| || Co-Chair, Women in Agribusiness Summit |
Mary L. Shelman
Director, Agribusiness Program
Harvard Business School
International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA)
Mary Shelman is Director of Harvard Business School’s Agribusiness Program which includes the renowned HBS Agribusiness Seminar, a global executive education program attended by 200+ CEO’s and senior leaders from the world’s top food and agribusiness firms each year. She has led similar programs for Harvard Business School and other organizations in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Mary is known as a strategic pathfinder in the agribusiness sector. She offers a particular competency in diagnosing the forces of change shaping the future of global food and agribusiness and in identifying transformational approaches. Working with the CEO’s of industry-leading firms such as Nestlé, Monsanto, Bunge, Fonterra, Olam, ConAgra, Barilla, and Yum! China, Mary has authored more than 50 case studies highlighting situations of strategic change and transformational leadership. Her work has also been featured in Harvard Business Review, Market Leader, International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, and other publications.
Actively engaging with these themes, she has served as a director of a number of fast-growth food and agribusiness firms. These include 10 years as Chairman of the Board of RiceTec, Inc., a fully integrated agribusiness and packaged foods company headquartered in Texas, and board membership of RiceTec AG, Stiftung Furst Liechtenstein, and the USA Rice Millers Association as well as a number of other organizations. She has recently advised the Irish government’s Food Marketing Board (Bord Bia) on the future direction of the Irish food industry, co-authoring Pathways for Growth.
Mary is a regular keynote speaker on themes of food and agribusiness. In June 2011 she became President of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA).
A native of Kentucky, Mary holds a BS in Chemical Engineering with High Distinction from the University of Kentucky and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School, where she was awarded a Dean’s Doctoral Fellowship for further research in economics and marketing.
| ||Senator Debbie Stabenow|
U.S. Senator and Chairwoman
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Born and raised in rural Michigan, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow knows the importance of agriculture to our economy. She has the distinction of having served on Agriculture Committees in the Michigan State Legislature, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. In 2000, she was elected as the first woman Senator from Michigan.
And now as Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, she is working to make agriculture a bigger part of our economy. She is leading the effort to pass the 2012 Farm Bill that reforms subsidy programs, cuts the deficit by $23 billion, and continues critical support for rural communities, energy and biofuels, and the 16 million jobs that rely on American agriculture.
Among her many other accomplishments, she has cut taxes for small businesses and passed initiatives to revitalize our manufacturing sector. In addition to the Agriculture Committee, Senator Stabenow serves on the other key economic committees in the Senate, including the Finance Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Budget Committee. She also serves as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus, and was appointed to the President’s Export Council by both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, where she helps farmers and manufacturers export their products overseas.
Manager, External Communications
Susan Burns manages corporate and financial communications for Bunge Limited, a global agricultural commodities and food business. She helps formulate the company’s communications strategy, develops external communications content and materials, manages media relations and serves as Bunge’s primary corporate spokesperson. She previously worked for a financial and crisis communications agency in New York City serving clients in a variety of industries. She has a Ph.D. from New York University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Haverford College.
|Maria José Capelle|
Commercial Manager, Grains & Softs
María José manages the price and logistic risk of a portfolio of more than 800,000 tons with over 185 million in annual revenues. Since the company creation in 2002, María José has developed the commercial structure to enhance final selling price, while reducing volatility and commercial risks of the commodities produced by the company. Her responsibility on managing the hedge and trading positions improved the overall commercial result. Additionally, the management of the own logistics has provided segregation and achieved specific markets and quality requirements.
Prior to Adecoagro, María José gained experience in agro risk management in the Economy Department of AACREA (Argentina´s producer association) and from a traditional family of producers. She owns a degree with honors in Business Administration from Buenos Aires University and in 2008 received a Masters degree in Business Administration from IAE University.
Deutsche Bank AG
Ayesha Choudhury is responsible for structuring risk management and liquidity solutions linked to Agricultural products for Deutsche Bank’s Global Commodities Trading division. She has instrumental in its growth into a full service business touching sovereigns, producers, corporate end-users, traders, hedge funds, merchandisers and investors. Ayesha has worked for DB in London, Singapore, and New York since she joined the firm in 2005.
Ayesha graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Tufts University with a BA in Quantitative Economics and International Relations, studied at the London School of Economics, and is currently pursuing an MBA from Columbia Business School. Ayesha serves on the Board of Directors for ProjectExplorer.org, an education non-profit organization, and lives in New York City where she runs, swims, and bikes in local races.
Director, Grains and Oils Division
SunOpta Grains and Foods Group
Rhonda Cole was born and raised on a dairy farm in Michigan. Since her rural upbringing, she has demonstrated an active commitment to the agribusiness industry. Mrs. Cole was involved in academics early in her career with a degree in Marketing Education. She then moved into the private sector of agribusiness in 1993. Soon after joining the private sector, Mrs. Cole started to make impressive contributions to the identity preserved, organic, and specialty grains market segments. Mrs. Cole joined the SunOpta team in 1999. She now serves as the Director of Grain & Oils Sales Division for the SunOpta Grains and Foods Group (formerly Sunrich, Inc).
Mrs. Cole has sat on the board of organic certification groups, joined task forces of the OTA (organic trade association), and now serves on the board of the USSEC (United States Soybean Export Council). As a part of her work in the agribusiness industry, Mrs. Cole enjoys both domestic and international responsibilities. She has traveled extensively to Europe, South America and Asia.
Sunrich was originally established in 1978 as the Minnesota Waxy Corn Growers Association by over 300 grower members/shareholders. In 1999, Sunrich was acquired by SunOpta. SunOpta is a vertically-integrated food company focused on the value-adding of soy and corn products. It is publicly traded on NASDAQ under STKL and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under SOY.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Farm Credit of New Mexico
In February 2012, Beverly Hope Gabaldon was promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Farm Credit of New Mexico, after serving as the Vice President and Assistant Treasurer. She succeeds Brian Lyon who retired. In this role, Gabaldon is responsible for and directs fiscal activities of the $1.3 billion dollar agricultural lender; in addition she manages the Accounting and Information Technology departments.
She began her career with the New Mexico Farm Credit System in 1984 and has worked in a variety of roles during the 28 years. Some of her past responsibilities include fiscal and operational accounting and auditing. According to CEO Al Porter, “her development into a senior management role has come about through her hard work and dedication.” She is a graduate of the College of Santa Fe; she obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees while working full time at Farm Credit of New Mexico. She is also a graduate of two of the FCC Services Leadership Development Programs.
She is a member of the Farm Credit System Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Workgroup and the Farm Credit of New Mexico D&I Council. The D&I group is actively promoting and educating employees in this area.
|Susan Grelling |
VP of Commodity Risk Management
Land O' Lakes
Susan Grelling is a Supply Chain and Sourcing Executive with 20 years experience in Food Manufacturing and International Development companies. Currently, she is Vice President, Commodities and Risk Management at Land O’ Lakes, Inc, a $10 billion farmer-owned, food and agricultural cooperative headquartered in Arden Hills, MN.
Prior to joining Land O’ Lakes in 2009, Susan was Vice President of Strategic Sourcing and Material Solutions for The Schwan Food Company, a $4 billion frozen food company. From 2000-2006, she founded Niche Markets International (NMI), a consultant firm specializing in agricultural business and agricultural markets servicing international public companies and NGOs in the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America and Canada.
Prior to NMI, Susan gained experience in supply chain management and risk management at Chr. Hansen, The Pillsbury Company, The Kellogg Company and General Mills. She gained international experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Latvia during the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Susan has a degree in economics from The University of Minnesota. She served on the Board of Directors for Dakota Communities ($15 million health care provider), the Future Farmers of America (FFA), and currently services on the Board of Directors for the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. She is married with two children and lives in Minnesota.
| ||Mary Ellen Hennessy-Jones|
Solera Capital LLC
Ms. Hennessy-Jones is President, Head of Research and a co-founder of Solera Capital, a $250 million New York-based private equity firm. Solera focuses on growth equity; its investment portfolio includes Annie’s, a leading natural and organic food company. Ms. Hennessy-Jones is responsible for guiding the firm’s research and analysis of industry sectors for investment origination and portfolio company strategy development. She also serves as Solera’s Chief Compliance Officer.
Ms. Hennessy-Jones graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Durant Scholar from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics. She also holds a MBA, with a concentration in Finance, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where she was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma.
|Elizabeth L. Hund|
Senior Vice President and Division Head
U.S. Bank Food Industries
Elizabeth Hund, a nationally recognized agribusiness lender, head’s U.S. Bank’s Food Industries division. She leads a team who oversees the products for the production, processing and distribution of food and agriculture products across the U.S.
Hund joined U.S. Bank from RaboBank International, where she was responsible for the management of the Western Region. Previously she worked in Denver CO, for CoBank, National Bank for Cooperatives, where she was senior relationship manager, and for Coleman Natural Meats as chief financial officer. Prior, Hund worked as vice president of agribusiness at Colorado National Bank, which has since been acquired by U.S. Bank.
Hund received a Masters Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a Bachelor of Science Degree in agriculture from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS.
Active in the national agriculture community, Hund is a member of the Farm Foundation Roundtable, a director of the National Western Stock Show Association, and a fellow of the California Agricultural Leadership Program. Additionally, she is a member of the Grocery Manufacturer's Association Associate Member Council. She has formally served on the Dean's Advisory Council for the College of Agricultural and Environment Sciences at the University of California at Davis and on the Dean's Advisory Council for the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, as well as the USDA Marketing Advisory Board.
|Ann Hastings Kafer|
Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing Services
Her 25 years of professional agribusiness experience includes serving as director of communications for Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative in Mattoon, Ill., and as communications coordinator for the Illinois Soybean Association. She joined the Bloomington, Ill.-based regional ag supply and grain marketing cooperative GROWMARK in 1993. There, she has held the positions of publications manager, corporate communications manager, manager of career development, and director of corporate communications and marketing services. In January 2012, Ann accepted the role of compliance officer for GROWMARK.
Ann Hastings Kafer is an honors graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications. She is a 2007 high honors graduate of Lincoln Christian Seminary with a master’s of arts degree in the Bible. In addition, she has logged hours toward a Masters of Business Administration degree at Illinois State University.
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Ingredients
Land O'Lakes, Inc.
Kitchen was named to her current position as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Ingredients in January 2012. Most recently, she was Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy Business Development and International. She has 20 years of cooperative experience, previously working as Vice President, business-to-business, for Land O’Lakes Purina Feed with responsibilities for Feed’s premix business, LabDiet®, Innovative Proteins and International Development. Prior to joining Land O’Lakes, Kitchen held roles in accounting at both GROWMARK Inc., a regional cooperative, and with Arthur Andersen & Company, an accounting firm based in Chicago. She is active in Women’s Leadership initiatives for the Greater Twin Cities United Way. Kitchen holds a master’s of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. She received her bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois and is a Certified Public Accountant.
United Soybean Board
Vanessa, her husband, Paul, and son and daughter-in-law, Blaine and Megan, raise soybeans, corn, wheat and sugar beets on their family farm near Colfax, N.D. Their daughter, Rachael, teaches math in Denver, Col. This is Vanessa's ninth year as a USB director. She most recently served one year as USB vice chair, Global Opportunities Program chair and team lead of the USB Strategic Planning Team. Vanessa’s previous board leadership experience includes two years as Communications Program chair, chair of the International Marketing Growth Market Subcommittee and team lead for the Select Yield & Quality Initiative. She has also been a member of the Biotechnology Initiative Leadership Team, International Marketing Committee, Competitiveness Committee, Production Committee, Audit & Evaluation Committee and Soy 2020 Advisory Group. Vanessa served as president of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association and holds a business management degree from North Dakota State College of Science.
Port of New Orleans
Janine Moreau Mansour has served as a commercial manager at the Port of New Orleans since July 2010. In her role, she works to develop more cargo thru the Port by identifying new cargo opportunities and by promoting the Port to shippers and importers, shipping lines and the maritime service sector. Janine speaks Mandarin and handles business related to the Far East trade for the Port. Prior to joining the Port, Janine worked in communications and community relations at Entergy New Orleans, Inc. Janine serves on the Board of Directors of the Traffic and Transportation Club of Greater New Orleans as well as the Asian Chamber of Commerce. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Confucius Institute at Xavier University and the Isidore Newman Alumni Board.
Janine graduated from Rice University in 2007 with a B.A. in Psychology and Policy Studies and she also ran Division-I cross-country and track.
Trans Coastal Supply Company, Inc.
Pam has over 25 years in the Grain Industry, trading grain and feed ingredients from across the country to across the world. Her vast knowledge and drive for the Ag Industry has made her one of the most well respected individuals in the Ag Business. She has been a guest speaker for the US Grains Council, American Soybean Association, and the US Soybean Export Council events in SE Asia and China. Pam’s diversity within the Ag Industry has made her a fierce competitor in trading grain and feed products, execution of logistics, and negotiating transportation rates for trucking, rail, barge, vessel, and container trading.
As president of Trans Coastal Supply Co, Inc, established in 2007, Pam and business partner Robert (Bob) Briscoe have established themselves as leading authorities in exportation of Ag commodities. Trans Coastal Supply Co is one of the top 10 Ag Commodity Exporter companies (containerized shipments) in the USA and has been a top 100 JOC Exporter for the last 3 years, a remarkable endeavor in today’s economy. Pam and Bob pride themselves on quality, service, price and performance. Their dedication to both the US Ag Industry and providing customers with superior products has created a win/win situation from the farmer to the consumer.
|Michele Payn-Knoper, CSP|
Cause Matters Corp.
Michele Payn-Knoper, CSP, connects the farm gate and food plate as principal of Cause Matters Corp. She is known for being a community catalyst, a passionate advocate for the global agrifood system - and antagonizing people into action. Michele has worked with farmers in more than 25 countries, raised over $5 million in sponsorships for the National FFA Foundation and is the founder of a weekly online Twitter conversation, AgChat, which has involved more than15,000 participants since April 2009. Payn-Knoper's degrees are in Agricultural Communications and Animal Science from Michigan State University. She has earned the Certified Speaking Professional designation, awarded to less than10% of professional speakers globally. She and her husband reside with their daughter on a small farm they built in central Indiana. Michele works to connect conversations between the food and farm communities at Cause Matters. Visit: causematters.com
General Manager - Minneapolis Office
BNSF Logistics International, LLC
Ashley Ritteman joined BNSF Logistics in November 2010 as a Regional Business Development Manager; since her start in 2010, Ms. Ritteman has led the start-up of both the Minot, ND and Minneapolis, MN offices for BNSF Logistics. She is now titled General Manager, Minneapolis, MN. Her role as General Manager is to lead the Minot intermodal initiative as well as develop agricultural sales nationwide.
Prior to her key role at BNSF Logistics, Ms. Ritteman worked with the following organizations: Dakota Prairie Organic Flour and Milling Company, the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, the North Dakota Trade Office, Woodward Consulting Partners, and the Japan External Trade Organization. Within these organizations Ms. Ritteman worked closely in the development of export strategies specific to her home State of North Dakota; developed an expertise in agriculture exports; and worked in Singapore assisting the expansion of American and European businesses into Asian Markets.
Ms. Ritteman earned her M.S. Degree in Agribusiness and Applied Economics specializing in logistics, strategy, and market risk from North Dakota State University.
Field Research Manager
Michelle Smith leads the Field Science team in the non-crop businesses for Dow AgroSciences. This US-based team is responsible for research and development of solutions for pests in turf and ornamentals, structural and commodity fumigation and termite control, range and pasture, and industrial vegetation management. Michelle is a member of the Dow AgroSciences Women’s Innovation Network Steering Team, and has championed coaching as a means to develop leadership skills for aspiring women at Dow AgroSciences since 2010.
Michelle has over 20 years of experience in R&D, pest management, technology transfer, and communications. She joined Dow AgroSciences in 1990 as a Technical Service and Development specialist in Anaheim, California, and has held several technical specialist and technology transfer leadership roles within Pest Management. She is a certified Six-Sigma Black Belt. Michelle received her B.A. degree from Hollins University and her Master's degree in entomology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She serves as Treasurer for the Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology Section of the Entomological Society of America.
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer
Alice V. Sterkel is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Novus International, Inc., with overall responsibility for the legal affairs of the company as well as Quality Assurance and Internal Audit.
Alice joined Novus in 1998 and was promoted to the position of General Counsel in 2002. She became Chief Compliance Officer in 2005, was appointed as a Vice President in 2007 and named Senior Vice President in 2012.
During her tenure at Novus, Alice has worked on a wide variety of legal matters, including overseeing the successful settlement of major antitrust class action litigation in the US and the release of Novus from the European Commission investigation into various companies’ anti-competitive activities in the methionine industry.
Alice began her legal career at the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, now the Missouri Department of Transportation, as Assistant Counsel, where she handled civil litigation matters on behalf of the state.
In 1987, she joined Mississippi River Transmission Corporation (MRT), an interstate natural gas pipeline headquartered in Saint Louis, as a Staff Attorney. Alice worked on a wide variety of legal matters for MRT, including representing the pipeline before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). While at MRT, she was instrumental in the company’s transition under FERC Order 636 from a merchant business to a common carrier pipeline with an independent marketing subsidiary. In 1994, Alice was promoted to the position of General Counsel of MRT. In 1997, NorAm was acquired by Houston Industries Incorporated, now Reliant Energy, making the combined company one of the largest diversified energy companies in the U.S. at the time, with total assets of $18 billion.
A native of Royal Oak, Michigan, Alice obtained her B.A. in 1979 from the University of Chicago and her J.D. in 1982 from Washington University in Saint Louis. She was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1982.
Tour Outreach Manager - Technology Communications Team
Roe has spent over 30 years working in the seed industry. The first 25 years of her career she was an owner/manager of a family seed company. She was involved with all aspects of the business from seed production to sales. In 2005, the family sold the company to Monsanto and became one of their Regional Seed Brands, Stone Seed Group. In the seven years following Monsanto’s acquisition, Roe held multiple roles with Stone Seed Group including finance, operations, customer service, and business integration. She most recently served as Stone Seed Group’s Marketing Director responsible for brand strategy and direction, focusing on the continuity of the customer experience as the brand saw significant growth.
In June 2012, Roe joined the Technology Communications Team at Monsanto’s World Headquarters in St. Louis, MO as their Tour Outreach Manager. She is responsible for the content and execution of the Tour Outreach Programs - internally, at remote sites, and externally. She also leads Monsanto’s Alliance of Tour Providers program supporting the visitor programs at several Monsanto sites throughout the country.
Roe continues to be involved with their family farm in Central Illinois. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in education and has volunteered with several non-profit organizations concentrating on agriculture and education. In 2009, she was named an “Illinois Lady of Agriculture” by the Illinois Director of Agriculture.
Senior Director, Agricultural Commodity Products
Susan Sutherland has been with the CME Group since the merger with the Chicago Board of Trade in 2007. She has worked at the respective exchanges in total for over 16 years. As part of the Agricultural Commodity Products Team, she is responsible for managing the grain and oilseed contract portfolio for the exchange. In doing so Susan works domestically and internationally with exchange customers including commodity importers, commercial firms, agricultural associations and commodity traders.
Susan has 20 plus years of experience in commodity risk management, hedging, market analysis and ingredient procurement. In addition to working for the exchanges, Susan worked at a global FCM in commodity risk management consulting and brokerage. She also worked in procurement and commodity analysis with the Quaker Oats Company and Keebler Company.
Susan received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics and an MBA from the University of Illinois.
|Rhonda Caughlin Werner|
Partner and Agronomy and Seed Recruiting Consultant
Ag 1 Source
In 2007, Rhonda Caughlin Werner joined Ag 1 Source with her recruiting efforts focused in the South and Eastern United States, becoming a partner to the firm in 2009. She has since been instrumental in the growth for Ag 1 Source as they are now established as the premier agriculture recruiting firm for this area.
Rhonda recruits for the agronomy and seed industry, which is also where her career in the industry began. Rhonda has many successful years of experience working in sales, management and agronomy roles in the industry she now serves. Because of the hands on experience and knowledge of the industry she recruits for, she knows what it takes to be successful in these roles. She utilizes her experiences every day in her efforts to find top talent and bring that to her clients.
She is a Murray State University graduate in Agronomy and Ag Business and just recently ended her 2 year term as President of the AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky where she still resides on the Board of Directors. She is also serving on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Certified Crop Advisors. Rhonda also founded the Ag Career Women Networking website with active groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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