Discover more about our amazing line up of industry professionals, inspirational leaders and trailblazers who will be speaking at this year’s Digital Festival. They’ll be sharing unmissable insights, igniting debate and sparking imagination with attendees across two days on 8 & 9 December 2020.
Barbara is a food safety consultant and Registered Nutritionist driving and delivering food safety in food supply chains and developing nutrition strategy for businesses. Her most recent focus is the development of healthy sustainable food workshops for clients looking to build sustainable nutrition into their food strategy.
She has been shortlisted for the Caroline Walker Trust award for Freelance Nutritionist of the Year in both 2019 and 2020.
With a passion for educating people about food and nutrition, Barbara is a director of the Oxford Farming Conference, the leading international conference held in the UK for farming and agribusiness. She sits on the Food Science and Nutrition committee for the Institute of Food Science and Technology and is a trustee with portfolio of International Affairs for The Nutrition Society in the UK.
Prior to consultancy Barbara worked in the Ugandan agri-business sector for three years and then spent fourteen years in the chilled foods sector in the UK and France. Her roles covered food procurement, technical innovation and implementation of food safety systems with Bakkavor, an international food manufacturer.
A professional speaker and 2017 Nuffield Farming Scholar, Barbara speaks at food and agriculture events including debates at the UN Committee for Food Security in Rome on Nutrition and gave a TEDx talk on “Diet, diversity and the Future of Food” in February 2020.
Head of External Affairs and Sustainability, Asia Pacific Corteva and Board Member, WOMAG (Women in Agribusiness)
Elizabeth Hernandez leads Corteva Agriscience’s external engagement strategy in Asia Pacific. She advances the company’s brand and reputation, develops strategic relationships with governments and other stakeholders across the food and agriculture ecosystem, and manages Corteva’s sustainability initiatives in Asia Pacific.
Elizabeth has over 25 years of experience in Asia, mostly with multinationals, including GlaxoSmithKline, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook and DuPont (now Corteva Agriscience). She also is an accomplished tech entrepreneur, who helped pioneer broadband connectivity for travelers in Asia. A recognized thought leader, Elizabeth speaks frequently on sustainability, women empowerment and creating shared value.
Elizabeth served two terms on the Board of Governors for the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. She currently serves on the boards of WOMAG (Women in Agribusiness) and Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), a global partnership for digital inclusion funded by the UN Foundation and the Gates Foundation, among others. She is also a founding member of KeyNote Women Speakers, a global platform that advocates for gender diversity on the world’s stages.
Elizabeth received a B.A. in History from the University of the Philippines, and studied at the American University School of International Service in Washington, D.C. She lives in Singapore with her husband and three children.
Senior Director, Divisional Merchandising Manager, Produce and Floral
Laura Himes is Senior Merchandising Director, Produce for Walmart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas. She has been with Walmart since 2013 and has financial, buying and merchandising responsibility for refrigerated vegetable items. Laura has more than 25 years in the produce industry, with experience in all areas encompassing farm to fork.
Prior to joining Walmart, she worked with Dole, previously SunnyRidge Farm, based in Winter Haven, FL as Farm Operations Manager. Her responsibilities there included financial responsibility and strategic direction of owned farms based in the Eastern US and Mexico, in addition to leading the berry varietal development program for SunnyRidge Farm.
Previously, Laura served Driscoll’s as Managing Director of Portugal Operations as the company initiated growing operations for distribution in the European market. Laura’s role included developing from ground-up the production, distribution and administrative functions of their berry farming operation in Portugal. Laura began her career at Chiquita Brands, where she worked for 10 years, beginning in the company’s management development program in Cincinnati, OH. Throughout her tenure with Chiquita, she held various positions within logistics, financial operations and quality within Europe, Panama, Honduras and Miami, FL.
Laura holds a bachelor’s degrees in anthropology from Pomona College, Claremont, CA and a master’s degree of International Business from Thunderbird. When not fully engaged in work, she enjoys travelling with her family (husband Jorge, and children Miguel & Amelia) to visit extended family in Kansas and Costa Rica, in addition to exploring new places around the world.
Caroline Keeling is the CEO of Keelings. Keelings is a 100% Irish-owned family business which started producing fruits and salads on their farm in the 1930’s supplying produce to local Dublin markets. Keelings are focused on growing and sourcing the best fresh produce from around the world.
The Company has expanded to its current size with 4 divisions – Keelings Retail, Keelings Select, Keelings International and Keelings Knowledge. Keelings is headquartered in FoodCentral, Co. Dublin, Ireland but has operations around Ireland, UK, Europe, Americas and Asia. Keelings employs over 2,500 people.
Keelings launched its branded range of produce into stores in 2010 and since then it has gone from strength to strength. Kantar World panel recently disclosed the Top 100 FMCG brands in Ireland, ranking Keelings at #15 this year. As well as the standard range of punnets, the brand has also released a number of innovative products including the family platter, the twin pack and the Snack Pot range.
As well as fresh produce, Keelings has developed produce-specific ERP software solutions, consultancy and management services. Keelings Knowledge supplies a suite of software apps and services that provides industry focused solutions in procurement, stock management, warehouse and production planning, as well as sales and quality assurance.
Caroline has a BSc (Chem) & MSc in Food Science which she obtained from University College Dublin (UCD). Caroline started her career with Green Isle foods, going on to join Keelings as Technical Manager in 1994. Caroline is a Board Member of the Ifrah Foundation, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and Valid Nutrition. Caroline is also a member of the IBEC National Council and the Export Trade Council.
Christine drives PepsiCo’s short-term approach and long-term strategic direction to deliver transformation and innovation through sustainable and responsible sourcing solutions. She leads the sustainable sourcing and agricultural teams to deliver against relevant PepsiCo Performance with Purpose 2025 goals.
Prior to PepsiCo, Christine worked at Tyson Foods, where she held various roles, most recently Vice President of Sustainable Food Production. Her responsibilities included natural resource conservation programs, responsible sourcing and farm animal well-being, as well as leading the company’s sustainability programs across multiple platforms.
Christine holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, a Post-doctoral in Plant Gene Regulation from the University of Florida, a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Louisiana State University, as well as an MS degree in Plant Pathology from Iowa State University.
Jennifer Weber is chief human resources officer for ADM, and a member of the company’s Executive Council. In this capacity, she oversees all human resources functions for ADM’s global workforce of more than 38,000.
Weber has an extensive record of strong human resources leadership and strategic management, leading companies during times of significant transformations, mergers and acquisitions, and growth initiatives. Prior to joining ADM in 2020, she served as executive vice president of human resources at Lowe’s Companies, where she drove strategic efforts spanning talent acquisition, development, culture and broad-based business transformation. She also led human resources for companies including Scripps Networks and Duke Energy, and began her career in HR at Towers Perrin (now Willis Towers Watson), where she became managing principal of the firm’s Cincinnati office.
Weber is active in community and volunteer groups, and serves as the 2020 board chair for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio, and a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
Dr. Lee Ann Jackson is the Head of the Agro-Food Trade and Markets Division in the Trade and Agriculture Directorate (TAD) at the OECD. She joined the OECD in 2020 after 16 years at the WTO where her most recent position was as Counselor of Food and Agricultural Policy Research in the Economic Research and Statistics Division.
She was previously the Secretary to the WTO’s Committee on Agriculture in the Agriculture and Commodities Division where her responsibilities included the implementation and monitoring of WTO rules on agriculture and multilateral agriculture negotiations.
Prior to the WTO, Dr. Jackson held various research roles including as a Research Fellow in the School of Economics at the University of Adelaide in South Australia and a researcher in the Environment Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC. Dr. Jackson completed her Ph.D. in applied economics at the University of Minnesota; has joint Master’s degrees in public and private management and environmental studies from Yale University.
Geeta Sethi is the Advisor and Global Lead for Food Systems at the World Bank. She is managing the World Bank’s program on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. She has more than 20 years of experience working as an economist on fragile, low-, and middle- income countries. Her work has focused on issues of rural development, service delivery and intergovernmental fiscal policies in around the world. She has delivered many lending programs to the World Bank Board and published books and articles in referred journals on issues relating to rural labor markets, trade policy and fiscal decentralization. Previously, she was the Chief of Staff to the Climate Change Vice President and Special Envoy, the Operations and Strategy Manger for Climate Change, and worked as the Program Manager for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. She has an MBA and PhD in Economics.
VP, Global Communications Agricultural Solutions, BASF
Simone Barg is Vice President for Global Communications at BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division. Joining BASF in 1998, she worked in several international positions in Marketing and Business Management across various industries, such as agriculture, care chemicals, health & nutrition and petrochemicals. Prior to her current role, Simone was responsible for Sales Excellence for BASF’s agricultural business in Asia Pacific and held the position of Digital Officer. She studied International Business Administration and Information Technology at the University of Cooperative Education, Mannheim, Germany, and received her master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of South Alabama, United States, in 2003. It is her goal to bring the agricultural business closer to people’s hearts. Simone was leading the communication around the integration of significant businesses and assets acquired from Bayer in 2018 as well as around BASF’s new strategy in agriculture.
Anna Jones is a freelance journalist, broadcaster, farmer’s daughter and Nuffield Farming Scholar.
She is a regular reporter/presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today and travels all over the world reporting on agriculture, recently presenting a four-part documentary series for the BBC World Service and reporting for The Guardian newspaper on water quality in the American Midwest. Anna covered rural affairs at the BBC for 12 years as a producer/director on BBC One’s Countryfile.
Her career took an unexpected turn after completing her Nuffield Farming Scholarship, which looked at how the media portrays farming and country life to the public. Her research revealed a deep disconnect between the metropolitan mainstream media and a distrustful and defensive farming industry. It made Anna determined to motivate farmers to step up and share their stories.
She left the BBC in 2018 to set up Just Farmers, a communications project aimed at connecting journalists and programme makers with independent, authentic voices at the grassroots of farming.
Dr. Mark Lyons grew up in the Alltech business, having traveled with his father and Alltech’s founder, Dr. Pearse Lyons, from a young age to visit customers. With experience working in all regions and nearly all departments — from palletizing bags in production to researching in the lab — he has a deep and uniquely personal knowledge of the company.
He has spearheaded many critical projects, including simultaneously managing a biorefinery project in Kentucky, the establishment of a plant in Serbia and the creation of Alltech’s flagship yeast production facility in São Pedro, Brazil. He also spent nearly four years in Mexico rebuilding the company’s solid state fermentation plant in Serdan, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
In 2012, Dr. Lyons relocated to China, the world’s largest feed market, as part of Alltech’s focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Living in Beijing and travelling throughout the country, he led the Alltech China office and focused on building bridges between China and the wider industry through research, education and strategic initiatives.
Under his leadership as director of North America from 2009 to 2011, Alltech expanded its presence with the opening of new offices and a growing involvement in all agricultural sectors. Today, Dr. Lyons is based at Alltech’s headquarters in Kentucky.
He has served as a board member of the American Feed Industry Association and is active in many industry groups, such as the International Poultry Council, the National Turkey Federation, the National Chicken Council and the National Pork Producers Council. He is also vice president of the Soil and Fertilizer Alliance of China and is a committee member of the China Toxicology Association. He is proud to be the only foreign member welcomed to China’s Feed Industry Golf Group, which represents more feed tonnage than all of Brazil.
Dr. Lyons has published papers and patents in areas ranging from enzyme production to global economics and is interested in the assurance of food safety and quality throughout the entire food chain. Recently, he was named as one of “The top 50 Irish business men and women in the BRIC countries” and “40 Under 40” leaders in agriculture by Vance Publishing Corporation.
He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and environmental science in 1999 from the University of Chicago. He received his master’s degree in brewing and distilling in 2001, followed by a Ph.D. in the area of solid state fermentation, at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Dr. Lyons is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French and German, and he has a working knowledge of Mandarin.
AWDT Founder, Researcher, Farmer, Director, Thought Leader, and ardent supporter of women. She is a visionary leader who has followed her heart-unafraid to tackle challengers and is driven to make a difference to the NZ Primary Industry.
Creating the Agri Women’s development Trust has led to a transformation in NZ’s food and agricultural sector through unleashing the talent of women.
Her personal philosophy around diversity and inclusion is “leave no one behind” She has led the design and implementation of leading edge leadership and governance programmes where 65% of women now have C suite and governance roles they did not have before to creating programs for women food producers and recently indigenous women.
She believes women hold the key to supporting and leading much of the change that needs to happen globally, and is active around the world supporting women’s empowerment.
In 2017 with friend Theresa Gutting they created Worldwomen17 a three-day event which brought renowned international speakers to a 480-strong urban and rural audience.
In 2018 she travelled to PNG to address APEC on empowering women in agriculture. As well as offering strategic advice to the Scottish Government as they develop a strategy for Agri women.
Her work in the agri sector and with women allows her to influencing main stream media from women’s magazines to supporting Television- connecting the stories of women food producers to their consumers.
She is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to agriculture and women, 2013 Next Business Woman of the Year and named by Primary Magazine as one of the top ten women in agriculture.
Lindy is a regular columnist and tackles tricky sector topics, doing so with humor and honesty.
Her team describe her as inspiring, though provoking, persistently determined, high energy and fun to have around.
Robert Sheffer took on his role as both president and CEO in 2020, after serving solely as president in 2019 and chief operating officer 2017.
Sheffer joined Zinpro Corporation in 2017, after working as president and CEO for a privately-owned investment firm and trust company. Previously, he worked for a global animal nutrition company for more than 25 years, serving in various management roles, including group director, managing director, regional sales leader and branch manager. He also served on the board of the American Feed Industry Association, including chairman from 2015-2016, working with more than 80 percent of the feed manufactures and suppliers in the United States on regulatory, legislative and research projects.
Sheffer received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Cornell University.
Patrick Holden is the founder and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, an organisation founded in 2012 and working internationally to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems. Prior to this he was director of the Soil Association (until 2010) during which time his advocacy and campaigning for more sustainable food systems was underpinned through the development of the organic standards and market-place.
His farming experience spans nearly 50 years, centred on Holden Farm Dairy, now the longest established organic dairy farm in West Wales, where he produces Hafod cheese from the milk of his 80 Ayrshire cows.
He was awarded a CBE for services to organic farming in 2005, is Patron of the UK Biodynamic Farming Association and was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2016.
Patrick is a regular writer, broadcaster, and speaker at public events.
Director of Agriculture, Azure Global Engineering Group, Microsoft
Claudia Roessle is Director Agriculture in Microsoft Azure Global Engineering group. She is responsible for developing strategic partnerships around digital innovation and ag tech solutions within the agriculture ecosystem. She drives Agtech innovation that helps increase productivity in a sustainable manner leveraging technology such as AI, IoT, and blockchain. Claudia Roessle joined Microsoft in 1992 in Germany. She held several international roles with focus on Business Development, Sales & Marketing, Partner and Industry.
Kate has added her unique brand of knowledgable commentary to hundreds of interviews & documentaries for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky News and Radio channels BBC 2, BBC 4, BBC 5 Live and commercial stations. She has also presented & provided expertise for leading consumer shows Rip Off Britain (BBC 1) What Britain Bought (Channel 4) Battlefront (Channel 4) and Inside Out (BBC 1) as well as being the consumer champion for hit ITV 1 consumer show – Eat Shop Save. Kate was honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018, and was the recipient of the Prime Ministers Point of Light Award. She has been celebrated with 26 National & International commerce awards including Business Woman of the Year, Inspiration Award and Influencer of the Year.
Poran has spent 30+ years in the advertising, marketing and branding world. During that time he has worked in the UK, USA and currently in India. He has worked for some worlds leading brands, Coca-Cola, IBM, Lenovo, Vodafone to name a few.
He is currently country head of S4Capital in India the world’s fastest growing global network offering clients modern marketing solutions. In addition, Poran also has several entrepreneurial interests in the US and India. More recently he has embarked on a number of projects in Agriculture, looking specifically at the role it plays, the myths versus reality and potential ways forward in moving public opinion to seeing the reality of this modern, vibrant and challenging industry.
MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences)
Ebony is the Chief Operating Officer at MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences), where she provides support to the National Executive Committee, Advisory Board and oversight and management of Strategic Partnerships. Hailing from a small, rural community, Ebony found interest in developing students and providing resources and opportunities to increase access to academic and career related programs in underserved communities. By cultivating innovative programs and strategic partnerships, Ebony have been able to assist underrepresented students and professionals in recognizing and maximizing their full potential. Many of her responsibilities support her passion for advocating for inclusion and diversity and developing leaders, organizations and communities to feed and clothe the next generation.
Graduating at the top of the Computer Science and Mathematics Department, Ebony received her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Stillman College and also holds a certification in Technology Management and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, both from the University of Phoenix. Ms. Webber is an alum of the United Way of Greater Atlanta Volunteer Involvement Program, National Urban League’s Emerging Leaders Cohort, and the Georgia Center for Nonprofits High Potential Diverse Leaders Cohort. She is also a member of the National Black MBA Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
After a Master’s degree in Physics, Saskia Korink worked for Fokker Space & Systems (1 yr) and Unilever (3 yrs), and subsequently moved to NY to obtain her MBA from Columbia Business School (CBS). She then worked for almost 7 years for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), both in Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, Brazil, after which she joined Cargill in Brazil, Latin America. Saskia became the BU leader for Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate in 2006 and VP, global marketing director for Cargill Animal Nutrition in 2010 (in the USA). She then joined Genus plc in Basingstoke, UK, as CMO (2013), and became the COO for Genus ABS, the ruminant genetics division (2014). After having worked and lived for close to 20 years abroad (in Latin America, the USA and UK) Saskia came back to the Netherlands and joined Trouw Nutrition, the animal nutrition division of Nutreco, as Global Innovation Director. She is married and has 3 teenage children.
Christine Tacon became the UK’s first Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) in 2013 and has achieved significant cultural change in the sector, bringing greater fairness for producers supplying the UK’s largest supermarkets.
She has been much praised for her collaborative approach to the role and a government review concluded the GCA was an exemplary model of a modern regulator with an international reputation.
Currently, she also chairs MDS, which trains graduates in the food and fresh produce industry. As a founder of Women in Food and Farming she has supported women develop their skills and confidence through networking and meeting inspirational speakers.
As Chief Executive of Vauxhall City Farm, Monica brings more than 20 years experience of leading voluntary sector organisations to the organisation. Skilled at community engagement and managing community facilities, Monica enjoys the challenge of leading one of London’s hidden treasures.
Myriam Beatove joined Cargill in 2009 and serves as a member of Cargill’s Executive Team. In this key strategic role, she is the company’s principal architect of global human resources strategy and practices. As secretary of the Human Resources Committee of the board, LeighAnne fills a vital role working directly with Cargill board of directors on compensation, succession and leadership development. Cargill is one of the largest privately held companies and provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Cargill has 160,000 employees in 70 countries.
Prior to joining Cargill, Myriam worked at Accenture and then AB InBev for 15 years. Her career path at AB InBev started in finance with various positions in internal audit, controlling, and as Financial Director, before moving to corporate strategy where she led the global strategic portfolio and workstream integration following the merger of Interbrew and AmBev. She then moved to Human Resources as VP Organization, Global Total Rewards and HR lead for the headquarters.
Myriam graduated from HEC Management School University of Liege. She holds a master’s degree in Business Engineering. She also holds a Leadership Certification from INSEAD & a Strategy Certificate from Wharton Implementing.
Myriam is an active member of several professional organizations which advance the practice and theory of human resource management.
Jane Craigie Marketing and Director and Co-Founder, The Rural Youth Project
Jane has combined her agricultural and horticultural education with a career in marketing, media and communications.
Jane is actively involved in the international rural leadership community and was the co-founder of the international Rural Youth Project, a youth leadership, enterprise and activism initiative, focused on better understanding and supporting young rural people, aged 18-28, to enact positive change in their communities.
Jane runs a marketing and communications consultancy specialising in agriculture, food and rural affairs; clients include AgriBriefing, Agrovista, BASF plc, Interagro, LEAF, the Oxford Farming Conference, Turriff Show, and Velcourt. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing as well as a Member of the Chartered Institute of PR. She is also a Fellow of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists and a Professional Agriculturalist (P.Agric).
Jane is based in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, she on the executive board of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, Chair of the IFAJ ‘Vision 2025’ Committee, is a Trustee of LANTRA, the skills and training organisation, and is on the steering committee for LEAF Education and Public Engagement.
She was the first Waitangi Scholar in 1994 (Funded by the New Zealand Dairy Board), an alum of the Windsor Leadership Emerging Leaders’ Programme, the Institute of Agricultural Management Leadership Development Programme, the Scottish Enterprise (SE) Rural Leadership Programme and Scottish Enterprise’s Harvesting the Growth Programme.
Prior to establishing her own business, Jane worked for DiverseyLever, was Marketing Communications Manager for Genus plc (1991-97) and also for Cyanamid (part of American Home Products) from 1997-2001. From 2001-2004, she worked for digital specialists DBT Ltd (now part of Proagrica).