VP of Multicultural Center of Excellence, Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits
AFTERNOON POWER PANEL
April Alejandro is the Vice President of the Multicultural Center of Excellence for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, North America’s largest wine and spirits distributor, and the preeminent data insights company for alcoholic beverages.
After recognizing the growing importance of the multicultural consumer segment in the alcohol beverage industry, April established the multicultural department in 2017. Multicultural consumers represent 26% of alcoholic beverages sales. Helping Southern Glazer’s understand population shifts, consumption trends and cultural influences within the adult beverage category, the Multicultural Center of Excellence team builds new business opportunities for suppliers, retailers and on-premise customers, and ultimately drives consumer trial.
April joined Glazer’s in 2013 prior to its combination with Southern Wine, leading a team that earned Glazer’s two Diageo Golden Bar Awards. Prior to joining Glazer’s, April held various positions of increasing responsibility working with a diverse portfolio of clients in the beverage alcohol and consumer products industries with advertising, marketing and experiential agencies. April earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University. She is committed to supporting higher education programs for young Latinas and creating more awareness for public school programs to support learnings differences such as dyslexia and dysgraphia in Texas.
AFTERNOON POWER PANEL
Julia Coney is a Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas-based wine writer, wine educator, speaker, and consultant. Her wine writing includes stories on wine, winemakers, and the intersection of race, wine, and language. She holds a WSET Level Two Certification in Wine and Spirits and is currently pursuing her Master Level Champagne Certification with the Wine Scholar Guild and WSET Level Three Certification.
Julia is the recipient of Wine Enthusiast's 2020 Social Visionary Award Winner for her work in writing and speaking on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the wine industry.
Julia is the Founder of Black Wine Professionals, a resource for wine industry employers and gatekeepers, professionals, and the food and beverage community. Their goal is to lift up the multifaceted Black professionals in the world of wine.
Julia is a Contributing Editor for VinePair, the world’s largest online drinks platform. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, Thrillist, The Tasting Panel, Plate Magazine, Forbes.com, WineEnthusiast.com, The Washington Post, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine Searcher, the Financial Times, JancisRobinson.com, Glamour, Essence, and numerous print and digital publications. Julia is a 2019 Fellow of the Professional Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Julia has spoken at conferences such as wine2wine, Assemblage Symposium, The Culinary Institute of America’s Summit for Sommeliers and Beverage Professionals, and Bâtonnage Forum.
She is a lifelong Francophile and hopes all her assignments involve French wine. You can find her on all social media at @juliaconey, her website juliaconey.com, and contemplating a love-hate relationship with Whole 30.
Professional Coach & Author
SESSION: PAY UP - NEGOTIATING YOUR TOTAL PACKAGE
Kate Dixon is the creator of The True Leadership Workshop; True You: Creating Your Personal Brand, Pay UP: Unlocking the Secrets of Salary Negotiation; and Your Best Year Yet: Turbocharge Your Life with the Power of Intention.
Kate helps leaders around the world become both more successful and more fulfilled through coaching, in-person workshops, and online courses where she teaches breakthrough strategies and techniques to accelerate leadership results.
She also provides strategic management consulting services, including new leader integration, teambuilding, organization design, and compensation consulting to her corporate and non-profit clients.
Kate has spent the past 25 years working for and consulting with leaders in for-profit companies including Nike, Intel, American Express, Opal, Quantum, Air Liquide, and Kaiser Permanente, as well as non-profits like DePaul Industries, Period, and the Nike Community Impact Fund. She’s an active member of the Forbes Coaches Council.
She’s a certified coach (Associate Certified Coach from the International Coach Federation, and Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from the Coaches Training Institute) and has been certified in compensation for over 20 years (Certified Compensation Professional from WorldAtWork). Kate is certified to interpret both Hogan Leadership Assessments and Kolbe Assessments.
Bestselling Author, Novelist, Memoirist
In her critically acclaimed novels and immensely popular works of nonfiction, Elizabeth Gilbert expands our understanding of creativity, spirituality, and love. Whatever her subject—her own transformative experiences, the institution of marriage, or 1940’s showgirls—Gilbert writes with “a mix of intelligence, wit, and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible” (The New York Times Book Review). The woman Oprah Winfrey called a “rock star author” is among her generation’s most beloved and inspiring voices, with an avid international readership and devoted following.
Gilbert’s memoir, Eat Pray Love, exploded onto the scene in 2006. The #1 New York Times bestseller famously chronicled the year Gilbert spent traveling the world after a shattering divorce. In the years since, people around the world have looked to Gilbert for guidance in leading brave, authentic, and creative lives. Gilbert’s bestselling nonfiction treatise, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, unpacks her own generative process and shares her wise, witty insights into the mysteries of curiosity and inspiration.
Though best known for these works of nonfiction, Gilbert is at her heart, an inventive storyteller. She is the author of The Signature of All Things, a sweeping story of botany, exploration, and desire that spans much of the nineteenth century. Her latest bestseller the novel City of Girls, is the “fiercely feminist” (Esquire) story of a young woman coming into her own in the theater world of 1940s New York.
From the beginning of her writing career, Gilbert’s observant eye and abiding appreciation for her subjects has distinguished her work. Starting as a magazine journalist, she wrote articles published in Harper’s Bazaar, Spin, and The New York Times Magazine. Her work caught the attention of editors at GQ, where she soon became a stalwart, writing vivid, provocative pieces that grew into books and even a film: 2000’s Coyote Ugly. Gilbert was a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and her work was anthologized in Best American Writing 2001.
In her lectures Gilbert talks about her writing and seizing the opportunity to live a life guided by creativity rather than fear. She lives in New York City with her dog Chunky and is always working on something new. Photo credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Editor-in-Chief, Popular Science
Corinne Iozzio is the Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science, her seventh role at the 149-year-old brand. She previously served as Executive Editor, Managing Editor, and Senior Associate Technology Editor, among other roles. She’s been a contributor to national publications including Fast Company, Fortune, Scientific American, Smithsonian Magazine, and Mental_Floss. Before initially joining Popular Science in 2009, she held positions at New York Magazine, Seventeen, and PC Magazine. She has a bachelor’s in Communications and Media Studies from Fordham University.
Professional Golfer, Winery Owner & Philanthropist
Cristie Kerr began playing golf at the age of nine and quickly established herself as a prodigy. She was the top ranked player in the state of Florida playing on the men’s team, from the same tees. Cristie also had one of the most successful amateur careers in the history of the sport.
She joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour in 1997. Since her maiden victory in 2002, Cristie has been one of the top players in the game. In 2010, Cristie became the first American to reach #1 in the Official Rolex World Golf Rankings and has won two ESPY's for Female Golfer of the Year.
Cristie is also a passionate breast cancer activist, having witnessed her mother, aunt and godmother battle the disease. In 2003, she founded the non-profit organization Birdies for Breast Cancer, which partnered with Jersey City Medical Center to create the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center, the region’s most comprehensive center specializing in women’s health issues.
In addition to golf and her philanthropic efforts, Cristie expanded her entrepreneurial skills by partnering with Pride Mountain Vineyards in Napa Valley to create Curvature Wines. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon was served at the White House and the wines are featured in some of America’s top golf clubhouses and restaurants. Proceeds from the sale of Curvature Wines benefit breast cancer research.
In 2012 Cristie launched Kerr Cellars, a limited-production fine wine collection with award-winning winemaker Helen Keplinger. Wine Spectator named Cristie Kerr wines “Winery to Watch” in 2016, and Cristie has passed her introductory level Sommelier exam.
Cristie is married to Erik Stevens and has a 18-month-old son Griffin and a 6-year-old son, Mason. They live in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Second-Generation Proprietor, Jackson Family Wines
Julia Jackson, a second-generation proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, has dedicated her life to the environment on a global scale. Julia founded Grounded, a non-profit organization, to identify and accelerate the most impactful solutions to ensure a livable planet.
With a goal to address the global climate crisis, Julia launched Grounded in 2018, convening scientists, policymakers, world leaders, investors and front-line organizations at its inaugural summit to elevate and amplify scalable climate solutions. Now, guided by Julia’s leadership, Grounded aims to make a tangible difference in our planet’s trajectory through connecting, convening, and catalyzing transformative global change.
Julia spent a decade working within the family’s business, focused on marketing, brand creation, and international sales, bringing this global perspective and expertise to her work in the environmental space. Her track record of working on transformative issues has earned awards and recognition including North Bay Business Journal’s 2019 Top Women in Business, Culinary Institute of America Commencement Speakers 2019, Cambria: Seeds of Empowerment, UN Women Entrepreneur Speaker 2019, and honors from the Global Green organization. She is a graduate of Scripps College in California.
Senior VP, Corporate Social Responsibility, Jackson Family Wines
The first-born daughter of California wine pioneers Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke, Katie Jackson is a second-generation proprietor working to keep her family-run business at the forefront of quality and stewardship. Katie actively promotes the Jackson family’s belief that environmental stewardship and social responsibility are essential to building family business that will endure for generations. Since stepping into her first winery role in the cellar at Stonestreet Estate Vineyards, Katie has continued to build on her family’s winemaking heritage.
Today, Katie serves as senior vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Jackson Family Wines, a position that is equal parts sustainability and advocacy. Katie launched the company’s first sustainability report in 2016 to highlight its decades-long sustainability journey and establish comprehensive goals and is currently spearheading the development of the company’s new resiliency plan launching in 2021. Under Katie’s leadership, Jackson Family Wines has declared a commitment to become Climate Positive by 2050, built the U.S. wine industry’s largest generation of onsite solar energy, and reduced its water use intensity 48%.
Katie continues to advance water security and innovative energy management while also working to adopt regenerative farming practices. Most recently, Katie led Jackson Family Wines in co-founding the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) with Familia Torres of Spain. IWCA’s mission is to decarbonize the global wine industry with goals to achieve an 80% reduction by 2045.
As the Jackson family’s principal voice in promoting sustainable agriculture programs, Katie ensures that the family’s vineyards throughout California and Oregon are certified sustainable. Additionally, Katie co-manages the Government Relations and External Affairs Department working on critical regulatory relations issues and directs charitable donations for the company’s community outreach program.
AFTERNOON WORKSHOP: APPROACHABLE MINDFULNESS: FROM REACTION TO RESPONSE
Having served as the CEO for two vibrant organizations, Brenda Jacobsen has spent more than two decades as a dedicated thought leader driving performance to achieve results. She is personally committed to improving the health and wellbeing of those with whom she interacts. Today, Brenda serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Life Cross Training (LifeXT), a privately-held company training individuals resilience skills to drive business performance. In her
role she is responsible for strategy, product development, customer acquisition, and fundraising.
Prior to joining LifeXT, Brenda served as the CEO at Lakeside Occupational Medical Centers having scaled from the ranks of Chief Financial Officer and Director of Business Development. In her prior role, she positioned the company for exceptional revenue growth by exceeding industry standards and paving the way for self-funded acquisitions of other clinics and dominating the market. Brenda led Lakeside’s market exit strategy by creating value and interest from two national competitors allowing for a transition of the entity and 100% of the clinic team to the acquiring organization.
As a thought leader, Brenda empowers those around her. She gives back to the community in which she lives and works as exampled by her work as the Network Chair for the Young President’s Organization’s (YPO) Women’s Business Network, an organization dedicated to elevating the global profile of female leaders to be more impactful, more extraordinary, and more connected. She also served as a board member of the Homeless Empowerment Program, whose mission is to support low income families and position them for independence. Additionally, Brenda fulfilled the roles of Board Chair for Friends of the Art Museum of the Americas and Board Director for the National Association of Occupational Health Professionals.
A 1998 M.B.A. graduate of The University of South Florida, she holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Florida, and was a licensed CPA in the State of Florida.
Senior Fellow on Global Cities, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Ian Klaus is a senior fellow on global cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Previously he served as a diplomatic adviser to Urban 20 and C40 City Climate Leadership Group. Prior to that, he was senior adviser for global cities at the US Department of State. In that role, he led urban diplomacy for the United States, engaging dozens of foreign ministries and development agencies from Africa, South America, North America, Asia, and Europe on urbanization and foreign policy issues. Klaus was deputy United States negotiator for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development. Prior to that he served as a member of the policy planning staff in the office of the Secretary of State, advising the Secretary of State and Director of Policy Planning on strategic issues surrounding the Arab Spring and multilateral diplomacy.
He is a co-author of “The Summary for Urban Policymakers: What the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C Means for Cities,” and has worked across sectors and disciplines, including in music, fiction, food and wine, to expand messaging around climate science and biodiversity. He has been a member of the World Economic Forum's advisory board on the future of urban development, the Creative Cities Working Group at Stanford University, a visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Ernest May Fellow for History and Security Studies at the Kennedy School of Government. He holds a PhD in international history from Harvard University.
Professional Leadership Coach
AFTERNOON WORKSHOP: FINDING COURAGE AND COLLABORATION IN CONFLICT
Cathy Mott is an Author, Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker, facilitator, and trainer who has had the pleasure of working closely with senior leaders for more than 25 years. She is very insightful and has a great talent for helping others discover their natural gifts and talents, which often results in authentic leadership and resilience. As a certified Social & Emotional Intelligence Coach, Cathy has distinguished herself by her ability to create a place of safety for her readers and clients to explore and define their identity as a leader as they walk through the four quadrants of Emotional Intelligence. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Coaching Federation – Michigan Chapter. Cathy has coached hundreds of executives (C-Suite) and has trained thousands on a national and international level with consistent passion and enthusiasm.
She has worked in various industries, including Automotive, (Mercedes Benz Financial) Education (Michigan State University) Healthcare (Trinity Health, Ascension Health) Government, (Michigan League of Public Policy) and Philanthropy (Kresge Foundation) just to name a few. Cathy partners with her clients on a journey of personal growth and purposeful leadership which helps them to be engaged in life mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Cathy has been involved in many forms of media. She has hosted a TV show, been featured on CUTV News Talk Radio, and has recently stepped into a new arena as an author. She has written her first book entitled, “Shh…Just Listen! Great Things Happen in The Silence,” which is an emotional Intelligence workbook that actively engages the reader as they walk through the four quadrants of emotional intelligence. Cathy is currently featured in the February 2020 edition of CEO Magazine as the author of an article entitled, “Authentic Leadership…What Makes it Real?” She is authentically living a life of purpose, helping others discover and step into their greatness through leadership coaching. Whether serving as Executive Coach, Trainer or Business Consultant, Cathy’s ultimate passion is found in creating the space for her clients to come face-to-face with themselves and empowering them to create a life of authentic leadership.
Winemaker, Stoller Family Estate
MODERATOR, ELIZABETH GILBERT INTERVIEW
Raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Kate came to Oregon for her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon. She studied science and was intending to work in the Optometry field. However, shortly after graduation the allure of the wine industry changed the course of her career, and she moved to Australia to study at the University of Adelaide, where she completed her Master’s degree in Oenology. After a couple of years making Shiraz and Cabernet, she moved back to Oregon to work for Archery Summit, where she remained for over six years as the Assistant Winemaker. In 2014, she left to work for a French winemaking consultancy and is now thrilled to be a part of the wonderful team at Stoller Family Estate.
Vice President, Organizational Effectiveness - HR, Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits
MODERATOR, MAKING AN HONEST COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY
Jen is an HR executive with over 20 years of global, spirits industry experience. Throughout those years, she has forged strong partnerships with business and HR leader to transform the culture and implement new strategies, processes and systems to include Succession Planning, Leadership Development, Organizational Transformations, and Talent system implementations. She has facilitated thousands of sessions ranging from strategic planning to team building to coaching for leaders and has presented to groups of over 2,000 people.
In her current role, as VP of Organization Effectiveness, Jen is responsible for the Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Talent Development, Culture/Engagement and Talent Strategy/Innovation teams within HR. She began her career with SGWS in 2013 supporting the stand-up of the new American-Liberty division and, most recently, had led all things Talent Management for SGWS as the VP of Talent Management.
Jen has an MBA from Florida International University, a B.S. in Human Resources Management from Florida Atlantic University, an Organization Development Certificate from the NTL Institute and is a Certified Human Behavior Consultant.
Jen and her husband, Nelson, have two children, Angel and Indrani.
Senior Director of Engagement and Diversity, Avalara
MORNING SESSION: MAKING AN HONEST COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY
Amelia Ransom, SPHR, is the Sr. Director of Engagement and Diversity at Avalara. Prior to this role, Amelia spent 26 years at Nordstrom where she held team, regional and corporate-wide leadership positions including Store Manager, Corporate Learning and Development Director, Corporate Early in Career Director and VP Diversity Affairs. Her areas of expertise include leadership development, Early in Career and Millennial engagement, executive-level mentorship and advisement and Diversity and Inclusion strategy and execution.
Amelia serves on the boards of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Goodwill, The Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion and Building Changes. She is also on the advisory board for the Seattle Chamber of the Association of Latino Professionals in America (ALPFA). Amelia is also a thought leader, a sought-after mentor and an inspirational public speaker.
Proprietor, Mother's Bistro
Lisa Schroeder is the executive chef and owner of Mother's Bistro & Bar in downtown Portland and author of “Mother’s Best” cookbook. She is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and was chosen as a Top Student Chef by Food and Wine Magazine. She honed her cooking skills at Le Cirque & Lespinasse in New York and Moulins des Mougins and L’Auberge de L’Eridan in France. She opened Mother’s Bistro & Bar in 2000 to rave reviews and the “Restaurant of the Year” title from Willamette Week.
Lisa has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Roker on the Road, QVC and many other television programs. She was the recipient of the Oregon Commission for Women Woman of Achievement Award for 2014, Portland Business Journal's Businesswoman of the Year award, International Association of Culinary Professionals Chef/Restaurateur Award of Excellence and Restaurateur of the Year by Independent Restaurateur Magazine. Mother's Bistro & Bar has received numerous accolades as well, including "Top Restaurant Bargain" from Food and Wine Magazine, “Best 101 Breakfasts in America" from Urbanspoon and consistent “Award of Excellence” from Tripadvisor. Lisa is also an active member of the community, participating in a numerous charities and causes.
Winemaker, Opus One Winery
Michael Silacci didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. So, he took a couple of years to travel through Asia and Europe to window-shop for a profession. When he arrived in France, his knowledge of French was limited to “bon voyage”. Someone suggested that if he wanted to eat well, speak French, and earn some francs, he should harvest grapes. Two-hour lunches and fine wine were all it took to lead him down the path to winemaking— and a life spent walking among the vines.
Assuming full responsibility for all aspects of vineyard management and winemaking, Michael was named Winemaker at Opus One in May 2003. He has been at Opus One since March of 2001, first serving as Director of Viticulture and Enology.
Prior to his current appointment, Michael spent six years as winemaker at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, two years as winemaker at King Estate in Oregon, and six years at Beaulieu Vineyard as enologist and viticulturist. He has also made wine in France and Chile. He holds a master’s degree in viticulture from U.C. Davis in addition to under-graduate degrees in enology and viticulture from U.C. Davis and the Université de Bordeaux. Michael serves as president of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and is a member of the Napa County Housing Commission.
Co-Founder & Vice President, AHIVOY
If there is someone proud about her heritage it’s Sofía Torres-McKay, Co-Owner of Cramoisi Vineyard and Winery and Co-Founder of AHIVOY (Asociación Hispana de la Industria del Vino en Oregon Y Comunidad) and she’s a prominent activist for Vineyard Stewards. Born in Mexico City, Degree in Science Communication and a mayor in Marketing and Advertising. She worked 19 years in the tech industry, moved to United States in 2002 to pursue her career in corporate business. In 2011, Sofía (Mexican) and her husband Ryan McKay (Oregonian), both invested their money and took a chance on 10 acres of property in the Dundee Hills of Oregon where they planted vines and started living their dream making small lots of boutique wines, Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Rosé of Pinot Noir and Blanc de Noirs. Now the only Latina Winery/Vineyard Owner in the Dundee Hills AVA, Sofía continues to be a passionate steward for diversity in the wine industry and teaches Vineyard Stewards the importance of Organic and Biodynamic farming since that is her husband and Sofia’s farming practices. She stopped pursuing her career in the Corporate world in 2017 in order to take the lead of her family business. In 2019, Sofia was appointed to the Regional Solutions Advisory Committee–Mid Willamette Valley, Active participant in the community,, volunteers for AHIVOY, also a board member of the Willamette Valley Wine Growers Association, a member of the education committee for The Oregon Wine Board. When Sofia is not working she is busy raising her two boys, Mateo and Johnathan, in a dual cultural household where both English and Spanish are spoken. As a Latina, she teaches her kids the importance of diversity and inclusivity and brings those values to all she does for the wine community. She grows Dalias, loves hiking, kickboxing and spending time with her family and lovely dog named Lava.