier media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and CNBC. 

Dave Byman

Vice President Business Development, Label Insight

Dave Byman is Vice President of Sales at Label Insight, supporting leading CPGs and retailers with their strategic transparency and data-driven initiatives. Dave has previously held leadership positions at Nielsen and Affinnova, and has spent his career consulting CPGs and retailers on strategies for innovation, merchandising, marketing, and operational execution.

Greg Calhoun

Represented by his son, Malcolm Calhoun

Greg Calhoun owned Calhoun Foods, which operated in west Montgomery, Alabama. Calhoun began his career as a grocery store bagger before he founded Calhoun Enterprises, Inc., a supermarket company, in 1984 and served as its president and CEO. At one point, he owned 15 locations. Calhoun was a prominent businessman in Alabama and engaged in the community. He also partnered with entertainer Steve Harvey on a number of ventures, including Alabama State University’s Turkey Day Classic, which they helped promote until 2017. Calhoun was active in the business community, serving roles on the board of FMI, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council North America. He is active in many charities and community organizations, including The Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, and served on the boards of Trenholm State Technical College and the Montgomery Area Committee of 100. Calhoun founded the Greg Calhoun Foundation, which hosted a golf tournament that garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Sickle Cell Foundation. Calhoun passed away on October 11, 2018.

Eric Cantor

Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Moelis and Co. and former House Majority Leader

Eric Cantor is the Vice Chairman and a Managing Director at Moelis & Company where he also serves on the Board of Directors. He joined the Firm to advise clients on public policy issues across industry sectors, particularly where international business and finance intersect. Mr. Cantor, who has more than 25 years of political and business experience, was formerly United States Representative from Virginia. He served as House Majority Leader from 2010-2014, during which he led the public policy agenda for the House. During his time in office, Mr. Cantor was a champion of pro-growth solutions including lowering taxes, eliminating excessive regulation, strengthening businesses, and encouraging entrepreneurship. One of his many accomplishments as Majority Leader was the passage of the JOBS Act, which makes it easier for start-up and emerging growth companies to access capital. Mr. Cantor is regularly featured in publications focusing on a wide range of topics including both domestic and international matters.

Mr. Cantor holds a B.A. from The George Washington University, a J.D. from The College of William and Mary, and an M.A. from Columbia University. He co-authored the New York Times best-selling book, “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders”. Mr. Cantor serves as a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Executive Council on Infrastructure and has been named a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He also serves on the U.S. Department of Defense Policy Board, a group tasked with providing the Secretary of Defense with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy.

John Clevenger

Managing Director, Senior Vice President, Acosta Strategic Advisors

John Clevenger is a Senior Vice President of Acosta and the Managing Director for Strategic Advisors.  He brings almost 30 years of CPG experience, including Pepsi Marketing and Sales, Managing Director of Meridian Consulting Group and Client Insights Executive for IRI Worldwide.  He has deep experience in developing and activating retail strategies across all categories and channels. 

Barry Clogan

President - Retail Solutions, Mi9

Barry is President of Retail Solutions at Mi9 Retail. In Barry’s role, he oversees the development and implementation of Mi9 Retail’s grocery solutions. Prior to this role, Barry led a team focused on helping grocers navigate the challenges of launching online grocery services, guiding companies as they formulate and execute a multi-channel strategy. Before joining Mi9, Barry spent five years at Tesco, where he led the ambitious online grocery rollout across eight countries. Already established as the world’s most successful online food retailer through its UK business, Barry is credited with driving their international expansion and contributing to the significant growth it has seen in its online business.

Dave Croci

Director of Leadership Development, Root, Inc.

In his Leadership Development Director role at Root Inc., Dave is passionate about helping people leaders maximize their potential and motivate their teams to execute. Dave has seen the tremendous effect that managers can have leading organizational changes, when they truly understand the bigger picture and have the rights skills to deliver results through their teams.

As an organizational development expert with over 10 years of experience, Dave is responsible for helping organizations maximize their manager capability through the delivery of Root Compass®, Root’s renowned manager development program. Dave has worked with clients like American Airlines, Owens Corning, and Honda to empower leaders to improve their team’s performance. Dave has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development from Bowling Green State University.

Justin Dye

Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Ripkurrent

Justin serves as co-founder and CEO of ripKurrent and has over 24 years of general management, operations, strategy, corporate finance, and M&A experience. Most recently, Justin was an integral part of the Cerberus-led consortium that acquired and created Albertsons Companies. Justin served as Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Administration Officer during his 11-year tenure. Albertsons LLC grew sales from approximately $10 billion to over $60 billion with over 2,300 stores and 285,000 employees creating one of the largest privately-held companies in the U.S. Prior to Albertson's, Justin was an operating executive for Cerberus Capital Management and held general management and corporate development roles at General Electric. He received a B.A, from DePauw University with academic honors and was a member of the men's tennis team. Current and past board roles include: Lead Director, New Seasons Market, Senior Advisor to PJ Solomon Investment Bank, DePauw University Board of Trustees, Idaho First Bank, New Albertsons Inc., New Cub Grocery, and Executive Committee of Food Marketing Institute.

Randy Edeker

Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President, Hy-Vee, Inc

Randy Edeker is chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of Hy-Vee, Inc., a position he has held since 2012. A career veteran of Hy-Vee, Edeker began his Hy-Vee career in 1981 as a part-time employee at the Hy-Vee store in Chariton, Iowa. He quickly progressed through the ranks at Hy-Vee, working at stores in Lincoln, Nebraska; Davenport, Iowa; Milan, Illinois; and Kirksville, Missouri, before getting his first store director assignment in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1993.  In 1999, he joined the southern region as director of operations and later became assistant vice president of operations. Edeker was named vice president of marketing for Hy-Vee in 2004. In 2006, Edeker was promoted to senior vice president of retail operations, and in 2008, he became executive vice president and chief operating officer. Stockholders elected him to the position of president in 2009. Edeker serves as an executive committee member and a member of the board of directors for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, as well as serving on the board of directors for Topco Associates and the Food Marketing Institute. Edeker was named 2014 Retailer of the Year by the Iowa Grocery Industry Association and 2014 CEO of the Year by Retail Leader Magazine.

David Fikes

Vice President, Communications and Consumer/Community Affairs, Food Marketing Institute

David Fikes is Vice President, Communications and Consumer/Community Affairs for Food Marketing Institute, the trade association for supermarkets, grocery stores and all venues of food retail. His current position allows him to act upon his conviction that humans have a right to food and consumers have a right to safety, information and choice. His areas of responsibility - which embrace consumer research, animal welfare issues, and overcoming the contemporary challenges of communication - all feed his fascination with people and deepen his curiosity about how we think, feel, interact and convey our values. 

Prior to his position with FMI, David served as the Director of Communication for the American Frozen Food Institute. Before entering the world of food trade associations, he worked for 20 years as an Episcopal priest, serving parishes in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.

Tom Furphy

Chief Executive Officer, Replenium

Tom is CEO of Replenium, the world’s most powerful, flexible and intelligent product replenishment platform. Being brought to market by a team responsible for delivering many shopping capbilities at Amazon, Replenium powers retailers and manufacturers to change the way consumers procure regular-use products.

Tom is also CEO and Managing Director of Consumer Equity Partners, a venture capital and venture development firm in Seattle, WA that is building companies and capabilities to drive the next generation of consumer marketing and commerce.

Prior to CEP, Tom was at Amazon.com as Vice President, Consumables and AmazonFresh, where he was responsible for building and running the company’s Grocery, Health & Beauty and AmazonFresh businesses.

Before Amazon, Tom was the founder and CEO of Notiva, a Software-as-a-Service collaboration platform for retailers and their suppliers to manage business-to-business transactions.  Before being sold to Oracle, Notiva was conducting over $100 million per day in manufacturer-to-retailer business for a wide range of manufacturers and retailers.

Tom broke into retail through various senior management roles at Wegmans Food Markets.

Andy Harig

Senior Director, Sustainability, Tax & Trade, Food Marketing Institute

Andrew S. Harig currently serves as Director of Government Relations at the Food Marketing Institute.  In this position, he is responsible for lobbying Congress and the Administration on behalf of FMI’s members, with a primary focus on agriculture, taxes, trade and pensions.Prior to joining FMI, Harig 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.Harig holds a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

Steve Hasen

AVP of Business Development, Precima

Steve has over 25 years in the Retail / CPG industry and has a passion for enabling his customers to drive value by unlocking the power of advanced, predictive analytics to solve their challenges, streamline their processes and improve performance against their goals and objectives. 

He has worked in a variety of roles from account management, financial planning, sales planning, trade marketing and category management with companies like PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, etc. He has worked with a host of CPGs and retailers in Food, Drug, Mass and Convenience providing advanced analytic solutions focused on forecasting, simulation/optimization & visualization across the executive, merchandising, marketing and consumer/shopper functions of those organizations. 

Jennifer Hatcher

Chief Public Policy Officer & Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Food Marketing Institute

Jennifer Hatcher serves as Chief Public Policy Officer and Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) overseeing federal, state and regulatory efforts on public policy, legislative and political issues impacting the supermarket industry.  She has held this position since April 2009 and has been at FMI in the government relations area since March 1998. 

Prior to coming to FMI, Jennifer served as Chief of Staff to United States Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL).  Jennifer also served as Special Assistant and White House Liaison at the Department of the Treasury during President George H.W. Bush’s Administration.  Jennifer has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Communication from Vanderbilt University and a Masters in Government from Johns Hopkins University.

Jennifer has participated in a variety of congressional briefings and panels and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Committee on Ways and Means and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Tom Heinen

Co-President, Heinen’s Grocery Stores

Tom Heinen is a co-president of Heinen’s Grocery Stores. Since 1994, he has managed the labor relations, central manufacturing and the overall strategic direction for the meat, foodservice and bakery areas of Heinen's. Prior to that, Heinen began working with the company in 1978 in the prepared food departments and eventually became the company's first baker. He pioneered Heinen's efforts to develop an in-store bakery program, then designed and deployed the service deli program in all of the Heinen's stores. He has been a Director at Where Food Comes from, Inc (d.b.a. IMI Global) since September 2012. He also serves as a Board Member of The Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland. Heinen graduated from Bucknell University in 1977 with a B.S.B.A. in Business Management.

Chieh Huang

Co-Founder and CEO, Boxed.com

Chieh Huang is Co-Founder and CEO of Boxed.com, a company that is disrupting the wholesale shopping club experience by enabling you to shop for bulk-sized items online or via mobile app and have them delivered directly to your door. Forbes Magazine has named Boxed one of the next “billion-dollar startups.” 

Started in Huang’s garage 5 years ago, Boxed now has hundreds of employees in facilities all over the United States. Since the garage, the company has sold hundreds of millions of dollars of products and has raised over a quarter billion dollars in funding to date. 

Prior to Boxed, Huang served as the CEO of Astro Ape, one of the first mobile social gaming studios. 

Huang’s personal honors include being named to Bloomberg 50, Bloomberg Businessweek’s 50 people to watch in 2018, to National Retail Federation’s list of People Shaping Retail’s Future, as one of Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Goldman Sachs’ list of 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. 

Laura Karet

Chief Executive Officer, Giant Eagle, Inc.

Laura Karet leads and oversees Giant Eagle, Inc., one of the nation’s largest multi-format food, fuel and pharmacy retailers with approximately 32,000 Team Members and $8.9 billion in annual sales.  Karet was appointed Chief Executive Officer on January 9, 2012.   

Karet is currently an active member on the board of directors for various organizations, some of which include: The Allegheny Conference on Community Development; United Way of Allegheny County; the Allegheny County Parks Foundation; and Holy Family Institute.

A native of Pittsburgh, Karet graduated from Amherst College with a Bachelor’s degree in English, and now resides in the Pittsburgh area with her husband and three children.

Muhtar Kent

Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Coca-Cola Company

Muhtar Kent is chairman of the board of directors of The Coca-Cola Company. Kent joined The CocaCola Company in Atlanta in 1978, holding a variety of marketing and operations leadership positions over the course of his career. In 1995, Kent was named Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil-Europe, covering bottling operations in 12 countries. In 1999, he became President and CEO of the Efes Beverage Group, returning to The Coca-Cola Company in 2005 as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company's North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group. Less than a year later, he became President of Coca-Cola International, leading all of the company’s operations outside North America. In 2006, he was named President and Chief Operating Officer, and he became CEO in 2008. Mr. Kent holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Hull in England and a Master of Science degree in Administrative Sciences from Cass Business School, City University London. Active in the global business community, Mr. Kent is the past Chairman of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and a member of its Chairman’s Community, a member of the Concordia Leadership Council, a past Chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council, a past board member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. ASEAN Business Council. He serves on the boards of 3M, Special Olympics International, Catalyst, Cambridge China Development Trust and Emory University.

Thomas Kilroy

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Tom Kilroy is a Partner in the Chicago Office. He leads McKinsey’s Retail Advanced Analytics Group as well as the Retail Merchandising Practice for North America. His work spans the retail/consumer value chain, including advanced analytics, growth strategy, merchandising (pricing, promotions, assortment optimization, vendor management), marketing (personalization, media mix modeling, Marketing ROI, marketing procurement), and retail store operations. 

Tom holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, where he was designated a Tuck Scholar. While in business school, Tom founded an online coffee retailer that was profiled on National Public Radio and on the BBC. He received a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame.

Sajal Kohli

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Sajal leads McKinsey & Company’s Retail Practice in the Americas that extends from Canada to Chile. He also serves clients across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

In his 22+ years of management consulting, Sajal has counseled Fortune 100 global retail and packaged goods clients as they set growth strategies and face the challenges of the changing global landscape. He serves clients across hypermarket, grocery, restaurant, department store, specialty apparel, beauty, luxury, home fashions, and specialty hardlines formats. He has led comprehensive commercial transformations for top retailers and packaged goods companies encompassing digital transformation rooted in the consumer decision journey, omnichannel marketing effectiveness, personalization, global sourcing and category strategy, technology-enabled pricing, promotions and assortment architecture, and merchandising capability building. Sajal also works with his clients on operational transformations to improve the performance of their omnichannel store operations and their global supply chains 

Before joining McKinsey, Sajal was an executive in Asia and Europe, including at Mexx International, a European maker of branded apparel based in the Netherlands, and at Hindustan Lever, a subsidiary of Unilever in India. A prolifically published executive and thought leader, Sajal recently contributed to the McKinsey Global Institute report, “Growth and Renewal in the United States” and is leading McKinsey’s “Reformation of Retail” proprietary perspectives. He was a co-author of McKinsey’s seminal work on “How Half the World Shops”, that examined the similarities and differences across consumer demographics and behaviors across the BRIC countries. 

Sally Lyons Wyatt

Executive Vice President, and Practice Leader, IRI

Sally Lyons Wyatt is a recognized thought leader in CPG and Retail, a frequent keynote speaker and an authority on consumer eating and shopping trends. She is published often in periodicals spanning trade and national business media. She brings more than 25 years of industry experience to provide innovative and results-driven insights combined with proven leadership success. 

As an executive and practice leader for IRI’s Client Insights division, Lyons Wyatt is responsible for driving integrated initiatives as well as measuring their success within the practice areas of consumer strategy, consumer/customer insights, and personalization. Sally’s experience includes the management and development of global account teams that provide service to top CPG companies around the world. 

Gary Magenta

Chief Change Architect, Root, Inc.

Gary Magenta is passionate about helping leaders and organizations transform their business, change how they engage their people, and deliver exceptional results.

Gary is the Chief Change Architect of Root Inc., a consulting company that helps organizations execute their strategy through people. During his

17 years at Root, Gary has partnered with CEOs and executive teams at Fortune 500 and Global 2000  organizations throughout North America and Europe, bringing a holistic view of their businesses, their people, and the customers they serve. 

Whatever the challenge, Gary brings more than 30 years of business experience to every project, supported by a realistic outlook, a durable “street sense” for creating results, and a sense of humor that puts things into perspective.

Gary is the author of 720 Haircuts — Creating Customer Loyalty that Lasts a Lifetime and The Un-Bossy Boss, and is the host of the video talk show series, The Pot Stirrer. He is a frequent speaker at client events, industry conferences, and business strategy and human resources seminars. He has been recognized with a Stevie American Business Award for Executive of the Year.

Rep. Jim McGovern

Jim McGovern was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996. In 2001, Jim was appointed to a seat on the House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate on most legislation. McGovern is now the Ranking Member of the Rules Committee. At the start of his career, he volunteered on the 1972 presidential campaign of Senator George McGovern (D-SD) – no relation – and held signs and knocked on doors for the Senator’s anti-war campaign. Later, he managed Senator McGovern’s second presidential campaign in Massachusetts, delivering his 1984 nominating speech during the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. McGovern also worked for Massachusetts Congressman John Joseph Moakley (D-South Boston) from 1982 until 1996, serving as a staff assistant, press secretary, and legislative director. One of Jim’s greatest passions is ending hunger at home and abroad. He is the founder and co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus and Ranking Member on the House Subcommittee on Nutrition, where he advocates tirelessly for funding programs that help working families, children, and the elderly put food on the table when times are tough. He also authored the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program to provide school-based meals for millions of children in some of the world’s poorest countries. Jim attended The American University in Washington, D.C. where he earned both his bachelor’s degree in History (1981) and his Master’s in Public Administration (1984).

Nishat Mehta

President, IRI Media Center of Excellence

As president of the IRI Media Center of Excellence, Nishat Mehta leads a team of professionals in IRI’s fast growing media business that’s focused on re-inventing advertising by offering a truly revolutionary portfolio of consumer personalization and measurement capabilities. Mehta works closely with IRI’s CPG, retail and media clients to transform their use of media and promotions to deliver superior growth, increased Return on Advertising Spending (ROAS) and improved consumer engagement. Mehta has decades of invaluable media and personalization experience focused on enhancing consumer relationships through technology, data and analytics. 

Mehta most recently led the customer communications team at 84.51º, where he helped leading grocery retailer, The Kroger Co., and its CPG brand partners create the most relevant and personalized communications with consumers to strengthen retail and brand interactions. Before leading this team, he served as 84.51º’s head of brand media, leveraging the power of data and other retail assets to improve CPG advertising. Prior to his roles at 84.51º, Mehta was responsible for developing strategic partnerships at dunnhumby Ltd, where he led the elevation of the company’s digital media measurement and targeting business, transforming the way CPG brands bought, sold and measured their media.

David Moran

Co-founder and Chairman, Eversight

David has spent his career in Consumer Goods and Retail, most recently as the Global VP of Sales-Revenue Management for Anheuser-Busch InBev nv/sa, the world’s largest brewer. Earlier, David was a leader in McKinsey & Company’s Consumer Pricing Practice where he developed strategies for global retailers and brands. David sits on the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Sales Committee and Advisory Counsel. He has also been a guest lecturer for the Stanford Graduate School of Business and USC School of Business and his research interests include pricing, promotions, digitally connected commerce, and applied behavioral economics.

Scott Moses

Managing Director, Head-Food Retail & restaurant Investment Banking, PJ Solomon

Scott Moses is a Managing Director and Head of Food Retail and Restaurants Investment Banking at PJ Solomon. He specializes in retail sector strategic and financial advice, with a focus on mergers, acquisitions, sales and divestitures of traditional and specialty grocers. Scott has advised clients in some of the most significant retail M&A transactions over the past two decades, with a combined transaction value of over $50 billion. 

Scott has been named to the “Top 50: Americas M&A Dealmakers” list by Global M&A Network (2013) and “40 Under 40” lists of promising finance professionals by IDD (2011) and The M&A Advisor (2015). Scott graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. He received MBA and JD degrees from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. 

Scott sits on the Board of Directors of UpLift Solutions, a national nonprofit that helps bring full-service grocery stores to underserved markets across the country. 

Brad Oberwager

Chief Executive Officer, Jyve Corporation

Brad Oberwager founded, owned, and served as CEO of multiple snack-food and technology companies. He is currently founder and CEO of Jyve, a talent marketplace and business optimization platform for brands and retailers based in San Francisco. Prior to Jyve, Brad owned Bare Snacks, acquired in 2014 by VMG. Brad also founded and is chairman of Sundia Fruit, maker of chilled fruit snacks and is the owner and chairman of Good Greens, a plant-based protein bar. He was the president of more.com following the acquisition of his firm, Acumins, and was CEO of Blue Tiger/OpenWebs.

Brad sits on the board Kettle & Fire (bone broth) and is a formal advisor to NatureBox (healthy snacks) and Brami Snacks (baked Lupini beans) as well as several technology start-ups. He is vice-chair of YPO, a 26,000-member, a global organization of CEOs.

Brad founded Jyve in 2015 to create a world where people want to work, not just have to work. Jyve enables CPG brands and retailers to connect with quality-certified talent who accomplish a variety of in-store jobs including Auditing, Brand Ambassadorship, Display Building, E-Fulfillment Shopping, Merchandising, Ordering, Stocking, and more. Jyve leverages proprietary technology to dynamically surface in-store jobs to their talent network and give real-time visibility to their clients.

Jonna Parker

Principal, IRI Fresh Center of Excellence

Jonna has been an innovator in the fresh foods space for nearly two decades driving the evolution of consumer-centric decision making and big data analytics throughout the perimeter. She has worked extensively in each perimeter department: Meat, Bakery, Deli, Produce, Seafood, Dairy and Floral with both suppliers and retailers. Jonna joined IRI in 2016 and leads IRI’s Fresh COE focusing on solution enhancement, thought leadership and client consultation across both suppliers and retailers. Jonna graduated with highest honors from Bradley University with a degree in public relations and marketing and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

David Portalatin

Vice President, Food Industry Advisor, The NPD Group

David Portalatin is The NPD Group’s national advisor on all aspects of food and beverage consumption in- and away-from-home.  In his role as vice president, industry advisor, Portalatin provides information, insights, and analysis on how U.S. consumers eat and drink, their attitudes and motivations, diet and nutrition, snacking, and personal characteristics. He works closely with food manufacturers and retailers; foodservice distributors, manufacturers, and operators; and media outlets in providing strategic business insights into current and future eating patterns in America.

Andrew Roberts

Ph.D., Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Dr. Andrew F. Roberts is the Deputy Executive Director of the ILSI Research Foundation, where he is responsible for programs addressing environmental risk assessment and food safety assessment for biotechnology. Dr. Roberts joined the ILSI Research Foundation in December 2009 as the Deputy Director of the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment (CERA). He has served as the coordinator for CERA’s capacity building projects under the USAID funded South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP) and the World Bank funded Partnership for Biosafety Risk Assessment and Regulation, in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam as well as providing technical support for capacity building work in Brazil, India, Japan, Chile, and South Africa. In January of 2015 he became the director of CERA as well as the Center for Safety Assessment of Food and Feed (CSAFF), which works on food and feed safety assessment for foods derived from genetically engineered plants. In January 2017, he became the Deputy Executive Director of the ILSI Research Foundation.

Prior to joining ILSI RF, Dr. Roberts worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in several different capacities, all related to the regulation of agricultural biotechnology. He began his career at USDA as an AAAS Risk Policy Fellow in the Office of Science of Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS), the group responsible for regulating genetically engineered plants at USDA. After spending a year in the New Technologies office of the Foreign Agricultural Service serving as the lead for USDA’s efforts related to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, he returned to BRS to serve in the International Affairs branch where he remained until joining ILSI RF.

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.

Joe Sheridan

President and COO, Wakefern Food Corp.

Joe Sheridan serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States.

An industry leader, Sheridan dedicates time to a variety of supermarket and retail trade organizations. In January of 2018, Sheridan became chairman of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Board of Directors, and the chairman of the Board of Governors for GS1 US, a nonprofit organization that designs and manages a global system of supply chain standards. He is a past chairman of the National Grocers Association (NGA), a trade association representing independent retail and wholesale grocers. Sheridan served as NGA chairman from 2012 to 2014 and has also held positions on the NGA board and executive committee.

In 2012, the Grocery Manufacturers Association presented Sheridan with its Industry Collaboration Leadership Award for his work in fostering significant cooperation among trading partners to better serve the industry and consumers. In 2014, he received the NJFC Industry Achievement Award and was recognized at the New Jersey Food Council Night of Distinction, an event highlighting industry professionals who have made a meaningful contribution to the food industry. In 2014, he also received the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Achievement Award from the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, for his significant achievement in business.

Sheridan also leads Wakefern in community outreach efforts. In 2016, he received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America Patriots’ Path Council, which covers nearly 20,000 Boy Scouts in northern and central New Jersey. He is also a past Embrace Kids board member and an Embrace Kids Foundation honoree for his work with the foundation, which supports families of children battling cancer and life-threatening blood disorders. 

Ern Sherman

The Coca-Cola Company

Recently retired, Sherman spent 40 years in The Coca-Cola Company and 30 years as a Coca-Cola Bottler. He served as vice president, retail industry affairs for Coca-Cola Refreshments from August 2012 to June 2018 where his primary responsibilities included overseeing the relationship with the industry associations and overseeing the work of the two North America Coca-Cola Retailing Research Councils. His roles at the company throughout his years of employment included customer governance, business development and sales. Sherman earned his BA in management, attending Georgia Institute of Technology and Kennesaw State University.

Jim Smits

Vice President Retail Development, North America, Retail Solutions, Inc.

As RSi’s Vice President of US Retailer Development, Jim leads all activities and development with existing retail channels in North America. He uses his in-depth retail industry knowledge to help maintain and build strong mutually-beneficial relationships with all RSi retail customers and partners. With over thirty years in the retail industry, working across multiple formats, from extreme value to gourmet food concepts, Jim’s wide-ranging experience includes operations, merchandising, marketing and supply chain. Prior to joining RSi, Jim held executive-level positions with major retailers such as H-E-B, Ahold, Albertsons, Supervalu, Winn Dixie, and Dollar General. Jim is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Harvard Business School.

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.  

Zeynep Ton

Adjunct Associate Professor of Operations Management, MIT Sloan School of Management

Zeynep Ton is an adjunct associate professor in Operations Management at MIT Sloan School of Management and cofounder of the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute (GJI). Before MIT Sloan, Zeynep spent seven years on the faculty at Harvard Business School. 

In 2014, Zeynep published her findings in a book, The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits. The book draws on 15 years of research to show that the key to offering good jobs to employees, great service to customers, and superior returns to investors is combining investment in employees with specific operational choices that increase employees’ productivity, contribution, and motivation. 

Zeynep’s research has been published in managerial and scholarly journals, including Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, and Organization Science, and featured widely in the media, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, PBS, and NPR. At MIT, Zeynep teaches MBA and executive education courses in operations management, service operations, sustainability, and operations strategy. She received several awards for excellence in teaching both at HBS and MIT Sloan. She was also named one of the World’s 40 Best Business School Professors Under the Age of 40 by Poets & Quants. 

Tsvetan Tsvetkov

Senior Vice President - Marketing Effectiveness, Nielsen

Tsvetan “T.” Tsvetkov, Senior Vice President – Marketing Effectiveness at Nielsen has 20 years’ experience in marketing analytics and consulting. T. is responsible for working and driving value with Nielsen’s largest Marketing Effectiveness clients in the CPG and Retail space. Previously he led the Nielsen US MMM practice overseeing analytics, delivery, implementation, and ongoing consulting for clients in the CPG, Technology, Financial Services, Automotive, Beauty, Restaurant, and Non-profit industries. 


“T.” received his B.A. in Economics, from the University of Chicago, and his M.A. (ABD) in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis. As an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, T. was a research assistant for Nobel Laureate Robert Fogel at the Center for Population Economics. 
Prior to joining Nielsen, “T.” worked at Marketing Analytics and Kestnbaum Consulting. 

Gerarda Van Kirk

Managing Director, Management Consulting Talent and Organization, Accenture

Gerarda Van Kirk is the global lead for Accenture’s Talent & Organization (T&O) team for the Products Industry. In this role, Gerarda leads all our work with Products clients as it relates to new Workforce Models and Ways of Working, enabling Employee Experiences through new HR and driving successful Transformational Change Programs. 

Gerarda is a recognized expert on future workforce models and new ways of working to enable business agendas. She is a frequent speaker at Industry conferences as well as author of new emerging points of view in pivoting to future workforce models: "Build, Buy, Borrow and Bot". 

Gerarda has worked with Accenture in the Talent and Change Adoption space for over 29 years. Day to day, she works with large global organizations on designing the right transformation roadmap to design future workforces, pivot teams to new ways of working and drive business adoption of modern workforce models. 

Chris Walton

CEO, Omni Talk

Chris Walton is a leading expert and influencer in omnichannel retailing. An accomplished Senior Executive, with nearly 20 years of success within the retail and retail technology industries, Chris has high-level executive experience across nearly every discipline within retail. Currently he is the CEO and Founder of Red Archer Retail, which runs Omni Talk, one of the fastest growing blogs in retail, and Third Haus, a retail technology joint venture with Xenia Retail in Minneapolis. He is a regular keynote speaker, a contributor for Forbes and the Robin Report, and he also sits on the Advisory Board for Delivery Solutions and Xenia Retail. 

Prior to starting Red Archer Retail and Omni Talk, Chris worked for Target, where he was the Vice President of the retailer’s Store of the Future project and the Vice President of Merchandising for Home Furnishings on Target.com. 

Rick Wenger

Vice President, Industry Value Engineering, SAP

Rick is Vice President of SAP’s Industry and Value Advisory Practice responsible for Consumer Industries including Retail, Life Sciences, Consumer Products and Wholesale Distribution.   Rick is an accomplished executive advisor with nearly 20 years of experience in helping companies identify and resolve strategic improvement opportunities through process and technology transformation.  Rick has a proven record of success in delivering results with mastery in business strategy development, delivery, and value realization.  Rick has been with SAP for 15 years in various roles including supply chain solutions, solution engineering, and value advisory services.   Rick came to SAP from Manugistics, where he worked for 8 years as a consultant, project leader and customer advisor.   During this time, he worked in developing and deploying supply chain planning and execution strategies for large multi-national consumer products and retail companies. 

Bob Whitaker

Chief Science & Technology Officer, Produce Marketing Association

Bob Whitaker is the Chief Science & Technology Officer at the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), where he oversees food safety and technology efforts from field to fork. He has also served as a volunteer leader for the United Fresh Produce Association and as Chairman of the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association (IFPA) Board and has been directly involved in a number of industry and government food safety and technology initiatives. In 2006, Bob was awarded IFPA’s Technical Achievement Award for his work in food safety and product development. He was named to the Executive Committee for the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) in 2007, and served as chairman of the CPS Technical Committee until 2013. Bob still serves as a member of the CPS Technology Committee which oversees the solicitation and awarding of funds for produce food safety research. Previously, Bob served as Vice President for Vegetable Research and Development and Vice President of Product Development at DNA Plant Technology and as Vice President of Product Development and Quality at NewStar, where he developed corporate global food safety programs, spearheaded product development and had operational responsibility for two value-added processing plants. Bob received his Ph.D. in Biology from SUNY Binghamton.

Natalie Williams

VP Product Leadership, Nielsen

Natalie Williams is VP of Product Leadership for Nielsen's U.S. Retail Measurement Business. She is accountable for leading client discovery, solution design and delivery of incremental coverage and retail measurement products to the U.S. FMCG industry. Prior to joining Product Leadership in 2016, Natalie held Global Operations roles of increasing responsibility across the U.S., U.K., and India, accountable for global quality and product reference data management. She also served on the inaugural leadership team in Bentonville, Arkansas, accountable for successfully deploying and scaling Walmart and Sam's Club as new retail clients when they returned to the cooperative model in 2012. Natalie is a graduate of Nielsen's Emerging Leaders Program and holds a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida.