SDL speakers are a diverse selection of industry leaders determined to transform the agtech ecosystem and innovate the global supply chain, in order to build a better, more sustainable future for food.
CHIEF AGRICULTURAL OFFICER, MARS
Howard-Yana Shapiro is an Adjunct Professor in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, and leads the Multi-Disciplinary Research Unit, a collaborative effort between Mars, UC Davis and The University of Nottingham.
GLOBAL STRATEGIST, FARM INPUTS, RABOBANK
Dirk Jan and his team publish research on macroeconomic trends and industry dynamics within different food & agribusiness value chains, provide strategic corporate advice, and assist asset management firms in agricultural commodity markets investments.
COMMISSIONER, CITY OF MIAMI
As an activist for a better quality of life, he led the cleanup efforts for Merrie Christmas Park in Coconut Grove, and founded an event that raised $125,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. His priorities include forward-thinking transit solutions, smart development, reducing homelessness, prioritizing green space, and developing affordable housing initiatives in the City of Miami.
DIRECTOR AGRICULTURE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS, MICROSOFT
Claudia Rössler is Director Agriculture in Microsoft Azure Global Engineering. She is responsible for developing strategic partnerships for Digital Innovation and Ag Tech in the agriculture ecosystem
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FOODSHOT GLOBAL
Sara Eckhouse is Executive Director of FoodShot Global, an innovative, collaborative platform of investors, industry leaders, innovators, and advocates who are working together to create scalable, impactful, and inspired solutions – MoonShots for Better Food. Sara also worked in the Obama White House in the Office of Legislative Affairs, and as a Field Organizer on the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College.
PARTNER, FINISTERE VENTURES
Arama Kukutai is a co-founder and Partner at Finistere Ventures a pioneer in the Agriculture and Food technology sectors founded in 2005. He has led the creation of Finistere’s global network in Agrifood technology which includes presence in Tel Aviv, San Diego and Silicon Valley, and Dublin, Ireland. Finistere has built a global platform investing in the leading Agrifood companies and partnered with corporate leaders including Nutrien, Bayer, Pepsico and International Farming Corporation.
DIRECTOR FORUM US, FORUM FOR THE FUTURE
Sandra leads Forum’s US-based team, where Forum For The Future are growing their network across North and South America and driving transformational collaborations in sectors such as food, fashion, retail and consumer products.
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS CONSULTANT, AEROFARMS
Megan develops strategic partnerships and new revenue opportunities with global corporations for the leading controlled-environment agriculture startup, AeroFarms. She leads creation and implementation of processes to improve business development effectiveness and execution of innovative R&D projects. She has focused on creating successful business strategies for multinational companies that leverage social, economic, and environmental trends to identify near-term business opportunities.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, VESTARON
Anna is the President and CEO, and also a Board Member at Vestaron since April 2018, bringing more than a decade of experience across multiple venture-backed ag-tech companies. Anna has also founded and led as the CEO of NexSteppe to develop and commercialize optimized crops for the biobased economy, as well as led the Commercial and Business Development at Ceres, an agricultural biotechnology company and developer of dedicated energy crops.
FOUNDER AND INDUSTRY CONSULTANT, AGRITECTURE CONSULTING
Henry Gordon-Smith is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues, and emerging technologies.
FOUNDER AND CEO, CROPIN SOLUTIONS
Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO of CropIn Technology Solutions, has made it possible to enable data-driven farming by connecting all the stakeholders in the agri ecosystem. Krishna is also a BusinessWorld 40 Under 40 Achiever 2018 and Top 25 Tech Entrepreneurs of 2019 by Entrepreneur India Magazine.
SENIOR DIRECTOR, SMITHFIELD RENEWABLES
Kraig Westerbeek is Smithfield Foods Senior Director of Smithfield Renewables and Hog Production Division Environmental Affairs. Smithfield Renewables is a new platform within the organization that will unify, lead and accelerate the company's industry-leading carbon reduction and renewable energy efforts. He will also lead an advisory committee that will evaluate projects and help direct a company-wide strategy for renewable energy projects across both farms and facilities.
David Friedman is the CEO of VividGro, a leader in advanced-applications of Agricultural technology (AgTech). Friedman is also the founder of the Panther Funds which have invested over $10 Million in 20 cannabis companies.
INVESTMENT ASSOCIATE ONTARIO, FINISTERE VENTURES
Ingrid is an associate with Finistere Ventures located in Toronto, Ontario. In addition to her activities in Canada, Ingrid is interested in the application of life sciences technologies in agriculture. Her areas of focus for Finistere cover a broad range of disciplines including crop inputs, plant sciences, and animal health.
GLOBAL FOOD STRATEGY MANAGER, AIRBNB
McKenzie is the Global Food Strategy Manager at Airbnb and still spends her time working to build a global network of (com)passionate & ethical eaters. She oversees strategy and programming for Airbnb’s 40+ international offices.
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, PRODUCERS MARKET
Keith has worked in the supply side of the agricultural industry for the past decade. He is the founder of the commercial urban agriculture firm, Sky Vegetables, which pioneered the integration of greenhouse hydroponic agriculture in urban environments.
Miku Jha is the founder and CEO of AgShift. She has led multiple startups from founding stage to successful acquisitions & mergers with companies such as IBM and Xyratex. As a product executive, Miku has launched large scale enterprise products in mobile and internet of things for companies such as VMware and IBM.
PROCUREMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY MANAGER, ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL
As the procurement and sustainability manager for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, Kevin works with local and national suppliers to source products which improve the hospital’s position on environmentally preferable purchasing, antimicrobial stewardship in the food chain, and investment in local and regional foodsheds. He is also a member of the Google Refresh Working Group.
Maja Vujinovic is committed to a future where innovative technologies such as blockchain and AI enhance and support the global human experience. She is a founder and a CEO of OGroup, an investment and advisory firm that helps clients integrate and navigate new technology tools.
CEO, ANUVIA PLANT NUTRIENTS
Ms. Yoder has been in the agricultural industry for more than 20 years and has held key roles with Arysta LifeScience, Monsanto and Spectrum Brands and served on boards with CropLife America and RISE (Responsible Industry Sound Environment). Amy is currently a board member with Compass Minerals and Vive Crop Protection. She also promotes agriculture through her directorship on the Clemson University Foundation Board and as President for the Sigma Alpha Foundation.
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, HIGHER STEAKS
A life-long passion for commercial enterprise, coupled with a new-found understanding of our world’s food supply problem, led her to develop Higher Steaks. During her first company she employed marketing experience, gained through initiating the digital marketing division in the PepsiCo/Strass group joint venture.
PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER, RIPE.IO
Phil is a founder at ripe.io that is deploying the “Blockchain of Food” that provides solutions to help answer what’s in your food, where it’s been and what’s happened to it.
CO-OWNER OF HORT AMERICAS LLC AND FOUNDER OF URBAN AG NEWS
Chris Higgins is the General Manager and co-Owner of Hort Americas LLC, a wholesale supply company focused on all aspects of the horticultural industries as well as Big Bad Flower
Chris is also the founder of Urban Ag News and is also dedicated to creating change through a variety of non-profit and community minded projects.
CO-FOUNDER, BOX GREENS
Lisa Merkle is the proud co-founder of Box Greens. Box Greens brought “Hydroponic Box Farms” into urban areas of South Florida, providing fresh “farm to table” greens to discerning diners and on the job training for residents in underserved communities throughout South Florida in the booming field – AgTech.
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, INFINITE FOODS
Ms. Adelman has 30 years of business experience as a former Global Managing Director for Accenture, CEO of a US-based home health services company, and Group Strategy Executive for the pan-African Econet Group. In 2017, she was named by CEO Global as Africa’s Most Influential Woman – Business & Professional Services and in 2019. She was named on the Forbes Africa “20 New Wealth Creators” list. Ms. Adelman is a speaker and consultant on agricultural transformation in emerging markets and serves on the advisory board to Cornell University’s Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
CEO, MILLENIUM ENERGY CORPORATION (OTC MARKETS MENC)
Lightman is or has been an advisor to over 20 crypto companies. He is the author or coauthor of four books, most recently Augmented: Life In The Smart Lane, with Brett King. Lightman is a graduate of MIT and attended graduate school at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
INVENTOR OF DIGITAL CASH
Widely recognized as the inventor of digital cash, David Chaum is also known for other fundamental innovations in cryptography, including privacy technology and secure election systems.
MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, LITHUANIA
Antanas Guoga (TonyG) is an entrepreneur, Lithuanian member of the European Parliament, philanthropist, public CIO to the Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius. TonyG is entrepreneurship enabler, venture capitalist who invests in start-ups in the digital area. Known an opinion leader for his efforts to promote a better climate for entrepreneurship and improving conditions for business opportunities.
CTO AT IBM CLOUD
Anthony Butler is CTO for IBM Cloud in Middle East and Africa; providing technical leadership across IBM’s cloud services and software portfolio and focusing on helping clients unlock new sources of value through the use of cloud-based technologies, such as blockchain and cognitive computing.
REGION EXECUTIVE, IBM MIDDLE EAST
Bashar Kilani is IBM Middle East’s territory executive for the Gulf and Levant regions and has been with IBM for over 20 years. He incorporated many of IBM’s services, such as software, and systems businesses and drives local operations across the vertical spectrum. Initially, he joined IBM UK software business based out of Hursley labs, holding positions in development, services, and marketing in the past. He has been exposed to regional business and IT media and has been a speaker at several international conferences.
CO-FOUNDER AT CROWDFUNDER
Chance Barnett is the CEO of Crowdfunder, the leading equity crowdfunding platform for influencers. Crowdfunder empowers influencers to transform their social currency into financial capital. Chance is a successful internet entrepreneur, angel investor, and advisor who has started, bootstrapped, and raised VC money for several companies from inception over the last 15 years.
MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Eva Kaili is a Member of the European Parliament and Head of the Hellenic Delegation “Olive Tree”, in the Progressive Alliance of Social Democrats “S&D” 2014-2019. She has been the youngest Member of the Hellenic Parliament 2007-2012 elected with Panhellenic Social Democratic Party at the first position in both National and European Elections.
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT STRATEGY, TRADESTATION CRYPTO, INC.
James is TradeStation Crypto’s Director of Product Strategy. Previously, he was Director of Strategy and Innovation for TradeStation Technologies, Inc., where he co-founded the TradeStation Sandbox, an innovation lab that’s focused on developing firm knowledge through innovation projects. James is active in the blockchain community with speaking engagements, TV appearances, and educational content. He has over 15 years’ experience in the FinTech industry.
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH
Jeffrey Tucker is Editorial Director at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Istitute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.
CO-FOUNDER, NAJARIAN FAMILY OFFICE
Jon is a professional investor and market analyst, who publishes his market observations and trade ideas on Investitute.com, his financial education and newsletter services company. Over the years he has authored four best-selling books on trading and options.