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The Founders Series returns for 2020! The series returns to explore the topics and conversations that growing, capitalizing, and emerging brands and companies want to be a part of!
Join us for the February series launch to explore data and analytics...
This conversation will feature:
Alok Advani, President, SuckerPunch Gourmet
Alok Advani is the president of SuckerPunch Gourmet, based out of Bridgeview, Illinois. He is passionate about all things food, and especially a sustainable and humane food ecosystem. Alok is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, and began his CPG career 13 years ago in finance roles with Kraft Foods and the Kroger Corporate. He then went back to get his MBA at The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University under a research fellowship, focusing on primary shopper marketing research with Target, Stop N Shop, and HEB. After graduating, he joined Bayer Consumer Health as an Assistant Brand Manager on the Aleve Brand, Anheuser-Busch InBev as Experiential Marketing Manager for Michelob ULTRA, and ConAgra brands, where he managed the Emerging Brands/Acquisitions Portfolio, including Frontera, Blake’s, and Alexia Foods. Alok lives in Chicago. He enjoys building furniture in his woodshop, and is passionate about adult literacy.
Erin Murray, Director - Customer Success, Datassential
Erin Murray has worked in market research and consulting for more than 20 years, serving dozens of clients in food & beverage with insight for innovation and marketing success. Erin earned degrees in Psychology and Education from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Additionally, she has a Master’s Degree from Northwestern University in Integrated Marketing Communications. Passionate about the opportunities represented by trends, Erin is a marketing instructor at Robert Morris University where she also sits on the Board of Advisors.
Michael Gloer, Senior Analyst - Business Intelligence, CA Fortune
Michael’s first exposure to the Food and Beverage world was through a Global Sales and Marketing internship with Organic Valley. There, he found professional purpose in advancing foods and beverages that are better for both people and the planet. One and a half years ago, he joined the fast-growing fully integrated sales agency C.A. Fortune where he developed a knack for telling data-driven selling stories for hundreds of brands across categories and channels. Now, he is a dedicated analyst to the organization’s largest client leveraging data from various syndicated and distributor data sources to optimize their national strategy.
Marla Commons, Vice President Research - The Americas, Mintel
Marla has over 20 years of marketing research experience running both quantitative and qualitative research. She works within a variety of industries and focuses on consumer packaged goods. Her areas of specialization include global research and new product development/early stage innovation. She rejoined Mintel in 2013 and leads The Americas Mintel Reports research team. Marla has a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from DePaul University.
Steve Gaither (Moderator), Chief Marketing Officer, CA Fortune/CA Branding
Steve Gaither is the Chief Marketing Officer at C.A. Fortune, and leads the C.A. Branding pillar. Founded as JB Chicago, C.A. Branding is an integrated marketing agency whose clients range from Fortune 500, middle-market, to emerging brands. As a mentor at the Good Food Business Accelerator, ICNC, the Food Foundry, Chicagoland Food and Bev, and The Hatchery, his relationships with entrepreneurs led him to co-found the Windy City Troublemakers, an early-stage food meetup in Chicago. Steve was formerly a partner in Spiral Sun Ventures and Windy City Food Brands, where he and his fellow CPG experts provided the capital and go-to market strategies that help brands accelerate their growth. Steve graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Architecture and Planning. He resides in Munster, Indiana with his wife and three children.
This event will feature light refreshments and Happy Hour drinks.
Are you a start-up company or emerging brand in the food & beverage space? Growth stage brand or manufacturer? Don't forget that CFBN members in these categories always can attend Founders series events at NO charge! Send us an email to access the discount code and get registered as a FREE GUEST today!
Would you like to attend the FULL Founders Series at a discount? We are offering a special pre-registration to all FIVE (5) events of the Founders Series - including our brand showcase - for a discounted price to CFBN members of $100 (a discount of $25 off individual registration)! Send us an email for assistance with full series registration!
The Founders Series is presented in partnership with CA Fortune:
We appreciate the support of our member company site host and primary sponsor for this event, Datassential!
The world is getting smarter - and so is packaging! Consumers want fresh insights on the products they're consuming, and interactive packaging and innovations in digital packaging can help your company or brand meet that demand!
Exciting technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR) or Near-Field Communication (NFC), today enable even a humble carton box to entertain or inform the consumer and the nature of this new engagement creates a sense of interaction far more immediate and profound than traditional on-pack promotions could ever be.
Packaging can do all of these things right now - but, more than anything, an interactive-packaging experience must relate to the rest of a brand’s values and be produced with the same care as that of any other marketing channel. To get this right and add real value, companies need to understand the specific needs and contexts that consumers have when interacting with packaging already and then build upon all this thinking.
Join us for a deep dive into the innovations and new technologies impacting packaging right now - and explore real-world learnings from users.
We are also excited that the Molson Coors Beverage Company is hosting this event in their PUB...come explore this innovative company's great space and enjoy a beer or two!
Joining us for this conversation:
Mark Hewitt, Packaging Expert
Mark is a connected experience expert, understanding how to connect IoT technologies with brand marketing programs, significantly impacting owned media performance as well as driving greater marketing and supply chain efficiencies. Mark has been involved in over 50 Connected Experience programs over the last 6 years from some of the biggest CPG, Retail, Sports and Entertainment brands in the world – from Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Unilever to Puma, Ralph Lauren, LVMH to name but a few. Mark started his career at Toyota in marketing, moved to WPP to work in direct and digital with wunderman. He worked in integrated communications at JWT, in brand experience at Imagination and then in brand design and packaging at SGK. Mark brings with him expert knowledge and an ecosystem of partners that specialize in IoT platforms, AR, AI and Big Data Analytics in order to help clients deliver robustly scaled, always-on platforms connected to products, places and people.
Eric Henderson, Packaging Director - PepsiCo Food Global Packaging Innovation; PepsiCo
A Packaging Executive with over 20 years of progressive experience in diverse packaging roles within the CPG industry. In his current role with PepsiCo, he leads a team of 21 engineers, responsible for all Packaging development, including Sustainability, Innovation, Productivity, Brand Maintenance and Quality. His role supports PepsiCo's businesses including Frito-Lay and Quaker Foods North America, Gatorade Food, Naked Brand as well as global Packaging innovation strategies and platforms for Frito-Lay, Walkers and Sabritas. Over his career, he has been a leader in global packaging, creating strategic plans focused on achieving organizational growth objectives, establishing a sustainability roadmap for packaging, improving bottom line profitability, adapting technologies and advancing capabilities and team efficiencies
Andrew Livermore, SVP - Product & Client Services, Curion
Andrew is a highly experienced leader of consumer, sensory, market and product research, with global responsibility in the FMCG / CPG industry, focusing on product innovation. Over his 20+ years in the industry he has directed sensory, consumer and market research as well as fragrance, claims and concept development and testing for large CPG and suppliers such as Kellogg’s, Avon, Edgewell, Philip Morris and IFF. During his time, he has provided specialized capabilities and advanced technical expertise within sensory, behavioral, and clinical research to develop innovative strategies to understand consumer needs and product choice. At Curion, Andrew leads the Product & Partnership Solutions with a focus on strategies for growth. He also has responsibility for research innovation and has been instrumental in launching several new research platforms.
Jeremy Anderson (Moderator), Founder, Fifty Gazelles
Jeremy is a business development professional with a passion for getting new ideas into market. Fifty Gazelles’ practice focuses on building long-term contract manufacturing partnerships and adding capacity and external expertise to commercialization teams.
Light refreshments will be provided, and come sample beers from our host., MillerCoors!
Want to make sure you don't miss a conversation? This year, we are offering a special discount for pre-registration for the full Innovation Series - pre-register and reserve your seat for all TEN (10) Innovation events on the calendar and receive a discount from list price. Pre-registration for the series is available to CFBN members for $250 (a minimum of a $100 savings from the full series pricing)! This includes access to all 5 breakfast events, as well as all 5 specialty off-site events (including Taste of Innovation and the fall Innovation: Cannabis events)! If you would like to be pre-registered for the series, please email us for assistance!
This special Innovation Series event is sponsored by:
Join us in March to explore social governance and the impact that our companies can have on the communities we work, live, and build in. Bank of America is excited to host the first event in CFBN’s Finance Series – Investing in Your Community. Thought leaders from the food and beverage industry will join us to explore how companies are forging these new paths between business and social investment, and how your company or brand can embrace these ideas too.
Agenda (More details coming soon...):
This morning event will feature speakers from food and beverage, finance, and beyond - providing multiple insights into this new focus on corporate social responsibility, and corporations’ commitments to environmental, social, or community investment.
Joining us for these conversations:
Renee Metcalf, Senior Vice President; Bank of America
Renée Metcalf is market executive of Illinois Middle Market Global Commercial Banking for Bank of America, where she is responsible for banking services for middle market companies with revenue between $50M and $2B. Metcalf, a senior vice president, has been in her current position since 2010. Metcalf joined Bank of America in 1998 in Kansas City as a client manager in Commercial Real Estate Home Builder Division. Metcalf holds a degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a master’s degree in general business from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. In addition to an impressive career in banking, her civic involvement includes serving as treasurer for the Chicago affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and leadership roles on the board of HomeAid Chicago. She was named as one of the 2013 Influential Women in Business by the Daily Herald, and won Bank of America’s 2015 Global Diversity and Inclusion Award and she is the Treasurer of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Renée and her husband, Jim Metcalf, reside in Chicago.
Brett Lutz, Vice President - Global Communications; ADM
Brett has served as VP of Global Communications at ADM since 2018. In this role, Lutz directs all internal and external corporate communications activities, including communication strategy, PR and media relations, social media, crisis communications, global colleague communications, corporate branding and digital strategy efforts. Lutz joined ADM from Whirlpool Corporation, where he served as Head of Corporate Communications and Change Management. Brett is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and the Ragan Communications Leadership Council, and is a leading voice in both corporate reputation, digital communications and employee advocacy. He serves on the board of Greater Table, a nonprofit consortium of food companies addressing food insecurity in the Chicagoland area, and holds the position of president of the board of directors for GhostLight Theatre, a community-centric black box theater in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Lutz earned both his Masters and Bachelors degrees from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied Journalism, French Literature and International Business. He holds advanced language certificates from Université Blaise Pascal (France) and Università di Bologna (Italy).
Dan Klein, CEO & Co-Founder; Tiesta Tea
Dan Klein, CEO and Co-Founder of Tiesta Tea, has had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was young, from raising money for charity to taking entrepreneurship courses in college. His tenacity has taken him to now a successful CEO of the fastest-growing tea company in the US. Dan is a fantastic mentor, leader and friend who has an unmatched amount of energy and passion for what he does and who he works with. Dan is an active guest speaker and his hobbies include sports, travel and spending quality time with family and friends. Dan led the company's sales team to have Tiesta Tea products in over 8,000 stores worldwide including Target, Safeway/Albertsons, Kroger, Costco and many more. Dan and Tiesta Tea have been featured on Inc.’s 30 Under 30 - Rising Stars, Crain’s 20 in their 20’s, Inc. 5000 (3 years in a row) and Inc.’s Best Work Place.
Rahul Pasarnikar, President & Co-Founder; CredMade
Rahul Pasarnikar joined Chicago CRED in 2017, and has led the launch of CREDMADE, their first social enterprise. CREDMADE was launched in 2019 as a for-profit, Public Benefit Corporation to create employment opportunities and to spur economic development in Chicago’s south and west side. CREDMADE’s first venture is a Contract Food Packaging business, competing in Chicagoland’s rich Food and Beverage industry. Prior to joining CRED, Rahul spend 5 years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co., serving clients in their Digital practice with an emphasis in marketing and sales operations. Rahul also spent over 12 years in technology consulting, implementing enterprise CRM systems for mid-sized and large corporations, including with his own start-up consultancy. Rahul holds his BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his MBA from Georgetown University.
JD Elder, Vice President; Tilia Holdings
JD Elder is a Vice President at Tilia Holdings, a private equity firm focused on making investments in the lower middle market across the global food supply chain. Prior to joining Tilia, JD worked as an Investment Associate at Linden Capital Partners. He began his career in investment banking at Citigroup. JD graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis. He holds an MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Randy Bridgeman, Partner; Perkins Coie LLP
In his counsel to public and private companies, Randy Bridgeman often serves as outside corporate counsel and deal steward, quarterbacking the deal process from pre-sale preparations through to closing and positioning clients for expansion, strategic partnerships and changes in ownership. Randy’s recent acquisition and sales counsel includes a series of cross-border, co-manufacturing joint-ventures for a global food manufacturer; the sale of a multinational, family-owned manufacturer; several corporate venture investments; and brand acquisitions for multinational companies with complex intellectual property assets. Additionally, in his role as go-to outside counsel, Randy often advises and steers clients toward legal resources and resolutions related to litigation strategy, labor and employment, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, estate planning and real estate issues that arise in his clients’ legal matters. Randy is a founding member of the Private Directors Association, and is also active in the Chicago Bar Association and formerly served as co-chairman of it mergers and acquisitions and business and corporate law committees.
Alan Reed, Executive Director; CFBN
Alan Reed is the Executive Director of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network. Prior to his current role, Alan was Executive Vice President, Strategy & Innovation at Dairy Management, Inc., and was responsible for creating and driving innovative strategies to grow dairy demand. Before joining DMI, Alan was a strategy consultant working with a variety of Fortune 100 companies. He also spent years in advertising working with clients including Procter & Gamble, Kellogg, United Technologies, and a host of retail, foodservice and high tech businesses. Alan has a degree in Telecommunications from Indiana University, an MBA in Management & Strategy from Northwestern University, where he has taught innovation and new product development, and a certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Notre Dame. He currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife and 2 children.
Light morning refreshments will be provided.
This event is being produced in partnership with:
This event is being hosted by and co-sponsored by:
We appreciate the support of all of our sponsors for this event:
Save the Date - more details and registration coming soon!
Join us for the first big Innovation event of 2020 - exploring the future of Innovation! This breakthrough interactive experience will introduce you and your team to new technologies creating breakthroughs in innovation and ready to use today!
The beautiful new Offshore rooftop venue (the "world's largest rooftop") located high-atop navy pier will be our home-base for this HALF DAY interactive, workshop experience. No selling & No pitching - just direct hands-on insights, trend take-aways, and introductions to new ideas and technologies that your innovations team will want to use.
**Please note the NEW date...hopefully on Thursday, April 9th we might even have a bit of spring to enjoy at this amazing location!!
Best in class innovation experts, from Edlong, New Edge, and Gastrograph are joining us to introduce new trends, new tools, new technologies, and new methodologies that enable agile, holistic, and robust ways to innovate within your organization....All before lunch!
Agenda Highlights (download the full agenda HERE):
Accessing the Venue - Offshore is located at the end of Navy Pier - with easy access via valet parking or a direct drop-off location for ride-shares. This is an all inclusive location with plenty of space for networking, taking a quick call, AND engaging with our day's event. We know taking a HALF DAY off to join us can be tough with busy schedules - but this is a venue and event not to be missed!
Joining us for this interactive, hands-on event...
Laurette Rondenet is the President and CEO of Edlong, based in Elk Grove Village, IL. Today Edlong is a global leader in dairy and dairy-free flavors, committed to helping food and beverage manufacturers innovate faster, for authentic-tasting, consumer-pleasing products. Edlong is the only certified woman-owned flavor house (WBENC).
Under Laurette’s leadership, Edlong has experienced unprecedented growth in the highly competitive flavors category. She leads the organization with a commitment to nurturing long-term, integrated relationships with both customers and employees, and in bringing value to the customer with innovative products and attentive service that truly differentiates Edlong. The company’s mission is “To Enrich the Lives of Those We Touch.” This is accomplished everyday through the foods Edlong’s flavors are in, and the people’s lives impacted. Laurette is an exceptional leader who is passionate about every employee having a voice in our work and future, and on a greater lever, feeding the world.
Joel Warady, Strategic Advisor; Frmer General Manager, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Enjoy Life Foods
Joel Warady recently ended his tenure as General Manager, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of Enjoy Life Foods, a leading brand in the North American Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly food and snack category that experienced 18 consecutive years of growth under his guidance. In 2015, Joel was part of the two-person management team that successfully negotiated an acquisition by Mondelez International.
In the past few years, he has been ranked as one of the Top 50 CMOs on Twitter by Social Media Marketing Magazine, one of the Top 50 Most Influential CMOs on Social Media by Forbes.com, was included in Brand Quarterly magazine’s list of 50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50, and most recently recognized as Twitter’s Most Influential Marketers by AgencySpotter. Post-acquisition, Joel was tapped to provide valuable insights to the Mondelez management team in helping them create best practices on how best to merge the culture of emerging brands whose foundations are built on trust and transparency, while taking advantage of the global expertise that a large multinational can bring to the business. He played varying roles in Mondelez’s investments in Hu Kitchen, Perfect Snacks, and Uplift Foods.
Denny Moy, Innovation Director, Enjoy Life Foods
Denny has spent his entire career in CPG F&D industry and most of his life obsessing with new ways to tinker & reinvent new & unique food experiences. He believes that at the heart of food are relationships and finding a new way to tell an ageless story is the essence of what ignites our love for food. An industry veteran with marketing and innovation roles across brands and companies like Lipton®(Unilever), PillsburyTM(General Mills), Tropicana®(Pepsico), Kellogg’s® and most recently served as Director of Innovation at Enjoy Life Foods (Mondelez®), where he helped multiple award-winning new products Protein Bites & Breakfast Fruit & Oat Ovals. Within each role of his career, Denny has made it a personal & professional mission to contribute back to making a positive social and or environmental change in the industry including leading efforts with Rainforest Alliance, No Kid Hungry & Feeding America among others.
Prior to entering the CPG side of food & beverage, Denny worked for his family restaurant business at the early age of 8 as well as starting his first LLC business in food delivery at the age of 16. In his personal life, he is married to his loving wife Bethany and enjoys seeking new adventures with his three children Clementine, Truman & Ellis who inspires his creativity as much as they test his patience.
Pam Henderson, Founder and CEO, NewEdge
Pam Henderson, Ph.D., is founder and CEO of NewEdge Inc., a company that acts as a growth strategy and innovation partner. Pam pioneered Opportunity Thinking™ principles, a new approach to innovation that helps organizations create sustainable growth. This methodology has been applied across industries, transforming companies both large and small, from start-ups and non-profits to Fortune 500 companies.
Originally on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, Pam later worked with the national laboratory system to commercialize early stage technologies. Her book “You Can Kill an Idea…But You Can’t Kill an Opportunity!”, a Wiley publication, has been translated into Mandarin and Korean and is in its fourth printing. She publishes widely on market insight, business and innovation strategy, and design and has received recognition in the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, NPR.
Jason Cohen, Founder & CEO, Analytical Flavor Systems/Gastrograph
Before starting Analytical Flavor Systems, Jason was the Founder and Executive Director of The Tea Institute at Penn State, which oversees 20+ researchers in 5 fields of study in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Tea. Jason did his research in sensory science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence - eventually developing the Gastrograph system after 3 1/2 years of research. Jason is a professional coffee, tea, and beer taster, and when he is not trying new products, he enjoys rock climbing, ice climbing, and fencing.
We appreciate the support and partnership of our member company, Edlong, in helping us to present this event:
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
1 W Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653