Genhi Givings Bailey

Director of Diversity and Inclusion, DLA Piper LLP (US)

Genhi Givings Bailey is responsible for leading the firm's efforts to recruit, retain, develop and advance diverse lawyers. Genhi works closely with firm leadership as well as Recruiting, Human Resources, Professional Development and Marketing to develop and implement programs designed to increase diversity within the firm and to promote a culture of inclusion. This includes developing and implementing initiatives that address issues such as work-life integration, the promotion and development of diverse lawyers, leadership and advancement opportunities, unconscious bias, emotional intelligence and unique barriers to success faced by certain groups. She also leads the firm's strategy on diversity pipeline development and implements several initiatives focused on encouraging students from underrepresented groups to pursue legal careers.

Aubrey (Freitag) Bastian

SHRM-SCP|Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, GROWMARK Careers

Aubrey began her career with a Chicago-based IT Staffing Agency as a Technical Recruiter.  In 2008, Aubrey became the Recruiting Manager for Morton Buildings, and in 2011, Aubrey joined GROWMARK as the Affirmative Action Manager where she implemented a company-wide Affirmative Action Program and initiated the early stages of a Diversity & Inclusion program.  In 2014, Aubrey accepted the role of Senior Talent Acquisition Manager where her focus is leading a team of Recruiters to identify and attract top talent and engage the community to build brand awareness.  Aubrey has earned her PHR and SHRM-SCP Certificates, Professional Recruiter Certification, and has served on the planning committee for Women Changing the Face of Agriculture since 2012.  She was recently selected for the Illinois Ag Leadership Program, class of 2018.

Jennifer Brassch

Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager, Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness

Jennifer joined Wells Fargo in 2015 to continue to grow the food and agribusiness focused specialty lending group within Commercial Banking and provide a local Wisconsin presence. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Jennifer spent 15 years with GE Capital’s Corporate Finance and Antares Capital groups. There she focused on risk underwriting and portfolio management for a wide range of industries including the last 3 years in the Food, Beverage & Agriculture group where Jennifer underwrote new business and managed a portfolio of over $400 million in senior loans consisting of customers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Janine Bruder, PHR

Senior HR Consultant, Nationwide Agribusiness

Janine joined Nationwide Insurance in December of 1998.  Janine graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and History and attended a year of law school at the University of Nebraska College of Law.  During her varied career since college she has accumulated 7 years insurance-related experience ranging from corporate pension sales to Risk Manager for the Nebraska Association of County Officials self-insurance program.  She has over 20 years’ human resources experience in both the public and private sector.  She received her Professional in Human Resources designation in December of 1996. 

Dawn Caldwell

Head of Government Affairs, Aurora Cooperative

Dawn Caldwell, along with her husband, Matt and children, Kaydee and Emmet live near Edgar, Nebraska and have a ranch and fencing business. A 1994 graduate of UNL (B.S. Animal Science), Dawn spent 4 years working for the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension Service and has spent the past 16 years working at the Aurora Cooperative; first as a livestock specialist and currently as Head of Government Affairs. Dawn is involved with the Nebraska Beef Council, NCBA, USFRA, and CommonGround, besides other local and state organizations. Dawn’s most cherished role is that of wife and mom.  She is an avid advocate for agriculture and encourages others in the industry to do what they can to share what agriculture means to them.

Blythe Chorn

Manager of Sustainability, Deloitte Consulting, LLP

Blythe is a Manager at Deloitte Consulting and advises companies on sustainability strategy and supply chain sustainability. Her work is focused on the food and agriculture sectors, particularly around the issues of climate change, water, and food waste. Prior to Deloitte, Blythe spent three years in corporate responsibility consulting at Business for Social Responsibility. Blythe has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Rachael Dettmann Spiegel

Attorney, Faegre Baker Daniels

Rachael Dettmann Spiegel is a member of FaegreBD’s food regulatory and litigation practice. Rachael has an extensive background analyzing FDA, USDA and state regulations affecting food and feed manufacturers. Her practice focuses on supporting food and agribusiness clients with litigation, regulatory and contracting matters. Rachael has extensive experience in developing FSMA compliance programs for food and agribusiness industry clients. Rachael’s practice also focuses on litigation pertaining to food borne illness, personal injury and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining FeagreBD, Rachael was an agricultural economist at the USDA and CoBank, a Farm Credit Bank. Her in-depth understanding of business practices within the food industry, as well as her comprehensive knowledge of food, and ingredient supply chains helps her provide practical and effective support to food and agribusiness clients alike.

Megan DeVelvis

AgCo Business Integration Project Manager, Dow AgroSciences

At Dow AgroSciences, Megan DeVelvis is the AgCo Business Integration Project Manager, and holds a leadership position as post-Chairwoman, on the Women’s Innovation Network. Megan created “Inclusion Champions” at Dow AgroSciences, instigating a formal presence for role-modeling inclusive behaviors on important decision-making teams. Megan has held roles in manufacturing, supply chain, marketing, IT and M&A in her 14-years with Dow. Megan also holds an advisory role for the Professional Early Career Organization at Dow AgroSciences.

Christine Dingman

Director, Business Solutions and eCommerce, CF Industries Holdings

As an advocate of the business, Christine and her team provide business value by applying new and innovative technologies and marrying them with successful business processes to meet the strategic objectives of the company. Christine comes with a wealth of industry experience ranging from Sales, Supply, Procurement, Sales Support, ERP and Portal Implementations, XML Messaging, SOX Compliances, and the transformation of Acquisitions.   She has held several positions, including Director responsibilities in Sales and Informational Technology in her career at CF Industries, including the start-up of two new departments during transition and growing years at CF.  She is involved in several industry organizations and currently serves as the Vice Chair on the AgGateway Board of Directors.

Bailey Elchinger

Risk Management Consultant, INTL FCStone Financial Inc.

Bailey Elchinger was born and raised on a small family hog operation in Coldwater, Michigan. Bailey exhibited livestock at local, state and national events while growing up and was very active in both 4-H and FFA. After high school Bailey served as a Michigan FFA state officer and attended Michigan State University majoring in Agribusiness Management. Bailey had numerous internships in the grain merchandising industry prior to graduation and started full time with INTL/FCStone in May of 2011 in the Bowling Green, Ohio office. As a Grain Risk Management Consultant she works with grain elevators, grain farmers, as well as livestock producers to help them manage the risks that they face in the commodity futures markets. Bailey married her husband Nick in September 2011, and they welcomed their first daughter, Parker in June 2015. They reside in Deshler, Ohio where they crop farm and co-own a large custom hay and straw baling business.

Michele Fite

President, Cadena Bio, Inc.

Michele Fite is currently President of Cadena Bio, a Flagship Ventures company where she is leading a mission critical initiative to globally deploy their innovative carbohydrate science technology platform for transformative impact in human health for food nutrition and dietary supplements. Michele held a high-profile leadership role as President/Solae, LLC and Global Business Leader for DuPont’s Nutrition & Health sector where she headed global strategy, planning, and operations. In her prior role as Vice President, Specialty Business in DuPont’s Nutrition & Health sector, Michele victoriously held multiple concurrent leaderships. Michele has a passion for business performance, problem solving, and industry leadership combined with her genuineness and natural leadership talents in developing top-performing “A” teams have been the hallmark for her trajectory to senior leadership.

JoDee George

Group Leader, Bader Rutter

JoDee George is a group leader at Bader Rutter, the world’s largest agricultural marketing agency. For 15 years she has developed and implemented business and marketing strategy to grow businesses in the agriculture, food and consumer products categories. Prior to joining Bader Rutter, JoDee held leadership positions at Kerry, Weber Shandwick, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and FleishmanHillard. She has an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and an MS in agricultural economics from Purdue University's College of Agriculture.

John Gilliland

Consultant to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

John Gilliland serves as consultant to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, in Washington, D.C., where he advises clients on international trade and regulatory matters, with a particular focus on agriculture policy. Mr. Gilliland has represented a broad spectrum of grower and agribusiness interests.  He represents clients on both international and domestic matters before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. State Department, as well as before the World Trade Organization. He serves on the board of the Emerging Democracies Institute, a think tank focused on democracy and governance in the Balkans, and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Susan Grelling

Procurement Officer, Vice President Sourcing and Risk at Patterson Companies, Inc.

Susan is a trained economist, Chief Procurement Officer and Chief Commodity Risk Management executive who also has first hand experience of the impact of the Soviet Union breakup. Working with Latvia’s Ministry of Agriculture during its transition from the Soviet Union and with the Central Bank of Mongolia during the time of the Asian banking crisis. She managed the procurement and commodity risk portfolios of two Fortune 500 companies through the financial crisis of 2008. Susan has made a career of turning market volatility into a competitive advantage. Susan is ideally positioned to provide guidance on how to navigate volatility while minimizing risk to the benefit of our organizations.

Krysta Harden

Vice president of Public Policy and Chief Sustainability Officer, DuPont

Krysta Harden is DuPont vice president of Public Policy and chief sustainability officer. Most recently, she served as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she helped to shape food and agriculture policy, including leading the 2014 Farm Bill implementation. Prior to her service at the USDA, she served as National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) CEO and Gordley Associates senior vice president, and spent 12 years on Capitol Hill holding roles as staff director for the House subcommittee on Peanuts and Tobacco and as chief of staff and press secretary for former Congressman Charles Hatcher. At USDA and throughout her career in agriculture, Ms. Harden has focused on advancing agriculture and expanding opportunities for women, youth, immigrants, socially disadvantaged producers, returning veterans and retirees.

Elizabeth Hund

Senior Vice President and Division Manager, U.S. Bank Food Industries

Elizabeth Hund head’s U.S. Bank’s Food Industries division and leads a team that provides financial solutions for companies involved in the production, processing and distribution of food and agriculture products. Hund joined U.S. Bank from RaboBank International, where she was responsible for the management of the Western Region. Previously she worked in Denver CO, for CoBank, National Bank for Cooperatives, where she was senior relationship manager, and for Coleman Natural Meats as chief financial officer. Prior, Hund worked as vice president of agribusiness at Colorado National Bank, which has since been acquired by U.S. Bank.Active in the national agriculture community, Hund is a member of the Farm Foundation Roundtable, a director of the National Western Stock Show Association, and a fellow of the California Agricultural Leadership Program. 

Joyce Hunter

Deputy Chief Information Officer for Policy and Planning, United States Department of Agriculture

Joyce Hunter is the Deputy Chief Information Officer for Policy and Planning for the Department of Agriculture. Ms. Hunter establishes the policy framework and oversees the Departments technology planning initiatives and lays the track for the future. Ms. Hunter and her team are responsible for Enterprise Architecture, Capitol Planning, IT Governance, FOIA, Privacy, Records Management, IT Workforce Planning and the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). With over 30 years’ experience in the information technology industry, she has demonstrated a strong ability to build and sustain relationships with public/private stakeholders, develop and lead innovative projects and inter-agency initiatives. Ms. Hunter previously served as the CEO of Vulcan Enterprises, where she provided executive advisory, industry and federal business intelligence, policy evaluation analysis, and more.

Jennifer Jackson

Head, Finance North America, Syngenta

Jennifer is responsible for the overall financial performance delivery of $3.4b for the North America region. She brings broad knowledge of finance business partnering and operations to this role from both a global and North America perspective. In the 13 years she has been with Syngenta, Jennifer has held a variety of finance roles in commercial, marketing, global supply and finance services throughout the US and in Syngenta global headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to her current role, Jennifer was the finance business partner lead supporting the Marketing and Strategy function for North America. Before returning to the US, she was head of global Management Reporting based in Basel, Switzerland. Jennifer holds a Master of Business Administration from MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Richard A. Jelinek

Vice President Global Education, INTL FCStone Financial Inc.

Richard Jelinek is Vice President Global Education at INTL FCStone Financial Inc. He is responsible for the development and execution of educational programs and collateral material on Agricultural Futures, Options and OTC markets to assist buy-side and sell-side price risk managers. Richard’s tenure in the futures industry has always included marketing and educational efforts for agricultural target audiences including producers, women in agriculture, lenders, food processors, merchandisers, feed manufacturers, importers and exporters. Although his main focus is commercial hedgers, he also developed materials for the speculative side of the markets.

Kay Johnson Smith

President and CEO, Animal Agriculture Alliance

Kay Johnson Smith is a native Virginian who has worked professionally with agriculture promotion and education for more than twenty-five years.  She joined the Animal Agriculture Alliance as Executive Director in 1994, was named President and CEO in November 2011. She is a leading advisor to the ag and food industry on farm animal welfare issues, serves as a national spokesperson and has provided hundreds of presentations and media interviews on related matters. She serves as the industry liaison to USDA on farm animal welfare matters and coordinates U.S. agriculture input to international farm animal welfare initiatives, such as those of the World Health Organization for Animals’ (OIE), International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Grace Killelea

CEO/Founder Half the Sky Leadership - The GKC Group

For over 20 years, Grace Killelea has been keenly focused on developing, supporting, mentoring, coaching, and connecting women. An accomplished human resource and talent executive, she retired as an SVP from a Fortune 50 company and in 2013 founded Half The Sky, a leadership development program for high potential women. The program now has over 350 graduates.  Grace is a sought after keynote speaker and thought leader in the leadership space. She has created an outstanding network of women at every level and in diverse industries that support and promote women’s advancement and achievement. This past January, her book “The Confidence Effect” was published and is a Top 10 Book for Women in Business on Amazon and was noted as one of the most important business books by Inc.com earlier this year.

Amy Kircher

Director, Food Protection and Defense Institute, University of Minnesota

Amy Kircher is the Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence and an Assistant Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She leads the Centers initiatives and coordinates a research consortium of experts dedicated to protecting the food system through research and education. Her current research includes identification and warning of food disruptions through data fusion and analysis. She serves on several federal committees and working groups to advance public health preparedness. Prior, Dr. Kircher was the Command epidemiologist with the NORAD – US Northern Command (N-NC) Office of the Command Surgeon. Dr. Kircher has an extensive background in Homeland Security Defense, supporting operations and response during national disasters to include Hurricane Katrina, and H1N1. Dr. Kircher completed her Doctorate in Public Health at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Anna Baxter Kirk

Senior Strategist, Bader Rutter

Anna Baxter Kirk is a senior strategist at Bader Rutter, a B2B marketing services agency focused on helping clients see things clearly to truly connect with customers and markets. She is an innovator, a challenger and an insight-seeker who focuses teams and brands toward the right ‘due north.’ Over Anna’s 20-year career, she has focused on helping clients find order out of chaos in order to make smart brand strategy and marketing communications decisions. Her clients operate in insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, building efficiency, energy, agriculture, travel and consumer products.

Allison Kopf

Founder and CEO, Agrilyst

Allison Kopf is the founder and CEO of Agrilyst, a farm management and analytics platform for indoor farms. Agrilyst won the highly coveted Disrupt Cup at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco last year and was featured by FastCompany as one of 2016's Most Innovative Companies. Prior to founding Agrilyst, she helped BrightFarms become one of the leading indoor agriculture companies in the US. She has a BS in Physics from Santa Clara University. You can find her on twitter at @allisonkopf.

Kay Kuenker

Consultant, retired Global VP Dow AgroSciences

Kay finished her Dow AgroSciences career in December 2015 after more than 29 years.  Kay served on the executive leadership team and for nine years, held three different Vice President positions:  VP Business Development, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East and Africa and most recently, VP Government & Public Affairs and Sustainability. Throughout 2016, Kay has transitioned her career to a variety of things including Purdue University Entrepreneur in Residence, Butler University MBA Adjunct faculty and is in the early stages of starting her own consulting and coaching business. Kay is a member of BioCrossroads, AgriNovus Indiana, IN State Workforce Innovation Council and WIA Advisory Board. She previously served on the Executive Committee of European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), Food and Ag sector of BIO, CropLife Canada and several community boards. Kay received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University, respectively.

Brooke E. Layman

Associate Consultant, McGhee Productivity Solutions

With over 15 years professional experience in a variety of industries, Brooke has a distinct passion to help others succeed. This is evident in the work she does with McGhee and across all facets of her life. With a strong background in the Insurance industry, experience in marketing and business development, Brooke is able to draw from a number of different perspectives. Wellness has always been a powerful influence in Brooke’s approach to her career and her life. She is always looking for ways to support others in finding balance in their professional and personal lives.

Melissa A. Leick

Vice President Human Resources, Cargill Animal Protein at Cargill

Melissa Leick is the Vice President Global Human Resources for Cargills Animal Protein enterprise and the Regional HR Leader for Cargill North America. Melissa has created impact with senior leadership teams on organizational effectiveness, culture change, compensation transformation, and inclusion and diversity work developing emerging female leaders. Prior to Cargill, she worked for a United Health Group Senior Director of HR Operations where she led global HR operations and the HR Mergers and Acquisitions practice for one of their subsidiaries. She has worked in senior HR and marketing leadership roles for Novartis and Lawson Software in London, Singapore and Minneapolis. Melissa holds a Masters of Science, International Human Resource Management from Nottingham Trent University and a Bachelor of Arts, Communications from the University of Minnesota.  

Lisa D. Leier

Principal in AgBioMet Technology Partners LLP

Lisa is a native West Texan, graduate of WTAMU.  Began my career in as one of the first wave of female pharmaceutical sales representatives, left to work more in the dirt and closer to innovation.  Have had the privilege of developing, implementing and creating diagnostics for the environmental chemistry markets utilizing antibodies for organic molecules and explosive compounds.  Was with the first company to actively commercialize a field based diagnostic for the detection of Genetically Modified Traits in Soy and Corn, then moved into the development of technologies for rapid diagnostics for the detection of pathogens in the food safety market space.  I took a 5 year detour back into the world of nucleic acid testing and rRNA method development and diagnostic market development to learn the molecular side of detection.  31 years of field work from hazardous waste to feed lots to food processing has led me to bring diagnostics to the market of agriculture and food safety, as they will become more related and reliant upon one another.

Maria Camila Linares

Risk Management Strategist, Cargill

Maria Camila Linares is a risk management strategist with Cargill Risk Management, specializing in grain, oilseeds and softs markets in Latin America, as well as currency risk in those countries.  Based in Miami, Ms. Linares has an expertise in creating commodity price risk management solutions, specifically developing and implementing exchanged-based and OTC hedging solutions. She holds a Master’s of Science (MS) degree in finance from Florida International University in Miami and a certificate in international business and finance from New York University (NYU). A native of Colombia, Ms. Linares earned a degree in industrial engineering from the Universidad de Los Andes. As an Associate Consultant with McGhee Productivity Solutions, Brooke is passionate about helping others create work-life balance and how to achieve their goals.

Virginia McGathey

President and Founder, McGathey Commodities Broker Group

Virginia joined the Chicago Board of Trade in 1983, executing trades and managing risk while trading agricultural futures and options for clients from all over the world. She has provided daily market commentary for the CME group for the past 3 years and was featured in “I am American Business” image campaign for CNBC.  In addition, Virginia does weekly commentary for RFD TV. She is also is a frequent contributor to the market commentary by Bloomberg, Fox Business, BNN, Sky News, CNBC, First Business, and the BBC among other prominent financial media organizations.

Arleen Nand

Partner, U.S. Head, Agricultural Finance, DLA Piper LLP