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The 2017 Building a Healthier Future Summit features a wide range of industry, policy, academic and nonprofit leaders, all committed to making healthier choices easier for busy families and kids. See below for the full list.

2017 Featured Speakers

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama Former First Lady, PHA Honorary Chair
Michelle Obama (click to close) Former First Lady, PHA Honorary Chair


When people ask Michelle Obama to describe herself, she doesn’t hesitate. First and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha’s mom. That’s why Mrs. Obama made children’s health a priority during her time as first lady. She has served as PHA’s Honorary Chair
since it began in 2010.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton Founder, Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States
President Bill Clinton (click to close) Founder, Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States


William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was also the 42nd Governor of Arkansas, serving six terms before being elected to two terms in the White House. Under his leadership, the country enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs.

After leaving the White House, President Clinton founded the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods and reduce health disparities, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens to turn good intentions into measurable results.

Today the Foundation has staff and volunteers around the world working to improve lives through several initiatives, including the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which is helping 5 million people living with HIV/AIDS access lifesaving drugs. The Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Development Initiative, and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership are applying a business-oriented approach to fight climate change worldwide and to promote sustainable economic growth in Africa and Latin America. In the U.S., the Foundation is working to combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity and preventable disease through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative. From 2005 through 2016, the Clinton Global Initiative brought together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. CGI’s nearly 3,600 Commitments to Action to date have improved the lives of more than 435 million people in 180 nations.

In addition to his Foundation work, President Clinton has joined with former President George H.W. Bush three times – after the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008, and with President George W. Bush in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

President Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. He and his wife Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton have one daughter, Chelsea, and two grandchildren, Charlotte and Aidan. They live in Chappaqua, New York.

Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford Entrepreneur, Media Influencer, Super Model, Star.
Cindy Crawford (click to close) Entrepreneur, Media Influencer, Super Model, Star.


Cindy Crawford is known to the world as one of the original supermodels who defined that pivotal moment when fashion models became stars in their own right. Cindy used her fame as a springboard to launch a career that has spanned almost three decades
and resulted in an exceedingly successful and trusted brand representing beauty, fashion, fitness and home. Cindy’s staying power in a notoriously fickle industry can be credited to her professionalism, business savvy and dedication to every endeavor.
These attributes in particular have made Cindy a force to be reckoned with in support of children’s health.

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union Globally Recognized Actress and Entrepreneur
Gabrielle Union (click to close) Globally Recognized Actress and Entrepreneur


One of today’s hottest stars, Gabrielle Union, continues to shine.

Union can be seen in the BET series “Being Mary Jane,” written and created by Mara Brock Akil. Union plays the lead, ‘Mary Jane Paul’ a successful talk show host. The 90-minute pilot debuted in summer of 2013 as the highest-rated show on cable for the evening pulling in 4 million viewers.  Union earned rave reviews for her performance as ‘Mary Jane.’  Nuzhat Naoreen of Entertainment Weekly stated, “The pilot is funny, fresh, and affecting. Much of the credit goes to Union, who manages to capture her character’s single gal despondency without making her appear weak or needy.” Megan Angelo of Glamour magazine also stated, “I can’t remember the last time I watched a show and was so utterly hooked on a heroine. I think that’s partially due to room-to- breathe extended episode, partially due to Union’s authentic, balls-out performance, and partially due to the fact that the character is so damn likable for so many reasons.” Union received a 2014 NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special” for her role in “Being Mary Jane.” The series will return for the second half of its fourth season on Tuesday, July 18th on BET.

Union recently appeared on the big screen in Baran bo Odar’s Sleepless alongside Michelle Monagham, Dermot Mulroney and Jamie Foxx and Will Packer’s Almost Christmas.

She recently wrapped production on the ensemble dramedy The Public opposite Alec Baldwin, Taylor Schilling, Jena Malone, Emilion Estevez and Che “Rhymefest” Smith. Written and directed by Estevez, the film centers around a standoff with police and library officials when library patrons – many of whom are homeless and mentally ill – stage a sit-in, turning the Cincinnati Public Library into an impromptu homeless shelter for one night during a cold snap. Union will play an ambitious television news reporter who uses the event as a way to bolster ratings for the network as well as her own personal profile.

Union made her production debut by executive producing the Lifetime movie, With This Ring, a romantic comedy based on the bestseller The Vow by Denene Millner.  She is also executive produced the aforementioned Almost Christmas. Union’s  additional film credits include Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, Disney’s animated TV movie “The Lion Guard,” Paramount’s Top Five, Screem Gems hits Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man Too, Lionsgate’s Good Deeds, Film Science’s In Our Nature,  critically acclaimed Cadillac Records, The Perfect Holiday, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, Ryan Murphy’s Running With Scissors, the blockbuster hit Bad Boys II, Breakin’ All the Rules, Deliver Us From Eva, Universal’s cult hit Bring It On, Welcome to Collinwood, Abandoned, Two Can Play That Game, Love & Basketball, Cradle to the Grave, Ten Things I Hate About You, The Brothers, Neo Ned, The Honeymooners, Meet Dave and She’s All That. Union was recently seen in PBS’ four hour television documentary series “Half the Sky,” based on the best-selling book by Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

On the small screen, Union made her debut in UPN’s hit comedy “Moesha,” and then went on to guest-star on such hit shows as “ER,” “Dave’s World” and “The Steve Harvey Show.”  Shortly thereafter, she had a recurring role on two WB hit shows, “Sister, Sister” and “7th Heaven.”  Union stirred things up when she guest starred as a love interest to both ‘Joey’ (Matt LeBlanc) and ‘Ross’ (David Schwimmer) on “Friends.”  With this role, Union marked the first African-American love interest on the series.  She also joined the cast of Steven Bochco’s “City of Angels” for one season. Union was seen on ABC’s “Flash Forward,” NBC’s “Life” and ABC’s “Ugly Betty.” In addition, she starred in ABC’s critically acclaimed series “Night Stalker” opposite Stuart Townsend and was also seen in HBO’s award-winning “Something the Lord Made,” opposite Alan Rickman, Kyra Sedgwick and Mos Def.

In the branding sphere, she recently launched her Flawless hair care line, which is sold exclusively through Ulta Beauty. A partnership with Macadamia Natural Oil, the line contains 10 products including several different shampoos and conditioners, a hair masque, blow dry cream, hair protection spray, shine spray, an oil treatment and edge control gel. For Union, the line is more than just bringing her beauty picks to the masses. She also wants to give more options to women with natural hair who are underrepresented in the market.

Union’s passion for acting is rivaled by her championing of causes near and dear to her heart such as breast health and combating sexual violence.

Native of Nebraska, Union currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Chicago with her family.

Frank Beard

Frank Beard Analyst/Evangelist for Convenience Store and Retail Trends
Frank Beard (click to close) Analyst/Evangelist for Convenience Store and Retail Trends GasBuddy


Frank Beard is an Analyst/Evangelist for Convenience Store and Retail Trends at GasBuddy. Last year, Beard visited more than 1,000 convenience stores in 24 states and created the 30 Days of Gas Station Food experiment — an effort to dispel the myth
that eating out is unhealthy. Motivated by the successful maintenance of an 80 lb. weight loss and a demanding travel schedule, he spent one month documenting his experience eating exclusively at gas stations. Beard has spoken to industry leaders such as Core-Mark and Harbor Wholesale Foods, written for NACS Magazine, and presented at the 2016 NACS Show.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris (click to close) Founder & CEO Center for Youth Wellness


Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is a pediatrician, mom and Founder & CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness (CYW), where she is leading the national effort to revolutionize pediatric medicine and transform the way society responds to children exposed to significant Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic stress. She serves as an expert advisor on the Too Small to Fail initiative championed by the Clinton Foundation (in association with Next Generation) to improve the lives of children ages birth to five years. She earned her MD at UC Davis School of Medicine and an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Les Bluestone

Les Bluestone Co-Founder Blue Sea Development Company and Blue Sea Construction Co.
Les Bluestone (click to close) Co-Founder Blue Sea Development Company and Blue Sea Construction Co.


Les Bluestone has been involved in the real estate development and construction industries for more than 35 years, working in New York City and the surrounding areas. Co-founder of Blue Sea Development Company and Blue Sea Construction Co., his firms developed and built New York’s first affordable Energy Star Homes and the state’s first three affordable LEED Platinum multifamily buildings. His buildings have also integrated Active Design principles since 2011.

Eric Cooper

Eric Cooper (click to close) President and CEO San Antonio Food Bank


Eric Cooper is President and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank, the largest hunger-relief organization in Southwest Texas. During Cooper’s 14-year tenure, the San Antonio Food Bank increased food distribution from 10 million pounds to more than 61 million pounds last year, increased the number and impact of its programs, and was awarded Food Bank of the Year in 2007 by Feeding America. Cooper previously held positions at the North Texas Food Bank and the Utah Food Bank. When he joined San Antonio in 2001, he was the youngest Executive Director in the organization’s history.

Seth Goldman

Seth Goldman Executive Chairman
Beyond Meat
Seth Goldman (click to close) Executive Chairman Beyond Meat


Seth Goldman co-founded Honest

Tea in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. Honest Tea, now owned by Coca-Cola, is the nation’s top-selling, ready-to-drink organic bottled tea and Honest Kidsᅡᆴ is the nation¬タルs top-selling, organic youth beverage. In 2016, Goldman also became Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat, a company on the cutting edge of plant protein research and development. Goldman also serves on the advisory boards of Ripple Foods, the Yale School of Management, the American Beverage Association and Bethesda Green (a local sustainability non-profit he co-founded).

Neil Grimmer

Neil Grimmer Founder and CEO
the Habit
Neil Grimmer (click to close) Founder and CEO the Habit


Neil Grimmer is Founder and CEO of the Habit, a meal delivery company that analyzes a person¬タルs biomarkers to create personalized nutrition plans. Prior to founding the Habit, Grimmer was the co-founder and CEO of Plum Organics, the number two baby food brand behind Gerber. Under his leadership, Plum became one of the first companies to reincorporate as a Public Benefit Corporation in Delaware in July 2013, reinforcing its mission to combat child hunger and conduct business responsibly.
Grimmer also launched Plum’s social impact program The Full Effect, dedicated to nourishing little ones in need across America.

Daniel J. Houston

Daniel J. Houston Chairman, President and CEO
Principal Financial Group
Daniel J. Houston (click to close) Chairman, President and CEO Principal Financial Group


As Chairman, President and CEO of the Principal Financial Group, Daniel J. Houston is responsible for overall management of the company. Houston joined PFG fresh out of college in 1984 as a group representative, and has worked his way up to his current
position by serving in numerous capacities over three decades, assuming his current role in 2015. Houston sits on several boards, including that of the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), American Council of Insurers (ACLI), Financial
Services Roundtable (FSR), Iowa State University Business School Dean’s Advisory Council and Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA).

Ashley Koff

Ashley Koff (click to close) Registered Dietitian


Award-winning nutrition expert Ashley Koff, RD, helps create better health fueled by better nutrition. From her earliest days as an ad executive, Koff mastered the skills needed to develop targeted nutrition marketing messages that directed people to
better choices. Her highly successful approach helps people reach their better health goals by identifying and making Better Not Perfect choices more often. She has made appearances on The Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, Fox and ABC News and been
quoted in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She lives in Washington DC with her dog, Rerun.

Marissa Nelson

Marissa Nelson Senior Vice President
Ahold USA
Marissa Nelson (click to close) Senior Vice President Ahold USA


Marissa Nelson is responsible for leading Ahold USA’s strategic efforts on healthy living for customers and associates, sustainability and community giving, with a focus on Ahold USA’s Healthy Living aspiration: to provide healthy food for all, ensuring it is of good quality, affordable and available. Previously, she led Ahold USA’s Merchandising Support Services and worked as chief of staff for the global CEO, supporting him in the development of Ahold’s Reshaping Retail Strategy, Better
Everyday Promises and Ahold Balanced Scorecard. Additionally, she supported Ahold USA’s COO in the implementation of this strategy at the US company.

Dr. James Rogers

Dr. James Rogers(click to close) Founder Apeel Sciences


Based on the idea that every form of life on Earth employs a protective coating to shield itself from the external environment, James Rogers, PhD, founded Apeel Sciences, a company that develops edible barriers to reduce postharvest losses of fresh produce. Dr. Rogers leads a team of award-winning scientists and engineers to optimize Apeel’s natural, plant-based formulas for the protection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Dr. Rogers was the 2012 recipient of the Frank J. Padden Jr. Award in polymer physics, the premier polymer physics prize in the United States.

Nancy Roman

Nancy Roman(click to close) President and CEO Capital Area Food Bank


Nancy E. Roman leads the Capital Area Food Bank, the region’s largest organization working to solve hunger and its companion problems: chronic undernutrition, heart disease, and obesity. Prior to CAFB, Roman was a diplomat with the UN World Food Programme, which provides food to 100 million people in 75 countries. Roman has also served as VP of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC and President of the G7 Group, a consulting firm that advised Wall Street. She holds a Master degree in International Economics and American Foreign Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and French from Baylor University.

Bob Simpson

Bob Simpson Vice President, Affordable Housing, Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae
Bob Simpson (click to close) Vice President, Affordable Housing, Fannie Mae Fannie Mae


Bob Simpson manages Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Affordable and Green Finance Business. Since 2007, he has held officer positions throughout Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Mortgage Business, including Priority Borrower Relationships, Seniors Housing, Structured Finance, and Affordable lending. He has also served as Fannie Mae’s Vice President of Community Lending and Development, responsible for strategic initiatives and investments in rural, Native American and Gulf Coast Recovery markets. He has also served as a board member of Mercy Housing, the Sioux Falls Homeless Coalition, and as a member of Governor’s Special Task Force on K-12 Education in South Dakota.

Breakout Session Speakers
Allison Aubrey Correspondent, NPR
Allison Aubrey (click to close) Correspondent, NPR NPR

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a contributor to the PBS NewsHour. In 2016, she won a James Beard Award in the category of “Best TV Segment” for a PBS/NPR
collaboration. Along with her colleagues on The Salt, Aubrey was also awarded the 2012 James Beard Award for best food blog. In 2009, Aubrey was awarded the American Society for Nutrition’s Media Award for her reporting on food and nutrition.

Julia Belluz Senior health correspondent,
Julia Belluz (click to close) Senior health correspondent,

Julia Belluz is a Canadian award-winning journalist covering medicine and public health for Her writing has appeared in Maclean’s, the British Medical Journal, the Medical Post, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Slate, the Times (of London),the Economist, and other publications. Outside of reporting, Belluz speaks regularly at health care and journalism conferences around the world. She is a fellow and guest lecturer at McMaster University. She holds an MSc. from the London School of Economics and a B.A. from Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. Twitter @JuliaOfToronto and Linkedin.

Matthias Berninger Corporate Staff Officer, Public Affairs
Mars Inc.
Matthias Berninger (click to close) Under Armour

Matthias Berninger has been with Mars, Inc. since 2007, when he joined the company’s Mars Europe division following a 13-year political career in his native Germany. Since 2009, he has served as Corporate Staff Officer, Public Affairs, with responsibilities for the central Public Policy and Programs team and the Public Affairs teams in Washington DC, Brussels, Moscow, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. He also leads the global trade team within Mars, Incorporated. He has extensive experience working on the company’s Health and Nutrition strategy for food and snack foods.

Jeffrey Breslin Sr. Mgr, Global Philanthropy – Under Armour
Under Armour
Jeffrey Breslin (click to close) Under Armour

Jeffrey Breslin leads Under Armour’s global investments in youth through the UA WIN program, the company’s signature philanthropic initiative to ensure all youth have access to the life-altering impact of sport participation. Prior to joining Under Armour, Breslin spent 10 years leading program development at the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.

Michael Breus, the Sleep Doctor
The Sleep Doctor
Michael Breus, the Sleep Doctor (click to close) The Sleep Doctor

Michael J. Breus, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and a Diplomate and Fellow of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, with a specialty in Sleep Disorders. He is on the clinical advisory board of The Dr. Oz Show and a regular contributor to the show. Dr. Breus is the author of The Power of When, which uses biological chronotypes to suggest the perfect timing for events such as when to run a mile, eat a cheeseburger or ask for a raise. He also serves as the Sleep Expert for
WebMD, writes The Insomnia Blog and can be found regularly on The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Sharecare, and The Oz Blog.

Elijah Brooks
Youth on the Move in Community
Elijah Brooks (click to close) Youth on the Move in Community

Elijah Brooks is the Director of Youth On The Move, which offers programs in football, basketball, karate and after-school tutoring and GED services to more than 275 young people living in Harlem, New York. Known as Coach Brooks by
youth and elders alike, he served 18 years as a volunteer football coach before becoming Director. He is committed to providing youth in Harlem with access to safe and healthy choices, alternatives and outlets that enable them to grow to their
full potential. Coach Brooks previously served as a law enforcement professional for 20 years with the New York City Police Department.

Victoria Kumpuris Brown Senior Program Officer
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Victoria Kumpuris Brown (click to close) Senior Program Officer Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Victoria Kumpuris Brown joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2015, where, as Senior Program Officer, she continues her dedication to connecting business and healthcare in the battle against childhood obesity. Brown’s work mobilizing the business community around social imperatives began when she was Vice President for Strategic Alliances at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the Clinton Foundation and American Heart Association. She holds a MPAff from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in public policy from Washington and Lee University.
Hank Cardello Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Hudson Institute
Hank Cardello (click to close) Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Hank Cardello serves as a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, a non-partisan policy think tank in Washington, DC, where he directs its Obesity Solutions Initiative. He is the author of Stuffed: An Insider’s Look at Who’s (Really) Making America Fat,
published by HarperCollins/Ecco. For more than three decades, Cardello was an executive at some of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, including Cadbury-Schweppes’ Sunkist Soft Drinks, Inc., Canada Dry, Coca-Cola USA and Anheuser-Busch
and General Mills. His perspectives on food industry and obesity issues have been shared through numerous mainstream, national and international media outlets.

Joy Cornthwaite Registered Dietitian
McGovern Medical School
Joy Cornthwaiteᅡᅠ(click to close) Registered Dietitian McGovern Medical School

Joy Cornthwaite, MS, RD, LD, CDE, is a registered dietitian and diabetes educator at UTHealth’s McGovern Medical School, with experience working in critical care, Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), diabetes self-management training (DMST), nutrition and wellness education. She has worked to promote and develop programs that create positive outcomes for patients with acute and chronic diseases. Her work includes the development of programs in adult obesity, childhood obesity and diabetes self-management.

Cornthwaite is a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoys the cultural diversity and dialogue that food inspires. She encourages changing lives one meal at a time, with an understanding of the role food plays in wellness.

Fatima De La O Fatima De La O

Fatima De La O joined the Adelphi/Langley Family Support Center four years ago. Through the Center’s Cooking Matters program, she learned how to cook healthy meals while her son, Eduardo, participated in a child development program to improve his cognitive and language abilities.

Cooking Matters showed her how to use less salt, more vegetables and more creative ways of preparing healthier meals for her family, as well as how to change her grocery shopping habits to allow her to save money. Now, she and her family are eating healthier, more nutritious meals that help them all to maintain a healthier weight.(click to close)

Rocco DiSpirito
Celebrity Chef
Rocco DiSpiritoᅡᅠ(click to close) Celebrity Chef
Rocco DiSpirito is a Healthy Lifestyle Crusader, James Beard award-winning chef, author of 12 highly acclaimed cookbooks and well-known television personality. He founded the Pound A Diet meal delivery service, which designs one-of-a-kind menus to meet each customer’s preferences, weight loss and health goals. He is a Chef Partner to Wellness in the Schools, a national nonprofit that inspires healthy eating and fitness for kids in public schools. He also serves on the Entertainment Council for Feeding America and is an Ambassador for HealthCorps, through which he visits schools around the country to empower students to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.
T. Morgan Dixon Co-Founder & CEO, GirlTrek
T. Morgan Dixonᅡᅠ(click to close) Co-Founder & CEO, GirlTrek
T. Morgan Dixon is the co-founder and CEO of GirlTrek, the largest public health nonprofit for African American women and girls in the United States. With nearly 100,000 neighborhood walkers, GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a first step to inspire healthy living, families and communities. GirlTrek seeks to eliminate barriers to physical activity, improve access to safe places to walk, protect and reclaim green spaces and improve the walkability and built environments of 50 high-need communities across the country. With PHA and others, GirlTrek has developed training for African American women to serve as health professionals in the areas of fitness, mental health, nutrition and environmental stewardship.
Nona Evans President and Executive Director
Whole Kids Foundation
Nona Evansᅡᅠ(click to close) President and Executive Director Whole Kids Foundation
Nona Evans is President and Executive Director of Whole Kids Foundation, a philanthropic endeavor of Whole Foods Market dedicated to improving children’s nutrition in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Previously, Evans led global marketing for Whole Foods Market, at a time when the company was beginning to educate shoppers about the importance of what kids eat at school. Whole Kids, a lead partner in Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, has helped bring more than 5,000 salad bars to schools across the U.S., funded more than 4,000 school gardens and provided information to more than 13,000 teachers about how to improve their own nutrition.
Helena Bottemiller Evich Senior Food and Agriculture Reporter
Helena Bottemiller Evichᅡᅠ(click to close) Senior Food and Agriculture Reporter POLITICO
Helena Bottemiller Evich is a senior food and agriculture reporter for POLITICO, where she has worked for the past three years. Before joining POLITICO, she spent four years reporting on food politics and policy at Food Safety News, where she covered Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Her work has also appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review and on NBC News. Bottemiller Evich’s reporting has taken her to the Louisiana coast during the Gulf oil spill, Arizona lettuce fields, North Carolina hog farms and the occasional presidential turkey pardoning.
Riley Fields Director of Community Relations
Carolina Panthers
Riley Fieldsᅡᅠ(click to close) Director of Community Relations Carolina Panthers
As Director of Community Relations for the Carolina Panthers, Riley Fields oversees programs and partnerships that address the special needs of communities in North and South Carolina. He also directs the team’s outreach programming and Carolina Panthers Charities grant process. Each year, the team executes 80 programs and services, with a focus on education, youth health and wellness, youth football and military support programs, as well as other NFL platform initiatives, engaging 300,000 youth annually. The team is recognized at the NFL level as a leader in innovative programming for Play 60 and youth football.
Karin Gillespie Associate Director, Public Policy
Novo Nordisk
Karin Gillespie (click to close) Associate Director, Public Policy Novo Nordisk

As Associate Director, Public Policy, Karin Gillespie leads the Changing Diabetes Policy function at Novo Nordisk, serving as Co-chair for the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance and US Project Lead for Cities Changing Diabetes. She is also responsible for developing and leading research that underpins Novo Nordisk’s diabetes advocacy work. Previously, Gillespie was a Senior Consultant for Elayne Howard & Associates, a Philadelphia-based healthcare strategy firm. She has been published in numerous professional journals and authored a book on shaping healthy eating habits in young children. Gillespie holds a BA in Psychology from Princeton University and an MBA degree from The Wharton School.

Dan Giusti Celebrity Chef and Founder
Dan Giusti (click to close) Celebrity Chef and Founder Brigaid
Fueled by a desire to change the narrative surrounding good meals for kids at school, world-renowned chef Dan Giusti founded Brigaid – a group of chefs dedicated to transforming school cafeterias into places where children can enjoy delicious, affordable meals cooked with passion and care. Giusti — former Head Chef at Copenhagen’s Noma, one of the world’s top restaurants — believes chefs are uniquely suited to work within the limitations of the National School Lunch program. Brigaid will partner with schools to refurbish kitchens and staff them with highly trained chefs. Giusti is a graduate of New York’s Culinary Institute of America.
Dr. Diane Harris Health Scientist
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Diane Harris (click to close) Health Scientist U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Diane Harris, PhD, MPH, is a Health Scientist in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Lead for the Healthy Food Environments Team in the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch, which focuses on research, technical assistance and programmatic support for increasing access to healthy foods. Her primary interest is creating healthy food environments in childcare settings, schools, worksites and other institutional settings. She is also Lead for the CDC’s efforts to mobilize and engage stakeholders at the local, state, and national level to support salad bars in schools.
Pati Jinich
Chef, PBS TV Host, Cookbook Author
Pati Jinich (click to close) Chef, PBS TV Host, Cookbook Author

Pati Jinich is resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., a cookbook author and mom to three boys. She is also TV Host of the James Beard and Emmy nominated PBS series, “Pati’s Mexican Table,” now in its 5th season. Originally trained as a political scientist, she worked as a policy analyst at the Inter-American Dialogue but switched careers in 2006 when she formally jumped into the kitchen to explore and share Mexican cuisine, while breaking down its myths
and preconceptions. Her first cookbook Pati’S Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home-Cooking published in 2013.

Ashley Koff
Registered Dietitian
Ashley Koff (click to close) Registered Dietitian

Award-winning nutrition expert Ashley Koff, RD, helps create better health fueled by better nutrition. From her earliest days as an ad executive, Koff mastered the skills needed to develop targeted nutrition marketing messages that directed people to
better choices. Her highly successful approach helps people reach their better health goals by identifying and making Better Not Perfect choices more often. She has made appearances on The Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, Fox and ABC News
and been quoted in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She lives in Washington DC with her dog, Rerun.

Kiran Krishnan Research Microbiologist
Kiran Krishnanᅡᅠ(click to close) Research Microbiologist

Kiran Krishnan is a Research Microbiologist who has been involved in the dietary supplement and nutrition industry for the past 17 years. His early work involved hands-on Research and Development in the fields of molecular medicine and microbiology at the University of Iowa. He is a frequent lecturer on the human microbiome at medical and nutrition conferences and health summits and a regular expert guest on national and satellite radio. He is currently involved in six novel human
clinical trials on probiotics and the human microbiome.

Fred Maxik Founder and Chief Technology Officer
Lighting Science Group
Fred Maxik (click to close) Founder and Chief Technology Officer Lighting Science Group
Fred Maxik is one of the world’s foremost experts in Solid State Lighting. He is Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Lighting Science Group, North America’s largest developer and manufacturer of ground-breaking LED bulbs and lighting systems. Maxik, the principal inventor on hundreds of patents in the US and worldwide, has more than 25 years of experience in innovating environmentally friendly technologies. He has been recognized with the Champion
for Change Award (White House, U.S.), A Congressional Medal of Merit (Congress, U.S.), the NASA Group Achievement Award, the Samuel Bard Award in Science and Medicine and the Friends of the Phelophepa Award, given by Desmond Tutu.
John O’Connell Director – Food & Beverage, Americas Region, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
John O’Connell (click to close) Director – Food & Beverage, Americas Region, Hyatt Hotels Corporation Hyatt Hotels Corporation
John O’Connell has more than 32 years of experience in the hotel industry, including 25 years with Hyatt Hotels, where he has held a wide range of positions. Over the past six years, he has helped to define many of the aspects of Hyatt Hotels food and beverage services across all of their brands. Prior to joining the Hyatt corporate team, O’Connell worked at six different hotel properties and has been part of more than 25 new hotel openings. His personal passion for health and nutrition continues to help drive positive changes into the future.
Beverly J. Smith National Senior Program Director
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Beverly J. Smith (click to close) National Senior Program Director Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Beverly J. Smith is National Senior Program Director for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s (LISC) Sports & Recreation Program. Since December 2000, she has managed LISC’s partnership with the NFL Foundation,providing financing and technical assistance to neighborhood-based organizations, parks and recreation departments and other community-based organizations across the nation to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of
local football fields for youth. Smith also manages LISC’s collaboration with ESPN/Disney Worldwide Services, piloting an effort to increase access to basketball courts in underserved neighborhoods.
Loel Solomon Vice President for Community Health
Kaiser Permanente
Loel Solomon (click to close) Vice President for Community Health Kaiser Permanente
Loel Solomon, PhD, MPP, is Kaiser Permanente’s Vice President for Community Health, overseeing the design, execution and evaluation of the organization’s community-based programs and leading efforts to ensure Kaiser is responsive to evolving community health needs. He also works closely with other health plan and medical group leaders to address the social determinants of health, including the social and non-medical needs of Kaiser’s members and of
the communities it serves. Previously, Dr. Solomon served as Deputy Director of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) for Healthcare Quality and Analysis, where he oversaw analyses of racial and ethnic health disparities.
Abigail Storms Vice President, Sweetener Platform Innovation, Tate & Lyle
Tate & Lyle
Abigail Storms (click to close) Vice President, Sweetener Platform Innovation, Tate & Lyle Local Initiatives Support Corporation
As a leader at global ingredient provider Tate & Lyle, Abigail Storms understands that food formulations need to strike the right balance between sometimes-conflicting demands, including government regulations, consumer tastes and ingredient functionality. Actively involved in the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) and the Calorie Control Council, she is dedicated to advancing the dialogue on how manufacturers can provide healthier food
options. With her extensive experience across the food and beverage, consumer goods and healthcare industries, Storms brings a unique perspective to the pressing need to develop food offerings that are both good tasting and good for you.
Emily Swartzlander Senior Program Manager of Community Relations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Emily Swartzlander (click to close) Senior Program Manager of Community Relations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Emily Swartzlander is a Senior Program Manager of Community Relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, where she works on community initiatives to help fulfill BCBSNC’s mission to improve the health and well being of its customers and communities. In addition to her work to encourage North Carolinians to eat healthful foods, Swartzlander focuses on issues related to perinatal health and early childhood development. Swartzlander holds a BA
in journalism from Ohio University and an MBA from The Ohio State University.
Janie Wilson Student
Janie Wilsonᅡᅠ(click to close) Student

Janie Wilson is a seventh grade student from Peabody, MA. She believes cooking with family and friends can be a fundamental tool in a child’s education and make memories that last a lifetime. In 2014, she was the Grand Prize winner in the Uncle Ben’s
Ben’s Beginners cooking contest, earning a $30,000 cafeteria makeover for her elementary school and a $15,000 cash prize for her family. In 2015, she competed on Food Network’s Chopped Junior and was featured on the cover of Chop Chop Magazine. Janie hosts, produces and edits her own cooking show on Peabody Access Communication Television.

Jenna Wolfe
Talk Show Host
Jenna Wolfe (click to close) Talk Show Host
Jenna Wolfe is a TV personality, certified personal trainer, health and wellness expert, motivational speaker and (most challenging of all), mom to two little girls, Harper and Quinn. She is also the host of a live-streaming, four-hour daily talk show, The Jenna Wolfe Show. Wolfe is the Coach for Kids Ambassador to Wellness in the Schools, a national nonprofit that inspires healthy eating and fitness for kids in public schools.

Wolfe was the first-ever lifestyle and fitness correspondent on NBC’s Today show and recently wrote her first book, Thinner in 30, outlining a 30-day diet and fitness plan.