Conference Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Seth Goldman

Seth Goldman is Co-Founder of Eat the Change™, a snack brand that offers chef-crafted, nutrient-dense planet-friendly foods. Eat the Change™ recently launched a line of organic mushroom jerky and will be launching a kid-friendly snack line in late 2021. Seth and his co-Founder, Celebrity Chef Spike Mendelsohn are also co-founders of PLNT Burger, a plant-based quick-serve restaurant that offers delicious burgers, sandwiches, fries, and soft-serve. 

Seth and his wife, Julie Farkas, have also launched ETC Impact, which is a donating $1.25M over three years into non-profit organizations that educate and inspire consumers to make climate-conscious choices with their diet.  

Seth is also the Co-founder of Honest Tea and Chair of the board of Beyond Meat. He has been widely recognized for his entrepreneurial success and impact, including Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in Greater Washington, the Washington DC Business Hall of Fame, Beverage Industry Magazine’s Executive of the Year and Partnership for Healthier America’s CEO of the Year. 

He is a graduate of Harvard College (1987) and the Yale School of Management (1995) and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Seth and Barry Nalebuff are the authors, along with graphic artist Soongyun Choi, of The New York Times bestselling comic book, Mission in a Bottle.

Keynote Speaker

Abby Maxman

As president and CEO of Oxfam America, Abby Maxman mobilizes people and resources worldwide for positive social change and to provide lifesaving support to people in crisis. 

Since joining Oxfam in 2017, she has elevated it’s focus on gender and climate justice and fighting inequality. She has been at the forefront of Oxfam’s response to safeguarding, the COVID pandemic and vaccine equity, global governance reform, and it’s ambitious 2030 strategy.

Abby is a thought and practice leader, playing an important role sharing efforts and expertise with NGOs and other actors. This includes as Vice Chair of Interaction, Chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response, Representative on the UN Inter Agency Standing Committee, and serving on the boards of Frontline AIDS,  Global Executive Leadership Initiative and the Classy Leadership Council.

Abby’s approach is informed by her experience living and working through challenging periods of rapid social change, development and disaster in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Haiti, Georgia and Geneva, serving with CARE, several US Government agencies, the German development agency and the UN World Food Programme.

Keynote Speaker

Mary-Ellen McGroarty

Mary-Ellen McGroarty is the Representative and Country Director for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Afghanistan, where the organization is providing humanitarian support to extremely vulnerable people in a time of crisis. Prior to her appointment to Afghanistan, Mary Ellen served as WFP’s Deputy Country Director in South Sudan, where she led the WFP’s emergency and resilience operations and contributed to designing programmes that promoted peace and food insecurity. She also served as the WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Chad, including the regions of Lake Chad and the Sahel, where she oversaw emergency and resilience programmes in response to humanitarian crises. 

Susan Bratton

Susan Bratton is the CEO of Savor Health, an AI and evidence based provider of nutrition strategies to prevent and manage symptoms for chronic disease patients. Inspired by the death of her friend, her curiosity was piqued when he relayed to her that his doctors claimed that his food intake did not affect his illness and that he was permitted to eat however he chose to. Susan is an outspoken and tireless advocate for cancer patients receiving proper nutrition and nutritional support before, during and after treatment. In addition to her leading position at Savor Health, Susan travels across the nation to explain the importance of proper nutrition for cancer patients.

Rebekah Hodge

Rebekah Hodge researches the many ways food continues to be used as a weapon for strategic political gain. Ms. Hodge will speak about the ways food has been weaponized, both in the past and the present. She has investigated recent events in Syria, Ethiopia, and Yemen among others to understand the appropriate responses to food weaponization and how such crimes can be prevented in the future. She was an Adjunct Professor for both Food and Identity and Global Culture Wars courses in Steinhardt at NYU, as well as a Research Assistant in the Department of Food Studies and the Senior Events Coordinator for the Food Studies Graduate Society.

Esther Penunia

As Secretary General of the Asian Farmer’s Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA),  Ms. Penunia represents around 13 million farmers across 16 Asian countries, leading efforts to build the capabilities necessary to strengthen sustainable practices in small-scale farms, fisheries, and forests; advocating for policy regionally and internationally to ensure that these practices are encouraged and aided; providing support for small-scale family enterprises and empowering youth and women in the area of agriculture. The AFA also participates in the organization of farmer cooperatives and in ensuring access to fair markets. Prior to working in this position, Ms. Penunia has acted as a community organizer, healthcare worker, gender advocate, consultant, board member, and chief executive officer, among other roles, in four decades of experience in the field of rural development. 

Mai Thin Yu Mon

A young and prolific human rights activist, Mai Thin Yu Mon is an inspiring emerging Chin woman leader. She is member of the UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus (GIYC) and member of the SC of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum at IFAD. She has been engaged in dialogue and negotiations with the ASEAN regional governments, particularly in Myanmar, on the cause of indigenous peoples’ rights. She is also the Program Director for the Indigenous Peoples Development Program of Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), and represented youth to the Executive Council of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) until 2021. 

Oscar Ekponimo

Oscar Ekponimo is the Founder and CEO of Chowberry Inc, a technology driven social business that reduces food waste and improves food access and affordability. Chowberry Inc has facilitated the distribution of over 1.6 Million meals to households facing food poverty in Nigeria. He has championed various innovative solutions focused on ending food waste in Africa and was named in Time Magazine’s list of 10 Next Generation Leaders winning awards for his contributions leveraging technology and enterprise. As a proactive leader, he has paved the way for tackling local challenges of food insecurity through innovative technology.

Eli Goldman

Eli Goldman is the Individual Giving Officer at City Harvest, New York City’s first and largest food rescue organization. Since joining City Harvest in August 2021, Eli has been a critical member of City Harvest Individual Giving Team, bringing a breadth of knowledge and experience in regards to individual fundraising and donor cultivation. 

In his current role, Eli oversees City Harvest’s midlevel donor program and is responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding individuals who give City Harvest $1,000 to $10k or more on an annual basis in charitable contributions. 

Prior to joining City Harvest, Eli worked at City Year, James Beard, the American Red Cross, Safe Horizon, and AmeriCorps, where he was responsible for similar fundraising duties. 

In addition to this, Eli is an alumnus of the College of New Jersey, and Rutgers-Newark where he received is Master’s in Public Administration (MPA). Eli also runs a community and mission-driven BBQ pop-up outside of work that focuses on enriching and supporting his home of Astoria, Queens.