Aspire to Grow 2020

Cultivating Tomorrow’s Leaders: Diversity and Innovation in Food and Agriculture


There are more than 21 million jobs associated with food and agriculture in the U.S., and related industries contribute nearly a trillion dollars to the nation’s GDP. The Aspire to Grow Conference aims to inform and empower students from across campus about the many and varied career opportunities in these industries. It will also create a forum for students to learn from and network with companies for which diversity and inclusion are an essential part of their visions, and that have recognized that workplace diversity increases productivity, innovation, and other factors that provide a competitive edge.

2020 Conference

The 2020 Aspire to Grow Conference explores innovation in the food and agriculture sectors. The symposium will focus on new technologies and developments, and the role diversity of thought and experience plays in achieving these.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 4:30 p.m. 
Cal Poly Performing Arts Center
Reception to follow


Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences   

Keynote Speaker

Kemba Marshall, DVM, DABVP
Director of Veterinary Services // Purina Animal Nutrition

Dr. Marshall received her B.S. in biology from Howard University and her D.V.M. from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing her veterinary degree, Dr. Marshall went on to complete an avian/exotic animal residency at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Avian). Dr. Marshall has worked in private veterinary practice, university laboratory animal practice and corporate retail veterinary practice.
Dr. Marshall has been a guest editor and first author for publications in the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice and is also published in Blackwell’s Five Minute Veterinary Consult, the American Journal of Veterinary Research and the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery.
In addition to providing on-farm veterinary support and veterinary technical support for the Purina customer service and sales team representatives, Dr. Marshall is also involved with new product development.


Panel Speakers

Martha Montoya
Founder and CEO // AGTools 

With over 25 years of worldwide agricultural and supply chain experience, Martha's career in the agricultural industry started while sourcing ingredients from the Americas to New Zealand, Australia and Thailand which provided her with the knowledge of the product from the source to delivery. Dealing with humble and industrial farmers, government entities and sophisticated buyers in Europe, Russia and the United States, set up production lines of lettuce in Arizona and Mexico to the Netherlands, banana puree from Costa Rica to Australia, guided a peach crop from South Africa to England, worked on new Asparagus crops as well as Mangos from Peru for the USA or from India to England among many. Parallel work included social impact programs such as government finance programs for women farmers in Mexico; bank low interest credit program in California for small organic farmers. Appointed to the California Board of Agriculture and Food, board member Latino Food Industry Association, served on the advisory worldwide board of Women for Walmart and Board of United States Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Founded award winner Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence,  a solution allowing farmers, food supply chain stakeholders, banking, insurance and other industries to make better decisions, increase profits, avoid waste and impact climate change. Her agricultural career while sourcing crops is delivering projects beneficial for the farmer and customer on 4 continents, such as  government finance programs for berry growers in Mexico to empower women owned farms, low interest credit program in California for small organic farmers with a financial institution from the CRA program to utilize for production and labor costs and more.


Other speakers to be announced… 

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