It’s Great to Be Back On The Show Floor

Innovations Expo Women’s Leadership Panel
The Imperial Dade Women’s Leadership Panel includes (L-R): Kim Price, Dr. Felicia Townsend, Valerie Burd, Nicole Goulet, and Sonali Pillay
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Day & Nite
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Easy Ice
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Imperial Dade
  • McKee Foodservice
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • RAK Porcelain
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • RATIONAL USA
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Atosa USA
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
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A long, hot summer is coming to an end. I hope everyone enjoyed the season as many traditional activities finally resumed. With fall fast approaching, kids are back in school and football season has officially started. 

One of the highlights from a business perspective has been the return of the trade show. From national shows like ISSA and the NRA to our regional Imperial Dade Innovations Expos, it’s simply great to be back. In Atlanta last year and Fort Lauderdale earlier this spring, we had the pleasure of welcoming our customers and our supplier partners for the first time in over two years. 

While we have embraced technology, there’s simply nothing like the opportunity to be face-to-face once again as an industry and a community. Those interactions that simply cannot be duplicated via Zoom. 

With that said, I am particularly excited about our upcoming Imperial Date Innovations Expo at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus on Wednesday, September 21st. Building the agenda for our shows, we identify our customers’ current pain points and choose guest speakers who can address those issues. It has become clear over the years that the best ideas come from industry veterans, rather than professional speakers. Among the highlights of this show will be our Imperial Dade Women’s Leadership Panel, which was the most popular breakout session in 2019.

I’ve been involved in industry organizations that focus on the advancement of women’s professional growth including the ISSA Hygieia Network, the Women’s Foodservice Forum, and Women in Network. I’ve experienced the positive impact of their programming which was the inspiration for our Women’s Leadership Panel.

  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Imperial Dade
  • Easy Ice
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • McKee Foodservice
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Day & Nite
  • Atosa USA
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • RATIONAL USA
  • AyrKing Mixstir

This year’s theme for the panel is Leading Through Change. We’ve assembled a diverse group of women representing manufacturers, service providers, non-profit organizations, and distributors. Each panelist is an expert in her field and committed to DE&I in the industries within which they work.

Our Marketing Operations Manager Lauren Belskie is managing our educational sessions this year. She has developed a thought-provoking list of questions for our panelists that address many of the issues that leaders face today. It is sure to be a lively discussion with different perspectives and plenty of ideas for the audience to take away.

Our panelists include Kim Price of Georgia Pacific. Since joining GP Pro in 2015, she has risen through the ranks in various roles in pricing, field sales, channel sales, and sales strategy, enablement, and effectiveness. Kim assumed her current role as Vice President of Sales in 2021. Kim has a passion for employee development and diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She has served as a Council Member for ISSA’s Hygieia Network since 2018 and she will succeed me as Co-Chairwoman of Hygieia this fall.

We are very excited to welcome Dr. Felicia Townsend. As the Director of the ISSA Hygieia Network Dr. Townsend oversees the Hygieia Network’s operations, development, and implementation of leadership conferences, educational webinars, a mentoring program, and outreach efforts across the US and Canada. She collaborates with over fifty-five corporate leaders across eight Committees, Council, and Executive Advisory Board. Felicia started her career in adult education as the Director of Business and Industry Services at a community college.

With 20+ years of experience in facilities management, Valerie Burd is a seasoned leader responsible for all aspects of ABM’s $850M education business, which works with hundreds of K-12 school systems, colleges, and universities throughout the U.S. to provide a cleaner, healthier, and more attractive learning environment for students, faculty and staff. Firmly established ABM as a partner of choice within the education services market, Valerie and her team are focused on delivering operational excellence, client satisfaction, employee engagement, and new business growth strategies.

As an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Nicole Goulet will share her expertise in managing initiatives that retain and promote women in the jan/san industry. In her 27 years at Diversey, Nicole has held various roles in sales and marketing, including business development, key account management, product management and global marketing. Her professional accomplishments include negotiating strong supplier and customer partnerships, sustaining Diversey’s market leadership position in many product categories, and launching numerous innovations – many that have won ISSA awards. Currently she sits on Diversey’s North America Leadership Team where she drives strategic growth objectives.

Rounding out the panel will be our very own Sonali Pillay. She manages strategic initiatives for Imperial Dade including the organization’s Environmental, Social, and Governance program. She works closely with our CEO and CFO on growth strategy and special projects. These include sustainability-related projects that Imperial Dade is working on to lessen our impact on the environment as well as helping our customers meet their sustainability goals. Prior to joining Imperial Dade in 2019, Sonali held leadership positions with American Express, Amazon, and Edelman Consulting. In 2013 she founded Browsy, as part of DreamIt Ventures’ accelerator program.

Please join us at the Expo for a full day to learn from our panelists, speakers, and “test drive” the very latest solutions with a goal of finding that something that can help you succeed in meeting your business goals. 


Yes, online registration remains open until the day of the Expo (walk-ins are welcome with onsite registration available). For more information about registering for the Innovations Expo, visit ImperialDade.com or the event register page.

  • Atosa USA
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Imperial Dade
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • RAK Porcelain
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Day & Nite
  • Easy Ice
  • McKee Foodservice
  • BelGioioso Burrata
Laura Craven
Laura Craven is the Vice President of Marketing at Imperial Dade. Laura oversees marketing and corporate communications for Imperial Dade, a national distribution company headquartered in Jersey City, NJ. Her responsibilities include marketing communications, brand and reputation management, internal and external communications, experiential marketing events, and media relations. Laura has been with the company for over 19 years and has contributed to the organization’s growth and brand awareness. A LEED AP, Laura consults on sustainability initiatives and as a GBAC Trained Technician she assists customers develop cleaning programs.