Newswise — CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — On Friday, 17 January, the Wine and Cuisine Club at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, will host its 2014 annual food and beverage conference.
The theme this year is "From Farm to Table: Trends in Sustainability & Innovation."
"In previous years, we really focused on marketing and the consumer experience. So this year we wanted to take the business perspective and examine some of the main themes and challenges that the industry is facing. Sustainability is really a hot-button issue in all industries, but in food and beverage, it has become really important," said Jenny Hagan, vice president of conference for Darden's student-led Wine and Cuisine Club, during an interview on the Darden BusinessCast.
"We added the theme of innovation because that's another challenge that businesses face," Hagan added. "How do they continually innovate their new products to keep with sustainability initiatives and keep their high quality?"
Lee Susen, marketing director for E&J Gallo Winery, will deliver the keynote presentation "Innovation, Sustainability and Sustainable Innovation."
Following Susen's talk, S. Kellogg Leliveld, senior associate director for Career Education & Advising at Darden, will moderate a career panel featuring industry leaders and alumni:
Keith Scott (MBA '08), senior brand manager of Diageo
Jill Douthit (MBA '03), CFO of Relay Foods
Lee Susen, marketing director of E&J Gallo Winery
Hayes Humphreys (MBA '11), COO of Devil's Backbone Brewing Company
Lauren Keller (MBA '13), associate brand manager of Anheuser-Busch InBev
"The idea of this conference is to show students that there are many career avenues that you can become involved in related to the food and beverage industry," Hagan said.
Conference participants may choose from a variety of industry breakout sessions:
The Wild, Crazy (& Sustainable!) World of a Local Boutique Winery
How to Scale Up Your Business Without Losing Your Local Appeal
Sustainable Agriculture and the Economics of a CSA Business ModelFresh Beer: Innovation in the Craft Beer Industry
Michael Lenox, associate dean and academic director of the Batten Institute, will moderate a second panel discussion called "Buy Local - Charlottesville Entrepreneurs in Food & Beverage."
A reception will follow.
The conference is open to the public.
"We encourage anyone who's interested in food and beverage to attend the conference, even if you're really not pursuing it from a career perspective," said Hagan. "There are a lot of great speakers coming and it will be a great learning opportunity. We also have the focus on entrepreneurship and sustainability, so anyone interested in those themes will benefit from this conference."
Registration is required and will be open until the day of the event.
For questions or information, contact Abena Foreman-Trice or a member of the Communication team.
About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.