In December of 2012, we launched our first member group, the Core Chapter. This membership is for established, mission-aligned, founders and CEO’s in the natural products industry. Together, we work through tough business and industry challenges with a carefully facilitated agenda that involves thoughtful evaluation and meaningful connection.
Interested in participating? Or know someone who might be a good fit? We are currently seeking the best and brightest sustainable product leaders committed to making a positive impact on our industry, people, and environment.
Interested in Joining?FIND OUT MORE
CEO & Co-Founder, Pathwater
Shadi Bakour is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pathwater, a bottled water company that provides the first 100% reusable, recyclable bottled water in a sturdy aluminum bottle. An expert in the beverage industry, Shadi’s extensive experience has driven the overall vision and strategy for one of the fastest growing and most disruptive beverage brands of the century.
Shadi is responsible for overseeing all facets of the business, specializing in accelerating ideas through strategic foresight, drive, and determination. Previously, Shadi worked in Consulting and Private Equity at Booz Allen Hamilton and Abraaj Capital. Shadi excelled in academics and athletics from a young age, and received a full scholarship to Culver Military Academy, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the nation.
Shadi graduated Summa Cum Laude from The George Washington University, where he received a Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance and Economics. Shadi received a Full Scholarship, Dean’s List, and was a Board of Trustees Scholar.
CEO & Co-Founder, Sambazon
Ryan Black is the CEO and co-founder of SAMBAZON, the industry leader in Açai and the first brand to bring organic Açai from the Brazilian Amazon to the United States. Black is a pioneer in the natural foods industry, creating the company in 2000 with his brother Jeremy Black and friend Ed “Skanda” Nichols after a surf trip to Brazil.
After eating his first Açai bowl, Black saw an opportunity to create nutritious, Açai-based products to share with people all over the world while committing to a socially- and environmentally-conscious business model. This was before buzzwords like social responsibility and entrepreneurship existed, and from day one, Black has ensured that SAMBAZON stays true to its founding principles and commitment to doing good. In addition, Black paved the way in helping create the current organic and fair trade certification standards for wild-harvesting the Açai crop where they did not previously exist. SAMBAZON continues to operate under the Triple Bottom Line philosophy, which measures success economically, socially and environmentally. This progressive, forward-thinking culture is thread through the fabric of SAMBAZON today.
Black is also the co-founder of the tri.org, a non-profit organization working to empower and educate millennials into mobilizing and building a more conscious future, socially, in sustainability and economically. Together, with like-minded partners, SAMBAZON, Thrive Market, Numi Tea and Dr. Bronner’s, Black and the tri.org are working to build a community of activists, conscious warriors and change makers.
Prior to co-founding SAMBAZON, Black received his BA in Finance at the University of Colorado at Boulder, then played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings and in European Football Leagues. Now, Black lives near the beach in San Clemente, CA and his passions include travel, music, and surfing. He speaks multiple languages, and credits his time in Boulder and his international football career as the stepping-stones to building a socially-responsible, international business.
Ryan and Sambazon joined OSC2 as a community Member in 2018.
Board President, Naturally Bay Area Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Don is a strategic legal advisor and corporate counsel to emerging growth and middle-market Food & Beverage, Food Tech, and Ag Tech innovators and investors. His clients are based in the major U.S. food hubs, including the Bay Area, Boulder, Brooklyn, Austin and Los Angeles. His law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (DWT), has one of the largest food & beverage practices in the United States, with over 40 attorneys serving food venture entrepreneurs, emerging brands, larger food companies, and the private equity firms that invest in them, at every level of the food chain from “Farm to Label”. Don is a Founding Faculty Member and member of the Advisory Board of the Food Business School at the Culinary Institute of America (Napa Valley). He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the board of Directors of KCETLink TV, the public television station in LA, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Technion Society – San Francisco Chapter.
President & COO Lotus Foods
VP Retail Marketing & ESG Ancient Nutrition
Kristie Cerutti is the Vice President of Retail Marketing and ESG for Ancient Nutrition. She is a 20-year veteran in the Nutritional Supplement industry, and a driving force behind Ancient Nutrition’s R.A.N.C.H. (Regenerative Agriculture, Nutrition, Climate Health) Project. Not content with mere sustainability, her passion is to see regeneration infused into every area of the company. She is a certified zero-waste advocate, permaculturist and lover of water buffaloes.
Timothy Childs is a parallel entrepreneur, supertaster and award-winning innovator whose personal approach to creative disruption champions the deployment of new systems to update archaic industries.
A pioneer in the food+technology space, Timothy is cofounder and CEO of Treasure8, a San Francisco-based food innovation and technology company on a mission to solve the nutritional challenges and environmental stresses of a growing global population. Timothy and his team develop, patent and deploy game-changing, delicious food ingredients, processes and products that are healthier for people and the planet with a keen focus on creating nutritionally dense foods from agricultural and food production remnants.
In 2006, Timothy founded TCHO Chocolate in San Francisco and was the driving and creative force behind the company’s vision and strategy and including TCHO’s flavordriven approach to chocolate making and TCHOSource, an innovative project to improve farmers’ livelihoods and generate prosperity throughout the cocoa value chain. Working in partnership with USAID, TCHOSource has become a model for sustainably focused programs in South America and beyond.
Timothy is a participant in the Google Innovation Lab for Food Experiences, a global collaborative network for leading thinkers and doers in the food space who apply their knowledge and passion towards imagining and shaping the future of food. He also is the founder of World Headquarters, a 73,000 square foot curated design, art and food innovation lab on Treasure Island and home of Treasure8 and the Future Food Center.
Before he brought his Silicon Valley startup mentality to the food industry, Timothy founded a company that developed machinevision systems for NASA’s Space Shuttle program. His background in technology is deeply rooted in the preweb internet and early realtime computer graphics fields. Timothy was directly involved in many early stage internet/computer graphics and virtual reality companies, and cofounded the nonprofit, communitybuilding organizations VeRGe (Virtual Reality Education Foundation in 1991) and the infamous Web3D RoundUP. He continues to embrace advanced visualization tools in all his businesses.
Timothy is a founding member of the board of Illuminate the Arts—presenting organization of The Bay Lights—and a founding member of other advisory boards, such as OSC2. He is an internationally soughtafter speaker and has been featured in hundreds of print, broadcast and online stories by major media outlets, including The Economist, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wired, Time and NPR
Chief Marketing Officer Traditional Medicinals
Kristel joined Traditional Medicinals in 2022 to focus on building the brand for its next phase of growth, rooted in purpose and delivering high quality products that harness the power of plants and their many wellness properties.
Prior to Traditional Medicinals, Kristel spent more than 30 years helping beloved brands like Clover Sonoma, LeapFrog, Jamba Juice and Clif Bar & Co. meet or exceed business objectives through a combination of innovative new product launches, strong retail presence and marketing programs that create positive, lasting consumer connections. In her last role at Clover Sonoma as Chief Revenue Officer, Kristel led the transformation of the brand from a values based regional brand to a national conscious consumer brand through mission driven branding and innovative new products. Kristel earned a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from San Francisco State University. She lives in Sonoma County with her husband and two children and proudly supports her community as a Bay Area native.
CEO Organically Grown Company
Brenna is an internationally recognized leader regarded for guiding businesses to triple-bottom-line success. She joined OGC in the role of Chief Executive Officer in early 2022, bringing a strong foothold in both the organic and sustainability communities.
A Northwest native, Brenna most recently served as VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility and Communications at PCC Community Markets in Seattle, the nation’s largest community-owned grocer. She brings a proven track record of advocacy for organic farmers and preservation of farmland and valuable leadership experience in retail grocery and business growth.
Before PCC, Brenna held sustainability-focused leadership roles at Virginia Mason Health System, Puget Sound Energy, and AT&T Wireless. A recognized thought leader across multiple sectors, Brenna was tapped to work with the Obama Administration on climate change and served on a panel on climate justice led by Vice President Al Gore. She is also a certified Human Potential Institute coach with a passion for helping people achieve their goals.
CEO & Founder, All Good
Caroline Duell is Founder and CEO of All Good. Based in Morro Bay, California, All Good makes organic and botanical body care products including All Good Goop, healing balm, and a line of zinc based sunscreens. After years of working in the combined fields of emergency medicine, wilderness education and holistic healing, Caroline turned her farm based salve-making hobby into a business. In 2006, she joined 1% for the Planet, and in 2009, she certified the company as a B Corp. All Good products are available globally in natural foods stores, outdoor and gift shops, online, and as private label purchases for businesses.
Caroline received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont and a Certification in Neuromuscular Reprogramming from California’s Institute of Conscious Bodywork. Caroline and her husband, Ryan Rich, All Good’s VP of Sales and Marketing, love to be outdoors; mountain biking, skiing, kite surfing, climbing and growing food. They live on their organic farm with their equally nature loving daughters, Kalia and Allegra.
CEO of Numi Organic Tea
Brian Durkee is an impact-driven business leader, an educator, and an advocate for change. With more than 20 years in leadership roles in the natural / specialty food industry, he is a dynamic, results-oriented leader with a strong track record of successfully planning, implementing, and directing all facets of strategic and operational activities in multiple rapidly growing, entrepreneurial environments.
Brian currently serves as CEO for Numi Organic Tea, where he has been instrumental to the company’s growth and organizational development for several years. In addition to leading the Numi team and driving overall company strategy and culture, Brian has been an active decision maker in all areas of the business. He has managed strategic partnerships, financial planning and execution, sales and marketing initiatives, global supply chain developments, and product innovation. He travels abroad frequently and has worked intimately with customers and suppliers from more than 35 countries.
Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Lotus Foods
Since 1995, Ken Lee has pioneered the introduction of heirloom and specialty rice to the food trade in North America. Lee has specialized in creating supply relationships with smallholder farmers in developing countries who had no previous export experience, playing a key role in capacity building and promoting more inclusive value chains. A member of Social Venture Network, Lee is a frequent speaker at trade and educational events such as the National Cooperative Grocers, International Association of Culinary Professionals, Culinary Institute of America, Clinton Global Initiative, Global Philanthropy Forum, and Yale Global Health & Innovation Conference. Prior to founding Lotus Foods, Lee worked in the insurance industry and as a financial consultant. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.
Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Lotus Foods
Caryl Levine is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO behind Lotus Foods, one of the most innovative, organic and fair trade specialty rice brands in the country. After a 17-year career fundraising in higher education Levine now leads Lotus Foods marketing and sales and is primarily responsible for the image and positioning of the Lotus Foods brand, the development of all packaging and merchandising materials. Recipient of the 2014 Specialty Foods leadership award for vision, Levine has been an invited speaker around the world and most recently at the 2015 World Food Prize, the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative mid-year meeting, the 2013 Social Venture Network Conference and the 2012 Bioneers Conference. Levine is a founding member of the Whole Grain Council and a member of the Social Venture Network. She holds a MPA in Public Administration from the University of Hartford.
CEO Harmless Harvest
Ben Mand is the CEO of Harmless Harvest, a pioneer and leader in U.S. refrigerated premium coconut water and plant-based dairy. Harmless has been built on a fundamental belief in “constructive capitalism” – an ecosystem-based approach to business that integrates all the stakeholders to deliver better products and outcomes for all.
Over the past 20 years, Ben has built his career building and leading responsible businesses. Ben’s career started in the late 90’s when he took a sabbatical from consulting to volunteer at an organic coffee farm in Costa Rica, where he discovered a passion for the food he grew by working closely with local farmers. Since then, Ben has worked in various brand marketing and innovation roles at leading companies including General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, and Interbrand. He has made an impact as a change agent, driving improvements in health, sustainability, and social impact while delivering consistent sales and profit growth. Prior to joining Harmless, Ben oversaw all marketing, innovation and creative strategy for Plum Organics, a leading organic baby food brand. Under Ben’s tenure, the brand quickly accelerated from #3 to #1 in the category. Ben is a seasoned speaker and has been featured at industry events including SXSW, Natural Products Expo and Advertising Week – speaking about everything from socially minded business practices to marketing with empathy.
Chairman of the Gourd, Guayaki Yerba Mate
Chris got his BA in Economics from Harvard University, but quickly realized that economics conveniently forgot about sustaining the environment and protecting people. Through his experience with Guayaki and previously with Natural Flavors, a 100% organic, vegan restaurant that employed 25 people and 60 local farmers, Chris is finding that by recognizing common purpose, seemingly disparate groups can integrate social justice, environmental restoration and economic success.
COO The Fruit Guys
Erin Mittelstaedt is Chief Operating Officer, responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of The FruitGuys operations, as well as creation of new facilities. Previously, Erin worked as a Trader Joe’s manager in Philadelphia and a case worker in New York City. Erin has a BA in Music from the University of Pennsylvania and lives in San Francisco with her wife and their dog Madigan. She sings, tap dances, loves making jams and jellies, and recently fell in love with swimming in the Bay.
Steve Naccarato was a pioneer in the development of organic virgin coconut oil as a successful mass consumer product, helping to launch Nutiva’ s coconut oil product line in 2002. His technical expertise not only helped to overcome the packaging and seal security issues inherent in the manufacture of this product but also was instrumental in developing and maintaining the primary supply from the Philippines.
In the 20+ years of experience, Steve’s evident ability to develop strong businesses, client relationships, and products has culminated in the development of 400+ new products and packaging, including private label items for such companies as Loblaws (Westfair Foods), Canada Safeway, Overwaitea Foods, Costco, Sobeys, 7-11 Convenient Stores, Interprovincial Cooperative (Federated Co-op) and other retailers, distributors, and health and nutrition brand owners. Results-oriented, he also successfully negotiated custom packaging contracts with major multi-national companies.
Steve is grateful to be apart of the health and wellness community offering organic sustainable foods. When he isn’t traveling around the world he enjoys spending time with his four boys in Canada.
Co-founder J.E.D.I Collaborative and Women on Boards Project, and former CEO REBBL
**JEDI Board Committee Member
Co-founder J.E.D.I Collaborative and Women on Boards Project, and former CEO REBBL
Sheryl O’Loughlin is an accomplished entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience leading natural products companies with her trademark bold humility rooted in love.
In 2017, Sheryl introduced her first book, Killing It: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart (HarperBusiness). The book has been featured in Fortune, Conscious Company, Inc., Forbes and Huffington Post, among others.
From 2015 to 2019, Sheryl was CEO and “Chief Love Officer” of REBBL, the first plant-based, super herb adaptogen beverage company. In partnership with Not for Sale, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a future without human trafficking, REBBL works to create regenerative and just supply chains.
Sheryl is co-founder of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I) Collaborative. She is also co-founder and board chair of the Women on Boards Project, a nonprofit with the mission of empowering women business leaders and improving diversity and inclusion at the board of directors’ level across consumer brands. Both non profits are focused on supporting and advocating for a more inclusive industry and economy to drive innovation, growth, profitability and justice.
Earlier in her career, Sheryl served as the CEO of Clif Bar and Company. There she led the concept development and introduction of Luna, the first whole nutrition bar for women, which became a $70 million business in three years and continues to be a core brand in the company’s portfolio. She went on to co-found and serve as CEO for Plum, Inc., a healthy, organic food company that aims to nourish kids “from the high chair to the lunch box.” In 2013, Plum was successfully sold to Campbell Soup Company.
After Plum, Sheryl was the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and she held a faculty position at Sonoma State University, where she taught hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs and other professionals.
Sheryl currently serves on the board of directors for Pet IQ Inc. (NASDAQ: PETQ) and the board of non-profit One Step Closer (OSC) as well as the advisory board of S. Martinelli and Company, a family-owned company. She is also a member of the Forbes San Francisco Business Council. Previous boards include Zuke’s Natural Dog Treats, thinkThin Nutrition, Sugar Bowl Bakery, Gardein Plant-based Nutrition, FoodStirs Junk Free Bakery, Once Upon A Farm, American Sustainable Business Council, and the Harvest Innovation Summit. Sheryl supported Zuke’s, Gardein and thinkThin to successful exits.
Sheryl earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and her Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. An avid camper and traveler, she lives in Santa Rosa, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their two sons.
Learn more at www.sheryloloughlin.com
Global COO/CFO of Sambazon
Ricardo joined Sambazon in 2017 from over 25 years of experience in multiple industries and global enterprises such as Coca-Cola, British American Tobacco and SHV Energy. Ricardo is an experienced international and commercially driven finance executive that held CFO position in different countries such as Italy, South Korea and Brazil. Ricardo led transformational agendas in the areas of cost effectiveness, factory footprint, supply chain finance, pricing & taxation, M&A and held, for 3 years, the role of Chairman of Taxation Group of the European Chamber of Commerce in South Korea.
VP Innovation, Business Development & DEI John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc
Angi Rassi is a growth accelerator, senior business leader and executive coach that is passionate about scaling high potential businesses in the natural products space. Angi is currently the Vice President /Head of Innovation, Business Development & DEI at John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc where she leads growth acceleration initiatives across new product innovation, partnerships, and M&A. She also leads DEI for the company and the Women at JBSS Employee Resource Group.
Prior to JBSS, Angi was an Officer (top 100 global leaders) at General Mills with two decades of experience leading businesses ranging in size from $25M to $1B and accelerating growth on all of them including 6 financial turnarounds, 3 transformational change initiatives and leading two snack bars to be the fastest growing in the category leveraging category leading innovation.
Outside of work, Angi spends her time on the Board of Naturally Minnesota, Advisory Board for Lil Bucks, leading the OSC / J.E.D.I. Collaborative peer mentoring circles for women in leadership in the natural products industry, advising female founders and being an investor/mentor for ImpactSKU. Angi lives in Minneapolis with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats. They love being active and outside in nature.
Co-Founder OSC; CVO & Master Tea Blender behind Numi Organic Tea
Ahmed Rahim is the Co-Founder, CVO and Chief Alchemist behind Numi Organic Tea, the largest premium, organic, Fair Trade Certified tea company in North America. Ahmed is responsible for all of the unique Numi blends and products the company introduces to the marketplace. He started the company in 1999 in Oakland, California with his sister, Reem Rahim Hassani.
At Numi, Ahmed travels to remote regions of the world seeking unique herbs and teas unknown in the United States, building partnerships with farmers and their communities. Numi has proudly benefited the farming community by increasing wages, sponsoring schools, hospitals, community centers, road construction and other needs to improve living standards in farming communities.
Ahmed and his sister Reem have been evolving their vision for Numi through the Numi Foundation, with initiatives that focus on local and global programs, acknowledging and addressing the challenges within their farming communities and in their backyard of Oakland, CA; from education to health and nutrition. Numi Foundation’s Together for H2OPE project is providing clean safe drinking water to farming communities across the globe.
Ahmed co-founded OSC, One Step Closer, a national community of sustainable natural products CEOs and business leaders. OSC strives to leave earth and humanity in better condition than we found it by inspiring natural products leaders to work in innovative and collaborative ways toward positive change. The group addresses the toughest sustainability problems facing our industry and our planet by building new regenerative business models and agricultural systems
Ahmed sits on various for-profit and non-profit boards enhancing their growth and sustainability goals. Ahmed’s core goal is to be in service to those focused on caring for their community and creating positive change for our environment. He is also a General Partner in the OSC Venture Fund.
Co-Owner/VP of Sales & Marketing, All Good
CEO & Founder, Big Tree Farms, Inc.
Ben Ripple is the Founder and CEO of Big Tree Farms, Inc and PT Bening Big Tree Farms. With over 20 years of experience in creating scalable business models that provide social impact to marginalized producers through regenerative agriculture, Ben has become a leading figure in the industry. Under his leadership, the company operates a vertically integrated supply chain with nearly ten thousand small farmers across the Indonesian archipelago, with a purpose-built manufacturing facility in Java, Indonesia.
In addition to his work at Big Tree Farms, Ben has a passion for supporting small businesses and has served as a senior advisor to social enterprises in both Indonesia and the US. He was also a founding member of Slowfood Indonesia and a founder of an Angel Investor network in Bali, Indonesia.
Ben’s work in sustainable supply chains has received international recognition over the past two decades, and he has spoken at numerous events in the US, EU, and Southeast Asia on the topics of Sustainable Agriculture, Supply Chains, Social Impact, and Triple Bottom Line Business. With his extensive experience and expertise, Ben is dedicated to driving positive change in the industry and creating scalable business models that provide social impact through regenerative agriculture.
Co-Founder Pure Planet and Alter Eco Americas
Edouard Rollet heads Alter Eco Americas, PBC as co-founder and co-CEO. A seasoned leader and innovator, Rollet brings more than 15 years of experience. As co-CEO, Rollet leads sourcing and supply chains strategy, financial and operational strategy, brand development and innovations. Rollet co-founded Alter Eco in the United States in 2005 with a vision to change the world and introduce delicious, nutritious and environmentally responsible products.
Prior to launching Alter Eco in the US, Rollet was a Senior Trade Attaché at the French Embassy in New York where he specialized in foreign investment, new ventures, media, marketing and mass retail. He has also consulted for the communications department of the UNICEF in Dakar, Senegal. Rollet holds an MBA from The European Institute of Business (IEA-Paris) and an MA in Mass Communications from the University of Florida.
Born in Lyon, France, Rollet moved to the US two decades ago. He enjoys traveling, the outdoors and exploring street food and restaurants around the world. Rollet resides in Mill Valley, Calif. and is married to Ilse Keijzer, founder of Alter Eco Pacific, which serves the Australian and New Zealand markets.
Jordan Rubin is the co-founder and CEO of Ancient Nutrition, a supplement company with its focus to restore our health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world. An eco-entrepreneur and lecturer on health and nutrition, Jordan has shared a message of natural health in five continents and 46 states in the U.S. He owns and operates Heal the Planet Farm, an organic permaculture farm and regenerative retreat center is located in the base of the Ozark Mountains in Missouri. He also owns Beyond Organic Ranch in Missouri and The Center for Regenerative Agriculture in Tennessee – with over 4000+ acres of regenerative organic farmland combined. Jordan is the founder of Garden of Life®, a leading whole food nutritional supplement company, and Beyond Organic, a vertically integrated organic food and supplement manufacturer, and has formulated hundreds of dietary supplements, functional foods and beverages, including many No. 1 top sellers in the Healthy Foods channel. Jordan holds several patents spanning the categories of nutritional science, biomedical applications and regenerative agriculture.
CEO John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc
Jeffrey has worked with John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. since 1991. He has served as Chief Executive Officer since November 2006 and Chairman of the Board of Directors since October 2008. Prior roles include Senior Vice
President, Sales Marketing, Vice President Sales and Marketing and General Manager West Coast Operations. In addition to leading JBSS, Jeffrey serves on the boards of the International Nut Congress (INC), National Pecan Shellers Association, and Almond Board of California. He is also affiliated with the Young President’s Organization (YPO), International Perfume Bottle Association, and Perfume Passage Foundation. He has a passion for mentoring and life-long learning.
John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. was founded in 1922 as a pecan shelling operation. Today we are one of leading processors and marketers of tree nuts and peanuts in the United States. Our products are sold under
a variety of retail and distributor brands and under the company owned Fisher, Orchard Valley Harvest, Squirrel, Southern Style and Just the Cheese brand names. We sell our products to approximately 300 customers through the consumer, commercial ingredients, contract packaging distribution channels. The company is publicly held and trades on the NASDAQ exchange under JBSS.
Founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth
Since 2009, Purely Elizabeth has been a leader and innovator in the natural foods space with its nutritious, non-GMO and organic products. Founder, CEO and holistic nutrition counselor Elizabeth Stein is a pioneer of the superfood movement, incorporating powerful and innovative, nutrient-rich ingredients into her products such as ancient grains, superfood seeds, and raw coconut oil. Knowing the powerful effect of food on the body, Elizabeth’s goal was to create products that didn’t have a trade-off between nutritious ingredients and culinary taste. Elizabeth’s mission is to continue to redefine the standards of packaged foods and bring delicious nutrition into the center of the store, while inspiring her community to live healthier lives and thrive on their wellness journey.
Founder and CEO of Simple Mills
Katlin Smith is the founder and CEO of Simple Mills, a Chicago-based company at the forefront of a clean food movement that is shaping the next generation of natural foods and changing the way America eats. She created Simple Mills after she cleaned up her own diet and realized the tremendous power food has to transform how people felt. Eight years after launch, the company is the #1 baking mix and #1 cracker brand as well as the #2 cookie item in the natural channel; distributed in more than 20,000 stores ranging from Whole Foods to Kroger, Publix, Walmart, and Target; and a driving force in transforming the center aisle by providing innovative, clean snack alternatives in categories traditionally lacking better-for-you options.
Smith, a former management consultant, has been widely recognized for these achievements, including being honored with Forbes 30 Under 30, Inc. 30 Under 30, and Progressive Grocer’s Top Woman in Grocery awards.
Founded in 2013, Simple Mills now offers more than 35 baking mixes, frostings, crackers, cookies, and snack bars that are free of gluten, grain, dairy, soy, GMOs, excessive sugar, gums, emulsifiers, and anything artificial. All products are made exclusively with real, purposeful ingredients like nutrient-rich almond flour and unrefined coconut sugar that make healthy eating deliciously simple with a taste that is on par with familiar favorites.
Dr. Bronners/Brother Davids
Les oversees business development activities for Dr. Bronner’s. This includes supporting the company’s supply chain projects around the world; new product development; strategic and business planning; and identification and evaluation of investment opportunities. He currently sits on the boards of Serendi Coco Samoa Ltd., and LifeDose. Les has over 20 years of experience in the natural products and apparel industries. He was a co-founder of Living Harvest, Dunderdon, and Infinity Sport. He has a Liberal Arts degree from UCLA, and a Masters in Business from Harvard University.
CEO of Peace Coffee
Lee Wallace is the owner and Queen Bean of Peace Coffee, a company on a mission to craft a delicious coffee experience with communities around the globe. A rare CEO whose area of expertise resides in, in her words, “that intersection between mission and money,” she is a sought-after writer and speaker as well as a recognized leader and expert in multiple fields: social enterprise businesses, fair trade enterprises, and specialty coffee importing. Lee sits on the Research Advisory Council for the Specialty Coffee Association and holds an active leadership role in the the B Corps movement. In 2020, Lee received the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award for her success in building an ethical business. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to new places, puttering around in her garden and hanging out with her dogs Ruby and Felix.
Based in the heart of Minneapolis, Peace Coffee has been proudly roasting, pedaling and brewing outstanding coffee since 1996. Under Lee’s leadership the company has garnered local, national and international recognition – from being named one of the 10 Most Sustainable Coffee Businesses in the U.S. by Civil Eats, to earning the Best Coffee Roaster title by Minnesota Monthly and Growler magazines, to being recognized as one of the top places to work by Minnesota Business Magazine. The company has also been honored with list placements on Best for the World, Community, B Corp, 2018 and 2019; Ten Most Sustainable U.S. Coffee Businesses; and Most Ethical Coffee Companies, Fair World Project.