SPEAKERS
Alison Chaltas
Global President, Path to Purchase
Ipsos Retail Performance
Ipsos’ new global shopper leader is a pioneer in developing creative and genuinely relevant insights and translating them into actionable solutions for manufacturers and retailers across physical and digital channels. Her academic degrees are from Harvard and Kellogg, but she proudly learned so much more from working on hundreds of real world businesses in most every category sold at retail. At P&G she found her passion for connecting the dots across innovative data sets to develop retail growth strategies. That mission has continued over two decades of consulting and research leadership.
Her current mission: tap the best and brightest around the work to deliver innovative, yet pragmatic, ways to understand and anticipate shoppers, leading Ipsos’ teams and clients to think differently about the future of shopping in our connected world.


Greg Drescher
Vice President - Strategic Initiatives & Industry Leadership
The Culinary Institute of America
Greg Drescher, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Industry Leadership at The Culinary Institute of America, oversees the leadership initiatives for the foodservice industry, including conferences, invitational leadership retreats, digital media, academic and other strategic partnerships and initiatives.

He is the creator of “Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival” (www.worldsofflavor.com) now in its 20th year, as well as the annual “Worlds of Healthy Flavors” and numerous other CIA “think tank” and change initiatives.

In 2005, Greg was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America”. 2006 brought the Food Arts magazine’s Silver Spoon Award, and in 2007 and 2009 a second and third James Beard Award. In March 2017, Foodservice Director magazine included Mr. Drescher in its “20 People Shaping Foodservice Today.”

An invited speaker at numerous conferences over the years, he has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Asahi Shimbun, and hundreds of media organizations worldwide.

Joan Driggs
Managing Director of Strategy
EnsembleIQ/Progressive Grocer
@Joan@PGrocer
Joan Driggs oversees Progressive Grocer’s events and is the Managing Director of Strategy, Member Development for the Path to Purchase Institute, also part of the EnsembleIQ family, where she works with industry partners to provide solutions for shared, focused challenges.

Prior to joining EnsembleIQ, Driggs was was the Director of Research at Mintel, a global consumer and market research firm, where she oversaw the company’s robust series of syndicated reports.


Bob Donofrio
Senior Vice President of Consulting Services
Revenue Management Solutions
Bob Donofrio, Senior Vice President of consulting services for Revenue Management Solutions, holds an MBA from the University of South Florida and has been with the company since 2004.

During that time, he and his team have assisted thousands of Operators across North America in providing data-driven insights and profit optimizing strategies to mitigate cost pressures and protect brand value. In his previous role as Director of Business Development, Bob was responsible for client acquisition and brand development in North America.

Brooke Hodierne
Director, Prepared Foods
Giant Eagle
Brooke Hodierne, Director of Prepared Foods, is responsible for the Prepared Foods fresh merchandising strategy at Giant Eagle, Inc.
Brooke brings with her to the role a diverse background of Financial Analysis, New Product Development, Sourcing and Brand Management, on both the CPG and Retail sides of the business.
She has spent most of the last decade in retail focused on developing strong points of difference, notably through developing signature Own Brands products.
Brooke holds a BS in Finance, an MBA in Management, is a graduate of the Duquesne University Women’s Executive Leadership Program and was named as one of Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery Rising Stars.


Eric Le Blanc
Sr Director
Tyson Foods
Eric Le Blanc, Director of Marketing Tyson Foods’ Prepared Foods/Bakery Group, has spent over 25 years in the food business—in restaurant operations, retail, and as a food supplier. The last thirteen years Eric has worked in retail foodservice, both in the supermarket channel and the convenience store channel. His area of expertise is in consumer/shopper insight in retail foodservice. As a result of his work and the work of his team, Tyson Foods has won five consecutive Category Captain Awards among other awards for category leadership and innovation.

Jack Li
Managing Director
Datassential
Jack Li is Builder at Datassential, a leading food insights agency. During his tenure at Datassential, Jack pioneered the use of quantitative menu data to predict food trends; he is the original developer of MenuTrends™, the industry’s first online menu database. In 1999, Jack and his team developed the Menu Adoption Cycle™, a trend framework used widely across the industry today. Over the past 18 years, Jack has led over 500 food industry studies spanning a wide range of topics and categories

Today, Jack leads Datassential’s Skunk Works group to bring next generation solutions to food manufacturers and operators – with a focus on making great insights easy. Jack is a featured speaker at several food industry conferences throughout the year and joins us to share Datassential’s perspective on the latest trends and how your business can capitalize.

Steve Petusevsky
Chef
Culinary Innovation for the Food Service Industry
Chef Steve was the National Director of Creative Food Development for Whole Foods Market from 1990 to 2002. He wrote the book on natural foods, quite literally. He is the author of The Whole Foods Market Cookbook – A Guide to Natural Foods with 350 Recipes published by Clarkson Potter in the fall of 2002.

Since 2002, he has worked as an outside resource and industry consultant to innovate or create comprehensive prepared food service programs for major retail and restaurant chains and institutions including Google, Lettuce Entertain You Group, UCLA, UMASS, Roundy’s, Mariano’s, Canyon Ranch, Foodland Farms, and Luckys Markets among others. His passion and expertise in profitable “plant forward”, Asian, and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine remains the central focus of his work.

His recently published books, The Diabetes Vegetarian Cookbook and Sizzle and Smoke: Diabetes Friendly Recipes for Charcoal, Gas and Stovetop Grills were published by the American Diabetes Association in 2013 and early 2014.

Chef Steve is currently a member of the Menus of Change Advisory Board for the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and is co-chair of the CIA’s new Appetites & Innovation initiative, a national leadership collaborative created for the purpose of advancing culinary excellence, health & wellness, sustainability, and cultures of innovation in retail food service.


Jamie Phillips, MS, RDN
Director, Scientific Affairs
SPINS
Jamie Phillips, MS, RDN, is the Director of Scientific Affairs at SPINS. As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer, Jamie is passionate about food and nutrition and teaching people how to eat well on any budget. Jamie has over 15 years of food industry experience in nutrition communications, consumer education, healthcare professional outreach, culinary and regulatory affairs. She enjoys working with retailers to help bring nutrition science and consumer insights into action.

David Portalatin
Vice President, Industry Analyst, Food Sector
The NPD Group
David Portalatin is The NPD Group’s national expert on all aspects of food and beverage consumption in- and away-from-home. In his role as vice president, industry analysis, 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.

He is often a featured speaker at industry events and at corporate conferences/meetings with distributors, manufacturers, and retailers. Portalatin also serves as a media source for a wide variety articles on food and beverage consumption trends and how these trends impact the food industry. His comments have appeared in USA Today, CNBC, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and other nationally-recognized media outlets.

Jeff Schroeder
Managing Partner
Kinetic 12
Jeff Schroeder, Managing Partner at Kinetic12, holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Risk Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and offers more than 25 years of senior leadership experience in sales, marketing, innovation, strategy and new product development with top tier CPG, Financial Services and Consulting Companies, including Procter & Gamble, Pepperidge Farm, American Express and The Partnering Group.

While at Procter & Gamble, Jeff led the creation and development of national customer execution plans for such iconic brands as Pampers and Luvs. After cultivating multi-industry senior leadership positions, including Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Jeff joined The Partnering Group where he led the creation, development and execution of industry best practice initiatives such as the Full Plate Foodservice Category Management Platform. He additionally led engagements and client teams focused on innovation, new product development, strategy and marketing at companies, including Sara Lee, Georgia Pacific, PepsiCo, Campbell’s Soup and The Coca-Cola Company.

Bill Schwartz
CEO
Food-Trak
Bill Schwartz is widely known as one of the industry’s leading consultants on the topic of food and beverage control and pioneered many of the current procedures, practices and techniques used by food service operations today. To supplement his approach, Schwartz developed the FOOD-TRAK System, the first PC-based software of its kind to help control food and beverage costs. The system was developed as a way to speed up the process of identifying food cost variances and generating timely and specific culinary information operators could use to actively manage their processes and control their costs. It is now in use by over 10,000 worldwide.

Schwartz has also presented seminars and is a frequent writer and contributor for a variety of organizations including the National Restaurant Association, Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals, Club Management Association, and more.

The use of his control techniques results in significant increases in food and beverage profits that are essential for success in today’s challenging economic times. A graduate of Michigan State University, a Certified Hospitality Technology Professional and a noted speaker, Schwartz likes to leave audiences with what he calls “light bulbs burning” and powerful tools that can be implemented to achieve immediate results.

Mike Schwartz
Vice President, Member Value
International Foodservice Manufacturers Association
Mike Schwartz is responsible for the strategy and direction of programs and services for IFMA, the leading trade association representing foodservice manufacturers. Mike’s team focuses on providing its membership and the foodservice industry with actionable insights and best practices and hosting industry conferences and events for the entire supply chain. Prior to IFMA, Mike spent six years leading custom market research and consulting engagements at Technomic.

David Sonzogni
VP, Prepared Foods & Deli Innovation
Albertsons Companies
Most recently, he was Director of Innovation for Giant Eagle/Market District. Previously he was Director of Food Service, Research & Development for Central Market/HEB. His responsibilities were directing all Research and Development, product innovation, restaurant facility design, bakery, pastry, prepared foods, Grab & Go, deli-cheese, full service restaurants and Gelaterias.

After decades of honing his skills in predominantly upscale food service operations, Sonzogni was intrigued by the opportunity and challenge of plying new territory for a well-established concept like Albertsons. Sonzogni will drive and sharpen the concepts culinary focus, emphasizing Fresh ingredients, new flavors and continued innovation.


Eddie Yoon
Founder
EddieWouldGrow LLC
Eddie Yoon is the founder of EDDIEWOULDGROW, a think tank and advisory firm on growth strategy. Prior to that he was a partner at The Cambridge Group where he worked for 18 years, a strategy consulting firm that helps CEOs drive growth via new sources of consumer demand. Eddie is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on Category Growth, Category Creation and Superconsumers. His ideas have unlocked billions of untapped profitable growth.

Eddie is the author of the acclaimed book, Superconsumers: A Simple, Speedy and Sustainable Path to Superior Growth. He is also the author of over 50 articles in HBR, Inc Magazine and he has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Forbes. He has been a keynote speaker in the U.S., Canada, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the UK and Japan.

Gary Zickel
Manager, Food Service Operations
Mariano's
At the age of 14, Gary Zickel started his career in the food industry as a dishwasher. By the age of 28 he opened seven burger and pizza restaurants in Oakland county Michigan for a small, yet up-and-coming chain. Several years later he moved to Chicago and opened with his partner five successful restaurants, two of which (sushi wabi and Tank sushi) drew the attention of Nina & Bob Mariano, as they were getting ready to open their first grocery store in Illinois under the Mariano’s brand. They approached Gary to assist them with bringing restaurant quality sushi into a grocery store. The Oki sushi brand for Mariano’s was developed and its success led Mariano’s to employ Gary to bring other restaurant style concepts into the ‘grocerant’ area of the stores. These concepts now include full service sit-down oyster bars, smoke-house BBQ’s, vegetarian bars, tea bars and elevated sandwich, pizza and meal offerings.