Speaker Bios

2023 Food Policy Impact Speakers



Susan Mayne, PhD |  FDA CFSAN

Dr. Mayne is Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at FDA. Dr. Mayne leads the Center in developing and implementing policies, programs, and initiatives to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe and healthy for consumers, and that food, dietary supplements and cosmetics sold in the U.S. are safe and properly labeled. Under Dr. Mayne’s leadership, CFSAN works to reduce foodborne illness, protect consumers from harmful products, ensure that chemicals in food (if present) are found at levels that are not harmful, conduct and advance scientific research in support of the safety of foods, cosmetics and dietary supplements, and much more.

Since taking the helm in 2015, Dr. Mayne has overseen and implemented several landmark public health policies and initiatives, including issuing 8 foundational rules and more than 50 guidances to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Under her leadership, CFSAN has released an updated Nutrition Facts label which included added sugars for the first time, determined that industrially produced trans fats are not generally recognized as safe and thus cannot be added to foods, implemented menu labeling requirements, and issued sodium reduction targets for industry to improve the healthfulness of the U.S. food supply. CFSAN continues to support innovation in the food supply while assuring products are safe and properly labeled; in 2022, CFSAN completed the first pre-market consultation of a human food made from cultured animal cells.

An internationally recognized public health leader and scientist, Dr. Mayne received a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Colorado. She earned a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences, with minors in biochemistry and toxicology, from Cornell University.

Prior to joining the FDA, she spent nearly three decades at Yale University, where she held an endowed chair as the C.-E.A. Winslow Professor of Epidemiology. Her distinguished career there included two leadership positions: Chair of the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Associate Director of the Yale Cancer Center.

U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern 

U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern serves as top Democrat on the House Rules Committee and a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee. He was first elected to Congress in 1996, and he represents Massachusetts’ 2nd Congressional District, which includes his hometown of Worcester as well as much of Central and Western Massachusetts. McGovern, a globally-recognized champion in the fight to end hunger, serves as Co-Chair of the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus and Chairman of the Board of the Congressional Hunger Center.

His advocacy during the pandemic in support of nutrition programs like SNAP, school breakfasts and lunches, and summer meals led to major increases in benefits for some of our nation’s most vulnerable.

As the leading author of the George McGovern—Bob Dole International Food for Education program, the Congressman’s work has helped provide nutritious meals in a school setting to nearly 9 million of the world’s poorest children.

During his tenure as Chairman of the Rules Committee, he convened a series of hearings, site visits, roundtables, and listening sessions across the country which led to the first White House conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in over 50 years—as well as a nationwide strategic plan to end hunger by 2030.

For his work, McGovern has earned a 2016 James Beard Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation and a 2008 McGovern-Dole Leadership Award from the World Food Program USA.

Laura Carroll, MS, MPH | The White House

Laura Carroll is a Policy Advisor for Agriculture and Rural Policy at the Domestic Policy Council and is a co-lead for the White House Conference and National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Prior to joining DPC, Laura was the Chief Implementation Manager for FDA’s nutrition initiatives, including updating the “healthy” claim and sodium reduction efforts. She started her federal career as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2013 and served as a Nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture until 2018 where she led development of the Child and Adult Care Food Program nutrition standards. She received her B.A. in Sociology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and received an MS-Nutrition/MPH from Tuft’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Tufts’ School of Medicine.

Robin McKinnon PhD, MPA | FDA CFSAN

Robin McKinnon is a Senior Advisor for Nutrition Policy at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). Dr. McKinnon works to advance FDA’s nutrition policy initiatives across CFSAN. Prior to joining FDA, Dr. McKinnon was a Health Policy Specialist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health. At NCI, Dr. McKinnon led policy-relevant research activities on diet, obesity and physical activity. Dr. McKinnon has a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from the George Washington University and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Kumar Chandran, MPH | USDA

Kumar Chandran is currently the Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Agriculture. Kumar comes to this role drawing on more than ten years of leadership and advocacy for better public health, food access, and strong nutrition in the United States. Prior to joining USDA, Kumar worked as the first Policy Director for FoodCorps, an organization dedicated to connecting kids to healthy food in school, where he led the organization’s development of its legislative agenda and advocacy to make healthy food more accessible and equitable in American schools.

Before that role, Kumar served in the Obama administration as the Chief of Staff for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at USDA. In this role, Kumar coordinated efforts to advance health and wellness for America’s most vulnerable citizens and provided strategic direction of 15 USDA nutrition assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), school meals, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which collectively served about 1 in 4 Americans. Previously, he worked on state strategies for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end child hunger. He also worked toward more inclusive food policies for California residents in need through research and advocacy campaigns with California Food Policy Advocates.

Kumar earned his bachelor’s degree in political economy from the University of California at Berkeley and his master’s degrees in public health and food policy from Tufts University. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two young boys.

Sarah Ohlhorst, MS, RD | American Society for Nutrition

Sarah Ohlhorst is Chief Science Policy Officer for the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), as well as a Registered Dietitian. She has numerous responsibilities at ASN, which include development and implementation of government relations and advocacy initiatives, coordination of public affairs and science policy activities, and liaison to various ASN member groups and allied organizations. Ohlhorst oversees the development of ASN’s science policy-oriented documents, ensuring they appropriately reflect ASN’s scientific and policy views and provides leadership on grants and cooperative agreements that ASN maintains. Prior to joining ASN, Ohlhorst was a Research Scientist at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) where she gained significant project management experience, primarily on contract work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and with RTI, International in the areas of food safety and food defense. She is co-author on numerous peer-reviewed publications and is a member of ASN, IFT, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ohlhorst graduated with distinction from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s in 2001 and a master’s degree in 2004, both in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise.

Brandon Lipps | Caprock Strategies

Brandon Lipps is the cofounder and principal of Caprock Strategies, a strategic consulting firm specializing in food, agriculture and anti-poverty programs.

Prior to launching Caprock Strategies, he served in the role of Undersecretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, functioning as the CEO of the Food and Nutrition Service, a more than $100 billion per year agency administering the nation’s feeding and anti-poverty programs and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. During his tenure, Brandon was known for creative problem solving and innovation as he piloted the agency, first through the unprecedented 2017 hurricane season, then the 2019 government shutdown, and in 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Brandon’s stable leadership earned him respect on both sides of the aisle, inside and outside of government, across food, agriculture, and anti-poverty sectors.

Prior to serving at USDA, Brandon served as Chief of Staff to the Chancellor and Director of Federal Affairs of the Texas Tech University System. Brandon previously served as Counsel and Senior Professional Staff for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture during development and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Adam Friedlander, MS | FDA CORE Network

Adam Friedlander is a Policy Analyst in FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network where he helps lead the agency’s efforts to advance strategic tech-enabled traceability initiatives under the New Era of Smarter Food Safety and engage with a variety of stakeholders on the requirements within the Food Traceability Rule. Adam graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Food Science and Operations Management and a minor in Music. He received his Master of Science (MS) in Regulatory Affairs of Food and Food Industries from Northeastern University.

Blake Harris | IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center

With over a decade of experience in supply chain related functions at private sector and NGO organizations, Blake specializes in standards and process improvement, digital solution development and implementation, and values working through complicated problems to develop effective and simple solutions. In his role as the Technical Director at the Institute of Food Technologist’s Global Food Traceability Center, he is focused on improving the digitization of data in food systems and has experience working with stakeholders ranging from producers and processors to regulatory agencies and retailers.

Anna Rosales, R.D. | IFT

Anna Rosales built her career by blending her love of cooking with her passion for healthy living. She is an expert on nutrition and culinary arts and has experience working with clientele from private individuals to multinational corporations. She offers a unique dual specialty in regulatory affairs/food law and nutrition communications. In addition, she has extensive experience working in multiple categories such as yogurt, bread, snacks, pasta, sauces, and packaged meal solutions. Overall, her diverse background and skill set allow her to work seamlessly with all types of constituents on any food or nutrition-related project.

Anna is currently the Senior Director of Government Affairs and Nutrition at the Institute of Food Technology. Previously Anna was the Director of Nutrition and Science Communications for Barilla, one of the world’s leading Italian food companies. Prior to her work at Barilla, she was the corporate dietitian for Yakult, the Japanese probiotic company, where she educated health professionals and consumers on the benefits of probiotics. Early in her career the California Health & Longevity Institute at the Four Seasons Hotel & Resort in Westlake Village, CA retained her as a chef instructor and consulting dietitian, and she was a food writer and cooking guide for

Anna developed her clinical expertise as a clinical dietitian at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. She completed her dietetic internship with ARAMARK in New York City.

Karen Carr, J.D. | ArentFox Schiff

Karen Ellis Carr is a Partner at ArentFox Schiff LLP. She counsels, advocates, and litigates on behalf of food and agriculture companies and industry groups, with a focus on agricultural technology, biotechnology, pesticides and other chemical substances, food, and environmental law. Karen co-leads ArentFox Schiff’s AgTech Industry Group.

Karen has experience in litigation and regulatory counseling, strategy, and advocacy, with a primary focus on products regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She advises on pathways to commercialization for new products and technologies, advertising and labeling, testing and reporting, data use and compensation disputes, and litigation relating to product approvals. Karen has specific expertise with the Plant Protection Act, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, the National Organic Program, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), and the Administrative Procedure Act.

In addition to her work with individual companies, Karen represents industry associations and coalitions as outside general counsel, advising on regulatory strategy and policy and federal and state legislative issues, and in litigation matters as parties or amici.

Julie Hess, PhD | USDA ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center

Dr. Hess is a Research Nutritionist in the Healthy Body Weight Research group at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center (GFHNRC) in Grand Forks, ND. Dr. Hess’s research is centered on identifying and evaluating strategies to help Americans meet recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Her work involves investigating how American diets currently align with dietary guidance and recognizing and addressing barriers to following recommendations, including dietary restrictions and dietary preferences. Before joining the GFHNRC, Dr. Hess served as Vice President of Scientific Affairs for the National Dairy Council in Chicago, IL. She is an active member and volunteer with several nutrition and scientific organizations, including the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the National Nutrient Databank Conference, and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), and currently serves as Chair-Elect of the Nutrition Translation Research Interest Section with ASN and a member of the Annual Meeting Scientific Program Advisory Panel for IFT. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of North Dakota.

Dr. Hess received Bachelor of Arts degrees in French and English from the University of Texas at Austin and earned a doctoral degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Minnesota, where she studied the health impacts, consumption patterns, and dietary guidance around snacking, mushroom intake, and dairy intake.

Mary Murphy, MS, RD | Exponent

Mary Murphy is a Senior Managing Scientist at Exponent and a registered dietitian. She has over 25 years of experience as a consultant in the areas of dietary intake assessments, evaluation of the safety and efficacy of food ingredients and dietary supplements, and critical reviews of nutrition science information. Ms. Murphy analyzes national dietary data to identify food consumption patterns, assess nutrient intake adequacy and diet quality, examine relationships between food and nutrient intakes and health measures, and model the nutritional impact of various fortification scenarios or other potential modifications to the diet. She has designed and completed numerous dietary exposure assessments using nationwide food consumption data from the United States such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data as well as other nationally representative datasets including data for the United Kingdom, Brazil, and China; for some analyses Ms. Murphy has developed custom databases of food constituents. Findings from these analyses have been published in the peer-reviewed literature and have been used to support product development efforts, marketing initiatives, product registration, and proposed changes in food labeling and dietary guidance. Ms. Murphy also has extensive experience in evaluating the safety and efficacy of novel ingredients added to foods, medical foods, infant formula, and dietary supplements. Ms. Murphy has developed Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) dossiers, Food Additive Petitions, and other safety assessments for food ingredients such as prebiotics, phytonutrients, select vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, fibers, and proteins. Ms. Murphy has developed claims substantiation dossiers for structure-function claims on foods and dietary supplements. Ms. Murphy also has conducted numerous critical reviews on a variety of nutrition topics, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses; these reviews have been summarized as white papers, published as peer-reviewed papers, included as components of regulatory submissions, and used to guide product development.

Jill Reedy, PhD, MPH, RDN | National Cancer Institute

Dr. Jill Reedy is Chief of the Risk Factor Assessment Branch (RFAB) of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). Previously, she was a Program Director in RFAB from 2015-2019.

As Branch Chief, Dr. Reedy oversees EGRP’s research portfolio and initiatives that focus on diet, physical activity, and sleep assessment; methods, tools, technologies and resources for risk factor assessment; and obesity policy research. Her scientific interests include different methodological approaches in dietary pattern analysis, dietary surveillance, obesity policy, new technologies for dietary assessment, and measures of the food environment.

Dr. Reedy is the program officer for the Diet Assessment Center for the Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by All of Us Research Program, which focuses on improving diet assessment methodologies through validation, evaluation, and modeling efforts. She also leads the Dietary Patterns Methods Project, a collaboration with investigators from three large U.S. cohorts, which aims to systematically examine index-based scoring systems using standardized methods with cancer mortality outcomes. Dr. Reedy serves on several trans-NIH working groups, including the Senior Leadership Group for the NIH Office of Nutrition Research.

Dr. Reedy partners with colleagues at NCI, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), and the American Institute for Cancer Research (ACIR), to develop resources for researchers including the Dietary Assessment Primer; the NCCOR Measures Registry Resource Suite; the NCCOR Catalogue of Surveillance Systems; the WCRF/AICR Score; and the Healthy Eating Index.

Prior to joining EGRP, Dr. Reedy was a Program Director and Nutritionist in DCCPS’s Applied Research Program (now the Healthcare Delivery Research Program). She first joined NCI as a Cancer Prevention Fellow. Dr. Reedy is a registered dietitian nutritionist and previously worked as a Regional Manager at the Dairy Council of California, a consultant with the California Nutrition Network, and a pediatric dietitian.

Kelly Higgins

Alison Steiber, PhD, RD | Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Dr. Steiber is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the Chief Science Officer at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As Chief Science Officer, Dr. Steiber leads the Research, International, and Scientific Affairs team in both research efforts, including conducting nutrition related research, systematic reviews, position statements, and Evidence Based Nutrition Practice Guidelines and the Dietitian Outcomes Registry. Additionally, Dr. Steiber oversees the Academy’s international efforts, standardized language development and resources and supports the research fellowship program. Prior to the Academy, Dr. Steiber was Director of the Coordinated Dietetic Internship. She is an author on dozens of scientific research papers, represents the Academy at key research, scientific and/or policy conferences, is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Kidney Foundation, on the Scientific Advisory Panel for the American Council on Exercise and the Executive Committee for the International Society for Renal Nutrition and Metabolism. Dr. Steiber completed her Dietetic Internship and received her Master of Science in Dietetics at the University of Kansas Medical Center and her Doctorate in Human Nutrition from Michigan State University. In 2021, Dr. Steiber received the Distinguished Health Professions Alumna award from the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS.

Ashley Allen, MPA | Oatly

Ashley is the Chief Sustainability Officer at Oatly, where she is spearheading the company’s movement toward a more climate-smart, nature-conscious food system. At Oatly and beyond, Ashley is deeply committed to helping transform the food industry, enabling people to change the way they eat, and the way we grow food for a better future for people and the planet. Prior to Oatly, Ashley served as Climate and Land Senior Manager at Mars, Incorporated, where she led the climate change and land sustainability initiatives and guided the company on their science-based target to cut carbon emissions across their value chain. Ashley began her career in the public sector, at the U.S. State Department and USAID, leading climate partnerships with countries around the world, and helping to negotiate the international Paris Agreement on Climate Change. She also served on the White House Environmental Council, helping launch President Barack Obama’s U.S. Climate Action Plan. Ashley has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Environmental Policy from Indiana University. Today, Ashley lives outside of Washington, DC in the U.S. with her nature-loving family.

Stephanie Goodwin, PhD, MPH, RD | Danone North America

Stephanie Goodwin joined the Public and Government Affairs team at Danone North America in 2019. She has been with Danone for 8.5 years, first on the science team for the division of medical foods, and then on the regulatory affairs team. Prior to joining Danone, Stephanie worked within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

Stephanie is a Registered Dietitian and earned a Master of Public Health in Health Education, as well as her Doctorate in Human Nutrition and Public Policy from Virginia Tech. She completed her Post-Doctoral Fellowship in metabolic science at the National Institutes of Health with the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Disease. Stephanie is also a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences.

Stephanie is an outdoor enthusiast and spends most of her free time with her family, including her husband and two little boys playing outside.

Wendelyn Jones, PhD | IAFNS

Dr. Wendelyn Jones is Executive Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS). IAFNS is a nonprofit science organization that pools funding from industry collaborators and advances science through the in-kind and financial contributions from public and private sector partners. She has a passion for bringing together science and society, drawing from her global experiences working across chemical, agricultural, food, and health sectors. She applies her PhD in life sciences to extend IAFNS’ contribution to, and impact within, diverse scientific and health communities.

Wendelyn received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN where her research was with the Center for Molecular Toxicology and Carcinogenesis. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA.

Robert Rankin | Kellen

Robert Rankin is Group Vice President for Food & Nutrition at Kellen, a global association management and professional services firm, where he provides oversight and direct management to all U.S.-managed food industry associations. Robert has broad and diverse experience working with the food and food ingredient industry, including management, strategic leadership, regulatory and technical affairs, public affairs, international relations and strategic communications. Robert joined Kellen in 2005 and has been working with food industry associations for over 20 years.

Thomas Gremillion | Consumer Federation of America

Thomas Gremillion is the Director of Food Policy at the Consumer Federation of America. He oversees the research, analysis, advocacy and media outreach for the group’s food policy activities, and monitors food safety activities at USDA, FDA and in Congress, where he advocates for strong food safety protections for consumers. He also coordinates the Safe Food Coalition, a group of consumer, trade union, and foodborne illness victim organizations dedicated to reducing foodborne illness by improving government food inspection programs.
Prior to joining CFA in 2015, Gremillion practiced environmental law at Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Public Representation, where he represented community groups and advocacy organizations in litigation against polluters and government regulators. He also served as an associate attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill, NC, where he specialized in transportation and land use issues.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Gremillion is a member of the D.C. and North Carolina bars. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in mathematics, and served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Quito, Ecuador, where he received an M.A. in International Relations from La Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar.

Hank Cardello, MBA | Georgetown University

Hank Cardello currently serves as Executive Director of the Leadership Solutions Program for Health & Prosperity at Georgetown University’s Business for Impact Center and Chair of the Portion Balance Coalition. He is a regular contributor to Forbes on food industry matters pertaining to consumer health, policy and societal issues. Mr. Cardello co-founded the Global Obesity Business Forum and served as architect of the confectionery industry’s Always a Treat commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America.

For over three decades, Hank was an executive at some of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, including President of Sunkist Soft Drinks, Inc., Vice President of Marketing for Canada Dry, Director of Marketing for Coca-Cola USA, and Brand Manager for Anheuser-Busch and General Mills. He has served as Chief Executive Officer for several ingredient companies and, in 2000, was identified as a “Top 10 Innovator” in the Nutritional Foods industry.

Hank’s perspectives have been shared in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Economist, and TIME magazine, as well as in major broadcast media, such as CNN, NPR, the BBC, Good Morning America, CNBC, and the major television networks. Mr. Cardello is the author of the book Stuffed: An Insider’s Look at Who’s (Really) Making America Fat and the landmark report Better-for-you Foods: It’s Just Good Business. He has moderated expert panels at the White House, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Partnership for a Healthier America among others.

Hank holds a B.S. degree Magna Cum Laude in materials science and metallurgical engineering from Lehigh University, and an MBA in marketing from the Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania.