Speaker Profiles

Tom Briant
Executive Director, National Association of Tobacco Outlets

Tom Briant is the executive director and legal counsel at the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), the national trade association focused exclusively on local, state and federal tobacco legislation and FDA regulations.  Tom has served in this role since NATO’s founding in 2001.  For the past thirty years Tom has concentrated his efforts on retail, wholesale, and manufacturer tobacco-related issues on the local, state and federal levels.  He has represented the Minnesota Wholesale Marketers Association, a state tobacco wholesale trade association, since 1989 on state and federal tobacco-related issues.  Tom received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota in 1981 and his Juris Doctor Degree from William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota in 1984.

Don Burke
Senior Vice President, Management Science Associates

Don Burke is a senior vice president with Management Science Associates (MSA), a leading-edge information management, statistical analysis, and business intelligence firm. Don has over seventeen years of experience delivering business insights derived from a variety of data sources, including scanner, manufacturer and distributor shipment, and transactional market basket information. These solutions provide manufacturers, distributors, and retailers with the insights needed to more effectively manage their distribution channel. Prior to his experience with MSA, Don worked in the marketing, sales, and advertising areas within the CPG industry in the stationery, OTC medicine, HBC, food, and packaged soap areas, starting his career in brand management at Procter & Gamble. Don holds a B.S. degree in Economics from Allegheny College and a M.B.A. degree in Marketing and Finance from the Katz School at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a graduate of the Technology Commercialization Executive Course at Carnegie-Mellon University.

David Donnan
Sr. Partner, A.T. Kearney

David Donnan is an accomplished business leader and consultant with significant global experience in the agriculture, food and retail industries. With a passion for pressing global issues like hunger relief, and the expertise to match, he brings first-rate knowledge to every client and speaking opportunity. During his career Donnan has managed operating companies, run food plants and consulted to leading global retail and consumer product companies in technology and supply chain strategies, brand growth and market positioning. A champion of innovation in the food sector, he also works as a mentor with food startups. Widely recognized as an industry leader with a diverse background, Donnan actively speaks and writes on topics vital to the global agriculture, food and beverage, retail, and restaurant industries.

Rachel Gillette
Partner, Greenspoon Marder, LLP

Rachel Gillette is among the first attorneys in the nation to dedicate her practice to the cannabis industry. Since 2010, Ms. Gillette has helped licensed cannabis and hemp businesses with licensing, permitting and regulatory compliance, business law and transactions, contract drafting and review, tax litigation, corporate formation, and other tax matters, including audit representation. She works with startups and entrepreneurs, investors, and ancillary industry businesses to help develop the cannabis innovation ecosystem, and is a zealous advocate for the industry. Ms. Gillette regularly represents clients before the IRS’s Examinations, Appeals, and Collections Divisions, including cannabis businesses facing the challenges of IRS adjustments under IRC §280E. She has successfully challenged local, state and federal tax deficiencies on behalf of her clients, having prevented hundreds of thousands of dollars in incorrectly assessed taxes, interest, and penalties. She can assist individual and business taxpayers in §280E proposed adjustments, offers in compromise, audit examinations, innocent spouse claims, sales, use, and employment tax matters, trust fund tax penalty assessments, penalty abatements, and levy releases. For several years, Ms. Gillette was the Executive Director of the Colorado state chapter of NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. She was a founding member of Women Grow and the National Cannabis Bar Association. She an advocate as well as an attorney, and is committed to helping change laws – and perceptions – relating to cannabis and ensuring state licensed and legal marijuana businesses are fairly taxed and regulated. Ms. Gillette received her Juris Doctorate from the Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Connecticut, where she served as Associate Editor of the Quinnipiac University Probate Law Journal.

Mary Kelly, PhD
CEO, Leadership & Business Growth

Mary Kelly, PhD, CSP, CDR, US Navy (ret) is an internationally known economist and leadership expert, specializing in productivity, communication, and business profit growth. Mary has been quoted in thousands of periodicals including Forbes, Money Magazine, Entrepreneur, Yahoo Finance, Success, The Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of business journals. Mary is the author of 11 books, and has extensive experience in human resources, finance, insurance, organizational leadership, strategic planning, and project development, she focuses on building successful strategies for business leaders at all levels of an organization. A MENSA member, Mary has received several speaking accolades, and military honors, including the Air Force Academy Instructor of the Year, Outstanding Educator Award, National Speakers Association-Colorado Member of the Year, and the Navy League Leadership Award, in addition to her military awards. Mary earned a BS from the United States Naval Academy, an MA in Economics from the University of Oklahoma, an MA in History and Foreign Policy from the University of Hawaii, and a PhD in Economics from Greenwich University.

Nancy Kim
Partner, Lange, Thomas & Associates, LLP

Nancy Kim regularly advises and assists clients with various legal matters, ranging from contract review and drafting, to employment and business immigration matters, to trademark and copyright matters, to administrative regulatory matters. Ms. Kim also represents clients in state and federal court in civil litigation matters. In addition to her work for the firm’s business clients, she enjoys representing children as Guardian ad Litem in abuse, neglect and custody cases. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Kim was a Trial Attorney for the Department of Justice in the Commercial Litigation Branch, where she defended the U.S. Government in bid protests, government contract claims, employment discrimination claims, appeals from the Merit Systems Protection Board, appeals from military boards, appeals regarding veteran’s benefits, and takings claims. Ms. Kim also practiced law as an associate in the General Litigation Group at Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, where she participated in various commercial litigation matters, such as breach of contract, product liability, antitrust, and international trade cases.

Anne Kothawala
President & CEO, Convenience Industry Council of Canada

Anne Kothawala is currently the president and CEO of the Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC), where she represents the interests of Canada’s $56 billion convenience industry. Prior to founding the CICC, Anne has spent decades in senior executive roles with the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the Canadian Newspaper Association and the Retail Council of Canada. Anne has volunteered with several organizations including the Daily Bread Food Bank, French for the Future and ParticipACTION. She currently serves on the Board for the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada. Anne holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Political Science and Economics from McGill University and a Master of Public Administration from Queen’s University. She has written several op-eds for major newspapers and was a weekly panelist on CFRB radio’s “Your Opinion Counts”.

Gene Lange
CDA Counsel, Lange, Thomas & Associates, LLP

Gene C. Lange, managing partner of Lange, Thomas & Associates, LLP, has been in private law practice in the District of Columbia since 1972. His practice covers a wide range of administrative and commercial law, including antitrust, for retail and wholesale businesses, trade associations, and charitable organizations. Much of his practice is counseling the management of businesses and associations and participating in contract negotiations. The subjects range from executive compensation plans to commercial leases to organizing new companies. He also has expertise in immigration law, with a strong emphasis on business-related immigration cases.

Barry Lawrence, PhD
Program Coordinator of the Industrial Distribution Program, Texas A&M University

Barry Lawrence holds the Leonard and Valerie Bruce Leadership Chair, the Program Coordinator of the Industrial Distribution Program, Director of the Thomas and Joan Read Center, and Director of the Global Supply Chain Laboratory at Texas A&M University. As a faculty member of the Industrial Distribution Program he is involved in graduate, undergraduate, and professional continuing education teaching activities, funded research projects, publications and industry presentations. His teaching activities surround classes in manufacturer/distributor relationships, Supply Chain Management, distributor profitability, and distribution strategy. He is a frequent speaker for distribution associations, buying groups and companies on topics ranging from distributor profitability, distribution growth & market share, pricing optimization, inventory asset management, sales and marketing optimization, global distribution, and numerous other topics. Dr. Lawrence is a fellow of the National Association of Wholesaler Distributors (NAW) institute and the author of ten books on distributor competitiveness. Dr. Lawrence holds a Ph.D. in Information and Operations Management from Texas A&M University, an M.B.A. from Texas State University and a B.B.A .in Finance from University of Texas at Austin.

Steve McClatchy
President, Alleer Training & Consulting

Steve McClatchy is a keynote speaker and author of the award winning New York Times Bestseller Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress & Lead by Example. Decide has now been translated into 9 languages worldwide. In every speech Steve weaves insight, interaction, and actionable content with humor, inspiration and motivation. Over the past 16 years Steve has worked with the most prominent organizations in the world including Google, Under Armour, Disney, John Deere, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Accenture, HP, Tiffany's, Wells Fargo, Campbell's Soup and many teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. He speaks frequently at Harvard, Wharton and Chicago Booth. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, Fox News and NBC's The Today Show and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, WebMD, Oprah Magazine, Entrepreneur and Investor's Business Daily.

Nik Modi
Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets

Nik Modi is a managing director at RBC Capital Markets, where he oversees the coverage of the Tobacco, Beverage and Household Personal Care sectors. In total, Nik covers companies with a total market capitalization of close to $1 trillion, including P&G, Coca-Cola, Altria, Lorillard, PepsiCo, Estée Lauder among others. Nik has been ranked for 6 consecutive years in the Institutional Investor for his coverage of the tobacco sector and has been recognized as a leading analyst in the Household Personal Care sector in both Fortune, StarMine and Forbes. Prior to joining RBC Capital Markets in September 2013, Nik worked at UBS, where he spent 13 years covering various sectors including eCommerce, Semiconductors, Beverage, Tobacco and Household Personal Care. Nik lives in Chatham, New Jersey with his wife Disha and two boys Shaan and Shiv.

Robert Sincavich
President, Team Sledd

Robert Sincavich is a past chair of the Convenience Distribution Association, and is currently the president of Team Sledd of Wheeling, West Virginia. Team Sledd is a Mid Atlantic regional distributor founded in 1936 serving approximately 1,200 customers in the seven-state area of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. The company operates out of a state of the art 200,000 square foot warehouse and 5,300 square foot Convenience Learning Center. Robert began his career at Team Sledd in 1981, beginning as a sales representative, and advanced to positions in sales and marketing management until 1996, the year he became an owner of the company and began serving as the company’s president. Robert’s industry service includes the boards of the Ohio Wholesale Marketers Association, the West Virginia Wholesalers Association, WV Oil Marketers & Grocers Association, The WV Regional Economic Development Partnership, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, and he is chairman of the Mid Atlantic Legislative Conference. He is graduate of Linsly Military Institute and Allegheny College, and today lives in Bridgeport, Ohio with Dianne, his wife of 37 years. In addition to spending cherished time with his four children and eight grandchildren, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and golfing.