2022 Education Sessions

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Lunch & Learn: Forecasting and the Frozen Supply Chain

Presented by:

Sunday, February 20 at 12:00 p.m. CST

There are many hurdles that the frozen food supply chain continues to encounter, from high trucking rates to tight warehouse storage, lack of pallets, ingredient and packaging shortages. Inflation is at levels not seen in years. Our speaker, economist Brian Beaulieu, will provide attendees with an economic outlook on factors affecting the supply chain so companies can plan ahead and better manage business risks in 2022. Brian will also advise on practical steps frozen food companies can take to future-proof their supply chains.


Brian Beaulieu, CEO & Chief Economist, ITR Economics

Brian Beaulieu has served as CEO and Chief Economist of ITR Economics since 1987, where he researches the use of business cycle analysis and economic forecasting as tools for improving profitability. Brian has shared his highly valued research results via presentations, workshops, and seminars in numerous countries to hundreds of thousands of business owners and executives for the last 38 years.

Prior to joining ITR Economics, Brian served as an economist for the US Department of Labor, where he worked on the health-care component of the Consumer Price Index. Brian has coauthored, with Alan Beaulieu, the books “Prosperity in the Age of Decline,” “Make Your Move,” and, for children, “But I Want It!


Industry Spotlight: State of the Frozen Food Industry;
Spotlight on Frozen Produce

Presented by:

Monday, February 21 at 7:30 a.m. CST

The frozen food category has been a growth driver for years and COVID-19 proved to be the great accelerator. Can frozen sustain these double-digit gains vs. 2019 and 2020? What is the new food landscape and what’s the growth potential for frozen? How will frozen fruits and vegetables fare? To help frozen food companies stay ahead of the curve, IRI’s Sally Lyons Wyatt will share retail-based consumer sales trends, identify outperforming segments and uncover vulnerabilities during her “State of the Industry” presentation. She also will provide insights to the various roles frozen foods play to meet consumers’ needs and opportunities to capture even more growth.


Sally Lyons Wyatt, IRI, Executive Vice President and Practice Leader, Client Insights

Sally Lyons Wyatt is a recognized thought leader in the CPG and retail industries and is a frequent keynote speaker and an authority on consumer eating and shopping trends. She has more than 25 years of industry experience and partners with clients to leverage big data, technology and cutting-edge ideas to help achieve better results and drive growth. As an executive and practice leader for IRI’s Client Insights division, Sally is responsible for driving integrated initiatives as well as measuring their success within consumer strategy, insights, media and personalization practice areas.

U.S. Legislative & Regulatory Update

Thursday, Feb. 18, 3-3:30 p.m. EST

With a new administration comes new priorities and new leadership. This session will provide an overview of the priorities of the Biden Administration as they relate to the frozen food industry. Learn what to expect for your business in terms of food safety, nutrition, labeling, trade and more in 2021 and beyond.


Dr. Donna Garren, Executive Vice President of Science & Policy, AFFI

Dr. Lory Reveil, Director of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs

Matt Foley, Senior Director of Legislative Affairs

AFFI-CON Keynote Address: Think Differently

Sponsored by

Wednesday, Feb. 17,  1-2 p.m. EST

Duncan Wardle spent over 25 years at the world’s most innovative organization – The Walt Disney Company. As Head of Innovation & Creativity at The Walt Disney Company, Duncan and his team helped Imagineering, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Disney Parks innovate, creating magical new storylines and experiences for consumers around the globe. While at Disney he learned many important things about building a profitable business and winning creative culture.

He now brings his extensive Disney experience to audiences around the world using a unique approach to Design Thinking, helping people capture unlikely connections, leading to fresh thinking and disruptive ideas.

Using insights and key innovation case studies from his time at Disney as the Head of Innovation and Creativity, Duncan will share his unique Design Thinking process, empowering you to leverage your creative mind and think differently about frozen food innovation.

Duncan is a multiple Ted X speaker and contributor to Fast Company, Forbes & the Harvard Business Review. He teaches innovation Master Classes at Yale, University of North Caroline and the University of Florida. In 2008, he received the American Citizen of Choice Award at the White House, and he also holds the Duke of Edinburgh Award presented by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Duncan is a graduate of Edinburgh Napier University and has received a Hons. MBA and Hons. Doctorate from there as well.

Three Food Safety Programs Frozen Brands Should Know About to Protect Your Company

Sponsored by

Friday, Feb. 19, 1-1:30 p.m. EST

The threat of a high-level recall, consumer illness, and the associated costs to your business and reputation can keep you up at night. Whether it’s Listeria or enteric viruses, the regulatory and marketplace demands are real. AFFI will characterize the threats facing industry and share highlights of programs you can implement to mitigate those threats, especially for processors and importers selling frozen fruits and vegetables  into the U.S. marketplace.


Dr. Donna Garren, Executive Vice President of Science & Policy, AFFI

Dr. Sanjay Gummalla, Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Lory Reveil, Director of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs

Trends in Foodservice

Sponsored by

Monday, Feb. 22 1-1:30 p.m. EST

With a series of COVID vaccines on the horizon, food and drink businesses have two big questions:

  1. How has the pandemic changed consumers?
  2. What’s next in health, foods and flavors?

Join Jack Li, CEO of Datassential, as he addresses consumers’ quest for food experiences, their definitions of global authenticity and the role that personal values will play in food choices of the future. This highly engaging session will be fueled with powerful insights from Datassential’s MenuTrends (a trended catalog of what’s on menus), FLAVOR (a tracker of consumers’ usage and affinity of foods/flavors) and original consumer research.


Jack Li, President & Haiku Master, Datassential

During his 20-year tenure with Datassential, Jack has created multiple tools that dramatically improve the innovation process to predict food trends to help companies fill their long-term innovation pipeline. Today, Jack works on a variety of projects including targeted innovation, go-to-market strategy and health & wellness.

A New Era of Smarter Food Safety: What Executives Need to Know

Sponsored by

Tuesday, Feb. 23 1-1:30 p.m. EST

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is rolling out a blueprint for their New Era of Smarter Food Safety that will affect food processing and how foods are sold in the US marketplace. Today, foods are being reformulated, new production and delivery methods have launched, and we continue to see tracking systems become digitized and all of these changes will be impacted by FDA’s new food safety programs. This session will review the four core elements of FDA’s blueprint: Traceability, Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response, New Business Models and Retail Modernization and Food Safety Culture and prepare you to set your company up for success in this new era. This session is designed for business leaders rather than food safety specialists.


Dr. Donna Garren, Executive Vice President of Science & Policy

Donna’s extensive background and expertise in food safety, food science, nutrition and regulatory affairs are instrumental in building and enhancing strong and effective regulatory programs for the food and beverage industry. Prior to joining AFFI, Dr. Garren was the President and General Manager for NSF Agriculture (formerly NSF Davis Fresh), a business unit of NSF International. Dr. Garren has also held senior food safety and health positions with The Consumer Goods Forum, National Restaurant Association and United Fresh Produce Association. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science and Technology from the University of Georgia and her Bachelor of Science in Food Science from Clemson University.

Growing your Brand with RangeMe

Wednesday, Feb. 24 1-1:30 p.m. EST

AFFI has partnered with RangeMe to provide frozen food processors with a revolutionary way to connect to retailers and get your product in stores. Some retailers won’t even consider your product unless you’ve set up a profile in RangeMe. Hear from RangeMe and one of their retail partners on how to utilize this platform to continue your AFFI-CON experience throughout the year.


Brandon Leong, Vice President of Marketing & Growth, RangeMe

Brandon combines over 10 years of marketing experience with a passion for growth and technology. He is a native San Franciscan, a dedicated husband and father and has a love for food.

Global Regulations & Trade in 2021

Thursday, Feb. 25 1-1:30 p.m. EST

The marketplace is now global, and the import and export of frozen ingredients is vital to securing supply chains that meet regional demands. This lunch and learn will feature Dr. Julie Cerenzia from Bryant Christie Inc. who will share current and anticipated trends in trade as well as opportunities and barriers to global markets in 2021.


Dr. Julie Cerenzia, Director, Research & Information Services, Bryant Christie Inc.

Julie leads Bryant Christie Inc’s regulatory and market research, strategic planning and data analysis for clients. She brings 25 years of international trade and business experience to the company, including ten years with the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, where she worked with new-to-export firms.

Cornell University's Executive Leadership Program - In Partnership with AFFI

For a small additional fee, AFFI-CON 2021 attendees will have the option to participate in an Executive Leadership Certificate program with Cornell University, Dyson School of Business. Cornell Faculty and thought leaders from the food sector will share the latest industry research and best practices as well as what opportunities top performing companies are focused on in the near and long term. You will be guided through an individualized action plan that is applicable to the unique opportunities and challenges for your business. The core focus of the series is to help you not just survive but thrive in today’s turbulent and fiercely competitive retail landscape. 

The program consists of five two-hour sessions.

  • Session 1: The Next Normal –  Retail, Foodservice & Cuisine Trends
  • Session 2: Consumer Behavior Today – Learn the why and how behind consumer behaviors, beliefs and purchasing habits that are rapidly changing and how consumers view retailers, brands and product entirely differently.
  • Session 3: Supply Chain Fragility – This session will create scenario planning tools and methods to optimize the supply chain and improve profitability as well as benchmarking data across the retail sector.
  • Session 4: Digital Transformation – This is not just for tech startups. This session will help you develop the digital leadership skills and mindset needed to thrive.
  • Session 5: Future of Farming & Food – A deeper dive into labor issues and new technologies in agriculture. 

Key takeaways from the course include:

  • Understanding the latest thinking on shopper behaviors and implications for innovation, product development and distribution.
  • Why smart companies are paying attention to every element of their value chain, from how they procure raw materials and practice responsible sourcing to reducing waste and providing transparency.
  • Gain insights into the disruption of the retail sector, view of the future and implications for go-to market strategies.
  • Technology innovations and their role in challenging retailers to translate the critical elements of a brick & mortar shopping experience to digital. 

This certificate is valued at $1,500 but is being offered to AFFI-CON attendees for just $300 and it can be added onto your AFFI-CON registration during checkout. Individuals not attending AFFI-CON may register for $500 using the “Leadership Certificate Registration Only” button below.  If you wish to add it onto an existing AFFI-CON registration, please use the “Add Leadership Certificate to Existing AFFI-CON Registration” button below. If you have questions about the program or issues with registration, please contact Brynn Hadley, at bhadley@affi.com

Program Details

Session 1

Friday, Feb. 19, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST
The Next Normal: Retail, Foodservice, & Cuisine Trends 

Consumer behaviors have been profoundly reshaped. Supply chains disrupted. Stores and categories turned upside-down. Traditional brand marketing — throw it out the window. The way we work will need to be reimagined. 

In this session you will learn how retail today has been dramatically transformed and understand the agile thinking and necessary steps required to contend with dislocated supply chains, disruptive technologies and new and emerging business models required to deliver a winning proposition. The session will also highlight key trends from menu changes to food trucks and ghost kitchens to explore how frozen food can remain a strong player regardless of what happens next.   


Daniel Williams Hooker, Senior Lecturer/Executive Education, Cornell University

Dan is a global retail and consumer packaged goods executive with broad experience across diverse business environments and formats, leading traditional food retail operations and merchandising, as well as product development, consumer and category analytics, sourcing and procurement, global trading, national sales and ecommerce. Known for and recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on retailers’ proprietary brands, he has shaped clients’ programs across four continents and eight classes of trade. His passion is in helping companies see their unique DNA and positioning and creating actionable marketing and sales strategies essential for their success.

Lilly Jan, Lecturer, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University

Lilly Jan is a lecturer of food and beverage at the School of Hotel Administration. She brings nearly 15 years of experience in hospitality and foodservice, having worked in restaurants, catering and events, retail, and television production. Prior to joining Cornell, she was the Director of Culinary Operations for Newbury College in Brookline, Massachusetts. Jan also served as a faculty member and academic advisor at Newbury College, creating and teaching a range of classes across culinary and hospitality management. She has also taught for Le Cordon Bleu and Boston University.

As a chef, product and recipe developer, and foodservice consultant, Jan has worked with a variety of food-based businesses, including a food truck, on-demand food delivery, food start-up, and retail food stores. She specializes in operations management, focusing on ushering food business concepts to market.

Session 2

Monday, Feb. 22 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST

Consumer Behavior Today: The Future of Restaurants, Hotels & Hospitality

Consumer behaviors have been profoundly reshaped. To be successful, companies need to understand the latest thinking on these behaviors and their implications for innovation, product development and distribution. This session will focus on the why and how the consumer behaves, how their beliefs and purchasing habits are rapidly changing and how consumers view retailers, brands and products entirely differently.


Alex M. Susskind, Associate Dean & Director of Cornell Institute of Food & Beverage Management, Cornell University

Alex M. Susskind joined the faculty at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration in 1998. He is a Professor of Food and Beverage Management and the Director of the Cornell Institute of Food and Beverage Management. Professor Susskind is currently serving as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School. Professor Susskind earned his Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University with a specialization in organizational communication and his MBA with a concentration in personnel and human relations. Alex earned his undergraduate degree at Purdue University in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management and is also a trained chef with a degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Prior to starting his career in Academia, Alex worked as a chef and restaurant operator for both independent and multi-unit restaurant companies in the Northeastern and Southeastern United States.

Through his active research program, Professor Susskind is currently examining how: (1) customer-service provider interaction among guests, employees, and managers influences organizational performance; (2) communication networks in organizations are influenced by elements such as teamwork and organizational change; (3) organizational technology is influencing/changing the relationship between guests and service-based employees and managers, and (4) nutrition information provided by restaurants on menus (as required by the Affordable Care Act starting in May 2018) is influencing guests’ food choices when they dine out in full-service restaurants.

Session 3

Tuesday, Feb. 23 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST

Supply Chain Fragility

Every element of your value chain is vital. Companies are paying more attention to how they procure raw materials, practice responsible sourcing, reduce waste and provide transparency. This session will create scenario planning tools and methods to optimize the supply chain and improve profitability as well as benchmarking data across the retail sector.


Christopher Gaulke, Lecturer, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University

Christopher Gaulke is a lecturer in food & beverage management at the School of Hotel Administration. He teaches courses in restaurant management, purchasing and supply chain management, and new product development. Christopher realized his affinity for restaurants and food service at a young age and has since gained more than 20 years of practical experience working in a variety of different food-service operations including quick-service, casual, and upscale restaurants, as well as retail and institutional food service. In that time, he gained significant knowledge of both front- and back-of-house operations and held several top managerial positions including general manager, executive chef, and food-service manager.

Christopher is a member of the National Restaurant Association, a Certified Chef de Cuisine, a Certified ServSafe Instructor, and Registered ServSafe Examination Proctor for the National Restaurant Association.

Session 4

Wednesday, Feb. 24 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST
Digital Transformation
Technology innovations are changing the brick & mortar shopping experience, especially through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many shoppers are ordering online instead of spending time walking the aisles. Digital transformations are not just for tech startups. This session will help you develop the digital leadership skills and mindset needed to thrive.


Robert Kwortnik, Associate Professor of Services Marketing, Cornell University

Rob Kwortnik, associate professor of services marketing, joined Cornell’s faculty after earning his PhD in business administration from Temple University in 2003. He also earned a BA in journalism from Temple and an MBA from California State University, Northridge. Kwortnik’s research focuses on consumer behavior in service contexts, with special attention to service experience management. He has published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Service Research, The International Journal of Research in Marketing, The Journal of Travel Research, and the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. He has been honored eight times as a Teacher of the Year by students at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. Prior to his career in academics, Kwortnik held several professional positions in marketing and was a travel industry consultant. He is a recognized expert on the leisure cruise industry.

Session 5

Thursday, Feb. 25 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST
Future of Farming & Food
This session will take a deeper dive into labor issues and new technologies in agriculture. What will the future hold?


Aaron Adalja, Assistant Professor of Food & Beverage Management, Cornell University

Aaron Adalja is an assistant professor of food and beverage management at the School of Hotel Administration and an applied economics and policy area faculty member in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. He holds a PhD in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Adalja’s research interests include a range of topics in food and agricultural economics, drawing on consumer theory, industrial organization, and marketing to examine empirical questions in food labeling and quality certification, food safety, and agricultural marketing. His current research includes studies on consumers’ and firms’ responses to voluntary non-GMO food labeling and on the economic impact of U.S. food safety regulation on produce growers.

Prior to graduate school, Adalja spent several years as a chef de partie for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group at Per Se in New York City, an experience that catalyzed his interest in hospitality and food economics.

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