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  • Driving Forces: Hot Topics That Will Drive the Food & Beverage Industry in 2024

Driving Forces: Hot Topics That Will Drive the Food & Beverage Industry in 2024

  • 6 Mar 2024
  • 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • 35 East Wacker Drive



Join CFBN for our first in-person event of the year and dig into the business issues that are driving food and beverage industry change in 2024. A panel of industry experts will share their insights and strategies for an impactful 2024.  Hot Topics discussed will include: Supply Chain Resilience, Health & Wellness, AI and Automation Expansion, Digital Transformation, Remote Work Evolution, and more.

Following the panel, join us for a networking reception along with terrific food and drink that you can enjoy while exploring the Jeweler’s Building, a true Chicago Landmark.  This historic building is famous as Al Capone’s hideout, the Gotham City Courthouse from Batman Begins, a major battle scene from Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, and much more.  Enjoy a building tour provided by our hosts, Clayco and LJC.

The Jewelers Building


5:00pm  Doors Open/Registration

5:30pm  Panel Discussion

6:15pm  Q&A with Audience

6:30pm  Networking Reception 

8:00pm  Event Close


Misa Ilkhechi

Co-founder, VP of Product & Partnerships


Misa Ilkhechi co-founded Formic to simplify automation for manufacturers. As a childhood tinkerer turned engineer, he saw factories' hurdles in embracing automation. Formic’s solution? A pay-as-you-go model that ensures systems work without burdening manufacturers with risks or high costs. Misa's vision for Formic: leading the automation shift in two years and dominating the industry in a decade. The mission: make automation accessible and affordable.


Vice President


Ron has over 30 years’ experience in the engineering and construction industry with an emphasis on design/build project delivery in the industrial marketplace. This experience includes operational and executive level roles in the food/beverage, pharmaceutical/biotech & consumer products industries. He has built and managed businesses in North America, Asia and Europe with an unwavering focus on effective project delivery and facility life cycle efficiency. As a firm believer in continuous improvement, Ron is always looking over the horizon for new trends and technologies to benefit his client’s businesses.


    Vice President

    Simple Mills

    Michelle is the Vice President of Marketing for Simple Mills, a Chicago-based company at the forefront of a clean food movement that is shaping the next generation of natural foods. Winner of the 2017 Chicago Innovation Awards, Simple Mills was founded in 2013 to provide a cleaner alternative to the natural baking mixes then on the market. Today, despite a crowded market space with long-established competitors, Simple Mills ranks as the #1 largest natural baking mix brand, the #1 largest natural cracker brand, and the #3 largest natural cookie brand by dollar volume.  At Simple Mills, Michelle has been responsible for leading the company’s marketing organization and spearheading the company’s product introductions since 2015.  


    U.S. General Manager and Chief Impact Officer


    Maye oversees Innovafeed’s international deployment in North America to produce and deliver performant and natural insect-based ingredients for the animal and plant nutrition industries. Maye is passionate about innovation and building partnerships with various stakeholders across the value chain, from suppliers, R&D partners, feed manufacturers, farmers, and distributors to shape a more sustainable world. As part of her role as Impact Chief Officer she is responsible for managing Innovafeed’s Impact Governance and Strategy. Prior to joining InnovaFeed she worked as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company. 

    Joel warady

    Strategic Advisor & Board Member
    Former President Catalina Snacks, Inc.

    Joel Warady recently transitioned out of the role as President of Catalina Snacks Inc. after developing and leading the team that grew the Catalina Crunch cereal and snack brand to over $120 million in brand sales in 5 short years. Prior to this, Joel served Enjoy Life Foods in a Sales, Marketing, and General Manager role, experiencing18 consecutive years of growth under his guidance, achieving $100 million in North American consumption in 2019. No longer involved in daily operational management, Joel is focused on lending his expertise as an advisor and board member to a select number of companies. He currently serves as Chairman of Fody Foods, a leading brand in the sensitive & digestive condiment and sauce space.

    This event is sponsored by: 

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