Keynote Speakers

Helene CooperHelene Cooper
New York Times Pentagon Correspondent; Author, The House at Sugar Beach

Helene Cooper is a Pentagon correspondent with The New York Times. Prior to this assignment, she covered the White House and was The Times’ diplomatic correspondent. She joined the newspaper in 2004 as the assistant editorial page editor, a position she held for two years before she ran out of opinions and returned to news. She has reported from 64 countries, from Pakistan to the Congo.

Previously, Helene worked for 12 years at the Wall Street Journal, where she was a foreign correspondent, reporter, and editor, working in the London, Washington, and Atlanta bureaus. She is the winner of the Raymond Clapper award for Washington reporting (2000), the Sandy Hume award for best reporter under the age of 35 (2001), the Missouri Lifestyle award for feature writing (2002), a National Association of Black Journalists award for feature writing (2004), and the Urbino Press Award for foreign reporting (2011).

Born in Monrovia, Liberia, Helene is the author of The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood (Simon and Schuster), a New York Times best seller and a National Book Critics Circle finalist in autobiography in 2009. In 2009 and 2010, she appeared on the TV quiz show, Jeopardy!, as a clue. She has also appeared on Meet the Press, Washington Week, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Chris Matthews Show, and This Week.

 

Victoria A. Podesta
Vice President and Chief Communication Officer
ADM

Victoria A. Podesta joined ADM in May 2006 and serves as vice president and chief communication officer. She is an officer of the corporation.

As chief communication officer, Podesta leads ADM’s global reputation management and worldwide communications activities, including advertising and marketing communications; employee, financial and shareholder communications; media relations and community engagement. She is also responsible for ADM’s sustainability efforts and serves as president of the ADM Foundation. She reports to ADM chief executive officer and president Juan Luciano.

Before joining ADM, she served as president, Victoria Podesta Communications. As a leadership consultant and communications practitioner, she assisted clients in identifying and clarifying organizational strategy, values, missions and goals, and in designing cultural change strategies and communications programs to translate goals and values into desired results. A major area of work was assisting leaders as they guided organizations through change stimulated by market shifts, customer needs, mergers, new competitors and the need for exceptional growth. Her clients included AAA, ADM, Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Chevron Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, Macy’s and VISA.

From 1981 to 1989, Podesta worked for Union Bank in San Francisco as assistant vice president, Public Relations. She began her career in 1981 as a writer and editor in the marketing and sales promotion department of Transamerica Life Insurance in Los Angeles.

Podesta holds a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College for Women in Claremont, California, and a Master of Arts from the University of San Francisco. She has won awards for her writing and publications from the International Association of Business Communicators.