2019 GRSB Communicators Summit Speakers

Peter Byck is a professor of practice at Arizona State University, in both the School of Sustainability and the Cronkite School of Journalism. He is the director, producer and writer of carbon nation. He is currently helping to lead a large research project focused on Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing; collaborating with 20 scientists and 10 ranchers, focused on soil health & soil carbon storage, microbial/bug/bird biodiversity, water cycling and much more. Byck has currently completed a series of 11 short films focused on regenerative grazing: www.soilcarboncowboys.com and is working on a long-form documentary on the AMP grazing research project. Byck has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts. He is married with 2 young sons.


Courtenay DeHoff is a cowgirl turned television personality whose witty and charming antics have grabbed the attention of Deadspin, Yahoo!, The Huffington Post, LIVE with Kelly and more.

Most recently DeHoff hosted The CW’s nationally syndicated television show “Morning Dose”.

In 2016 DeHoff was named a top 10 finalist in the “LIVE with Kelly” guest co-host search with Kelly Ripa! She was selected among thousands of entries thanks to her audition tape, which featured a tongue-in-cheek take on her rural lifestyle.

She grew up on a cattle ranch in Kansas and uses her unique background to set her apart in the entertainment industry.  Her videos showcasing major events directly affecting ranchers across America have garnered millions of views.  DeHoff often directly challenges the mainstream media giants she works for when they fail to cover serious events affecting the nation’s beef supply.  Her goal is to educate the general public on what it really means to be a beef producer in America.


Chad Ellis is the industry relations and stewardship manager at the Noble Research Institute in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Through his department, he advocates and promotes the benefits of agricultural production with a focus on stewardship by highlighting the important role stewardship plays in the nation’s long-term sustainability. He also works to inform the industry on the “state” of agriculture and create opportunities for the advancement of stewardship principles. Ellis works with his team, which consists of an economist program leader and conservation stewardship leader, to develop tools and technologies that enhance working land stewardship as well as integrate and aggregate ideas and processes currently being explored across the nation. This will help find ways to better test, validate and track agricultural producers’ ranch information so they can make better and timely management decisions.

Ellis joined Noble Research Institute’s producer relations department as a pasture and range consultant in 2012, working directly with agricultural producers in the southern Oklahoma area. Previously, he spent 10 years working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI), as regional rangeland management specialist for the 15 central states. Ellis also served as a district conservationist in Texas and state range conservationist in Florida.

Ellis not only promotes and advocates land stewardship principles he also implements it within his own family operation in Lohn, Texas. Mr. Ellis is passionate on helping empower the producer to be better tomorrow than they are today. He provides this passion and leadership as chairman of the National Grazing Lands Coalition (NatGLC), a producer lead organization. NatGLC supports voluntary ecologically and economically sound management of all grazing lands for their adaptive uses and multiple benefits to the environment and society through science based technical assistance, research and education.



Karen Haugen-Kozyra is President of Viresco Solutions Inc. – a network of leading advisors making sustainability real for public and private clients in the agriculture, bioenergy and sustainable food sectors across North America and globally. Our team of experts enables clients to meet their environmental, social and economic sustainability objectives by leveraging our knowledge and experience in environmental policy, markets and economics. On the Sustainability front, Karen and her firm help companies navigate the nexus between lowering their carbon footprint and developing an overall sustainability strategy.

Karen has over 25 years of experience in agricultural greenhouse gas measurement and modelling and climate change/environmental policy development – spanning her tenure at the provincial Department of Agriculture, Climate Change Central and now in the private sector.  During her tenure with ARD, she developed the infrastructure and protocols necessary to support compliance level carbon credit trading in Alberta, which features the largest amount of soil carbon sequestration tonnage in the world (over 15 Mt of CO2e reduced/removed to date) .  Her company is involved with adapting 13 carbon offset protocols into the California, Quebec and Ontario linked carbon markets under the Western Climate Initiative.  Based on this experience, Viresco is currently working with partners (National Corn Growers/Soil Health Partnership, Bayer) and others to pilot a carbon accounting framework that will lower the costs of GHG emission reduction quantification and verification to produce more cost-effective carbon reductions at scale and support corporate level reporting/target setting (see: https://climatesmartgroup.com/initiatives/).  Further, Viresco is heavily involved in adapting and testing the new beef module of the Cool Farm Tool to North American beef production systems, as well as conducting testing new mitigation strategies like the Clean Cow Compound at commercial scale feedlot production in Southern Alberta (Royal DSM, see: https://www.dsm.com/content/dam/dsm/cworld/en_US/documents/project-clean-cow-infographic.pdf

Professor Mario Herrero is Chief Research Scientist of Agriculture and Food at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia. His research focuses on increasing the sustainability of food systems for the benefit of humans and ecosystems. He works in the areas of sustainable intensification of agriculture, climate mitigation and adaptation, livestock systems, and healthy and sustainable diets.

He is a regular contributor to important global initiatives at the heart of the sustainability of global food systems, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Lancet Commission on Obesity and the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. He has worked extensively in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Professor Herrero was awarded his postgraduate degrees from The University of Edinburgh in the mid-90s, where he developed methods for modelling bio-economic interactions in agricultural systems in the tropics.


Mick Houlihan, Sector Manager – Dairy, Beef & Lamb, Quality Assurance and Origin Green Dept., Bord Bia.

I grew up on a mixed beef and dairy farm in the Irish midlands. Over time the dairy enterprise was phased out and our family run farm now is a suckler beef farm carrying 50 cows and their calves and approximately 30 other drystock. I studied Agricultural Science in University College Dublin and since completing my degree there, I have been working in various roles within the agrifood sector in Ireland. I joined Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board in 2013 as Manager of the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme and since then the role has evolved to include management the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme and a heavy involvement in any farm related sustainability initiatives Bord Bia are engaged in either directly or with industry partners. I also represent Bord Bia on an number of Sustainability focused forums both nationally and internationally.


Stephen Hughes is a third generation rancher who is lucky enough to spend his life on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Southern Alberta, Canada. He is an owner and operator of the Chinook Ranch, near Longview; along with his father and three daughters.After graduating from the University of Alberta in 1991 with a BSc. in Agriculture; Stephen embarked on a journey that has led to the implementation of a year round grazing system that aims to take advantage of the native grass ecosystem that he lives in. Along the way he has been inspired very much by the topic of sustainable beef, and the idea of representing the best that the beef industry has to offer. Stephen has also been the leader of the Longview 4-H Beef Club since 2001

Rick Husted serves as Vice President, Strategic Planning and Market Research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association focused on executing NCBA’s planning process and ensuring that decisions addressing industry challenges and opportunities are data driven. He has also been very involved during his 14 years with NCBA supporting checkoff planning and program efforts. Husted is a long-time practitioner of market research, new product development, operations, marketing and strategic planning. He has held senior management positions in several industries including energy, telecommunications and manufacturing. Husted’s career includes almost 30 years of experience helping organizations achieve their potential through data-driven strategic planning and execution. Husted earned a degree in Public Relations from Colorado State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Colorado. 


John Lynch is an environmental scientist in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. Having previously worked on farm-level sustainability indicators at Teagasc (the Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority) and at the University of Nottingham, his current work focuses on greenhouse gas emissions associated with agricultural production, particularly livestock. He is interested in improving reporting so that emissions can be more reliably linked to their climate impacts.

Crystal Mackay has a unique background with 25 years of experience in the agri-food industry in several leadership positions ranging from provincial farm groups to coalitions - both representing and working with the entire Canadian food system. Her experience through paid and volunteer positions has built a very extensive and relevant network of contacts through most major sectors in the food and agricultural industries across North America.

Crystal is a recognized leader in the agri-food sector and well sought after for her views, knowledge and skills as a professional speaker, moderator, facilitator and panelist in many forums across on a range of topics.

Max Makuvise is the Vice President of the Southern African Regional Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. An accountant by training having served articles at KPMG. His entrance into the livestock sector started in 1997 when he joined Cooper Zimbabwe (1992) (Pvt) Ltd a leading Zimbabwean animal health company as Group Financial Manager, rising through the ranks to become Managing Director. In 2004 he founded Makera Cattle Company with Petrus Erasmus, which saw his entry into the production side of livestock. Through both Makera and Coopers he has engaged in many programs with rural farmers dealing with genetic improvement, training, product supply and traceability. He has worked with many donors including DFID and GOAL Ireland in their cattle initiatives. Max has a passion for empowering rural farmers and helping them commercialise their operations through the “Conception to Consumption” principle. Max has a passion for technology and how it can assist the livestock value chain. To this end he is working with a US based company. Max is also the Chairman of Origen Corporation a large crop farming operation that farms 12000 hectares of row crops (maize, soya and wheat) annually.


Brian McConkey had 34 years of diverse experience in agri-environmental research, technology application, and science policy, primarily with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada within the Canadian Government, prior to joining Viresco Solutions as Chief Scientist in 2019. His research has been wide ranging including soil and plant processes, soil health, water-agriculture inter-relationships, impacts of climate change on agriculture, quantifying carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions at field to national scales, assessment of the sustainability of agricultural production. He was lead scientist for agricultural greenhouse gas accounting for Canada’s national greenhouse gas inventory. He a lead author for three different IPCC guidance documents and was one of the author team that produced the LEAP guidance for determining soil carbon stocks on grazing lands. Dr. McConkey has his PhD in soils from Washington State University and has authored or co-authored 200 peer peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Tommy Moyles is a beef farmer from the south coast of Ireland near the town of Clonakilty in County Cork. 

Tommy graduated with a “Bachelor of Science in Agriculture” degree from Cork Institute of Technology in 2005.  

He is a Nuffield Ireland farming scholar and for his scholarship he studied beef cow systems throughout the globe.  

The scholarship consisted of a six week, Global Focus Program, which was organised by Nuffield Australia. This was a six-week tour of world agriculture covering all aspects from farm to fork in a number of different countries. It provided a fantastic insight to agricultural businesses and the people who run them as well as giving a greater perspective on global agriculture. This trip incorporated travel to South Africa, Kenya, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Washington DC and Nebraska in the USA. 

After this six week tour, his studies continued for a further six weeks looking into beef cow producers from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colorado right down to the Gulf of Mexico at Johnson’s Bayou, Louisiana.  The final leg of his journey took him to Australia and the North Island of New Zealand. 

Since 2014 he has written a fortnightly column in the Irish Farmers Journal, Ireland’s best selling agricultural newspaper. For the last four years he has also covered news events in the south west of Ireland for this publication. 

In 2017, he was one of a number of farmers who established West Cork Farm Tours, a joint venture between five farmers and three local hotels to help promote agriculture and educate consumers on the primary production of food.

Tommy was national vice president of Macra-na-Feirme, the Irish young farmers organisation from 2011-2013.

He currently manages a spring calving grass based Simmental beef enterprise on the family beef and pig farm.


Kyle Papanikolas brings over a decade of Consumer Insights experience to McDonald’s and serves as the hub for Strategic and Foundational consumer research for the McDonald’s system.  His responsibilities include leading consumer research that guides company strategy (e.g. trends and customer segmentation) and creating a center of excellence for holistic and strategic thinking.  As part of his role, he also is the Consumer Insights lead for McDonald’s corporate brand trust program “Scale for Good”.

Kyle has been with McDonald’s for 4 years, with prior experience client side in consumer packaged goods and consulting.


Howard Parry-Husbands is the CEO of Pollinate, one of Australia’s leading strategic consultancies and an expert in market research specialising in branding, innovations and communications development.  Pollinate uses co-creation as the principle method to apply systems thinking to solve problems in a complex world.  Howard is also a director of Social Soup, Australia’s leading Influencer platform and proud to be a non-executive director of Planet Ark, Australia’s most trusted non-confrontational and non-political environmental NGO focussed on behaviour change.  Howard has worked on thought leadership for topics ranging from ‘What it means to be Australian’ for SBS to understanding youth for Junkee and as a passionate but pragmatic environmentalist is slightly obsessed with how the Australian forestry sector can become a transformative force to deliver a sustainable society. Howard is a sought after panellist, MC, conference and dinner speaker and in his spare time is studying towards a Masters in systems thinking and forestry at ANU, a keen runner and a dad to two fabulous children.


Janice Person is a member of Bayer’s agricultural affairs and sustainability team doing outreach both within agriculture and broadly with society. She has the opportunity to work with a wide range of farmers, foodies and bloggers and others as she tries to close the gap between producing food and learning more about it.

Having grown up a city girl, Janice became involved in agriculture through cotton and still carries a passion for it. That background drove her Twitter handle @JPlovesCOTTON which has become a person brand of sorts.

Social media is a passion, but storytelling and connecting to people often can also have major impacts on-on-one. In those intimate settings it can be fairly stressful to talk about agriculture since so many people have heard misinformation. Janice enjoys helping experts find ways to connect more productively with members of the general public, and family at times, to increase the understanding of farming and science.

Janice has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Phillips University in Enid, OK and a Master’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis. She joined Bayer through the acquisition of Monsanto where she had worked for more than a decade. Previously she worked for Delta and Pine Land Company in Scott, Mississippi and Gibbs & Soell in White Plains, New York.


Debbie Reed is the Executive Director of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC), a member-based consortium of agricultural supply chain partners developing private, voluntary market opportunities for agriculture. Counting among its members ADM, Bunge, Cargill, General Mills, Indigo Agriculture, McDonald’s USA, TNC and others, ESMC is innovating market approaches to create certified carbon, water quality and water quantity credits to reward farmers who help meet company-based GHG and water risk goals. Debbie’s role in leading ESMC builds on decades of experience in agriculture climate change mitigation and sustainability efforts at the national and international level. For over a decade Debbie led the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (C-AGG). A national multi-stakeholder coalition, C-AGG catalyzed development of tools, support systems, knowledge and programs to enable farmers and ranchers to become more efficient, productive, profitable, and sustainable while meeting societal and consumer demand for natural resource stewardship and enhancement.

Debbie has focused on GHG mitigation and ecosystem services from the agricultural sector since 1997, at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as the Director of Legislative Affairs and Agricultural Policy; and in the U.S. Senate as a Senior Staff on natural resource and agricultural issues for U.S. Senator Robert Kerrey of Nebraska. Prior to that she held numerous leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including special assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics (REE), and special assistant to the Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Her work at USDA included serving on multiple bi-national commissions on agricultural science and technology; and as the USDA Executive Secretariat for the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans. She has graduate and undergraduate degrees in human nutrition/dietetics, chemistry, and communications.

Justin Sherrard is Global Strategist Animal Protein in Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research group.
He leads the bank’s global research, client engagement and profiling in the animal protein sector.
He is in regular dialogue with global animal protein leaders on emerging areas of opportunity and risk for the industry and its supply chains.

His work is directed at challenging current thinking and advising companies on risks and opportunities from strategic issues on tomorrow's CEO agendas.
Prior to this role, Justin led Rabobank’s research and client engagement around food & agri supply chains and other cross-sectoral issues in global F&A.

Jenn Tilliss leads media relations, issues management and grassroots advocacy at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Across these areas, the team’s goal is to protect and enhance beef’s reputation with consumers, influencers, producers, media and other important stakeholders.

Prior to joining NCBA, Jenn was an account director at a leading public relations agency where she supported a variety of food clients. During her 12 years with the agency, Jenn gained experience managing food related-issues and leveraging earned media to drive brand awareness and product demand.

Jenn is a Colorado native and obtained both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She joined NCBA in 2018.

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