Coffee Summit Speakers and Presentations

Coffee Summit Facilitator

Laura Freebairn-Smith

Laura Freebairn-Smith, Organizational Performance Group, Principal
Laura Freebairn-Smith has been a consultant for such distinguished companies as the New York Times and People’s Bank. Her specialty is assisting leaders in realizing the full potential of their organizations through humanistic and analytical practices, while offering guidance in the redesign of infrastructure, the creation of strategic plans, and with organizational development.

Laura currently teaches leadership at Yale’s Drama School, and diversity and team building in the Executive MBA program at Yale’s School of Management. Prior to that, she served as Director of Yale’s Organizational Development and Learning Center, which she helped create.

Laura’s credentials include a BA from UC Berkeley (Philosophy and Political Science) and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. She holds a doctorate in Organizational Systems from Saybrook Institute and has published articles and chapters on organizational development topics, most recently on the issue of stereotyping in the workplace.

Coffee Summit Speakers

Don Holly

Don Holly, Independent Consultant
Presentation: Single-Cup Update - What's Behind Its Meteoric Rise (PDF)

A passionate coffee industry veteran, Don Holly began his career with Diedrich Coffee in 1982 as an owner, CFO and VP of Operations. From 1995-2001, he was the Administrative Director of the SCAA, leading the development of training programs, the Barista Championship, Cup of Excellence, Roaster’s Guild, and the Golden Cup Awards.

Don was a senior manager in the supply chain team at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters from 2001-2013 during the rapid growth of the Keurig single-serve system, directing the Purchasing, Planning and Quality teams, and retiring last year as VP-Beverage Quality. He developed many new products for the Keurig system, including the first tea and cocoa beverages, and was a strategy team leader for many of the acquisition, partner, and market initiatives.

Holly earned his B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. He is a published author on a wide scope of topics and an experienced speaker.


Benny Lanfranco, Fairway Market, Director of Coffee & Tea
Presentation: Sustainability and the Big Box Retailer - Panel Discussion

Benny Lanfranco is the man at the helm of Fairway Makret renowned coffee department. Benny has been with the Fairway family since 2005, but he has been part of a coffee family practically his whole life. Benny grew up in Queens and the Dominican Republic - so he is a New York guy with a passion for incredible coffee. When Benny was 13 years old, he started working on his neighbor's coffee farm in the Dominican Republic. He quickly became fascinated with the process, and coffee became is passion.


Greg Lorance, Cumberland Farms, Dispensed Beverages Category Manager
Presentation: Sustainability and the Big Box Retailer - Panel Discussion (PDF)

Greg Lorance currently serves as the Dispensed Beverages Category Manager for the Massachusetts-based chain of Cumberland Farms, a position he has held since 2008. Greg has gained considerable retail experience in a variety of positions since joining Cumberland Farms in 1992. Prior to assuming this role, from 2004 to 2008, Greg served as the company's Category Manager for Frozen Foods, Dairy and Cold Dispensed Beverages.

Greg learned the industry by working his way up the management chain, starting as a third-shift clerk nearly 23 years ago. He moved through the ranks as an assistant store manager, store manager and district manager before joining the corporate marketing team.

In 2010, Greg's efforts were recognized by the Boston Chamber of Commerce when he was named to Boston's Future Business Leaders Class of 2010, which recognizes Boston’s brightest young professionals.


Todd Metrokin, Ogilvy, Vice President of Creative Strategy
Presentation: The Millennial Mind: Insights for a Smarter Brand Strategy (PDF)

Todd Metrokin is a brand strategist and creativity expert with over 20 years of experience helping brands evolve to meet tomorrow’s marketplace challenges.


Andrew Sargent, Hanns R. Neumann Foundation, General Manager

Andrew Sargent is the general manager of the North American office of the Hanns R. Neumann Foundation (HRNS), a not-for-profit implementer of economic development projects founded by the Neumann family (of the coffee trading company Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, NKG). Andrew seeks and manages partnerships and alliances with North American coffee companies, cocoa companies, and public, private, and multilateral donor institutions, and supports HRNS globally as a technical resource.

Andrew draws his knowledge of the coffee sector from his past employment as a coffee trader for InterAmerican Coffee, a specialty coffee import company of NKG, and his development expertise from field work in Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Brazil, and Tanzania and professional assignments with E.D.E. Consulting (a HRNS-owned company), CARE International, and Oxfam America.

Andrew holds a B.A. in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in economic and agricultural development from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.


Tim Schilling, World Coffee Research, Executive Director
Presentation: Sustainability and Agronomy and the Impacts on the Ecology of Coffee (PDF)

Dr. Schilling is a plant breeder and agricultural development specialist with strong market orientation and experience in agribusiness. He currently serves as the Executive Director of World Coffee Research (WCR) a non-profit, collaborative research and development program to grow, protect and enhance the supplies of quality coffee while improving the livelihoods of the families who produce it through agricultural research. The program is funded by the global coffee industry and managed by the Norman Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M University. Dr. Schilling led the U.S. SPREAD and PEARL projects in Rwanda that assisted the government transform the coffee industry over a 10 year period.

Before coffee and Rwanda, Dr. Schilling led U.S. projects in agriculture development in Turkmenistan, Mali, Southern Africa and Cameroon in areas of Agribusiness development, Sorghum improvement, Research systems enhancement, and Peanut breeding and agronomy.

Julio Sera

Julio Sera, INTL FC Stone, Senior Risk Management Consultant
Presentation: The Economics of Coffee (PDF)

Julio Sera works in the Latin American offices of INTL FC Stone in Miami, FL. He services the risk management needs of the coffee industry, with a focus on reducing price volatility for commercial clients across the value chain. Julio designs hedging portfolios tailored to each customer’s specific risk profile. Julio and the Global Coffee team are regularly sought out by import/export associations, cooperatives and industry focus groups in the US and abroad, to expound on the need for hedging coffee price risk.

Julio acquired his degree in Economics at Florida International University, and has over ten years of hedging expertise.


Scott Williams, BJ’s Wholesale Club, AVP Quality Assurance & Product Development
Presentation: Sustainability and the Big Box Retailer - Panel Discussion (PDF)

Scott is the AVP of BJ’s Quality Assurance & Environmental Stewardship Programs. His responsibilities include overseeing and developing the quality assurance testing and auditing program encompassing all categories across the business. In addition Scott is responsible for the responsible sourcing group; this group ensures BJ’s is sourcing goods in a way that is positive for the workers and the environment. His work has taken him around the globe to work directly with farmers and manufacturers in sourcing the best items and quality for BJ’s Members