The keynote stage at Natural Products Expo has featured some of the most inspiring and influential leaders from inside and outside the natural products ecosystem: Michael Pollen, Mark Bittman, Joel Salatin, Robyn O’Brien, Erik Weihenmayer. The list goes on.
Choosing our keynotes is a privileged yet difficult task. Finding speakers who will resonate with and bring something new to our increasingly diverse Expo audience takes time, and no matter how much research and due diligence we put into the process, we realize we can’t please everyone.
Knowing that perfection cannot be our goal, we set out to bring to the Expo West stage in 2017 keynote speakers who represented or even embodied the change our industry is driving and who can inspire the new thinking and action that will be required to harness our full potential to improve our food system, make access to healthy food a right enjoyed by all, and bring more health to more people.
Our two 2017 keynotes accomplish this goal.
Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co. and our Friday, March 10, keynote, is leading from the epicenter of a very challenged and disrupted food world. The change Morrison is bringing to a large and influential food company represents a leadership style and values system reminiscent of the core natural products community, which is fueling much of the disruption facing Big Food.
Taking risks, challenging the status quo and harnessing an entrepreneurial spirit to create positive change are central to the natural products industry’s ethos, and we see these characteristics present in Morrison’s leadership style and record.
As one case in point, under Morrison’s leadership, Campbell broke rank with other big food companies by agreeing in January 2016 to become the first major food group to voluntarily label the GMO ingredients in its products. The announcement was accompanied by a call for mandatory national GMO labeling, and it came months before other companies were pressured to follow suit by the July 2016 enactment of the Vermont GMO state labeling law (which was later rendered moot when President Obama signed a bill in August 2016 requiring a federal labeling standard).
Despite the Vermont law’s overturning, Campbell has remained committed to GMO labeling."We believe we need to earn the consumers’ trust every day and that comes from transparency," Morrison told CNBC in January 2017. "[Consumers] really want to know what’s in their food, how it’s grown, how it’s made. We are being very transparent with consumers."
Unlike some of her Big Food peers, Morrison seems to clearly get where the consumer is headed and why and how her company needs to change if it wants to survive and lead future positive change. This is why we are excited to have the Campbell CEO—whom Fortune magazine named one of the most powerful women in business—share her vision and ideas on the future of food with the Expo West community.
Doug Rauch—a former president of Trader Joe’s, the founder and president of Daily Table, and co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism Inc.—is another business powerhouse we will bring to the Expo keynote stage on Saturday, March 11.
Rauch plans to talk about how business can either be a breeding ground for crony capitalism or how it can be used as a force for good and for bringing purpose and passion into people’s lives. The longtime Trader Joe’s executive is focused on the latter with Daily Table, his latest business venture. The grocery store in Dorchester, Massachusetts, is a powerful example of how one problem (in this case, food waste) can be used to solve another problem (access to affordable, healthy food) through innovative thinking and the application of conscious business practices and principles.
"Business," says Rauch, "is in a great position to have more positive impact than ever."
We at New Hope Network wholeheartedly agree and are looking forward to learning how Rauch has used conscious leadership to build stronger businesses and tackle big societal problems.
Morrison’s and Rauch’s keynotes are open to all Expo West badge holders. We encourage you to take a break from the busy show floor to listen to and learn from these conscious business leaders.
Attend Denise Morrison's keynote at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 10, in the Marriott Marquis Ballroom S/C.
Attend Doug Rauch's keynote at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 11, in the Marriott Marquis Ballroom S/C.