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The 2023 Speakers

The program is under development - watch for more information coming soon!


Dr. David Hughes

Imperial College London

Dr. David Hughes is Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, and Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, U.K. As “Dr. Food” he is a much sought-after speaker at international conferences and seminars on global food industry issues, particularly consumer and retail trends.


David has lived and worked in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia and has extensive experience as an international advisory board member with agri-food companies.

David was a founding partner in a hydroponic fresh produce company in Florida, USA and a Director of Berry Gardens for 20 years (a farmer-owned berry business and the UK’s largest fresh berry supplier). He is a dual national of Canada and the UK. 


Lee Jeyes
Former Head of Innovation, 
Walmart Canada

Lee Jeyes has had nothing but a meteoric rise in the retail industry. Over his career, Jeyes was the youngest store manager in both the UK and Canada for the world’s largest retailer, been a part of major initiatives including the launch of Walmart’s online grocery business in Canada and driving $500 million in business value in a two-year period. His contribution to the industry was recently recognized in Progressive Grocer’s Industry’s Best and Brightest Under 40 in 2021.

As Walmart Canada’s most recent Head of Innovation, Lee exclusively focused on radical and disruptive approaches to keep the company at the edge of innovation.

On days off you will find him in Toronto walking along the water with his Great Dane, Wally or making music in his plant filled loft .


Dana McCauley

Canadian Food Innovation Network

Dana McCauley is a value proposition driven innovator who has successfully launched many food products and programs in collaboration with domestic and international food companies and entrepreneurs.

Beyond her corporate experiences in marketing, product development and creative services, Dana brings not-for-profit and academic expertise to her role. She was the founding Executive Director for Food Starter, a Toronto based food business incubator and accelerator that was recognized with an Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. As Director of New Venture Creation at the University of Guelph, Dana enabled agri-food innovators to transform their inventions into innovations that grow the economy and enhances Canada's international reputation.

Dana has been a food media personality and keynote speaker. She is the President of the SIAL Canada Innovation Award jury. In 2017, Dana was recognized by WXN as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in the Trailblazers and Trendsetters category.


Craig Ryan

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Craig Ryan is Director, Corporate Sustainability at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). He has more than thirty years of experience providing sustainability advice to decision-makers in business, government and civil society, including federal ministers and private sector CEOs. He never planned to be a banker but gave it a go upon learning that BDC was exclusively dedicated to people creating companies.

Craig has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University and is a 2018 Clean16 honoree in recognition of his contribution to sustainability in Canada. He has served on the board of directors of Equiterre, one of Canada’s most influential environmental groups, as well as Rise, a national charity that provides microfinance and support for people who are building companies as they tackle mental health challenges. He now sits on the board of the charitable foundation of NOVAlex, the only B Corp law firm in Quebec.


Cora Xiao
InvestEco Capital

Cora Xiao is a principal with InvestEco Capital, a Toronto-based venture firm founded in 2002 that focuses on supporting companies in the food and ag sector that promote health and sustainability.


Previously, Cora worked on the investments team at Export Development Canada which invested in high-growth Canadian companies with international ambitions. She also has previous experience working abroad in Uganda in the non-profit space and in the infrastructure and renewables space in Toronto. 

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