Food Marketing Conference to focus on “Connecting People, Issues and Solutions”

Shopper engagement, changes in consumer behavior and ethical challenges of leadershipwill be among the topics of discussion at Western Michigan University’s 47th Annual Food Marketing Conference on Monday and Tuesday, March 26 and 27, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.

Featured speakers include Susan O’Malley, former president of the National Basketball Association’s Washington Wizards Sports & Entertainment, who will share insights on leadership in a talk titled “Connecting People, Issues and Solutions” on Monday evening. Bill Dankworth, vice president of grocery merchandising for The Kroger Company will give his views on environmental and economic factors consumers are facing today in a talk titled “Engaging Customers in a Rapidly Changing World” on Tuesday afternoon.

The conference annually draws more than 500 industry business leaders from around the nation to Kalamazoo. With the theme “Connecting People, Issues and Solutions,” the conference kicks off at 4 p.m. Monday with John Phillips, senior vice president of customer supply chain and logistics at PepsiCo, Inc. His presentation and the follow-up executive forum at 4:30 p.m. will examine 12 global mega-trends and what it takes to win in today’s changing world. Moderated by Trudy Bourgeois, author, president and founder of the Center for Workforce Excellence, the panel will include Monica Hysell, vice president of Abbott Nutrition, Rob Bartles, president and chief executive officer of Martin’s Supermarkets, Darcey Macken, senior vice president at Kellogg Company, JK Symancyk, chief operating officer of Meijer, and Carla Cooper, president and chief executive officer of Daymon Worldwide.

O’Malley will address this unprecedented era of change in the food industry and the tremendous value of leadership associated with this time of change. She will share innovative approaches that leadership roles require. O’Malley served as the first female president of a professional sports franchise and she will elaborate on the strategies that led to her success.

Breakout Sessions
Tuesday, March 27, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

  • “Blocking and Tackling to Win at Retail Today” — Craig Rosenblum, partner, Willard Bishop Consulting
  • “How Millennials Will Change Food Consumption” — Marilyn Moats Kennedy, president, Moats Kennedy, Inc.
  • “Tracking Trends That Matter as Food Competition Heats Up” — Todd Hale, senior vice president for consumer and shopper insights, Nielsen
  • “Shopper Engagement in the Digital and Social Media Era” — Kevin Weisberg, chief marketing officer, Lunchbox: Shopper Engagement Solutions

General Session
Tuesday, March 27, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

  • Paul Madura, panel moderator, senior advisor, Endeavor Management
  • Sheila Laing, vice president of human resources, Hy-Vee
  • Dona Kotzur, regional director of customer service, H-E-B Foods/Drugs
  • Diana Copland, vice president, Operations, Busch’s Fresh Food Market
  • Tom Urtz, vice president of human resources and community relations,  ShopRite

At 2 p.m. Dankworth will close the conference by offering ways to improve relationships with customers at a time when shopper options are increasing and customer needs are changing. He has held multiple positions at Kroger in merchandising and store operations in addition to having worked in three other Kroger divisions.

The WMU Annual Food Marketing Conference is presented by WMU’s Food and Consumer Package Goods Marketing Program in the Haworth College of Business. Proceeds from the conference support food and CPG marketing scholarships and related program operations.

For more conference information, including cost and registration details, call the event hotline at (269) 387-2132 or visit the conference website.

Editor: Cindy Wagner
Haworth College of Business
2100 Schneider Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamzoo MI 49008-5457 USA
(269) 387-5050 | (269) 387-5710 Fax