Carey Allen is the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy with SQFI. Previously, Carey was Vice President of the Food and Ag Division at SCS Global Services and held senior leadership roles with NSF product and food safety certification divisions. Carey led the development of several proprietary NSF certification protocols and championed numerous operational excellence initiatives. Prior to her tenure in the TIC industry, Carey worked for nearly ten years in food manufacturing, R&D, and QA with several major brands. Carey earned her BS and MS in food science and a MS in management, strategy, and leadership. Carey enjoys contributing to the industry through volunteer activities with association committees and work groups, in addition she supports youth, arts, and social programs in her community of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Living in New Zealand for the past 33 years, Andrew is originally from the UK where he graduated from university with Honors in Microbiology and subsequently worked in the food industry. Since moving to New Zealand, he held senior management and executive roles in conformity assessment bodies before joining ASQ (the American Society for Quality) in 2015 as Managing Director for Global Operations, with experience working in China, South-East Asia, the Middle East as well as North America, Central America, and Europe, before becoming CEO of Exemplar Global, a subsidiary of ASQ in 2016. Andrew was also on the Board of Directors of Exemplar Global (and RABQSA, as it was before renaming) for many years before joining ASQ and so has a long-standing relationship with Exemplar Global.
Radojka Barycki is a distinguished professional in Quality Assurance, Food Safety, Training, and Consulting, boasting over two decades of experience. She has achieved notable success in the development, implementation, and enhancement of various Management Systems like SQF, BRCGS, FSSC22000, and ISO 9001. Radojka is the owner and CEO of RDR Global Partners, a training and consulting services company. With a strong background in managing pressing issues in fast-paced settings, she has been recognized for her team-building and mentoring skills, which foster employee engagement and development. Radojka's expertise lies in establishing best practices and leveraging analytical insights to create KPIs that drive performance and cultivate a food safety culture. Her career highlight includes a Plant of the Year award in 2015. She is a recognized expert in Regulatory Compliance, Food Safety, and Quality. She is presently recognized as a leading voice in Food Science for her influential contributions on LinkedIn. Radojka holds a Bachelor's in Bioanalysis (Medical Technology) from the Central University of Venezuela and a Master’s in Food Science from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is a Lead Instructor for the Preventive Controls for Human Foods Course, a Credentialed SQF Trainer, an approved International HACCP Alliance Lead Instructor, and a Canadian Certified HACCP Professional. Radojka has helped numerous companies to achieve a compliant HACCP-based System.
Chris Beato is the Supplier Quality Assurance Program Manager for Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.. In his 30 years with Wegmans, he has held various roles in store operations, Human Resources and Marketing before joining the FSQA team. He is responsible for partnering across multiple business units internally as well as externally with private label suppliers to ensure all suppliers meet Wegmans' high food safety and quality standards. He is an SQF Practitioner and a PCQI and is passionate about the role he plays in helping protect Wegmans customers and brand.
Rick Biros, Founder / Publisher / Conference Director, Innovative Publishing Company, LLC, Food Safety Tech and the Food Safety Consortium Conference. Early in his career (1994) he developed and launched Food Quality, the first trade magazine serving the food safety and quality market. Rick continued his entrepreneurial interests with the development of Innovative Publishing Company, specializing in digital media and events. In 2012, he developed Food Safety Tech, a digital magazine and e-newsletter coupled with a series of focused conferences, both online and onsite. In the same year, the Food Safety Consortium Conference & Expo debuted. Rick is the President of Innovative Publishing Company and oversees the company's two other digital publications, MedTech Intelligence and Cannabis Industry Journal as well as Rick runs the Cannabis Quality Conference. Innovative Publishing Company is a virtual company with full time employees around the country. Rick manages the company from Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts.
LeAnn has over 30 years of foodservice experience specializing in supply chain food safety and quality assurance. Currently LeAnn is the Vice President of Technical Affairs for the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute responsible for the technical elements of the SQF program including the development, maintenance and technical support of the SQF Code and supporting materials.
Prior to working at the SQF Institute, LeAnn worked for the National Restaurant Association Solutions as the Director of Science and Regulatory Relations. In this role, she was responsible for the technical accuracy of the ServSafe food safety program and developed program and services on food safety and food defense to fit with all segments of the restaurant industry. LeAnn graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Food Science and is active with many organizations including GFSI, AFDO and the International Association for Food Protection.
As Global Food & Retail Training Director at BSI, Alison Cousins focuses on delivering learning excellence on core and emerging issues to industry professionals, enabling them to develop their skills and progress in their roles to meet the challenges in this demanding supply chain.
Prior to BSI, Alison held the roles of Training and Conference Manager at Leatherhead Food International, and Head of Academy Programmes at BRCGS Global Standards, where she was responsible for the design and delivery of courses and event programmes aligned to their suite of global standards, as well as developing and training global Approved Training Partners.
Graduated as Agri-food Engineer with a Master’s Science degree in Food Science & Technology, Yuksel has since worked in food research and manufacturing environments in a wide variety of food sectors in different capacities during the first half of his career (22 years).
In the second half of his career (the last 22 years), Yuksel spent in auditing and certification body works. He has being conducting food safety audits throughout North America with the focus shifted to GFSI-recognized certification programs from the Year 2008.
Dr. Janna Hamlett works with all sizes of food manufacturers (very small (owner operator) to large (sites with 500+ employees)) through the University of Idaho Extension and TechHelp (Idaho's Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center). She has over 20 years of experience in both industry and academia. She holds numerous industry credentials and certifications in food safety, personal safety and lean manufacturing/six sigma. Janna works with food manufactures helping them overcome any challenges they may have. Everything from supply chain, food safety, food quality, customer relations, business development, leadership, process efficiencies, marketing, and getting and maintaining 3rd party audit credentials like SQF.
Hora is an accomplished Quality Assurance and Food Safety professional, with over 20 years of professional experience in various aspects of Food Safety and Management, while working with the government agency – Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and in a private sector. He is actively engaged in providing consulting to clients in food processing, assisting them with process improvements, training, quality, and in food safety and regulatory programs (SFCA/R, SQF, and BRCGS) second-party and third-party audits.
Dr. Hora has successfully developed and implemented Quality and Food Safety Management System (FSMS), process improvement, operational excellence, regulatory, auditing/inspection, and training programs in various food product categories - bakery, dairy, grain processing, processing of meat and poultry products.
Prit holds several industry-recognized professional certifications including Certified HACCP Auditor (CHA), SQF Lead Auditor, and in BRC Global Standards.
Kris Middleton has been involved in the food safety auditing business since 2003 and involved with SQF since 2009. Throughout the years Kris has worked as an Auditor, Trainer, Technical Manager, and Program Manager at several different Certification Bodies and Training Centers. He is devoted and passionate about World Class service in any area that he is in with a focus on customer experience. Customers greatly appreciate his style, knowledge, and positive attitude, and energy that he brings to the table in anything that he is a part of. Kris has previously been a part of the SQFI Technical Advisory Committee, has recently been part of the SQFI Technical Working Group for Pet Food Ed. 9.0, was part of the SQFI Retail Code Working Group when the code was first established, is an active member in the GFSI Technical Working Group for Services Provisions, and participates in the International Association of Accredited Registrars Food Group.
Brian Neal is the Technical Manager at Eurofins Food Assurance, where he oversees the audit programs and accreditation. For the past eleven years, he has worked as a food safety auditor and Technical Manager. He has served as a member of the Technical Advisory committee for SQF, as well as on different committee's for other programs. Prior to working for a certification body, he worked ten years in food manufacturing in the meat and produce sectors. Brian is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and lives in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and three kids.
Laura Dunn Nelson brings over 30 years of experience implementing food safety and quality control programs for processing, packaging, food service, and retail operations. Laura has worked with global retailers and manufacturers in the implementation of their food and workplace safety programs. In her current position, Laura is the strategic food industry liaison working with customers, regulators and associations to anticipate new regulations and industry trends and assist in the development of new courses and technology solutions to help Alchemy’s global customers achieve operational success.
Laura's passion for food safety culture is reflected in her active industry participation including member of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Storage and Distribution Technical Working Group, GFSI Food Safety Culture Technical Working Group, past Chair of the Food Safety Culture PDG for International Association Food Protection (IAFP), member of the BSI Food Safety Culture PAS 320 Steering Group and Board member of IFPTI.
Renee Perry is the Vice President of CSR & ESG at Culinary Collaborations LLC. Renee joined CCL as Director of Food Safety & Quality Assurance and took the company on the path to successfully achieving BRCGS A&B v3 certification. CCL achieved an AA rating with zero NC's in four consecutive audits (2020, -2023). Going beyond audits, Renee transformed CCL into an engaged food safety and quality culture. Her success in the Food Safety & Quality industry did not go unnoticed, and in 2021 she was awarded BRCGS Professional of the Year. Today, she remains responsible for the QS & FS team but now also leads traceability, corporate social responsibility and environmental social governance. As a result of Renee’s efforts, CCL is considered a market leader in seafood traceability. She is a member of the technical committee for the GDST. Renee is a passionate advocate for combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, championing electronic monitoring, transparency, and traceability. In her role as co-chair of the GS1 FSMA 204 Work Group, she emphasizes the importance of data integration throughout the supply chain, ensuring adherence to standards, authenticity, sustainability verification, and legality of all seafood products. Renee is committed to sustainability and responsible sourcing and serves on the Global Tuna Alliance Steering Committee/Partner Advisory Group.
Robert has 30 years of experience working in food safety - from local regulatory to global certification. He currently serves as Director of Global Food Safety & Quality Assurance at Yum! Brands, where he leads strategies to strengthen management systems and culture to positively impact food safety throughout Yum!’s supply chain and 55,000 restaurants, around the world. Previously, Robert spent 18 years with NSF International, where he led Global Supply Chain Food Safety.
Before Land O’Lakes, she held positions at Kraft Foods, where she served as the Associate Director of Beverage Manufacturing Quality, ensuring the quality of beverage and coffee products across the supply chain. She later became the Associate Global Director of Supplier Quality, overseeing quality expectations for more than 6,000 suppliers across 120 countries.
Liz Sertl is Senior Director, Community Engagement, at GS1 US and has more than 20 years of experience in the CPG industry. Working closely with supply chain partners, Liz facilitates collaboration best practices and guidelines that help companies improve product traceability and supply chain visibility through the adoption of GS1 Standards.
From annual conferences to sales summits, company kick-off meetings and more, I love reaching out to the crowd (in person or through the Zoom screen) and bringing them along for a ride that will have them laughing, learning, and getting charged up to crush their goals. In addition to tangible takeaways, my keynote performances show up early and often with comedy, real stories, and vulnerability that audiences connect with immediately.
As a Type-A, glass-half-full kind of soul with a background in sales leadership, I work with teams and organizations in training and keynotes centered around sales, service, and success that caters to each individual. Digging deep into what motivates, inspires, and sustains high performers, I help high performing teams sharpen their skills and discover what motivates them to be the best, most authentic versions of themselves. Utilizing professional behavior knowledge and blending it with burnout research, I create my keynotes based in facts, science and authentic stories - with the hope that attendees can have their own personal “ah-ha” moments and bonding experiences, I love breaking down assumptions and rebuilding orgs with new awareness, strength, and unity between them.
Serving great people doing great work is where you’ll find me - I’m honored to partner with organizations, teams and leaders who share the same passion and drive for success and happiness that I have.
Experienced food safety professional with over 25 years in the food industry from "farm to fork" in manufacturing and food safety certification management.
Stefanie helps organizations large and small across the supply chain to open market opportunities utilizing her in-depth knowledge of retailer requirements and GFSI benchmarked standards.
Stefanie's technical expertise and certification food safety leadership experience support the success of operations from primary production, processing and distribution through retail and food service.
With over 20 years of experience in food science, food safety, and food and agriculture policy, Dr. Thesmar provides leadership for FMI’s retail, wholesale and product supplier members on scientific and technical issues such as food safety training programs, regulatory strategy, recall plans and management, crisis management, research, and health and well-being programs.
Dr. Thesmar earned a Ph.D. in Food Technology from Clemson University, a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from Winthrop University, a bachelor’s degree in Food Science from Clemson, and she is a Registered Dietitian. Dr. Thesmar is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, an active member of the International Food Protection Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
More than 25 years of experience in Quality Control and 10 years in the food industry as an SQF Practitioner responsible for implementing, monitoring, and maintaining SQF Systems at various certified sites such as TreeHouse Foods and D&W Fine Pack.
Currently the SQF Compliance Manager overseeing the management and evolution of SQFI’s Compliance and Integrity Program (CIP) using data and statistics.
Holds a Masters in Science and Engineering Technology as well as a Bachelors in Mathematics.
Gigi Vita is a forward-thinking, innovative influencer and problem solver who is currently the Chief Food Safety Assessment Officer & SVP at the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI). In her previous position as Vice President of Sales at SQFI, Vita oversaw the entire sales division of SQFI and was proven to be a key asset to the organization’s expansion by increasing the SQFI portfolio in Latin America and Asia. Vita has seasoned knowledge of the food industry with over 30 years’ experience, having previously worked across all trade channels and led highly successful initiatives within domestic and global organizations.
Most recently Vita was a Partner within the Customer Development Practice of The Partnering Group providing global strategy and general management consulting focused on sustainable value for leading retail and consumer product companies worldwide. Vita led strategic business development and innovation for the nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and has worked as President and COO for Fonterra, North America. Vita also held senior leadership roles at other major consumer packaged goods companies including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kraft/Nabisco, Campbell Soup, Nestle and Procter & Gamble. Vita holds a BA in English from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.