Kelly Horton is a nationally recognized food systems and environmental nutrition policy expert. A high performing executive level leader, Kelly has served in national leadership roles in food and beverage industry, Congress, USDA, and NGOs. As a change agent, Kelly is relied on as a strategic advisor, influencer, advocate, and stakeholder relations builder. Her passion and commitment to serving as a catalyst to create dynamic business decisions informed by solid science has helped move the needle on transparency and build trust in the food system.
As the North America Policy Director for Mars, Incorporated Kelly developed and managed the execution of strategies, plans, and programs to reach and engage national and global stakeholders. She was responsible for leading Mars’ North American Food Policy Group, engaging key policymakers, collaborating with targeted NGOs, and working with trade organizations. Prior to working at Mars, Kelly was Agriculture and Nutrition Senior Policy Advisor for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) where she was responsible for Agriculture and FDA Appropriations. Her portfolio included food and nutrition policy, food safety, food labeling, drug and device approval, environment, energy, and interior policy.
Her previous experience included being the National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging’s Policy Director. As a Health & Aging Policy Fellow/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow she served as legislative assistant to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and on the Obama Administration’s USDA Farm-to-School Tactical Team. Before her fellowship, Kelly founded Connect Nutrition in the Pacific Northwest, a consulting organization specializing in nutrition policy and advocacy, food security, sustainable food systems, nutrition intervention planning, and program monitoring and evaluation. After earning her masters, she served a Graduate Fellow on the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board working on the first national report on the marketing of food to children.
Before working in the field nutrition and food policy, Kelly spent nearly a decade launching and managing call center operations for several companies.