The WFA Digital Festival offers an unprecedented opportunity to upgrade your personal skills, leadership abilities, technical knowledge and sustainability practices at the biggest food and ag training event of the year. All whilst connecting with an engaged community across the agribusiness supply chain and celebrate the achievements of those who are the backbone of the world’s food systems.
Christopher Bylone van Sandwyk serves as the Global Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF). As the Global Director, he is accountable for developing and delivering IFF's diversity, equity, & inclusion strategy for a 24,000+ employee base across more than 60 countries. Christopher strongly believes in the power of inclusalytics - a more data-driven approach for DEI&-related interventions and initiatives. For this reason, he grounds his work in this simple formula: ((Diversity + Equity) * Inclusion) ^ Belonging = Purposeful Culture!
Naturally, Christopher’s experiences, skillsets, and passions are as diverse as they come! From growing up on a family farm, to taking and teaching modern dance classes, to acquiring an Agricultural Science Degree, then working as a Residence Hall Director, to leading People Analytics, to now leading Global Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at IFF since 2017. He believes that an inclusive culture does not just happen -- it must be intentional. Just like being in a loving, supportive relationship, it takes passion and work.
He strives to be a more inclusive individual with each interaction he has. Christopher believes that “Being engaged is not just about what happens during the hours we are in the office; it is the drive one has, to be a positive public advocate for the organization they are part of.” Christopher’s engagement comes from wanting his organization to be a better place, then he found it and to better the lives of his colleagues.
Sustaining a purposeful career in DE&I takes intentional zeal and dedication, and while he is proud of the accomplishments he has personally made in his career; he knows these milestones were only possible because of the teams of people from all backgrounds with whom he has and continues to partner with throughout his career.
Christopher Bylone van Sandwyk
Global Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Jacqui established Viridis Associates Ltd in 2019, a coaching and consultancy business which is founded on her overarching purpose and beliefs of focusing on people, profit and the planet. She is passionate about personal development and, as well as her Consulting and Non-Executive Director roles, she works as a Mentor and is a qualified Transformational Coach.
Prior to founding Viridis Associates, Jacqui was CEO of Growers cooperative, Berry Gardens, for several years. Before this she was General Manager of Wingland Foods (Bakkavor) - a prepared salads business, prior to that Commercial Director at Capespan. In the early 2000’s she was appointed General Manager of IPL, a joint venture between Geest and Asda (Walmart).
During her career, she has also held many positions on Trade Boards, Retailer committees, a Charity Board and worked with Government working groups.
Jacqui has been involved in fresh food since she graduated in 1995. She studied Law, French and Spanish and found that, unexpectedly, languages and fresh produce seemed like a fit.
Jacqui lives in the South-East of England with her husband and two sons.
Founder & Director
Viridis Associates (Ltd)
Dr. Lee Ann Jackson
Dr. Lee Ann Jackson is the Head of the Agro-Food Trade and Markets Division in the Trade and Agriculture Directorate (TAD) at the OECD. She joined the OECD in 2020 after 16 years at the WTO where her most recent position was as Counselor of Food and Agricultural Policy Research in the Economic Research and Statistics Division. She was previously the Secretary to the WTO's Committee on Agriculture in the Agriculture and Commodities Division where her responsibilities included the implementation and monitoring of WTO rules on agriculture and multilateral agriculture negotiations. Prior to the WTO, Dr. Jackson held various research roles including as a Research Fellow in the School of Economics at the University of Adelaide in South Australia and a researcher in the Environment Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC. Dr. Jackson completed her Ph.D. in applied economics at the University of Minnesota; has joint Master's degrees in public and private management and environmental studies from Yale University.
Lee Ann Jackson
Head of the Agro-Food Trade and Markets Division
Trade and Agriculture Directorate
I am an agronomic engineer specialized in commodities markets. I took postgraduate courses in Negotiation and Finance at IAE Business School and at the UCA.
I am a graduate of Fundación Flor's MED program. Member of Red Mujeres Rurales (Rural women network).
I began my career in the agribusiness business 25 years ago, working in a multinational grain company, where I became the first female grain broker in Rosario Grain Exchange.
I have been able to work in different companies in the agro-industrial sector, as well as in different cities, experiences that allow me to have a comprehensive vision of the entire agribusiness chain, from the field to the export, including the retail business.
Today I share all my knowledge and vision of the business providing advice to help companies to hedge against price risk, anticipate market changes and as result to improve their profitability.
I give market lectures for agricultural companies interested in the latest trends of the Agri market, expected price trends and strategies to follow. I also give talks to those interested in getting to know the grain market in Argentina. Prospective markets. Is Argentina a new potential in the future?
Some companies that trust me: Syngenta, Bayer, UPL, NK Seeds, Nutrien, Don Mario, Lartirigoyen, Sancor Seguros (largest insurance company in Argentina), R.J. O’Brien, etc.
I give training in the same subjects and in hedge of Price risks.
I am a columnist in different media in Argentina, as well as a participant in international media reports. Currently Agrofy News, LA NACION Campo, as well as in other press media in the country (Infocampo, Horizonte A, TN Campo, Canal Rural, among others).
Specialist in grain markets
Mac Marshall serves as the Vice President, Market Intelligence for the United Soybean Board (USB). In this capacity, Mac works with USB leadership to evaluate and establish long-term strategic initiatives in support of advancing domestic and international market opportunities for the U.S. soybean industry while serving as an industry source of market information and analysis. Prior to joining USB, Mac served as global market analysis and trade lead at Bayer Crop Science, where he worked on international market access issues as part of a global agricultural policy team. Mac has also held roles in Monsanto’s Corporate Strategy group and within the federal government as both a staff and supervisory economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. He holds a B.A. in economics from Vassar College and an M.A. in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University.
United Soybean Board
Allister Phillips is one of the founding partners of AgbioInvestor and heads the company’s seed and trait analysis division. Since its foundation in 2017, AgbioInvestor has grown to rapidly establish itself as the leading source of news and analysis for the global crop protection and seeds & traits industries.
Allister gained an Honours degree in Biotechnology from the University of Abertay Dundee, Scotland. He began his career at an Aberdeen environmental biotechnology company before joining Phillips McDougall, initially as an analyst specialising in GM traits, and later as an associate director where he led the company’s overall seed & traits data and analytical effort.
Seeds & GM Traits Industry AnalystAO)
Geeta Sethi is the Advisor and Global Lead for Food Systems at the World Bank. She is managing the World Bank’s program on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. She has more than 20 years of experience working as an economist on fragile, low-, and middle-income countries. Her work has focused on issues of rural development, service delivery and intergovernmental fiscal policies in around the world. She has delivered many lending programs to the World Bank Board and published books and articles in referred journals on issues relating to rural labor markets, trade policy and fiscal decentralization. Previously, she was the Chief of Staff to the Climate Change Vice President and Special Envoy, the Operations and Strategy Manger for Climate Change, and worked as the Program Manager for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. She has an MBA and PhD in Economics.
Advisor and Global Lead
Food Systems at the World Bank
Ponsi Trivisvavet is CEO and Director of Inari, the SEEDesign™ company using predictive design and advanced multiplex gene editing to unlock the full potential of seed to build a more sustainable future for the food system.
Ms. Trivisvavet has broad expertise in global agriculture as well as extensive management skill in the seeds business. Prior to joining Inari, she held a number of leadership roles at Syngenta, most recently as president of Syngenta Seeds North America. Before Syngenta, she held positions with McKinsey & Company. Ms. Trivisvavet holds an MBA from Cornell University.
CEO and Director
Mariana Vasconcelos is daughter of farmers, co-founder and CEO at Agrosmart, recognized as a technology pioneer company by the World Economic Forum. Biz dev with degrees from UNIFEI, ESALQ/USP, UCLA and Singularity University, Mariana is Forbes under 30, Fast Company 100 Most creative in Business and was elected by the MIT Technology Review as one of the most brilliant Innovators under 35. She is global ambassador of Thought for Food, keynote speaker for Digital agriculture and future of farming, considered one of the top 100 influencers in Agribusiness by Dinheiro Rural and named one of the 50 people that are most impacting the world in 2017 by Kairos Society.
Co-founder and CEO
Ebony is the Chief Operating Officer at MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences), where she provides support to the National Executive Committee, Advisory Board and oversight and management of Strategic Partnerships. Hailing from a small, rural community, Ebony found interest in developing students and providing resources and opportunities to increase access to academic and career related programs in underserved communities. By cultivating innovative programs and strategic partnerships, Ebony have been able to assist underrepresented students and professionals in recognizing and maximizing their full potential. Many of her responsibilities support her passion for advocating for inclusion and diversity and developing leaders, organizations and communities to feed and clothe the next generation.
Graduating at the top of the Computer Science and Mathematics Department, Ebony received her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Stillman College and also holds a certification in Technology Management and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, both from the University of Phoenix. Ms. Webber is an alum of the United Way of Greater Atlanta Volunteer Involvement Program, National Urban League’s Emerging Leaders Cohort, and the Georgia Center for Nonprofits High Potential Diverse Leaders Cohort. She is also a member of the National Black MBA Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Chief Operating Officer
Heidi joined ABB in 2001 and has held various leadership roles on lo- cal, regional and global level. Currently Heidi is Group Head of Diver- sity & Inclusion. She has been fronting the company’s ambitious Di- versity & Inclusion efforts the past four years and launched the Diversity and Inclusion strategy 2030 with the ambition to ensure in- clusion of all and equality across all dimensions. ABB is a leading global technology company with about 105,000 talented employees operating in over 100 countries.
Heidi is an experienced professional driven by value creation for both the organization and the wider community. She believes that a di- verse team composition and inclusive leadership is key to the success of any corporation. She holds a degree in Business & Human Re- source Management from Vesalius College, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Nominated Young Leader of the Year 2012 in Norway. Renowned speaker, frequently featured in podcasts, events and publications (e.g. Forbes and Harvard Business Review).
Heidi is a Norwegian citizen who has lived in Norway, France, Bel- gium, US and Switzerland and speaks Norwegian, English, French and German. She currently lives in Oslo, Norway with her husband and three children and is an enthusiastic hockey mom.
Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion
ABB HQ Switzerland
Emily is Head of Rural Research at Savills. She qualified as a lawyer in London before returning to her farming roots via a MSc in Sustainable Agriculture at Harper Adams University. She has undertaken various roles in food and farming, including for local food organisations and working in Brussels for an MEP on agricultural and environmental policy matters. She joined Savills in 2018 and leads a team of 10 rural researchers dedicated to providing market leading insight and advice on farming, climate and sustainability issues. Emily works with private, charitable and institutional clients to develop communication and investment strategies across the land-based sector. This includes responses to the new Agriculture and Environment Acts in England, and emerging Natural Capital opportunities across the country. Emily is a member of the Defra Tenancy Working Group. She is a Nuffield Scholar, she sits on the CLA’s national policy committee and she is Chair of the Oxford Farming Conference 2023. She lives on a farm in Norfolk with her family.