Harriet Hentges, Ph.D.
Harriet Hentges has exceptional international and senior management experience in both the public and private sectors. She has held key posts at three major retail companies -- Sears Roebuck, Wal-Mart and most recently the fifth largest food retail chain in the U.S., Ahold USA where she was Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. She crafted the sustainability strategy for Ahold USA and led the U.S. effort to achieve the global corporate responsibility targets of the parent company, Royal Ahold.
Harriet has also played a prominent role in sustainability in the food industry as a member of the Food Marketing Institute’s Sustainability Executive Committee, where she chaired the Education and Communication Committee.
Harriet’s diverse experience working across sectors in various organizations to solve problems strengthened her focus on public-private partnerships and the potential of business to positively impact environmental and social issues. She joined Wal-Mart to help launch its sustainability strategy as Senior Director, Stakeholder Engagement in the Sustainability unit.
Earlier, Harriet was chief operating officer of the U.S. Institute of Peace, an independent Federal agency specializing in international conflict resolution where she created post-conflict stabilization programs in the Balkans, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Iraq. She also served as COO of a financial services firm and of a national grass roots organization, the U.S. League of Women Voters. She has worked with non-profit organizations all over the world. Her government service also included stints at the U.S. Special Trade Representative’s Office during the Tokyo Round of trade negotiations and the U.S. Department State Policy Planning Staff. In both of these she worked on international trade and economic development issues.
Harriet and her husband have owned an historic farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for 24 years. For the past 15 years they have operated an Angus seed stock operation.
She holds a doctorate in international economics.
In 1971, Gene founded Cascadian Farm, a vertically integrated organic farm in Washington State's Skagit Valley. He developed a farming, manufacturing, marketing and sales organization that brought the first nationally distributed organic packaged goods to the US and Japanese markets. For 38 years, Gene grew his farming operations from a "back to the land" self-sufficient farm to a producer of 8000 acres of fruit and vegetable crops for processing.
In 1996, he led the acquisition of Muir Glen Tomato Products and the formation of Small Planet Foods (SPF) with his investor partners, General Electric Employee Pension Trust and Roy Disney's Shamrock Capital Advisors. In January of 2000, Gene and his partners sold their interest in SPF to General Mills Inc. He continued as Divisional President for three
years and led his company's integration efforts. Gene most recently served as Vice President and Global Sustainability Officer at General Mills and led the development and implementation of their overall sustainability proram. He focused on developing programs with agricultural suppliers and retail grocers to improve their environmental performance. Gene had oversight over many international sustainability initiatives, including one to promote agricultural and rural development in Malawi and Tanzania.
Since the late 1990s, Gene has broadened his efforts to become an outspoken advocate for the advancement of technology in the development of sustainable agriculture.
Kahn currently serves as a Senior Advisor of Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is working to help small farmers in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia increase their income and access to safe nutritious food.
Gene is an active farmer and resides on his farm on Ebey's Prairie, Whidbey Island, Washington.
W. Martin Strauss, Ph.D.
Marty started his 32-year career with Monsanto as a Design and Construction Engineer. He expanded the company's use of biological systems by designing environmental controls at Monsanto production facilities. Marty directly contributed to Monsanto's expansion into biotechnology.
Based on those contributions, Marty pursued his Doctorate in Molecular Biology with company support. Dr. Strauss returned to Monsanto holding leadership roles in both the State and Federal Government Affairs organizations. He also provided support for the internal and external litigation teams on matters related to biotechnology.
Dr. Strauss moved to Washington in a Regulatory Affairs role seeking approvals for the first biotechnology products produced by Monsanto. For the last decade, he led Monsanto's interactions with the food and Ag chain on food policy issues domestically and internationally. During this time he led Monsanto's Food Trait business group developing specialty oils. He actively participated in the Codex Alimentarius and in WHO and FAO forums on matters related to technology, food safety and food trade.
Marty was a member of the Monsanto Advisory Council. The US Trade Representative and the Secretary of Commerce also appointed him to serve as a Vice-Chair of a Trade Advisory Committee. He was Monsanto's lead and voting member to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, and the Consumer Goods Forum. He also served on the Board of the International Food Information Council, the Steering Committee of the Global Harvest Initiative and Keystone's Field to Market.
Dr. Strauss continues to serve on the American National Standards Institute Board and serves on several technical and policy committees of the Grocery Manufacturers of America.
Marty oversees his family's tree farm in South Carolina.
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