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SEED Conference 2017 Sessions & Speakers


Bringing Food to the Table: A Panel with Roadrunner Operations Staff

Time: 9:00am – 10:30am

Location: Fiesta Room I-IV

Speaker(s): Jesse Lyons, Stephanie Sanchez & Bryan Vigil

Sit down with Roadrunner Food Bank’s outstanding Operations team, the people responsible for making sure your agency receives the food they need for every distribution.

This panel discussion will focus on the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks of the team and give you a fuller picture of how the Food Bank transports perishable and nonperishable goods hundreds of miles in all kinds of weather to every part of New Mexico. A Q&A will follow.


Food Rescue Meet & Greet

Time: 9:00am – 10:30am

Location: Enchantment A & B

Speaker(s): Andy Knowlton & Steve Garcia

Rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste is a big part of Roadrunner’s commitment to feeding the hungry and working toward sustainability. At this meet and greet, Food Rescue Manager Andy Knowlton and his teammate Steve Garcia will delve into the details of how the Food Bank coordinates with restaurants, grocery stores and produce markets to make sure that perfectly edible food doesn’t get thrown away and is instead delivered to the people who need it most. Andy and Steve will also be on hand to discuss your ideas, challenges, and successes in the realm of food rescue.


Knowledge Café: How Do We Address the Food and Health Needs of Those We Serve?

Time: 9:00am – 10:30am

Location: Enchantment E & F

Speaker(s): Albert Casella & Marissa Johnson

New Mexico is widely recognized as a state with high rates of hunger – in the most recent national study, it was found that 30% of children in our state are going hungry. While the response from food assistance organizations in New Mexico has been strong, research in the last 5 years has shown that hungry people in New Mexico are also frequently burdened by diabetes, asthma, heart failure, and other chronic illnesses. Given that these diseases are all connected to nutrition, Roadrunner Food Bank has begun instituting a Health & Wellness Initiative, aimed at filling the healthy food gap in our state. This session will review the links between healthy food and disease, what Roadrunner is doing to address this issue, and how we, as a network, can collaborate to ensure our clients are receiving adequate, healthy food.


Building and Maintaining a Healthy Volunteer Base

Time: 10:45am – 11:45am

Location: Fiesta Room I-IV

Speaker(s): Mark Green

Most non-profit budgets count on the fact that much of the work will be done by volunteers.  Building and maintaining a healthy and returning volunteer base is crucial to the productivity and longevity of the organization.  We will look at ideas for starting, building and maintaining a healthy volunteer base with enough depth to provide long-term productivity while avoiding worker and volunteer burnout.


Food Emergency Resilience

Time: 10:45am – 11:45am

Location: Enchantment A & B

Speaker(s): Cynthia Beiser & Cindy Davies

The world is full of unpredictables and many Americans are feeling on edge.  Everyone should have a plan for emergency situations.  We will provide attendees information on planning for emergencies and associated food safety for clients that wouldn’t typically have these resources or don’t think about them because they are struggling day to day.


What You Need to Know About the Farm Bill

Time: 10:45am – 11:45am

Location: Enchantment E & F

Speaker(s): Elizabeth Reitzel & Sonya Warwick

Ending hunger is a big goal, and non-profit agencies can’t do it alone. This October, the US Congress will be voting to reauthorize the Farm Bill, a major piece of the legislative mission to ensure that all Americans are able to get their food needs met. Roadrunner’s own Sonya Warwick and Elizabeth Reitzel, on behalf of US Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, will discuss the bill and why strengthening it is so important to supporting the work of New Mexico’s hunger relief agencies.


Your Mission: Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Location: Fiesta Room I-IV

Speaker(s): Lorenzo Alba

This presentation will be geared at reminding all of us to keep our eye on the ball. Most of our missions are very simple and straightforward but we tend to get caught up in so many other things that go along with the non-profit world that we forget about the mission. We must remind others and ourselves about the mission and stay mission driven. We must have a clear vision of our missions and we must have a strategy. Planning for the future is essential to our successes and sustainability.


Improving Access to Food and Resources in Rural Areas

Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Location: Enchantment A & B

Speaker(s): Beth Cox, Betty Schaeffer & Linda Smith

Many of New Mexico’s most food insecure residents live in rural areas where food distribution presents a unique set of challenges. In this panel discussion, representatives from hunger relief agencies in Hidalgo, Catron and Torrance counties will share their experiences in successfully serving this important demographic. Q&A to follow.


Effective Legislative Advocacy

Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Location: Enchantment E & F

Speaker(s): Bill Jordan

This session will focus on effective advocacy strategies at both the state and federal levels. It will include a discussion of the importance of strategic communications and messaging, civic engagement and coalition building as parts of a successful legislative effort.


Exploring Neighborhood Food and Health Issues with Online Tools and Maps

Time: 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Location: Fiesta Room I-IV

Speaker(s): Tom Scharmen

Participants will be introduced to the basics of how to use data as a community engagement tool, with emphasis on how to find, explore and put to use food, health and social information about NM neighborhoods using the interactive maps at the New Mexico Community Data Collaborative (NMCDC).  These new skills will help participants to facilitate group discussions and participatory data exploration or decision-making, as well as for grant proposals, public health program planning and management, efficient targeting of resources, health impact assessments and policy debates.


Maximizing Access to SNAP in New Mexico

Time: 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Location: Enchantment A & B

Speaker(s): Sovereign Hager, Marissa Johnson & Jason Riggs

This session will give an overview of SNAP benefits, along with common barriers that prevent eligible families from enrolling and policy options that will maximize enrollment among eligible New Mexicans and decrease hunger in New Mexico. A member of the Roadrunner SNAP team will also share opportunities to work together to reach those families and individuals who need SNAP most.


What’s In Store for Community Initiatives? A Panel with Roadrunner Community Initiatives Staff

Time: 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Location: Enchantment C & D

Speaker(s): Katy Anderson, Amanda Cuba, Kate Page & Shelby Stuckel

Roadrunner’s Community Initiatives team is constantly working to develop innovative ways of eliminating food insecurity among New Mexico’s most vulnerable populations. At this panel discussion, the CI team will let you know what’s on the horizon and how they’re responding to your insights from the recent Agency Feedback survey. A Q&A will follow.


Managing Stress…The Workplace and Beyond

Time: 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Location: Enchantment E & F

Speaker(s): Bob Stice

Stress happens!  It is our system’s normal response to the demands of life.  Uncontrolled, however, it can be a destructive factor in our life, impacting health, relationships, and our overall ability to function.  Stress happens, also, in the workplace.  Workplace-related stress can also be overwhelming and destructive, if not managed. This presentation takes a look at stress from various perspectives, including the problems of unmanaged stress, and offers constructive tools and practices for stress management.


Let’s Talk About TEFAP

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Location: Fiesta Room I-IV

Speaker(s): Laura Perea, Kate Page & Bryan Vigil

Have you ever wondered about the history of TEFAP; or what is the difference between bonus and entitlement; or even where TEFAP food comes from? This session will be a wonderful opportunity to hear from Laura Perea, who is New Mexico’s TEFAP coordinator. Joining Laura will be two members of the Roadrunner staff that work with TEFAP product on a consistent basis. If you have pressing questions about TEFAP, this is the session for you.


How to Host a Hunger Simulation

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Location: Enchantment A & B

Speaker(s): Richard Lara & Albert Casella

With more than 50 million Americans struggling to find food, hunger is one of our country’s most pressing challenges. Communicating the scale and severity of hunger in America, however, has often been difficult for organizations serving the hungry. In an effort to strengthen partnerships and resources for the fight against hunger in New Mexico, Roadrunner Food Bank has adapted a tool we call “The Hunger Simulation”. The purpose of a hunger simulation is to convey the daily challenges a hungry person faces to groups that may not experience these challenges themselves. It is an interactive tool meant to generate empathy and buy-in from a new pool of partners and donors. In this session, we will provide you with the tools and practices needed to successfully run a hunger simulation at your organization. This tool has shown early success at Roadrunner, and we think it will be useful for agencies that are in need of funds, resources, and stronger partnerships. Please join us for what is sure to be a formative session!


Childhood Hunger Initiative Meet & Greet

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Location: Enchantment E & F

Speaker(s): Amanda Cuba & Shelby Stuckel

Roadrunner Food Bank is devoted to feeding hungry children and their families as a vital aspect of the mission to end hunger in New Mexico, and we couldn’t do it without our Childhood Hunger Initiative coordinators. This session will be an opportunity for CHI coordinators from schools across the state to meet each other, brainstorm ideas and share their experiences in implementing this important program.




40% of New Mexicans are Pre-Diabetic and Don’t Know It…Are you One?

Time: 9:30am – 10:30am

Location: Fiesta Room I-IV

Speaker(s): Dianne Christensen and Cindy Davies

Diabetes is on the rise nationally and specifically in New Mexico. This session will provide updates on the national and local trends, as well as describe and discuss the numerous pre-diabetes, diabetes, and chronic disease program offerings available.  Attendees will leave the session informed and prepared to assist in referring their clients with chronic diseases to excellent programs for help in managing their issues.


Meeting Community Needs through National Service

Time: 9:30am – 10:30am

Location: Enchantment A & B

Speaker(s): Kristin Hsueh

Every community has needs, but we can come together and meet those needs through National Service. Come and learn how members across the nation are dedicating their lives to improving the lives of fellow Americans. Discover the programs that are likened to the domestic Peace Corps and see if these programs might be a good fit for your organization.


The Art & Science of Grant Writing

Time: 9:30am – 10:30am

Location: Enchantment E & F

Speaker(s): Susan Simons

Venturing into the world of grants can be challenging and confusing. Where do you find them? What kinds of grants are out there? Where do I even begin? Susan Simons will lead attendees through the process, touching on what types of grants are available and where to find them, advice from real grantors, and even beginning an actual grant application. This session promises to be a great source of information for grant novices all the way to more experienced grant writers.



Lorenzo Alba, Jr. – Lorenzo Alba, Jr. is the Executive Director of Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Program in Las Cruces and throughout Dona Ana County. He is the former publisher and editor of the Lordsburg Liberal (newspaper) in his hometown of Lordsburg, NM. He was educated at Lordsburg High School, The University of New Mexico and The Art Institute of Dallas. His passion is in serving those less fortunate and the arts. He has served as President of the Mesilla Valley Rotary Club, Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus of the Basilica de San Albino, a current board member of the Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Las Cruces alumni (2012) and was also the former Executive Director of the storied Las Cruces PAL Program and Sammy Burke Boxing Club.


Katy Anderson – Katy brings strategic thinking and a passion for service to her work as Senior Community Initiatives Manager – Network Services with Roadrunner Food Bank. For the past three years, she has worked closely with the Food Bank’s network of over 400 partners as well as managing grants and government contracts. In total, Katy has spent 14 years working with non-profits, focusing primarily on social services, music, and education. She is married to a talented APS teacher and is the mother of three terrific daughters, ages 8 to 1.


Cynthia Beiser / Cindy Davies – Cynthia Beiser (Emergency Preparedness Program Director) and Cindy Davies (County Program Director) have been helping New Mexico residents prepare for emergencies for five years at the NMSU, Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service Office. They teach food safety and food preservation and have hosted emergency preparedness classes, quarterly meetings for people interested in being assets – not liabilities – during emergencies as well as emergency preparedness conferences.


Albert Casella – Albert is one of the newest additions to Roadrunner Food Bank, where he serves as a Senior Community Initiatives Manager. A large part of Albert’s job involves overseeing Roadrunner’s Health & Wellness Initiative, which aims to get healthy food into the hands of hungry New Mexicans. With a background in public health, Albert has worked on issues at the intersection of health and hunger for 5 years in the U.S., Haiti, Russia, and Rwanda. As issues of diabetes, congestive heart failure, asthma, and high blood pressure continue to grow in our state, Albert is committed to ensuring that health and hunger are addressed together.


Beth Cox – After 23 years of teaching school, Beth decided to make money and moved to Farson, Wyoming, where she was a partner in Pardners Trucking Company. There was also a farm and ranch operation, which between the two kept Beth very busy. Then one day, a call came from the school that they needed her to come translate for a Spanish speaker (no one in Farson could speak Spanish) which led to a teaching and coaching position. That was what they called work but for fun Beth played music Sundowners was the name of the band (and still is). Sundowners played all over Wyoming and even came to play in New Mexico and Arizona. Money makes people crazy, so the trucks were sold and Beth came back to the ranch in Animas and once again started teaching. However, about half way through the school year, 3 teachers (including Beth) got a call to the office…”Your moms all worked in the school cafeteria right?” They all answered yes. “Well, we are going to draw straws to see which one of you will be taking over the cafeteria…the manager just left”. Beth lost – so for the next 5 years, she ran the cafeteria for the Animas Schools. For the past 6 years, Beth has been working for SWCHI in the area of food and nutrition…Feeding people, teaching them to feed themselves. Currently, she coordinates the Healthy Kids Healthy Communities program for Hidalgo County.


Amanda Cuba – Amanda has been working in Roadrunner Food Bank’s satellite office in Las Cruces since 2014. Amanda enjoys bringing people together to do meaningful work and loves a good brainstorming session. She has a passion for collaboration and loves the opportunity to work with Roadrunner’s partners statewide. Amanda just celebrated five years of marriage to her brilliant archaeologist husband and eight years living in New Mexico.


Cindy Davies, MS – Associate Professor NMSU and County Director for Bernalillo County Extension Service Cindy began her career teaching Family and Consumer Science classes at the high school level. She has served with the Child And Adult Care Food Program, CYFD as a Childcare Specialist and with CNM. Cindy has been in her current role with the Extension Service since 2005. Cindy is considered a statewide specialist in food preservation and runs numerous classes. She is highly experienced in delivering chronic disease programming and is certified as a Lifestyle Coach with the National Diabetes Prevention Program. She has run numerous sessions of DOH’s Kitchen Creations and has been certified as a facilitator and trainer for My Cd. As the County Director for Bernalillo County, she oversees all aspects of the Extension Service for the largest county in NM.


Dianne Christensen, MS – Assistant Professor at NMSU and Bernalillo County FCS Agent, Dianne served for 20 years in directing women’s ministries in Albuquerque. In her tenure with NMSU, she has specialized in wellness and mindfulness as it relates to managing chronic disease and weight control. She has developed and taught a curriculum called Slim and Strong. She is a certified Lifestyle Coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. She is a facilitator for Stanford’s My Chronic Disease curriculum and is also certified in cancer and diabetes. She oversees three annual 4 week sessions of DOH’s Kitchen Creations.

In her free time she is a leader and personal coach nationally for Weight Watchers.


Steve Garcia – Steve served in Roadrunner’s transportation department as both a driver and driver supervisor until recently when he was asked to step into the role of Food Sourcing Coordinator. With Andy Knowlton, he works to build and maintain relationships with important food donors and seeks to source as much healthy and nutritious food as possible for the Food Bank.


Mark Green – Mark spent many years as a missionary in Mexico, Latin America, and Africa feeding the hungry, and building schools, clinics, and churches, as well as serving for 13 years as a chaplain to the horse racing industry both in New Jersey and New Mexico. Mark have been at Harvest Ministries for four years and under his leadership, the organization continues to grow and expand its reach.


Sovereign Hager – Ms. Hager joined the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty in 2013 and leads the public benefits team, supervising two attorneys. Her work focuses on improving access to food and cash assistance, Medicaid and childcare assistance for New Mexico families. Prior to joining the Center, Sovereign worked as a Staff Attorney at DNA-People’s Legal Services in Shiprock, New Mexico, assisting low-income patients at three Indian Health Service facilities with legal problems affecting their health. Her advocacy included public benefits, domestic violence, special education, housing and consumer rights. Sovereign holds a JD and Masters Degree from Syracuse University.


Kristin Hsueh – Kristin is a representative of the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism which administers the AmeriCorps State funds and promotes the benefits of volunteerism throughout the state of New Mexico.


Marissa Johnson – Marissa Johnson started her work in community outreach as a student advocate at the college level. Marissa began her work at Roadrunner Food Bank as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the SNAP Program. After her VISTA term of service ended, Roadrunner hired Marissa on permanently as the new SNAP Outreach Coordinator. “I consider New Mexico to be my home now and therefore want to do my best to offer equitable access to long-term food resources and to be an advocate for my neighbors and community. What I love about this state and the city I live in are the strong ties to cultural roots and self-professed fierce independence of our clients. I hope to develop outreach programs to honor these unique characteristics and provide comprehensive assistance to our communities.”


Bill Jordan – Bill Jordan, M.A. is Senior Policy Advisor and Government Relations Officer for New Mexico Voices for Children. Bill has been with VOICES since 1998 and leads their legislative advocacy efforts in Santa Fe and Washington D.C. He convenes the New Mexico Medicaid Coalition, the New Mexico Fairness Project and is an active member of the Health Care for All Coalition. He was appointed to Governor Richardson’s Equal Pay Task Force in 2003, and his Budget Balancing Task Force in 2009. He was appointed by the legislature to serve on the Review Committee for Elected Officials Ethics Curriculum. In his personal time, Bill was appointed in 2008 by then candidate Barack Obama to serve on his campaign’s Tax Policy Advisory Committee. Prior to joining VOICES, he served as the Executive Director of the HIV Coordinating Council of New Mexico.


Andy Knowlton – Andy joined Roadrunner as Food Sourcing Manager in early 2017. His main focus has been continuing to source outstanding product for the network as well as develop new and interesting partnerships with retailers, manufacturers, growers, and other Food Banks.


Richard Lara – Richard is serving a term as a Public Ally, an AmeriCorps program, with Roadrunner. His work has included creating a Hunger Simulation, engaging corporate volunteers more fully, and working on education curriculum and resources for the thousands of schoolchildren who volunteer with the Food Bank annually.


Jesse Lyons – Coming Soon


Molly Moore – Coming Soon


Kate Page – Kate moved to Albuquerque in 2015 and began working at Roadrunner Food Bank in the Operations Department. She has since joined the Community Initiatives Department (CID) where she is a coordinator. Her work of scheduling and creating the nearly 200 monthly Mobile Food Pantry orders means she often has one foot in the Operations Department and another in CID. Kate loves the collaborative nature of food banking and enjoys learning how food assistance fits in the complex world of social service for those in need. Kate is a lover of the outdoors and history; she often spends her weekends exploring New Mexico and the Southwest.


Laura Perea – Coming Soon


Elizabeth Reitzel – Coming Soon


Jason Riggs – Jason Riggs stepped into the role of SNAP Outreach Coordinator in 2013 after being with Roadrunner Food Bank since 2008. He has grown the program tremendously and has recently been promoted to Community Initiatives Manager – Client Services. Prior to working at the Food Bank, Jason saw the first wave of the Recession hit when working for a company that handled COBRA benefits and saw the number of people in need of SNAP benefits. He is grateful for his position with Roadrunner, as it is a place that he feels is doing something to help. “Every now and then, I get a call from someone trying to help their neighbor or friend or family member. They are buying groceries but cannot continue the support indefinitely. They call to find a more permanent solution.  For me, food pantries, shelters, and government programs like SNAP and TEFAP are a systematic way of helping our neighbors in need. Whether these programs are paid for with our tax dollars or church tithe, our fellow New Mexicans are getting help. I’m very happy to be a small part of the bigger picture.”


Stephanie Sanchez – Coming Soon


Betty Schaefer – Coming Soon


Tom Scharmen – Tom Scharmen is an epidemiologist with nearly 30 years in public health. Originally from Roswell, NM, He worked as a community organizer and clinician in rural Mexico. His focus for the last 18 years has been providing neighborhood level data on the social determinants of health and health outcomes to New Mexico community advocates. Learn more about his work with the New Mexico Community Data Collaborative at http://nmcdc.maps.arcgis.com/home. Visit and explore the NM Food Atlas at https://nmcdc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/PublicGallery/index.html?appid=566fa3ac44e041488a23eef3b5dd1f26


Susan Simons – Ms. Simons was born and grew-up in New York City, went to school in Arizona and has lived in Boise, Idaho and Seattle, Washington. She and her husband served with the Peace Corps in Liberia, West Africa.

Susan has worked with and for non-profits for over 25 years in fundraising, grant writing and event planning.  She has helped write by-laws and has filed requests for non-profit status with the IRS.  She has worked in small organization as the sole employee or as the only person in the development office.  She now has her own consulting business, Simons Consulting Services.

She has a Masters in Non-Profit Management and has been a Certified Fundraising Executive for 20 years.

Susan volunteers on the New Mexico AFP Board and on the board of two animal protection organizations in her home town of Edgewood, NM.


Linda Smith – Linda serves as the Executive Director of the Bethel Community Storehouse, an interfaith community mission in Moriarty, NM.  She has been with Bethel for 26 years and is an avid organic gardener.


Bob Stice – Bob Stice, LPCC, is CEO/Clinical Director at Outcomes, Inc., a comprehensive outpatient behavioral non-profit agency that offers counseling and psychotherapy services and Employee Assistance Programs to many agencies and companies in New Mexico.


Shelby Stuckel – Shelby works as a Community Initiatives Coordinator with Roadrunner Food Bank in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Her world revolves around providing customer service for nearly 400 partners across the state, working closely with her team to train and onboard CHI partners as well as helping build and schedule mobile food pantries. Shelby is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and AmeriCorps alumni, and is grateful to have the opportunity to serve her home state. When she is not working on finishing her MPH degree she is gardening, reading and attempting to cook.


Bryan Vigil – Bryan Vigil is Roadrunner Food Bank’s Director of Operations and has been with the organization for over eight years. His primary responsibilities include purchasing systems, procurement, and goods entering and leaving the Food Bank. During his tenure, he has seen Roadrunner accomplish many extraordinary feats including moving into a new building, increasing distribution by 11 million pounds, improving processes throughout the Food Bank, and implementing new technology to track performance and increase accuracy in the transportation department.


Sonya Warwick – As a small town New Mexican raised in Silver City, Sonya Warwick attended the University of New Mexico completing a dual degree in English and Journalism and Mass Communication. In May 2008, Sonya began working at Roadrunner Food Bank. Her responsibilities include marketing, public relations and communications. One of her favorite quotes is by Confucius who said, “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”


Melody Wattenbarger – Melody Wattenbarger, President and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank, has been involved in food banking at the local, state, and regional levels for more than 30 years.  She was the founding director of High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo, TX from 1983-1991.  She worked for Feeding America (formerly known as America’s Second Harvest), the national food bank network, for one year monitoring food banks around the country.  She then worked for United Way of Central New Mexico until she returned to food banking in her current position in late 1995.  While in Texas, she served as the first president of the Texas Association of Second Harvest Food Banks.  Melody served as founding President of the board for the New Mexico Association of Food Banks from 1999 to 2004.  She continues to serve on the board of the New Mexico Association of Food Banks.

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