Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer, Gro Intelligence @SoSewit
Sewit Ahderom is cofounder and chief operating officer at Gro Intelligence. Prior to her work at Gro Intelligence, she was a vice president at Helios Investment Partners, an Africa-focused private investment fund with more than $4 billion in capital under management. Ahderom joined Helios after working with IPS, an investment arm of the Aga Khan Development Network focused on food and agro processing as well as infrastructure development. Prior to that, she was a vice president at Citigroup’s Investment Banking Division in New York where she worked in the leveraged finance and global portfolio management teams. Ahderom holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.
Nutrition and Food Systems Specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations @femibriggs
Oluwafemi Ajayi is a nutrition and food systems specialist with special focus on nutrition-sensitive integrated agriculture-aquaculture food systems at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In his role, he assists in the design, monitoring and supporting activities on the contribution of integrated agriculture-aquaculture systems to transform food systems for better food security and nutrition outcomes. Prior to joining FAO, he worked with the WorldFish Center on the nutritional role of small indigenous fish species on the dietary diversity of communities around Lake Bangweulu, Zambia. Oluwafemi holds a BA from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta and a MSc in Food Technology from the University of Ibadan, both in Nigeria.
Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour and is one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit. Along with her NPR science desk colleagues, Aubrey is the winner of a 2019 Gracie Award. She is the recipient of a 2018 James Beard broadcast award for her coverage of 'Food As Medicine.' Aubrey is also a 2016 winner of a James Beard Award in the category of "Best TV Segment" for a PBS/NPR collaboration. The series of stories included an investigation of the link between pesticides and the decline of bees and other pollinators, and a two-part series on food waste. Before coming to NPR, Aubrey was a reporter for the PBS NewsHour and a producer for C-SPAN's Presidential election coverage. Aubrey received her BA from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and an MA from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Eliza Barclay is an editor at Vox.com, where she oversees their award-winning health, science, energy, and environment coverage. Barclay was a former reporter and editor at NPR, and most recently edited the food blog, The Salt. As an editor of The Salt, she received a James Beard Award, a Gracie Award, and an Association of Food Journalists Award. Barclay has been a fellow with the International Reporting Project, the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, and the International Women’s Media Foundation.
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture Program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs @C_A_Bertini
Catherine Bertini is a distinguished fellow of global food and agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and a former Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. She also chairs the Council’s Girls in Rural Economies projects. For five years, she cochaired the Council’s Global Food and Agriculture program, and she cochaired the Council’s work on domestic agriculture during two Farm Bill seasons. Previously, she was executive director of the United Nations World Food Program (1992 to 2002), the world’s largest international humanitarian agency. She was awarded the World Food Prize (WFP) in 2003 for her groundbreaking work with WFP. She served as UN Under Secretary General for Management and as the UN Security Coordinator (2003 to 2005). She taught graduate students at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and the Ford School at the University of Michigan, and was a fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. Bertini served in the US government as USDA assistant secretary for food and consumer services, nominated by President George H.W. Bush, as director of the office of family assistance at DHHS, and as an appointee of both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to the board of International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD). She was part of the early agriculture team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Hattie Brown is a dual-degree Masters of Science and Masters of International Business candidate at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where her studies focus on economic development through impact and ESG factor investment, particularly in the agricultural sector. Brown currently works for MSCI as an ESG researcher on sustainable metrics in the areas of nutrition, access to healthcare, and human capital development. She was a 2019 Next Generation Delegate with the Chicago Council. Prior to this, Hattie was a Tisch Fellow at the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service Food Assistance Division, where her work focused on the impact of development programs on agricultural markets and trade facilitation. Prior to graduate school, Hattie worked in compliance in consumer banking and municipal bond insurance.
Louisa is Head of Media & Research for AgFunder and chief editor of the news site AFN. She has covered a range of financial products and markets during her career, from equity capital markets in Asia to structured bonds in Europe, before turning her attention to food and agriculture over six years ago. Burwood-Taylor has been responsible for launching two publications: an institutional investment intelligence service for the Financial Times and the first-ever title focused on agriculture investment, Agri Investor, for PEI Media.
Ranveer Chandra is the Chief Scientist at Microsoft Azure Global. His research has shipped in multiple Microsoft products, including Windows, Visual Studio, XBOX, and Azure. Chandra is leading the FarmBeats, battery research, and TV white space research projects at Microsoft. His work on FarmBeats was featured by Bill Gates on GatesNotes, and he has been invited to present his research on FarmBeats to the Secretary of Agriculture, and on TV White Spaces to the FCC Chairman. Chandra has published over 90 research papers and has over 100 patents that have been granted by the USPTO. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, and has won several awards, including best paper awards, and the MIT Technology Review’s Top Innovators Under 35. Ranveer has an undergraduate degree from IIT Kharagpur, India and a PhD from Cornell University.
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture Program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs @Ertharin1
Ertharin Cousin is a distinguished fellow of global agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She previously served as executive director of the World Food Programme from 2012 until 2017. In this role, Cousin led the world’s largest humanitarian organization with 14,000 staff serving 80 million vulnerable people across 75 countries. Cousin possesses more than 30 years of national and international nonprofit, government, and corporate leadership experience. She maintains relationships with global government, business, and community leaders. She has published numerous articles regarding agriculture, food security, and nutrition. In 2009, Cousin was nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate as the US ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. In this role Cousin served as the US representative for all food, agriculture, and nutrition related issues. Cousin regularly represented US interest in global leader discussions, including prime ministers, foreign and agriculture ministers, academics and business executives, regarding humanitarian and development activities. She has been listed numerous times on the Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” list, as the Fortune “Most Powerful Woman in Food and Drink,” on TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” list, and as one of the “500 Most Powerful People on the Planet” by Foreign Policy magazine.
Ivo H. Daalder is president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as the US ambassador to NATO from 2009-2013. Prior to his appointment as ambassador to NATO, Daalder was a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, specializing in American foreign policy, European security and transatlantic relations, and national security affairs. Before joining Brookings in 1998, he was an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and director of research at its Center for International and Security Studies. He also served as director for European affairs on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff from 1995 to 1997. Ambassador Daalder was educated at the universities of Kent, Oxford, and Georgetown, and received his PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture Program, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Dan Glickman is a distinguished fellow of global food and agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. For nine years, he cochaired the Council's Global Food and Agriculture Program.Glickman is vice president of The Aspen Institute and executive director of The Aspen Institute Congressional Program, which was established in 1983. Glickman also serves as a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center where he is cochair of its Democracy Project. Prior to joining The Aspen Institute, Glickman served as US Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration. He also represented the 4th Congressional district of Kansas for 18 years in the US House of Representatives, where he was very involved in federal farm policy of the House Agriculture Committee and also served on the House Judiciary Committee as a chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In addition he is the former chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. and former director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Glickman has served as president of the Wichita, Kansas School Board; was a partner in the law firm of Sargent, Klenda, and Glickman; and worked as a trial attorney at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He received his BA in history from the University of Michigan and his JD from the George Washington University. He is a member of the Kansas and District of Columbia Bars.
Elliott Grant is a recognized innovator in the food and agriculture industry. He is a General Manager at X, Alphabet’s secretive “Moonshot Factory,” where he leads a project focused on revolutionizing sustainable agriculture. He was the founding CEO of HarvestMark, the world leader in fresh food traceability; the CEO of ShopWell, a personalized nutrition technology company; and served as the Vice Chair of the Produce Marketing Association, a global produce trade organization, and chaired its Science & Technology Committee. Grant previously worked at McKinsey & Company. He earned his PhD in engineering from Cambridge University and is the author of 24 US patents covering topics ranging from cryptography and food traceability, to crop phenotyping.
Dr. Tanya Harrison is the Manager of Science Programs at the federal arm of Planet Labs. Her background is in geomorphology, specializing in remote sensing data analysis. She has worked in mission operations for cameras aboard various NASA Mars missions over the past decade. Tanya holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Western Ontario, a Masters in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Wesleyan University, and a BSc in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Washington.
Women, Peace, and Security Fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Public Fellow for the American Council of Learned Societies
Katelyn Jones is the Women, Peace, and Security Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Public Fellow for the American Council of Learned Societies. Her research concerns gender politics in international organizations, and is especially focused on gender mainstreaming in policy formation and implementation. To date, her primary research has centered on the United Nations Security Council’s “Women, Peace, and Security” (WPS) agenda, including completion of the first and only analysis of UNSC debates on WPS issues. She earned a PhD and MA in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an AB in government from Georgetown University. Prior to joining the Council, Jones was visiting faculty in international politics at the University of Richmond and Barnard College. She has also worked at the Center for Religious Freedom in Washington, DC, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in St. Louis. Her research has been selected for presentations at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Women, Peace, and Security, as well as Women In International Security’s Next Generation Symposium on the future of WPS.
President, Mississippi State University
Mark Everett Keenum became Mississippi State University’s 19th president in 2009. His passion for international engagement and transformative research has positioned Mississippi State as a leader in addressing global food security and poverty. In 2018, Keenum was appointed chairman of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. In 2014, he was appointed to the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and elected to chair the FFAR board in 2017. Keenum began his career at as a faculty member with the Extension Service and Department of Agricultural Economics at MSU. He went on to serve as chief of staff to US Senator Thad Cochran, and was appointed Under Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture by President George W. Bush. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD in agricultural economics from MSU.
Chief Investing Officer and Managing Director, S2G Ventures
Sanjeev Krishnan is chief investment officer and managing director of S2G Ventures, and he has been with the firm since its inception. He has nearly 20 years of experience in sourcing, executing, managing and exiting venture and private equity investments, including a focus in agriculture and food companies. As managing director, Krishnan is active in developing investments and managing portfolio companies including, serving on many portfolio company boards. His portfolio work ranges from genetics, crop protection, soil health, digital/IOT, crop insurance, merchandising, indoor agriculture, novel flavor and ingredients, new protein development, unique processors and brands that will feed this changing consumer. He is passionate about the role of innovation, entrepreneurship, markets and system investing as a theory of change. He has worked in the intersection of sustainability, technology and health in many regions, including Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. His previous investment roles include CLSA Capital Partners, Global Environment Fund, World Bank Group’s IFC and JPMorgan. Krishnan is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Rachel Lambert is a Senior Livelihoods Adviser in the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) Agriculture Research team. DFID commissions and funds agricultural research to develop new agriculture technologies, test interventions and delivery mechanisms, and develop a deeper understanding of the context that influences the success of investments in agriculture development. Lambert leads research and evidence work looking at the linkages between agriculture, food systems, and nutrition and health outcomes as well as several initiatives on agriculture technology and innovation. She has over 20 years of policy and programming experience in food security, agriculture, and rural development programs, and has lived and worked for much of her career in India and Africa. Lambert has a BA Hons in Geography from Oxford University and an MA in Rural Development from University of East Anglia.
Ruramiso Mashumba is the CEO and founder of Mnandi Africa, an organization that helps rural woman combat poverty and malnutrition by empowering women with the skills and knowledge in agriculture, nutrition, and markets and technology. Prior to its founding, Mashumba inherited a farm from her parents with no equipment, but today, the farm is mechanized. She has been nominated for several agriculture awards and in 2019, she was selected for the Cornell Alliance for Science Fellowship and received the JCI Top 10 Young Person Award. Mashumba holds a BA in Agriculture Business Management from the University of West England.
Senior Vice President, Agricultural Global Government Relations, Regulatory Policy, Bayer Crop Science
Philip Miller serves as senior vice president of Agricultural Global Government Relations, Regulatory Policy at Bayer Crop Science. Formerly, Miller served as vice president of Global Corporate Affairs for Monsanto, where he was responsible for public affairs, industry affairs, sustainability, and partnerships. He obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Florida. Miller currently serves on the Boards of Biotechnology Innovation Organization and the Crop Life International. He is the inventor on greater than 20 patents and an author on 17 scientific papers and book chapters.
Head of Impact Strategy, Impossible Foods
Rebekah Moses leads impact strategy at Impossible Foods, a company addressing climate change and sustainable food futures through plant-based meat. Her work focuses on how product innovation and consumer behavior can maximize environmental outcomes and business growth. Moses works with Impossible Foods teams to integrate environmental and social mission into core strategy. She has worked at the intersection of ecology, agriculture, and international development in the Middle East and domestically. Moses’ research contributions can be found in journals like the Public Library of Science (PLOS) and Journal of Applied Ecology, as well as via the USAID Water and Livelihoods Initiative online.
Danielle Nierenberg is cofounder and president of Food Tank, a nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Food Tank is a global convener, research organization, and non-biased creator of original research impacting the food system. Nierenberg is a world-renowned researcher, speaker, and advocate on all issues relating to our food system and agriculture.
Femi Oke is an award winning international journalist, broadcaster, professional moderator and co-founder of the diverse moderators bureau "Moderate The Panel." Oke has traveled the world hosting high-profile events and leading global conversations. She can be found facilitating regularly for the likes of the United Nations, the World Bank and European Commission. Some of her most warmly received appearances include hosting the NBA Africa All-Stars event in New Orleans, being Mistress of Ceremonies for Peter Gabriel at the Witness 25th Anniversary Benefit Gala, and launching the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Deputy Director, Climate and Environment Division, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Zitouni Ould-Dada is deputy director in the Climate and Environment Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. Before joining FAO, he worked as head of technology unit at UNEP in Paris for 5 years. Prior to that, he worked for the British government for 15 years holding several senior positions at Department of Energy and Climate Change; Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Food Standards Agency; Environment Agency; and Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food. Ould-Dada also worked for the French Government on international climate change during France Presidency of the European Union in 2008. Ould-Dada is renowned internationally for his strong diplomatic and moderating skills and ability to build collaborative partnerships. His international responsibilities included UK Lead Negotiator on Technology and chair of climate change negotiations under the UNFCCC; Chair of European Union Expert Group on Technology; Chair of IRENA’s Policy and Strategy Committee; Member of International Energy Agency’s Renewable Energy Working Party; Member of UN Inter-Agency Task Team for implementation of Technology Facilitation Mechanism under the 2030 Agenda; and Member of UN Inter-Agency Task Team to develop a UN System-wide Approach to Climate Action for the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit 2019. Ould-Dada has a BSc in Environmental Engineering from Institut Universitaire de Technologie, Perpignan, France; a MS in Environmental Management and Planning, Université de Rennes, France; and a PhD in Radiation Protection from Imperial College, London, UK.
Jim Perdue has been the Chairman and advertising spokesman of Perdue Farms since 1991. He is a third generation leader of the company founded by his grandfather in 1920. As the Chairman, Perdue is responsible for ensuring the company stays true to its vision and values, and by ensuring that the company continues to build on its strong corporate responsibility programs, especially continued leadership in elevating animal care and strengthening farmer relationships. He received his BA from Wake Forest University, his MS in marine biology from the University of Massachusetts at North Dartmouth, an MBA from Salisbury University, and a PhD in fisheries from the University of Washington Seattle.
Executive Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
Sally Rockey is the inaugural Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). Prior to this role, Rockey was a leader in Federal research, overseeing the operations of the extramural programs in both agriculture and biomedicine. She spent almost twenty years with the US Department of Agriculture where she held several positions within the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Very early in her career she became the head of the competitive grants program, overseeing the extramural grants portfolio. In her last few years at USDA she was Chief Information Officer. From there she moved to and spent over ten years with the National Institutes of Health. Returning to her roots in agriculture, she has led FFAR through its startup phase and seen it grow into a significant force in the agriculture research community through the development of innovative private/public research partnerships. Rockey received her PhD in Entomology from the Ohio State University and did postgraduate work at University of Wisconsin prior to joining the government. She has devoted her career to improving people’s lives through research and will continue her mission by seeing FFAR become an essential component of the scientific enterprise.
Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, Columbia University Earth Institute @AgMIPnews
Cynthia Rosenzweig is a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at the Columbia University Earth Institute’s Center for Climate Systems Research. At NASA GISS, she heads the Climate Impacts Group whose mission is to investigate the interactions of climate (both variability and change) on systems and sectors important to human well-being. Rosenzweig is the co-founder and a member of the Executive Committee of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), a globally integrated transdisciplinary study of climate impacts on the agricultural sector at national and global scales, including the participation of over 1000 leading researchers from developed and developing nations. She is now spearheading the AgMIP coordinated global and regional assessments of effects of climate change on the food system, including effects on nutrition. Rosenzweig was Coordinating Lead Author on the Food Security Chapter for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. She was also Coordinating Lead Author on observed climate change impacts for the IPCC Working Group II Fourth Assessment Report.
Former President, DuPont Pioneer
Paul Schickler was president of DuPont Pioneer, the advanced seed genetics business of DuPont, from 2007 to 2017. In this role he continued to expand Pioneer’s global business by remaining focused on innovation that improves local productivity and profitability of farmers in more than 90 countries. Schickler joined Pioneer in 1974 and served in a variety of finance, commercial, and administrative leadership roles, including vice president of international operations from 1999 to 2007. Schickler is a graduate of Drake University where he received bachelor of science and master of arts degrees in business administration. He has served on the board of directors of the Cultivation Corridor, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Iowa Business Council, and Grand View University. He also served on the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress committee. He currently serves on the board of directors of Drake University, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the World Food Prize Foundation. A strong contributor to the community, Schickler was chair of the 2018 United Way of Central Iowa Campaign and provides support for the World Food Prize - Global Youth Institute. His company, III Ag, LLC, provides consulting services to international companies and start-up enterprises in agriculture.
Barbara Stinson assumed leadership of the World Food Prize Foundation in January 2020, having previously served as a cofounder and Senior Partner of the Meridian Institute. Stinson has more than 30 years of experience in environmental public policy and business management. She has led programs focused on innovative approaches to agricultural development, alternative energy development, ecosystem restoration, air quality management, natural resource management, and low-level radioactive waste disposal. She received her MA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BA in environmental conservation from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Senior Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Roger Thurow joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as senior fellow on global food and agriculture in January 2010 after three decades at The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, and his most recent book, The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—and the World, was published in May 2016. Thurow is an expert on agricultural development and speaks often on high-visibility platforms related to nutrition, hunger, and agriculture in the United States, Europe, and Africa. In 2013, he spoke about the power smallholder farmers in Africa at TedxChange Seattle event, hosted by Melinda Gates. Thurow graduated from the University of Iowa.
Executive Director, Cofounder, and Group CEO, Olam
Sunny Verghese is Group CEO of Olam, and holds charge as CEO of Olam Global Agri and Olam International. Olam operates in more than 60 countries, delivering various agricultural raw materials and food ingredients. Since 2018, Verghese has been Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the global, CEO-led organization dedicated to accelerating the transition to a sustainable world. He previously chaired CitySpring Infrastructure Management Pte Ltd, a listed Business Trust in Singapore and was also a Commissioner of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC). He has won several awards including ‘Outstanding Chief Executive’ at the Singapore Business Awards in 2007, ‘Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ for Singapore in 2008 and ‘Best CEO of the Year 2011’ at the Singapore Corporate Awards. He was also awarded the Public Service Medal by the Government of the Republic of Singapore in 2010.