Our Speakers

Anna Ashton

Vice President

Government Affairs US-China Business Council

Anna began her tenure at the US-China Business Council in January 2016. Since August 2019, she has led the Council’s government affairs team, developing and implementing US advocacy on behalf of member companies. She previously served as the director of business advisory services, leading staff across USCBC’s three offices in providing member companies with analysis of China’s commercial policies, business operating environment, and best practices.

Anna regularly speaks at programs for business and policy audiences. She has appeared in a range of broadcast media such as Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, CGTN, BBC, NPR, CNBC, and Fox Business. She also provides on-the-record and on-background perspectives on US-China issues for publications including Newsweek, the South China Morning Post, Barron’s, Voice of America, and Inside US Trade.

Anna served as a China analyst in both public and private sector positions. She began her career as an intelligence officer for the Department of Defense, where she prepared intelligence briefings for the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, and top military officials on strategic China issues.

Following her time at the Defense Department, Anna worked for her home state of Arkansas at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, where she helped to develop a strategy for recruiting Chinese investment, organizing and managing visits by Chinese trade delegations and identifying a Chinese consultant to represent Arkansas in Beijing.

From 2008 through 2012, she worked in the International Division of the US Chamber of Commerce, primarily focused on China trade and investment issues. She then worked as an economic and trade analyst at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission while pursuing a JD at Georgetown University.

Anna began her China studies in 1997. In addition to her JD from Georgetown Law, she holds a BA in Chinese Studies from Wellesley College, and an MA in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Anna serves on the Congressional Circle for the US-Asia Institute, and is a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations. She and her family live in northern Virginia.

Laurie Demeritt

Owner and CEO

The Hartman Group

Capt. Florent Groberg

Medal of Honor Recipient

Florent “Flo” Groberg currently leads the Azure Global Government Expansion Mission solution team. He is responsible for working with governments around the world to identify key missions and systems that should operate on the Azure Cloud.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Flo was the Deputy Vice President and Business Director for Sales and Marketing team of the Russia and Central region in February 2020. He was responsible for leading business operations for all commercial airplanes and services sales in the region.

Prior to that role, he was the Chief of Staff for Commercial Airplanes and the Director for Sales and Marketing team of the Russia and Central region. He was responsible for simplifying and managing the management system and operating rhythm and leading a focus across the business on simplification. His role also included partnering with other leadership team members to maximize the use of digital and analytic tools and drive the Boeing Behaviors and cultural change throughout Commercial Airplanes.

Prior to joining Boeing, Groberg served as an official spokesperson for LinkedIn. He was responsible for the promotion of LinkedIn’s veterans program, a tailored job search tool for veterans transitioning out of military roles and into the civilian workforce.

Before LinkedIn, Groberg worked as an operations officer for the U.S. Department of Defense. In this role, he served as special advisor for strategic defense projects, providing expertise to defense policymakers and military planners.

Groberg’s military career began in July 2008 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After completing officer training and both U.S. Army Airborne and U.S. Army Ranger Schools, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., serving as a platoon leader. Following progressively more challenging assignments, Groberg was promoted to the rank of Army captain in July 2012.

Groberg is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military honor, for his extraordinary gallantry, intrepidity and heroism while serving in combat operations in Afghanistan in 2012He holds a master’s degree in management with a specialization in intelligence policies from the University of Maryland University College in College Park, MD.

John Manzella

Founder

The Manzella Report

John Manzella is a world-recognized speaker, author and nationally syndicated columnist on global business, trade policy, labor, and the latest economic trends. His valuable insight, analysis and strategic direction have been vital to many of the world's largest corporations, associations and universities preparing for the business, economic and political challenges ahead.

John's views have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg, NPR, Newsday, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, and other publications in China, Singapore, Mexico and across the globe.

His books include Global America: Understanding Global and Economic Trends and How To Ensure Competitiveness, Grasping Globalization: It’s Impact and Your Corporate Response, and Mexico & NAFTA: The Real Impact, among others.

John is founder of the ManzellaReport.com, a premier source for global business and economic analysis, and Manzella Trade Communications, Inc., a public affairs, publishing and consulting firm.

He also is chair of the Upstate New York District Export Council, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, former Executive Director of goTRADE New York, an advocacy coalition sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Business Roundtable, and former President and CEO of World Trade Center BN.

John Manzella was a keynote speaker at our October 2020 event and interviewed on Urner Barry's Market Digest podcast in November 2020.

For more information, including his articles and videos, visit JohnManzella.com

Michael Schwarz

Founder and CEO

Improove

Mandi Ciocca

Head of Operations and Consulting

Improove

Nicole Thomas

Vice President – Information Services

McKeany-Flavell

Clint Rivers

President, CEO and Chairman of the Board

Wayne Farms

Clint Rivers, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Wayne Farms LLC, has more than 39 years of poultry industry experience. He joined Wayne Farms in October 2012 as Vice President and General Manager of the Fresh Business Unit. In 2014, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, and in 2017, promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Wayne Farms, Mr. Rivers served in executive positions with Pilgrim’s Pride and Perdue Farms. Clint began his career with Golden West Foods in Bedford, Virginia. Clint is currently the Chairman of the National Chicken Council and served on the board of the US Poultry & Egg Association. He holds a degree in Animal Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Married with three children, he and his wife, Tammy, have five grandchildren.

Emily Metz

President & CEO

American Egg Board

Emily Metz is president & CEO of the American Egg Board, the national marketing organization for the U.S. egg industry. In this role, she directs strategy and oversees national programs spanning consumer marketing and PR; innovation; CPG manufacturing, foodservice and retail engagement and support; health and nutrition research and communications; and exports — all with the ultimate objective to drive demand for U.S. eggs and egg products domestically and abroad. Metz is a professional communicator, marketer and strategist who has built her career around a passion for agriculture in roles supporting U.S. dairy, beef, pork and poultry farmers. An attorney specializing in food and drug law, she has held communications, marketing and advocacy positions at the USDA, the Animal Agriculture Alliance, National Milk Producers Federation and, most recently, at the world’s largest animal genetics company, Genus Plc. She is delighted and honored to now serve America’s egg farmers and advance the nation’s love affair with the incredible egg.

Daniel Romanoff

President

Nebraskaland

Mike Seidel

Vice President of Procurement

Performance Foodservice

Michael Seidel is the corporate Vice President of Procurement for Performance Foodservice. “Mike” brings to his role more than 24 years of sales, procurement and leadership experience within the foodservice industry. Over the course of 14 years from 1997, Mike held multiple sales and procurement roles at a Sysco operating company including Marketing Associate and Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing.

In August 2021, Mike is celebrating his tenth year with Performance Foodservice.

Mike serves as a Member of the Executive Board of Directors for the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and as a board member of NPD Supply Track. Mike is also an elected Manager of NFI’s Better Seafood Board and is on the planning committee and presenter for the Global Seafood Market Conference. Mike is also on the Procurement Council for the Independent Procurement Alliance Program (IPAP). He is married, lives in the Richmond Virginia area and has four children.

About PFG: Built on the many proud histories of our family of companies, Performance Food Group is a customer-centric foodservice distribution leader headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. Grounded by roots that date back to a grocery peddler in 1885, PFG today has a nationwide network of over 100 distribution facilities, thousands of talented associates and valued suppliers across the country. With the goal of helping our customers thrive, we market and deliver quality food and related products to over 200,000 locations including independent and chain restaurants, schools, business and industry locations, healthcare facilities, vending distributors, office coffee service distributors, big box retailers, theaters and convenience stores. Building strong relationships is core to PFG’s success – from connecting associates with great career opportunities to connecting valued suppliers and quality products with PFG’s broad and diverse customer base. To learn more about PFG, visit pfgc.com.

Speakers From Urner Barry

Karyn Rispoli

Egg Market Reporter

Randy Pesciotta

Vice President and Egg Market Reporter

Dylan Hughes

Poultry Market Reporter

Matt Busardo

Poultry Market Reporter

Gary Morrison

Vice President and Beef Market Reporter

Russell Barton

Director and Pork Market Reporter

Russ Whitman

Senior Vice President

Jamie Chadwick

Editorial Director