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invited speakers​​

​Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote:

Kevin Ryan

Former Director of Strategy and Innovation at General Mills​​


Professional Development Keynote:

Debbie Peterson

Getting to Clarity, LLC​


Closing Keynote:

Lisa Ernst​

Vice President
R&D Global Oral and
Personal Health Care​
The Procter &
Gamble Company


The Changing Face of CPG

An overarching analysis of the way consumers are changing and the way industry is changing and how consumer packaged goods (CPG) must react in order to stay relevant.

Kevin Ryan, Ph.D., appreciates the art of sensory science through 17 years of experience working with the Sensory Scientists at General Mills. With degrees in Gastronomy and Food Science, Kevin worked in multiple businesses in the General Mills portfolio including dry mix development for baking and shelf-stable meals, frozen sauce and frozen vegetable manufacturing, microwave food products, snack bar and cookie platforms, and refrigerated dough. Kevin then managed innovation strategy for General Mills—giving him a unique and valuable perspective into the science through the appreciation of the link between direct application of sensory science and business strategy and results. Kevin currently serves as a Senior Brand Strategist for Amazon in Seattle.​

From Frustrated to FOCUSED:
Coming to Your Senses for Increased Confidence in Communication      
Whether you own your own business or work for a corporation—every aspect of your career involves communication with others. Communication is vital for you and your team to succeed but are you aware of what may be sabotaging it? Confident communication is so much more than the words you speak. Take charge of your personal communications and experience the professional results that you deserve! 
Debbie Peterson is a speaker who conducts presentations on how to develop a clear and focused mindset to accelerate results. She speaks to organizations and to help them increase performance through a blend of purposeful action, productivity, and focus on a community of people. As a result of her work, clients often share they have more control of their day, more certainty in making decisions and more momentum for meaningful results. On a personal note, she chases sunshine every winter from Pennsylvania to Florida with the loves of her life, her husband, Tom and a beagle named Ernie.​​

A Fireside Chat 

Lisa Ernst graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1986 with a BS in Chemical Engineering and an Undergraduate Humanities Fellowship. She began her career with Procter & Gamble in 1985 as a summer intern, joining full time in 1986. She has held many positions throughout her 32-year career in Oral Care, Personal Health Care, New Business Development, Microbiology, Hair Care and Pet Care.  She currently serves as Global R&D Vice President of Oral Care and Personal Health Care products, and has served on the boards of PGT Health Care and Swiss Precision Diagnostics.  She is actively engaged in P&G’s diversity and capability programs, working to ensure all employees can bring their full selves to work. She is a passionate supporter of sensory sciences, and the ability of a purposeful sensory experience to drive consumer delight. Lisa is married and has two sons. ​


SSP/ASTM Workshop

It's A Small World: Leading Sensory and Consumer Research Cross-Culturally

Wednesday, September 26

About the Workshop

As more and more companies and universities are going global, unique challenges of learning in cultures that are different than your own are becoming common for many Sensory Practitioners. This workshop will explore culture and how we may impact other cultures we work in, the business case for sensory and product research to guide a company’s global portfolio, global research “how to’s”, and the benefits of working cross-culturally. You should come away from this workshop with greater awareness of considerations that need to be taken into account when testing cross-culturally, some tips and tricks to work more effectively across cultures, and be inspired to engage in cross-cultural research. Get your passports ready!


Susan Hooge, General Mills, Inc.

Invited Speakers

  • Kavita Avula, Therapist Beyond Borders  
  • Bob Baron, Sensory Spectrum
  • Janet McLean, Diageo
  • Daniela Garaiz, Sensights Consulting
  • Cindy Graulty Malixi, Innovation Consultant and Facilitator, AHHA! Retired from The Procter & Gamble Company

Student Luncheon and Presentation

The Three Phases of a Career in Sensory (plus facts, figures, and things they never tell you)

Thursday, September 27

Christine VanDongen
is an experimental psychologist who has enjoyed an extensive career in the sensory evaluation field, helping companies make products that consumers prefer. Her early career consisted of teaching experimental psychology at various universities and doing research in sensory, perceptual, and cognitive processes. Her career as a sensory professional has involved research on a variety of sensory questions such as discrimination methodologies, team tastings, and how value is created and delivered in the sensory role, that she has presented in a variety of sensory venues. She actively contributes to various professional organizations such as ASTM, ISO, and SSP to share best practices and standards in the sensory field. She is currently a Fellow at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities working in the Sensory Center to create a bridge between the academic world and the business world in sensory, and pursue her long-standing research interests. She has a BA in Experimental Psychology from Smith College, a MS in Experimental Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a PhD in Developmental Psychology from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.   

Sensometrics Workshop

Designing Consumer-Related Testing

Friday, September 28

Veronika Jones, Mars Petcare Europe
John Castura, Compusense, Inc.
Richard Popper, P&K Research
Dawn Chapman, Eurofins Food Integrity & Innovation​


About the Workshop

With the increasing power of technology and software, consumer and sensory scientists are looking beyond the traditional CLT, to alternative testing methods that better mimic real-world consumer experiences. While this may provide more relevant information on consumer perception and decision-making, statisticians are faced with the challenge of understanding what data are being collected and how to analyze them. 
This joint workshop with the Sensometrics Society focuses on unique research (both quantitative and qualitative) designed to capture realistic consumer environments. It will involve presentations from leading researchers in academia and industry on various new technologies and innovative methodologies for both consumer and sensory testing of foods and non-foods. Presenters will pose questions and challenges to a panel of expert statisticians for a discussion of ways in which we can push the boundaries of Sensometrics.

Invited Speakers

Anna Colonna

Oregon State University



Krystyna Rankin

International Flavors &



Christopher Simons

The Ohio State University


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