May 10

Convocation with Jill Conklin | Feeding the Future

Fri, May 10, 2024 • 10:50am - 11:50am (1h) • Skinner Memorial Chapel
Jill Conklin headshot

Jill Conklin is the Director and Strategic Officer of Food for Soul, an international nonprofit organization founded  by chef Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore to cultivate a more just sustainable food system by saving food from  waste and reducing barriers to food security and livelihood. Jill directs the organization’s global advocacy efforts,  Refettorio project expansion and coordination of the Refettorio Network of Partners whose collective impact has  helped transform more than 2100 tonnes of food from waste into 3.591 million nourishing meals. Food for Soul  developed their first Refettorio project in 2015 during the World Expo in Milan Italy. The project began as a cultural  initiative to raise awareness of the correlated effects of food waste on the planet, social isolation and hunger crisis.  The Refettorio has evolved into a community based model centered around civic engagement that brings together  eco-conscious design, beauty and hospitality to enable social, environmental and economic change for socially  vulnerable people. Throughout the week the Refettorio culinary  

team rescues surplus imperfect foods from landfill, transforming ingredients into nutritious menus that return the  economic value of food back into communities. Jill joined the team officially in 2019 after guiding the organization’s  expansion research in San Francisco and Oakland, California; and with the launch of Food for Soul’s nonprofit  501(c)3 USA arm. 

As a former restaurant and research Chef and business development executive, Jill possesses a dynamic set of skills, knowledge and experience that cuts across the sectors of gastronomy, culinary arts, technology, public health and strategic development. As a graduate of Johnson and Wales University her culinary degree in food applied science  and nutrition, has led her to a career of accomplishments including a decade of research and cookery of the  Mediterranean spice trade routes and Italian Sephardic Jewish diaspora in Italy. She has held positions in public  policy and civic leadership working to improve domestic and global child nutrition and school feeding programs.  Prior to joining Food for Soul, Jill specialized in bringing healthy foods to market through environmentally  conscious technology and packaging solutions, improved USDA commodity processing, menu development; and  marketing conceptualization. She has led food safety and HACCP training programs across commercial and  noncommercial markets, working eight years in food start up ventures with a focus on sous vide technology.  

Her personal passion for giving back began at the young age of 12 working as a camp counselor for Make a Wish  Foundation supporting children living with AIDS and terminal cancers. She was quickly inspired by the resilience of  the young people in the camp and the overwhelming gratitude they had for volunteers and helping hands. Every year  thereafter, Jill has dedicated time to support those vulnerable. Over the last 34 years, she has found a unique path  that blends her passion for food and culture with her commitment to improve food security, nutrition and wellness  around the world. Jill is acting Program Advisor to SuperChefs Cookery for Kids in British Columbia, helping to advise on the  nonprofits summer cooking camp programs and international Westin Worldwide “Kids Eat Well” menu. 

Amongst the nonprofit philanthropic work, she has acted as Chair of “Kids in the Kitchen” Interest Section of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Chair of “The Culinary Trust”: Chair of “Chef's Table Committee” for the School Nutrition Association, ad-hoc member of the SNA Industry Advisory Board and PR Co-Chair for the USDA and First Lady, Michelle Obama’s "Let's Move, Chefs Move to Schools" campaign; Chair of Awards of Excellence for the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Chair of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation Forum for Ethiopia and Acting Nominations Committee of the “Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award” to Marshall Matz, M/M Law; Arlene Mitchell, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

A few of her culinary experiences and accolades include: Sous Chef, Kiawah Golf and Tennis Resort, SC; Executive Chef and  Culinary Educator for Walters Restaurants, RI and ICC education programs; Chef Trainer for Kids in the Kitchen and Kids  First, RI; USDA National School Food Safety and HACCP Trainer; US Domestic Sales Manager for Winston Industries, a  leading manufacturer of precision temperature cooking equipment; Food Development incubator VC investments for series of  op 1-2 Tier Food Manufacturing/Processing Companies, Hospitality and Cruise Brands, including Culinary Development with  celebrity chef and entrepreneur, Carla Hall. 

Recipient of 5 Star Dining Award, Euro Toques Nomination, James Beard House Event Recognition, Food styling and recipe  styling for Flavors and Knowledge Cooking Show, including Emmy Winner of PBS New England Holiday at the Breakers,  Marian Esposito Ciao Italia and Food Network, and 2011 Industry Member of the Year award, SNA.

Convocation will be available for viewing via Zoom for those unable to attend. Please register in advance for the program. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the program. The entire ceremony will be recorded and archived on the Convocations website.

from Convocations Events

Event Contact: Noel Ponder

Event Summary

Convocation with Jill Conklin | Feeding the Future
  • When
    • Friday, May 10, 2024
    • 10:50am - 11:50am (1h)
  • Where
    • Skinner Memorial Chapel
  • Mode
    • Hybrid
  • Event Contact
  • Copy Share Link
  • Intended For: General Public, Students, Faculty, Staff, Emeriti, Alums, Prospective Students, Families
  • Categories: Lecture/Panel

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