Alejandro Leloir

Alejandro is the USDBC’s Regional Director for Central, South America and the Caribbean of the USDBC. He received his agriculture engineering degree from Buenos Aires University in 2013 and is currently pursuing an MBA in Agribusiness. At the beginning of his career, he was Production Manager at a large farming operation in Uruguay. After moving to Costa Rica, where he resides since 2016, he became the International Buyer of Pulses for the largest pulse importer in the country, where he was responsible for market analysis and global pulse purchases, originating from the main producing countries.

Alexa Tonkovich

In 2022, Alexa joined LOTUS, a London-based marketing and PR agency. LOTUS represents several U.S. and European food & drink boards, including Oregon Wine and Catalan Agri-Foods, providing a range of consumer and trade marketing and communications services. Alexa also works with the U.S. Embassy in London on Savor the States, an initiative to promote U.S. agriculture in the UK through digital marketing and social media. Through a strategic partnership with Rose Research, Alexa manages Emerging Markets Program (EMP) projects for clients including ASMI, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and the U.S. Dry Beans Council (USDBC).

Alice Zaslavsky

Born in Tbilisi, Georgia at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Alice grew up with a cuisine that reaches for the veg first; it’s no surprise then, that this is at the heart of her food philosophy, helping others across the world do the same through her books, radio & television work and columns. She is the author of international best-seller, James Beard finalist and ABIA award-winning kitchen bible In Praise of Veg, kids’ fun food fact book Alice’s A to Z, and cooking confidence unlocker The Joy of Better Cooking

Ali Honour

Ali Honour, a highly regarded chef with 30 years of professional experience on the Irish food scene, bridges the gap between farm and fork and helps food businesses aspiring to operate in a more sustainable way. Ali provides practical strategies in areas such as food waste, carbon footprint, nutrition and environmental impact. Through her work as a spokesperson and advocate Ali makes it her mission to transform the culinary landscape by promoting sustainable, zero-waste, nutritious, and delicious food choices.

Alyson Greenhalgh Ball

Alyson is the founder of Conscious Impact and an executive with over twenty-five years’ experience in the public health sector spanning healthcare, academic, non-ex, commercial and as a global nutrition lead within the food industry at the Kellogg Company. Passionate about how good food is a cornerstone for health, her intent is to lean into the solutions across the food system space so we can collectively continue to nourish the world respecting our precious planetary resources and celebrate food for the special place it has in our society, celebrations and shared experiences.

Amelia Christie-Miller

In 2021, Amelia founded Bold Bean Co, a brand "on a mission to make you obsessed with beans, by giving you the best of beans". Bold Bean Co sells expertly sourced and slowly cooked heirloom beans, presented in a beautiful glass jar. Within one year they have found themselves in stores like Waitrose, Selfridges and Planet Organic and she has been interviewed on The Food Program on BBC Radio 4.

Andrew Zimmern

Emmy-winning and four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and social justice advocate. As the creator, executive producer and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise, Andrew Zimmern’s Driven by Food, MSNBC’s What’s Eating America, Magnolia Network’s Emmy-nominated Family Dinner, and the Emmy-winning the Zimmern List, he has devoted his life to exploring and promoting cultural acceptance, tolerance and understanding through food. You can also find him judging Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend on Netflix, the Silos Baking Competition on HBO MAX, and teaching live fire cooking on Outdoor Channel’s Andrew Zimmern’s Wild Game Kitchen.

Berklee Welsh

Berklee Welsh is an Associate Manager, Sustainability & Mission at Simple Mills – a leading better-for-you food brand on a mission to advance the holistic health of the planet and its people. Berklee focuses on regenerative agriculture programming, supply chain transparency, and product design centered around human and planetary health impacts. Passionate about where and how food is grown, she leads the company’s farm-level data collection efforts, climate work, and regenerative agriculture engagement programs with farmers in California, Indonesia, and the Midwest—three of Simple Mills’ most important sourcing regions.

Brad Barnes

A 48 year veteran of the professional kitchen, a Certified Master Chef and President of Pure Food Consulting, Barnes specializes in strategic business development, serving a multitude of food businesses internationally. Barnes retired as Senior Director of Consulting and Industry Programs at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York in 2022, where he oversaw all non-degree programming for the college including Advanced Professional Training, ProChef Certification as well as All Operational Consulting. Today Brad works with multinational companies as a strategic food business designer, helping companies bring new products to market and re-energize existing products.

Carlos Leal

Carlos Leal is a creator of gastronomic enterprises in Mexico. He participated in MasterChef Mexico in which he had an outstanding performance as a semifinalist. Since then he has participated in numerous television programs, expos and official events. He is also a gastronomic lecturer and has participated in forums such as TEDx; in different Mexican embassies such as in the United Kingdom, Panama and Japan. He is Global Ambassador for the "Cook and Chef Institute", a European organization that brings together one hundred outstanding chefs around the world. Since 2022 he is spokesperson and content creator for Alianza Leguminosas.

Catharine Powers

Chair of The Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Kids Collaborative, and a partner with Culinary Nutrition Associates LLC and Culinary Nutrition Publishing LLC. She is co-author of the textbook, Essentials of Nutrition for Chefs, an IACP cookbook winner for the Health and Special Diet category. She is the co-author of Portion Photos of Popular Foods and Recipe Nutrient Analysis: Best Practices for Calculation and Chemical Analysis and co-editor of Review of Dietetics: Manual for the Registration Examination for Dietitians, 2022-2024 edition. Cathy spearheaded the launch of HealthySchoolRecipes.com, a site that is a resource for creditable, healthful and flavorful school recipes.

Chelsea Didinger

Chelsea Didinger just graduated with her PhD in Nutrition from Colorado State University. Her translational research focuses on increasing consumer bean intake to advance public and environmental health. Working with researchers, Extension, farmers, processors, and other partners around the globe, she strives to adopt a holistic approach that promotes thriving food systems and communities. She is the Global Nutritional Specialist for the US Dry Bean Council and works with several other bean organizations. Bean outreach is her passion, so she started an informational platform to share the fascinating behind-the-scenes world of beans with the public, A Legume a Day

Christine Lopes

Christine Lopes started her career in France. Her Master's degree in Emerging Markets Analysis with a specialisation in Latin America brought her to Latin America 20 years ago. She has been working for Innova Market Insights for 11 years serving A&B companies in the Latin American market. She has been a speaker at commercial and institutional events in different countries in the region presenting the latest trends in the Food and Beverage market and a jury for some of the most recognized Latin American F&B innovation prizes.

David Longstaff

After growing up in Florida, Longstaff entered the military in 1984, retiring after 30 years. His numerous military assignments and deployments culminated into his final assignment as The Army Food Advisor, the most senior position in Army Food Service providing guidance on a $3.2 Billion food program. Accolades include 2 Legion of Merit Medals and 2 Bronze Star Medals (1 w/Valor device). Received an Associates degree in Culinary Skills and a Bachelors degree in Management. He became a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation in 2001 and was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Chefs in 2007.

Juan Salinas

Founder and CEO of Perfect Life Nutrition Inc, the manufacturer of P-nuff Crunch, a Navy Bean and Peanut-based protein puff snack. A native of Honduras and now a resident of New Jersey, he holds a Masters and PhD in Food Science from Rutgers University, a Masters in Sports Nutrition from the International Olympic Committee, Certified IBS diet nutritionist from the Monash Institute, and a Rutgers MBA candidacy. He started the company after spending over 20 years working as a snack innovator and product developer for several of the largest CPG food companies in the US.

Eve Turow-Paul

Leading expert on Millennial and Gen Z global food culture, founder and Executive Director of Food for Climate League. Her latest book is Hungry: Avocado Toast, Instagram Influencers and Our Search for Connection and Meaning (BenBella, 2020). Through her writing, consultancy (ETP Insights) and nonprofit leadership, she helps connect the dots between climate, food culture, and human needs. She has been recognized for her insights into the changing landscape of food culture and has appeared in various media outlets to discuss her research and findings. She views food culture as a key lever for improving mental, physical, and environmental health.

Gulden Yilmaz

Dr. Gulden Yilmaz with 20 years of experience in applied research in a wide range of areas. She obtained her engineering degree from Istanbul Technical University in Food Engineering and her PhD from Utrecht University in Polymer Technology. Her work involves coordination of the strategic development, development initiatives and funds, as well as knowledge management within the field of healthy and safe food systems. She is member of the Food and Nutrition Security Steering Committee at IFT and member of the Supervisory Board of the HAN (University Arnhem-Nijmegen). Gulden has been involved with initiatives in Biobased Economy, Biorefinery, and Biobased products.

Henry J. Thompson

Professor of Nutrien Distinguished Scholar of Agricultural Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Cancer Prevention Laboratory at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. From 1988 to 2002 he was the head of the Center for Nutrition in the Prevention of Disease at AMC Cancer Research Center, Denver, Colorado. Before joining AMC, Thompson was on the faculty of the University of New Hampshire where he was professor of Nutritional Sciences and director of the Human Nutrition Center. He served as a senior research nutritionist at IIT Research Institute in Chicago, IL from 1977 to 1979.

Javier Berterreche

A Chemist, specialized in Dairy Science and Technology, with a M.Sc degree in Food Science and Technology. Spent 20 years at CONAPROLE (Uruguay) the main dairy exporter in South America. Served as the R&D Manager at CONAPROLE until 2002, before moving to work at the Dairy Products School at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, to conduct applied research and instruction. Four years later, moved to a technical sales position for different food ingredient companies. Took a position at Bridge2Food in 2022, offering services to professionals, companies and research institutions in the Plant-Based and Alternative Proteins field.

Jean Claude Rubyogo

Jean Claude Rubyogo is a seasoned leader in agricultural research, holding dual roles as the Leader of the Global Bean Program and the Director of the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (see http://www.pabra-africa.org) at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, stationed in Nairobi, Kenya. In recognition of his profound leadership, PABRA and its members have won several prizes including the Africa Food Prize in 2023 .

Jessica Hegarty

Jessica is currently the VP of Product Development and Strategy for PLANTSTRONG, a spinout of the Whole Foods Market exclusive brand Engine 2, established in 2010. Jess also actively consults on a variety of plant-based initiatives, working with companies to incorporate healthy food into retail grocery, e-commerce, healthcare, and community systems.

Joanna Broomfield

Joanna is a committed climate activist and the Co-Founder of Root The Future, Thailand’s largest plant-based food and sustainability community. Under this venture, Joanna advocates, educates, and entertains through a myriad of channels including mass transit, social media, social campaigns, and events—all aimed at promoting climate action with a particular focus on plant-based food solutions. As a documentary filmmaker, Joanna harnesses the power of visual storytelling to further raise awareness about sustainable practices, and inspire change.

Jonn P. Slette

Jonn Slette is the Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Trade Office in Mexico City. Prior to his current posting, Mr. Slette served as Agricultural Attaché in Warsaw, New Delhi, and Jakarta. Mr. Slette joined the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in 2006 as an Agricultural Economist. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a Returned Peace Corps volunteer, with service in Ecuador. Jonn was raised on a family corn and soybean farm in southern Minnesota and is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Jose Barrios

Jose innovated the fusion of dry beans and Colombian cacao, sourced from post-conflict farms dedicated to community upliftment, to develop the new YOLO brand of bean snacks. He is a brand builder expert for agricultural products. For more than 15 years, Mr. Barrios has contributed to increasing the U.S. industry market share in the Americas market. Jose serves as an international representative for the US Dry Bean Council in MERCOSUR markets. He holds a Master's degree in Sustainable International Agriculture with a specialization in International Agribusiness and Rural Development Economics from the University of Göttingen in Germany and the University of Talca in Chile.

Dr. Katie Wilson

With passion for child nutrition, Wilson has dedicated her career to improving access to healthy food for all children and their families. She has spent 23 years as a school nutrition director, 5 years as the Executive Director for the Institute of Child Nutrition, 2 years as the Deputy Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the United States Department of Agriculture, appointed by President Obama and is presently the Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance. She has received many peer nominated awards, including the award in her name: The Dr. Katie Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award

Maggie Sadowsky

President and Owner of 8 Track Foods and recognized thought leader in Natural Foods and a subject matter expert in plant proteins. Maggie graduated from The Ohio State University with a BS in Food Science. She is a Certified Food Scientist (CFS) from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and holds advisory positions with the Good Food Institute (GFI) and US Dry Bean Council (USDBC). Before launching 8 Track Foods, Maggie owned the consulting firm The Culinary Architects, with clients including Conagra, Kellogg, and Beyond Meat. She has influenced and launched over 100 successful products in the food industry.

Michelle Villarroel

As a 33-year-old biochemical engineer, and, perhaps a reflection of my generation, I have always believed that things can and should be done differently. I have worked strongly linked to innovation, research and entrepreneurship for the development of food products that have better sensory and nutritional characteristics, and that are environmentally sustainable. Currently, I work as Food Science Team Leader at NotCo, a company where we are dedicated to do something that no one has done yet: transform the food industry using artificial intelligence, with a multidisciplinary team of scientists, chefs, engineers, nutritionists, and many more.

Mike Anderson

Serving as the Anderson Northwest President and Managing Member since 2015. Prior to joining Anderson Northwest, Mike was the founder of 13 Foods, an innovative IQF Pulse retail brand, and led the brand to placement in over 3,000 US domestic retail grocery stores. Earlier in his career, Mike was a collegiate football coach at Washington State University, University of Idaho and University of Washington. Mike holds a M.A. in Organizational Leadership from University of Idaho, a B.S. in Finance and a B.S. in Marketing from University of Idaho, where he was a 4-year varsity letterman on the football team.

Nick Buettner

Vice President and Co-founder at Blue Zones, LLC. Buettner is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the Blue Zones Project in all of the Blue Zones Communities and corporate sites across the US. In 2004, Nick Buettner and Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people live measurably longer. In these “Blue Zones” they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. Nick has his BA in International Business with a minor in Economics from Augsburg College.

Olivia Rhode

As the NA Sweet Goods and Dairy Business Development Lead for ADM, Olivia provides regional support to ADM’s nutrition business to grow partnerships with customers and support critical projects. Since joining ADM in 2011, Olivia has held prior roles in oilseeds technical sales, food team product development, and has managed a team of scientists focused in snacks, bakery and confections as the Global Snacks Lead for ADM. Olivia earned a Bachelors of Science in chemistry from Millikin University and a Masters of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Paul Newham

A strategic innovator and executive leader with [25]+ years of expertise managing complex stakeholder relationships and designing campaign strategies for impact. He possesses strong business acumen, exceptional advocacy skills, and the ability to build deeply engaging relationships to influence decision makers, improve practices, drive change, and deliver impactful solutions to complex problems alongside communities around the world. A skilled communicator with a narrative that entices people to get on board, Paul starts movements that make global impact and drives change in sustainability and food systems delivered through consistent and competitive methodologies and innovative communications.

Raymond Glahn

Dr. Glahn was born and raised in the farm country of Lancaster County, PA, USA. He attended the Pennsylvania State University, receiving a BS in biology, MS in physiology, and Ph.D. in physiology. He has held research positions at the Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD; postdoctoral associate at the University of Arkansas, Department of Animal and Poultry Science; postdoctoral associate at the Mayo Clinic, Nephrology Research Unit; and currently serves as a Research Physiologist / Research Leader for the USDA at the Robert Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, NY, USA. He has a Courtesy Professor appointment in the Department of Food Science and the Division of Nutrition at Cornell University.

Rebecca Bratter

Rebecca has spent the last twenty-three years to the global market development and trade for a variety of US agricultural commodities. She provides leadership and vision to the global export market development and trade policy interests of the US dry bean industry. She guides the strategic direction of the industry to ensure that dry bean dealers, growers, and processors are represented in all global and domestic agricultural policy matters. She develops and leads sustainability and innovation programming to bring U.S. dry beans into the global spotlight. She has collaborated with the USDA and the US Agency for International Development on humanitarian feeding and nutritional programs utilizing US commodities.

Robert Loggins

Robert Loggins, is the Director of External Affairs and Community Engagement at Bush Brothers & Co. While new in the role, Robert worked across Bush in several assignments over his 11-year career. He most recently worked in Human Resources, leading Bush’s recruiting efforts. Prior to his 6 years in HR, Robert served as a Brand Marketer and Innovation Manager for 5 years. Educationally, he has a Marketing degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and an MBA from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Smitha Saandhya Hari Haneef

Managing director for Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) and serves as the Chief of Hospitality at Harvard University. Smitha oversees hospitality and dining for the College’s residential living and learning experience, as well as for numerous professional schools, plus campus events and catering. In this capacity she provides strategic direction for procurement, culinary, marketing, technology, and multi-year financial planning. Smitha serves as the co-chairwoman of Harvard Food Systems Initiative (HFSI) with Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Steve Savell

Steve Savell is the Director of External Affairs & Sustainability for Bush Brothers & Company, providing leadership to the company’s strategic sustainability efforts, while also representing Bush Brothers in various governmental and industry associations. Steve has served in this role since early 2020 after leading Bush Brother’s IT efforts for 14+ years. He has worked for over 30 years in the manufacturing and consumer goods industries.

Tim McGreevy

CEO of the American Pulse Association, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, U.S. Pea and Lentil Trade Association, Idaho Pea and Lentil Commission, Washington Pulse Crops Commission and the Western Pulse Growers Assn. These organizations are tasked with increasing awareness, research, and consumption of US pulse crops. In his role as the CEO of the USADPLC, Tim is responsible for international and domestic market development, research, policy development, and expanding the pulse crop coalition. Tim’s work with the APA is focused on initiatives in pulse crop research, school feeding programs and increasing domestic consumption of pulse crops in the US.

Vicente Mendoza

He has 19 years of experience in the agricultural sector. He has held various positions within the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) where he carried out activities related to the design of mechanisms for the regulation of the national bean market; implementation of financing programs with FND and FIRA for the pledging of agricultural products; he contributed to the development of the Agrifood Market Information Center (CIMA). He has also collaborated in projects with the World Bank and FAO. He was also a professor of International Trade and International Marketing at the Universidad Autónoma del Noreste (UANE).