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Coffee Summit Speakers

Coffee Summit Facilitator & Leadership Session Speaker

Laura Freebairn-Smith

Laura Freebairn-Smith, Organizational Performance Group, Principal

Back by popular demand!

Laura Freebairn-Smith has been a consultant for such distinguished companies as the New York Times and People’s Bank. Her specialty is assisting leaders in realizing the full potential of their organizations through humanistic and analytical practices, while offering guidance in the redesign of infrastructure, the creation of strategic plans, and with organizational development.

Laura currently teaches leadership at Yale’s Drama School, and diversity and team building in the Executive MBA program at Yale’s School of Management. Prior to that, she served as Director of Yale’s Organizational Development and Learning Center, which she helped create.

Laura’s credentials include a BA from UC Berkeley (Philosophy and Political Science) and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. She holds a doctorate in Organizational Systems from Saybrook Institute and has published articles and chapters on organizational development topics, most recently on the issue of stereotyping in the workplace.

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U.S. Government Forced Labor Enforcement Now and in the Future

Kenneth Kennedy, Senior Policy Advisor, Forced Labor Programs, US Department of Homeland Secuirty

Kenneth Kennedy started his federal career almost thirty years ago when he began working at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, processing refugee applicants from the Soviet Union under the Lautenberg Amendment. After that, he spent over twenty years as a federal agent on national security investigations, and as his agency's representative to the Law Enforcement Policy SubGroup and the Migration Experts SubGroup of the G-8, and to the Visa Waiver Program.

Kenneth also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Executive Associate Director of Homeland Security Investigations for several years. He now manages the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Forced Labor Program--a position that he has held for more than three years.

¡Adelante! The Growing US Latino Market

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards, Co-Founder, Dig Insights

Michael is one of the four founders of Dig Insights, a market research consultancy that focuses on the food and beverage sector. Prior to Dig Insights, Michael worked at Kraft Foods for several years. This allows him to bring a manufacturer perspective to market research.

Michael has led the National Coffee Association’s National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) study for over 10 years.



FSMA 101 – The Must Know Facts about Food Safety

Candace Doepker

Candace L. Doepker Ph.D., ToxStrategies

Candace was trained in the field of cytogenetic toxicology and has 20 years of experience providing toxicological and scientific issues management support for food and consumer product goods.
Recently, she has helped to evaluate risk and guide the strategic direction for companies involved with complex topics including caffeine, Proposition 65, mycotoxins, heat formed toxicants and the GRAS process. She is recognized in the food industry for her strong working knowledge of caffeine, workplace flavor safety and FSMA - and more recently, how to implement systematic reviews.
Prior to joining ToxStrategies Inc, Candace served multiple years as the Chairwoman of the Caffeine and Food Ingredients committee at the International Food Information Council. Additionally, she was involved with both the Grocery Manufacturers Association and International Life Science Institute's science and regulatory committees.  She has served leadership roles with the NCA’s Scientific Advisory Group since 2006.

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Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent in Your Organization

Christina Lock

Christina Lock, CEO and Talent Recruiter at Catch Talent


Christina is an entrepreneur, leader, human resources executive, and public speaker with a proven track record of building companies and driving results. As CEO of Catch Talent, Christina leads the delivery of recruiting and employer branding services to growing technology, manufacturing, and engineering companies.

Prior to launching Catch, she was a founding member and Vice President of HR and Recruiting at SPARC, where her team hired over 300 Team Members in less than five years. Christina has also held leadership, recruiting, and business development positions at ARAMARK and Aerotek. Christina has spoken at SHRM, DIG South, Pecha Kucha, and the College of Charleston. She mentors entrepreneurs and professionals through the Harbor Entrepreneur Center and Charleston Young Professionals.
Chad Norman

Chad Norman, Chief Marketing Officer at Catch Talent


Chad is a marketing and branding strategist, proven leader, speaker, and author. As CMO of Catch Talent, he leads all marketing, brand, and communication activity, contributes to strategic and operational leadership at an agency level, and directs all employer brand client deliverables.

Prior to Catch, Chad was VP of Marketing & Communication at SPARC, he served on the senior leadership team and lead marketing and communication strategy across all products and services. His book, 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide, was published by Wiley in February 2012. Chad has presented at dozens of industry events including SHRM, IHRIM, SXSW, NTC, DMA, AFP, and has lectured at Wake Forest University, Indiana University, University of Michigan, College of Charleston, and The Citadel.

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SEO and Digital Marketing to Increase Visibility

David Verjano

David Verjano, Founder, Verjano Communications


David Verjano is a social media consultant with a passion for developing Miami’s creative culture. He is the founder of Verjano Communications, a digital marketing agency with experience in creative story-telling and effective brand-positioning. David's experience includes managing and advising over 40 brands across multiple social media channels. He enjoys sharing insights about digital strategy, entrepreneurship and creativity. His speaking engagements include Social Tech Live, Social Media Club South Florida and Florida International University.

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