10:10 - 11:00AM

How do you continue to maintain the relevance of mainstream national brands in an era when consumers are increasingly desiring specialized/customized products and connecting with more niche brands? How do you weigh whether to acquire competitors, launch new brands, or extend your large national brands into new consumer segments to meet changing consumer needs?

Kate Barton

Senior Brand Manager, Nature Valley, General Mills

Kate Barton graduated HBS in 2009.  She worked at General Mills for 6 years covering brands from Betty Crocker to Liberte organic yogurt.  In 2014, Kate moved to the NYC area to work at Johnson & Johnson in their Global Beauty Division covering first Clean & Clear and then Neutrogena.  Kate recently moved back to Minneapolis this summer and is currently running the Nature Valley business back at General Mills.  Kate lives in Minneapolis with her husband Mike and 2 young kids (Weston, 5 and Eloise, 2).  She has a passion for non-profits and has served on the board a social change case competition called Innove.

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Todd Brisky

Managing Director, The Art of Shaving 

Todd Brisky is the Managing Director of The Art of Shaving LLC. He oversees the overall business across all channels including over 150 corporately owned stores.  His primary focus over the past couple years has been how to deliver breakthrough marketing and brand experiences in an omni-channel retail environment.  

Previously, Todd led the global Gucci Beauty Business where he was responsible for brand strategy, the development of all product innovation and global marketing.  In this role he oversaw the launch of numerous global multi-platform marketing campaigns.

Todd holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

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Jeffrey Rothman

VP Marketing, Dannon

Born and raised in New Jersey, Dannon executive Jeffrey Rothman first began his career in politics.  After graduating from the School of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University in 1994 with a B.A. in Government, he worked in Washington, D.C. for then-Representative Robert Torricelli.  But another life in California beckoned, and Rothman later found himself at the Anderson School at UCLA, from which he earned an M.B.A in marketing in 2001 and began his career in brand management.

After a three-year stint in brand management at Unilever, Rothman was hired by Dannon to lead the launch Activia Yogurt in 2006. Rothman has since held numerous roles at Groupe Danone (Dannon’s parent company), including international assignments in Paris, France and Bath, England.  Currently Vice President of Marketing & Innovation at Dannon, Rothman is responsible for a varied portfolio of brands, corporate partnerships, and the company’s innovation program.

A certified managerial coach, Rothman enjoys playing tennis, running and guest-lecturing at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. He resides with his wife and two yogurt-loving children in Nyack, New York. 



Derek is a Senior Innovation Brand Manager focused on the U.S. business at Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), with specific focus on: 1) new brand creation to capture emerging white space opportunities in the beverage category and 2) fueling core business growth on Bud Light and Budweiser brands.   Prior to joining ABI, Derek worked in Brand Management and Finance at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in Cincinnati, OH. 

An active alumnus of Purdue University and lifetime member of the Purdue Alumni Association, Derek recruits on campus on behalf of Anheuser-Busch InBev, serves on the Marketing Advisory Board of the Purdue University Krannert School of Management, and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Purdue Libraries.

Derek currently lives in New York City with his incredible wife, Anne.

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Partner, Sage PartnerS

Career Coach, HBS

Rich has 40 years of consulting experience working in a variety of industries on matters of corporate, business unit, and functional strategy.  He was a Senior Partner in the Strategy and Operations practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP from which he retired in 2009.  While there he led the strategy practice and focused  primarily in the health care and consumer goods industries.  Prior to Deloitte he was a founder of Braxton Associates, a strategy consulting firm that he helped grow from a startup in 1977 to 250 consultants worldwide and which was sold to Deloitte in 1984. 

Since he “retired” Rich has remained active in consulting and venture activities at Sage Partners and is a part time faculty member in the MBA program at the Johnson School of Business at Cornell.  He has been an HBS career coach for 7 years, working with both MBA students and alumni, as well as in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program run by HBS. 

Rich holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell and an MBA from Harvard Business School.