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Food industry leaders focus on team building

March 18, 2007

KALAMAZOO--How to build effective and competitive teams in such areas as sales, advertising and merchandising and will be the focus when some of the nation's top food retail and consumer goods companies gather for Western Michigan University's 42nd Food Marketing Conference Monday and Tuesday, March 19-20.

The conference, which annually draws more than 500 food industry executives to Kalamazoo, will be held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel downtown. The theme this year, "Building a Winning Team to Compete in Today's Competitive Environment," will be addressed by a lineup of industry leaders from the likes of Kraft Foods; Spartan Stores; Mass Connections; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Harris Teeter Supermarkets; and many more.

The conference will kick off with a Monday evening address by Brian J. Driscoll, senior vice president for Kraft Foods North America. Speaking at 8:30 p.m., Driscoll will talk about "Building a Winning Sales Team." Driscoll is responsible for sales efforts carried out by more than 15,000 people throughout the United States and Canada.

The conference will resume Tuesday morning with two major addresses. At 8:15 a.m., "Winning Through Differentiation" will be described by Fred Morganthall, president of Harris Teeter Supermarkets, which operates 150 supermarkets in six southeastern states. Then at 9 a.m., Caroline Cotten Nakken, president and CEO of Mass Connections, will discuss "Connecting with the Consumer and Shopper." Her firm is a national leader in retail marketing services, with industry clients like General Mills, Target and Wal-Mart.

Tuesday's concurrent, one-hour workshops will be divided into two sets, with three running from 10 to 10:45 a.m. and another three from 11:15 a.m. to noon. Topics covered will range from "The Emotional Power of Food" to "Men are from Home Depot: Women are from Bed, Bath & Beyond."

The conference's closing speaker will be Craig Sturken, chairman, president and CEO of Spartan Stores. He will speak at 2:30 p.m. on "Building a Winning Retail Team." He will describe his company's recent successful turnaround and three consecutive years of solid financial results.

This year's conference will partner for the fourth year with Network of Executive Women, a national advocacy and professional organization. A NEW panel discussion will take place from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and will focus on "Building a Talent Pipeline of Tomorrow's Leaders." The panel will feature business executives Caroline Cotten Nakken of Mass Connections; Della Wall, group vice president of human resources at the Kroger Co.; Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, senior vice president for global human resources at the Kellogg Co.; Janet Emerson, regional group vice president for Meijer Inc.; and Joy Nicholas, national account executive for RBS Lynk Inc.

The annual Food Marketing Conference is presented by WMU's Food and Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing Program in the Haworth College of Business. All proceeds from the conference support food and CPG marketing scholarships and program operations.

For more conference information, including cost and registration details, call the event hotline at (269) 387-2132 or visit the conference at www.hcob.wmich.edu/fmk.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400