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BrandStorm Speakers


Dr. Todd Dewett

Dr. Todd Dewett is one of the world’s most watched leadership personalities: an authenticity expert, best-selling author at LinkedIn Learning, a TEDx speaker, and an Inc. Magazine Top 100 leadership speaker. He has been quoted widely, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, and TIME.

After beginning his career with Andersen Consulting and Ernst & Young he completed his PhD in Organizational Behavior at Texas A&M University and enjoyed a career as an award winning professor and scholar.

Todd has delivered over 1,000 speeches and created a body of educational work enjoyed by over 20,000,000 professionals around the globe. His recent clients include Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Pepsi, Boeing, General Electric, Caterpillar, and hundreds more.


Jefferson Davis, President, Competitive Edge

Jefferson Davis is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author with 33 years exhibiting experience. Davis has executed exhibits at over 200 tradeshows and has developed his practical, workable processes that address critical exhibiting success factors.

Since 1988, Davis has been studying how to make tradeshows more productive and profitable. In 1991, he wrote his first seminar “The Seven Secrets of Successful Tradeshow Selling” and marketed it to tradeshow organizers as a way to help exhibitors get better results. In 1991, Davis founded Competitive Edge, an exhibitor education and training consulting firm. Competitive Edge provides clients with the latest and best ideas, information, knowledge and skills through multiple media, at the right time frames in the show execution cycle.

Competitive Edge has become the most prolific and successful exhibitor educational and training firm in North America. Show organizers and exhibitors of all sizes, in all industries, utilize Davis’ experience and knowledge to help improve their exhibit program to gain maximum ROI and provide more valuable experience for show attendees, including over 50 of the TSNN Top 250 Tradeshows.


Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer, SXSW

Forrest was named "Austinite of the Year" in 2012 by the Austin Chamber of Commerce (along with fellow SXSW Directors Roland Swenson, Louis Black and Nick Barbaro). In 2014, Forrest and these other SXSW Directors were named Austin Entrepreneurs of the Year by Ernst & Young. He recently received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Kenyon College, his alma matter.

In addition to his work at SXSW, he has previously served on of the National Advisory Board for the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is currently part of the Board of Directors for Austin Habitat for Humanity and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Austin-based accessibility company Knowbility. Additionally, he is a trustee for the Austin Awesome Foundation.

Before joining the SXSW team in the dark ages of 1989, he founded a small monthly alternative publication called The Austin Challenger. He also wrote for several other newspapers and publications, including the Austin Chronicle, the Texas Sports Chronicle, the West Austin News, Willamette Week and the Seattle Weekly.


Carla Hall, American Chef and TV Personality, notably a Top Chef competitor, and co-host on ABC’s The Chew 

Carla Hall, formerly a co-host on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning popular lifestyle series “The Chew,” won over audiences when she competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All Stars” and shared her philosophy to always cook with love. Carla believes food connects us all, and strives to communicate this through her work, her cooking, and in her daily interactions. Born in Nashville, TN, Carla grew up surrounded by soul food. Her most recent best-selling cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, explores her soul food roots. She is a graduate of Howard Business School, a former runway model, and a trained chef who has worked in several professional restaurant kitchens in and around Washington, D.C.


Melanie Hansche, Deputy Editor, Food & Wine Magazine 

Melanie is a storyteller and food nerd who once ate at all of the top five restaurants in the world in one week (for fun), stood in line for two hours for Hong Kong's best dumplings (for lunch), and judged the International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, TN (because biscuits). She has created food and lifestyle content for over 18 years, working as a food writer, magazine and cookbook editor, restaurant critic, and radio presenter. Melanie is the deputy editor at Food & Wine magazine. Before joining Food & Wine, she was the editor-in-chief of Organic Life at Rodale, overseeing the company’s test kitchen and acted as the food director across all Rodale brands. 


Kristen Hartke, Food Writer, Washington Post/NPR The Salt 

Kristen is a food writer, recipe developer and food stylist based in Washington, D.C. After working in both the front and back of the house at several central Florida restaurants, she received her BFA in photography at the Corcoran College of Art and Design with a concentration in art criticism and then brought that training back into the kitchen. Kristen has written, edited and photographed for a wide variety of outlets. She is a regular contributor to the Washington Post and NPR’s The Salt. She also serves as culinary producer for chef Carla Hall. 


Liz Caselli-Mechael, Digital Corporate Communications Lead, Nestle

Liz Caselli-Mechael leads Nestlé’s digital communications in the U.S., immersing audiences in a broad range of dynamic content from coffee rocket-launches, to live coverage of community volunteer events. She can also handle a troll or two when she needs to! Previously, she worked to promote food and agriculture innovation as the Director of Issues Management at FoodInsight.org. Liz began her career working on public-private partnerships in agriculture and farmer communication across Central America and East and West Africa.

Outside of Nestlé’s digital channels, Liz also coaches executives on content and thought leadership strategy and serves as a proud board member at Miriam’s Kitchen, which works to end chronic homelessness. She holds a degree in Science, Technology, and International Affairs from the Georgetown University, along with an MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and an MBA in Agribusiness from the Indiana University. 


Debra Puchalla, Senior Vice President of Digital Programming and Video, Food Network, The Cooking Channel and Genius Kitchen

Debra leads programming, content creation, social media and video development across Food Network, Genius Kitchen & Cooking Channel sites and platforms. She has deep editorial and content marketing experience in the food category and has been integral to digital content creation for the brands for a decade. Highlights include Food Network’s award-winning video series such as “Fix Me a Plate with Alex Guarnaschelli;” the return of “Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals;” and a slate of exclusive TV companion shows like “The Pre-Heat,” “Star Salvation” and

“Chopped After Hours.” Debra also helped launch Cooking Channel and the Apple Hall of Fame

Food Network In the Kitchen app’s programming. Prior to Discovery, Debra spent a decade at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as Executive Editor of Martha Stewart Living and Editor-inChief of Everyday Food. 


Chadwick Boyd, Food and Lifestyle Expert, Television Host, Author and Owner, Lovely & Delicious Enterprises, Inc.

Chadwick is the host of "Reel Food," the first food entertainment series at the movies where he is seen nationwide on 15,000 movie screens. 

A true food influencer, Chadwick contributes to Better Homes & Gardens, Rachael Ray Every Day and

The Kitchn, sharing recipes, tips, trends and more. A member of the United Fresh Produce Association, Chadwick serves on United Fresh’s Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council.


Mason Arnold, Founder & Veggie Nerd, Cece's Veggie Co.

Mason is a serial entrepreneur with fresh food, organics and sustainability always at the core. His current venture, Cece’s® Veggie Co., was founded in 2015 and is a pioneer brand in making high-quality, fresh pasta out of vegetables. Cece’s innovative veggie products have been recognized with awards from the leading trade associations in the produce industry, the United Fresh Produce Association and Produce Marketing Association.

Before his current venture he founded Greenling.com, the first and largest Local/Organic fresh food and grocery delivery service in Texas serving all major metros. Greenling was sold in 2015.

A longtime Organic agriculture activist, Mason drafted legislation and created the Organic Advisory Board to the Texas Department of Agriculture and formed the Organic Association of Texas, a legislative action and lobbying group for the Organic agriculture industry in Texas. He was honored with the United FreshMKT Achievement Award in 2018 for outstanding achievement and innovation in the marketing and merchandising of fresh produce, and was crowned 'Eco Leader of the Year' by the Austin Business Journal in 2010. Mason and his businesses have also received national innovation awards from Dell and PC Magazine, and more than 25 diverse awards across various outlets, including being crowned ‘Best Local Food Company’ 9 years in a row in the Austin Chronicle. Mason has received national media attention for his companies including feature stories in the New York Times, Business Week, Entrepreneur magazine, Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, radio appearances on NPR’s On Point, and others. Most recently, Mason’s company earned a #3 spot on the 2019 Inc. 5,000 list of Fastest Growing Companies in the US. Mason is also an avid mentor and has served on numerous non-profit boards.