Deanie Elsner is the former President of U.S. Snacks division at Kellogg Company with more than 25 years of diverse consumer packaged goods (“CPG”) experience across both business and marketing leadership roles in domestic and international markets. A talented marketer, she is widely recognized for driving business results by building brands through infrastructure, innovation, culture and talent.
Previously, Ms. Elsner served as President of Kellogg's $3B Snack Business Unit, the largest business unit in the Kellogg Global portfolio, where she transformed that business by leading the exit out of the direct store delivery distribution system, established a portfolio investment strategy and shifted to occasion-based marketing. Prior to joining the Kellogg Company, she served more than 20 years in various leadership roles at the Kraft Foods Company including Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, where she was named by Forbes as one of the 50 Most Influential Global CMOs. Ms. Elsner is credited for successfully launching over $650MM Net Revenue in innovation including, MiO Water Enhancers, Gevalia Café, Keurig compatible Coffee Pods and specialty beverages. Her experience also includes sales roles at Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.
Charlie Bachtell is CEO of Cresco Labs, one the leading vertically-integrated, multi-state cannabis companies in the country. Named one of the 100 cannabis industry leaders of 2018 by Entrepreneur Magazine, Charlie has helped set the bar in this fast-emerging industry, establishing new standards leading to a more progressive, compliant, and professional cannabis community. He has led Cresco Labs through several successful, merit-based state application processes, the development of over a million square feet of cultivation space, private capital raises exceeding $200M, the companies public offering on the Canadian Securities Exchange, product and brand ideation and new market acquisitions. He has a personal focus and mission to normalize the cannabis industry. He is a sought-after speaker on the cannabis industry’s national stages and is regularly quoted as an industry leader in mainstream media and industry publications like Marijuana Business Daily, Cannabis Business Times and Marijuana Venture Magazine.
An attorney by training, Charlie is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on regulatory affairs and compliance in some of the nation’s most heavily regulated industries. He serves as an adjunct Professor at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law teaching classes on the legal and regulatory matters existing in the emerging cannabis industry and is a founding member or member of associations across the country including the National Cannabis Bar Association, Illinois Cannabis Bar
Association, National Cannabis Industry Association, Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition and the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois.
Adam Bierman is chief executive officer and co-founder of MedMen Enterprises, the nation’s preeminent cannabis company and the most recognized brand in the emerging marijuana industry.
Mr. Bierman is a champion of institutional practices, professional standards, and clear and reasonable regulations that will take the cannabis industry to its next, mainstream phase. He is an outspoken advocate and has been featured on several news outlets including CNBC, Bloomberg News, Forbes, CNN, Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. News & World Report, among others.
In 2010, Mr. Bierman and business partner Andrew Modlin started MedMen. The two visionary entrepreneurs saw not just a tremendous business opportunity in the growing legalization of marijuana, but a chance to re-define society’s relationship with cannabis. The federal Prohibition has had a disastrous impact on our country, overpopulating our prisons and enriching violent drug cartels while keeping a relatively benign substance with proven benefits out of the reach of law abiding citizens.
Today, Los Angeles-based MedMen Enterprises is the most dominant cannabis company in the U.S. with 700 workers deployed across three states, operating licensed cannabis facilities in cultivation, manufacturing and retail.
MedMen supports sensible, clear and just drug laws that strengthen communities and create business opportunities. MedMen is one of the nation’s largest financial supporters of progressive marijuana legalization efforts at local, state and federal levels.
Ben Kovler brings his extensive experience managing complex operating companies and his deep commitment to philanthropy as Founder, CEO and Chairman of Green Thumb Industries. Ben founded GTI in 2014 and has successfully grown it into a national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and retailer that manufactures and distributes a portfolio of branded cannabis products including Rythm, Dogwalkers, The Feel Collection, and Beboe, among others. The company also owns and operates a rapidly growing national chain of retail cannabis stores called Rise™. Ben is frequently featured as an industry thought leader in media outlets such as Bloomberg, Barron’s, Business Insider, CNBC and Forbes.
He is also co-founder and CEO of Invest For Kids (IFK), an annual forum bringing together portfolio managers, family offices and analysts to share investment ideas to benefit children in Illinois. In its first nine years, IFK generated more than $11 million to benefit 40 youth organizations that have helped 85,000 children. Ben is also on the board of the Providence St. Mel School and the Academy for Global Citizenship.
Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, politics and economics from Pomona College and an M.B.A. in accounting and finance from The University of Chicago. Ben and his wife, Amy, enjoy living in Chicago with their two children.
Mr. Engel is a senior executive with 30 years of national and international experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, cannabis and consumer packaged goods industries. Mr. Engel has led the creation, development and growth of several companies over the span of his career. An articulate and trusted voice in the burgeoning Canadian cannabis space, Mr. Engel most recently worked with a competitive licensed producer to become the first Canadian exporter of medical cannabis, as well as the establishment of several trailblazing industry standards.
As leader at Organigram Inc, Mr. Engel is focused on reputational excellence through product quality and safety, expansion of the company’s Moncton, N.B. facility, and production efficiencies to position the company as a leader in the Medical and Adult Recreational Cannabis industries. Mr. Engel graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. .
Before founding MediPharm Labs, Pat enjoyed a 15-year career in the pharmaceutical industry in top sales roles, successfully launching a wide range of medical products. He most recently worked at Jansen Pharmaceuticals (Johnson & Johnson) where he led the Hospital Division for Renal and Mental Health products.
Pat’s foresight in creating a business that focuses on advanced cannabis concentrates bodes well for medical research, investors and consumers alike. Pat holds an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Western Ontario.
Jakob Ripshtein is President of Aphria Inc., a leading global cannabis company.
As President, Mr. Ripshtein oversees Aphria's strategic direction including partnerships, international expansion and global operations in 10 countries. Prior to his appointment as President, Mr. Ripshtein served as the Chief Commercial Officer, responsible for the company’s sales, marketing and commercial strategy.
Mr. Ripshtein brings a wealth of experience from his tenure at Diageo North America, the world’s leading premium beverage organization. He started his career as the VP Finance for Diageo Canada and worked in several markets before becoming the President of Diageo Canada. Most recently, he served as the CFO of Diageo North America. In addition to his career with Diageo, Mr. Ripshtein held a variety of roles in finance, sales and strategy in various global companies and has been based in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
In his earlier career Mr. Ripshtein oversaw business, sales and tax functions in the Canadian spirits, pharmaceutical and financial sectors.
Mr. Ripshtein holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from York University, as well as a CPA and International Tax designation from Schulich School of Business.
Peter Aceto is a globally recognized and respected business leader, author and speaker. He is the Chief Executive Officer of CannTrust, a Federally licensed and regulated global cannabis market leader.
Prior to joining CannTrust, Peter was the President and CEO of Tangerine (formerly ING DIRECT). His leadership proved particularly instrumental in the 2012 $3.1 billion acquisition of ING DIRECT by Scotiabank. Peter was one of the founding members of ING DIRECT, and held the posts ofChief Risk Officer, Chief of Staff and Chief Lending Officer at ING DIRECT in the US where he worked for nearly eight years.
Peter is the co-founder of eQuo and serves as mentor and advisor to several Canadian startups within the financial technology space, including TribalScale’s Fintech Venture Studio, NestReady, Senso.ai, Every Financial and others.
Peter is a globally sought out public speaker on transformative leadership. He is the author of The Globe and Mail’s bestseller book WEOLOGY: How everybody wins when we comes before me. He is also a social media leader and a blogger. Peter is frequently featured in The Globe and Mail, Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Huffington Post.
Peter is a Board member of the Sinai Health System Foundation and actively participates on several hospital committees. He is a Board and Committee member for UNITY Charity, and a member of the Council of Governors of iCanada dedicated to helping Canada become a world leading “intelligent nation.”
Peter has been awarded for his leadership in HR, design, communication and business, as well as his contribution to Canada and his community.
Mr. Goliger comes from health care industry where he helped two large organizations provide exceptional customer service in a highly regulated and difficult environment. As the former COO of Qualicare Family Homecare, Mr. Goliger oversaw the expansion of their business units across Canada and the United States. As COO he lead his team in the creation and implementation of 195 policies and procedures and 75 corresponding forms, all conforming to strict practices, creating risk management for the highly regulated Canadian and US health care systems.
Previous to Qualicare, Mr. Goliger was the COO of Right at Home Canada. Right at Home has over 500 locations in 8 countries; a complicated system that required centralized services, infrastructure and management. In both roles, Mr. Goliger focused on empowering front line staff to provide high touch customer experience. Under Mr. Goliger’s leadership in Right at Home Canada, employee turnover dropped by 84%.
TerrAscend’s co-founder and CEO, Dr. Michael Nashat, Pharm. D., has over 12 years of experience in patient care, quality assurance, medical and regulatory affairs and R&D. Prior to co-founding TerrAscend, Dr. Nashat cofounded and was the Executive Director of OnPharm Independent Pharmacy Group, the largest independent non banner group in Canada with over 500 pharmacies. Dr. Nashat is a former board member of the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, Ontario College of Pharmacists and the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy. Dr. Nashat is a former member of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s Pharmacy Council and the former Vice Chair of the Ontario Pharmacists Association’s Owners Advisory Council. Dr Nashat received his Doctor of Pharmacy Magna Cum Laude from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Neuroscience Medical Strategy at Rutgers University and Bristol-Myers Squibb.