BEVNET LIVE SUMMER 2019 MAIN STAGE SPEAKERS
Mike Repole has always been a big dreamer. His modest upbringing and close family ties fuel his drive as a serial entrepreneur. Surrounding himself with great people and developing great brands has become his proven formula for success. Having achieved success before in the food and beverage industry with the sales of glacéau vitaminwater to The Coca-Cola Company and Pirate’s Booty to B&G Foods, and an early investor and board member at KIND bar, Mike is once again looking to revolutionize a category and build the next megabrand. Mike is the founder and chairman of BODYARMOR, a premium sports drink that provides superior hydration to athletes demanding better-for-you products. Mike saw huge potential in the sports drink category for an innovation like BODYARMOR, and his passion and drive – and the opportunity to disrupt the $10 billion sports drink industry – led him to launch BODYARMOR in 2011. BODYARMOR has grabbed the attention of some of the top professional athletes in the country, including James Harden, Mike Trout and Dustin Johnson, all of whom hold an equity stake in the company. In 2013, Kobe Bryant made a significant investment in BODYARMOR, becoming one of the top shareholders – and in 2018 The CocaCola Company invested in the brand, making them the #2 shareholder behind Repole.
General Manager, Oatly
Mike is the General Manager for OATLY leading all aspects of business and brand development in North America. OATLY makes vegan, plant based food and beverage products made out of oats and was originally founded in Sweden over 25 years ago. Prior to joining OATLY and launching it in the US, Mike held a variety of marketing and commercial roles at The Nature’s Bounty Co, Chobani, and PepsiCo. Before starting his career in CPG, Mike served as an Officer in the Navy in a variety of roles including nuclear engineering management on aircraft carriers. He has his MBA from Harvard Business School, a Masters in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, and his undergraduate degree from Duke University. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and their dog.
Maya French is a Co-Founder of Koia, the protein packed, 100 percent plant-based beverage that uses natural ingredients to deliver deliciously nutritious flavors. French struggled with food-based allergies, such as being lactose intolerant her whole life, until she discovered the benefits of plant-based proteins when college friend and fellow Koia Co-Founder, Dustin Baker, was testing out recipes in his Chicago kitchen. At this moment, French realized her calling was to create a functional product that would contribute to providing consumers with a healthier lifestyle. With only experience in journalism and fashion retail, French took a leap of faith into unknown territory to follow her dreams and partnered with Baker to launch Koia. Discovering an innovative dairy and soy-free option with a balance of high protein and low sugar made French look and feel better as she committed to a healthy diet change. After years of trials and customer research, she has become a natural foods industry expert and professional. Her focus now is on growing the Koia brand and driving awareness among consumers of how plant based, healthy lifestyle choices can benefit them. “As someone who is lactose-intolerant, there aren’t many protein products that aren’t dairy-based. I make it my personal mission as a co-founder to let everyone know they have Koia as an option,” French says. Besides being dairy-free, French’s favorite thing about Koia is that it is sweet but not high in sugar. “You can still have the taste profile you want without the guilt,” she comments. She is also a fan of how Koia uses only simple ingredients that consumers can actually recognize, making it clear what you're consuming every time you drink a Koia! With the help of French, Koia launched nationally at Whole Foods Market and quickly scaled to become the most productive refrigerated protein brands in the natural channel within 18 months of inception, and is now sold in 5,000 stores across the country.
Head of New Business Strategy, Amazon Launchpad
As Head of New Business Strategy at Amazon Launchpad, Kyle Walker develops new businesses, tools and services to help emerging brands, startups, and small businesses succeed on Amazon. Within Amazon, Kyle has been helping new businesses succeed through a variety of roles in sales, brand consulting, program management, buying, and new business development at Amazon. Assisting brands to grow in a variety of roles has allowed him to develop a holistic view of the components of success for optimizing growth across startups and established brands alike. His ability to drive results for brands has led to his most recent position as the Head of New Business Strategy for Amazon Launchpad. Prior to his current role he created the Amazon Renewed program globally and the Amazon Exclusives program.
Brent Hastie is the President of BODYARMOR, the fastest growing sports drink in the category with over $4oo million in retail sales in 2018. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of BODYARMOR’s operations and leading the growth of the BODYARMOR team. He joined BODYARMOR in March of 2019. Prior to this role, he held a variety of senior leadership roles for The Coca-Cola Company. Most recently, he was the Chief Financial and Supply Chain Officer for Coca-Cola North America. He was responsible for leading an organization of close to 4,000 supply chain and finance associates across the United States and Canada where he had total P&L accountability across the ~$12B North America Business. He also had financial oversight responsibility for the refranchising of company-owned bottling operations in North America to independent bottlers. His other experiences at The Coca-Cola Company include the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Planning, where he was responsible for leading the development of the growth strategy for the global Coca-Cola System and leading the Company’s multi-billion dollar productivity program. He first joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2006 and his previous leadership assignments included Chief Strategy Officer for Coca-Cola Refreshments; President, Active Lifestyle brands, where he was responsible for leading the glaceau business; Vice President, Commercial Leadership Still Beverages; and Vice President, Strategy and Planning, all for the North America Group.??He also spent time in Bain Capital’s Portfolio Group before rejoining The Coca-Cola Company in 2013. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Brent was a Principal with McKinsey & Company. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and received an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard University.
Co-founder & CEO, LifeAid
Future LIFEAID co-founders Orion Melehan and Dr. Aaron Hinde met by chance at a CrossFit box in 2009, in the iconic beach town of Santa Cruz, California. In addition to their mutual passion for intense physical workouts, they also discovered their children attended the same school and were already friends. The two men quickly formed a friendship and discovered they had another thing in common: the entrepreneurial bug. Discussing their mutual frustration with the choice of food and drink that were being marketed as ‘healthy’ and suitable for ‘recovery’ post workout, Orion and Aaron decided to turn their frustrations into solutions, and founded the LIFEAID brand. With a focus on great tasting, wellness enhancing and solutions driven supplements that can be enjoyed as a drink, LIFEAID today is a trusted brand amongst health and performance conscious consumers. Since founding the company in 2011, Orion and Aaron have built LIFEAID into a multi-million dollar brand and wellness movement that is a standout on e-comm and social media, and one of the most dynamic brands at retail. Prior to founding LIFEAID, Orion Melehan was a certified financial planner with his own practice. Orion is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Co-founder & President, LifeAid
Future LIFEAID co-founders Orion Melehan and Dr. Aaron Hinde met by chance at a CrossFit box in 2009, in the iconic beach town of Santa Cruz, California. In addition to their mutual passion for intense physical workouts, they also discovered their children attended the same school and were already friends. The two men quickly formed a friendship and discovered they had another thing in common: the entrepreneurial bug. Discussing their mutual frustration with the choice of food and drink that were being marketed as ‘healthy’ and suitable for ‘recovery’ post workout, Orion and Aaron decided to turn their frustrations into solutions, and founded the LIFEAID brand. With a focus on great tasting, wellness enhancing and solutions driven supplements that can be enjoyed as a drink, LIFEAID today is a trusted brand amongst health and performance conscious consumers. Since founding the company in 2011, Orion and Aaron have built LIFEAID into a multi-million dollar brand and wellness movement that is a standout on e-comm and social media, and one of the most dynamic brands at retail. Before LIFEAID, Aaron Hinde ran a successful sports chiropractic practice. Aaron obtained is BA in Economics from St. Vincent College and his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.
Co-founder, M3 Ventures
As co-founder of M3 Ventures, Tracy brings nearly a decade of retail and consumer brand growth experience to the firm. Since the launch of M3, she has executed over 35 investments in leading lifestyle and commerce businesses. Areas of expertise include health and wellness; DTC fashion and apparel; beauty; food, beverage and hospitality; and cannabis and CBD. Prior to M3 Ventures, Tracy was a Vice President at Sandbridge Capital, a middle market private equity firm founded by Tommy Hilfiger. She oversaw the firm’s growth equity activities with investments such as Thom Browne, and the firm’s venture investments, including FarFetch and Tamara Mellon. Before joining Sandbrige Capital, Tracy worked as a business development consultant at TRAUB Associates, a retail-focused advisory firm founded by former Bloomingdale’s CEO Marvin Traub. Her clients included the Related Companies and Dubai’s Al Tayer group. Prior to TRAUB, Tracy worked at Credit Suisse in the Retail & Consumer Investment Banking division in New York City. Tracy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Urban Studies.
Founder & CEO, Presence Marketing
Bill Weiland is the Founder, President and CEO of Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence. Bill has committed his entire adult life to furthering the wellness lifestyle movement. It began with nearly a dozen years of working in the Natural Products Industry, in varied roles within the sales and retail sectors. Bill launched Presence Marketing in January, 1990. He is surrounded by a dedicated cast of creative and intelligent people who carry out the mission of bringing healthy products to consumers, with great energy, passion, and resolve. Bill’s uncompromising obsession for sustainable agriculture, healthy foods and integrated medicine are key drivers behind his commitment to continue building a world of clean products that everyone can have access to. Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Most Influential “Kingmakers” in Consumer and Retailer Companies,” Bill Weiland has grown Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence into the largest independent natural and organic products brokerage in the U.S. In working with leading national brands as well as successful startups, Bill has a keen eye on consumer and product trends driving the rapidly growing healthy lifestyles market. Bill also is a leading supporter of consumer transparency and GMO labeling.
Founder & CEO, Iris Nova
Zak Normandin is an award-winning entrepreneur disrupting the way businesses create, communicate and deliver consumer goods. He has over ten years of experience as a product designer in the food and beverage industry and is credited with branding more than 50 nationally-sold products. Zak has a unique understanding for the way people, brands and technology interact. As Founder and CEO of Iris Nova, the parent company of DIRTY LEMON and The Drug Store, he is reinventing the traditional CPG business model. Iris Nova utilizes a direct-to-consumer SMS-based ordering platform to bypass existing distribution inefficiencies and improve how consumers find and purchase beverages. Normandin is building the beverage company of the future, expanding and applying the proprietary platform to a portfolio of innovative beverage brands that meet the rapidly evolving preferences of the modern consumer. Backed by A-List celebrities and business leaders alike, Iris Nova and its brand properties are recognized nationally by media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Bloomberg and Vogue.
Founder & CEO, Vital Proteins
Kurt Seidensticker is the Founder and CEO of collagen-based wellness company, Vital Proteins. A serial entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience, Kurt has successfully grown a number of companies within the e-commerce space – a journey that eventually led him to define a new space in the nutritional marketplace: powdered collagen. Kurt’s passion for health and fitness – and his ambition to help others live their best lives – became the crux of the Vital Proteins brand, and ultimately, the company mission. When he’s not strategizing Vital Proteins’ next move for big picture growth, Kurt can be found running along the Chicago lakefront or in his kitchen whipping up his favorite green smoothie (complete with collagen, of course).
Founder & CEO, Tea Drops
Founded in 2015 by Sashee Chandran, Tea Drops is a woman and minority owned, innovative tea company with a mission to inspire human connection through tea. Based in Los Angeles, Tea Drops ethically sources all of their organic teas, and sheds about 20% less waste than traditional tea bag packaging. Tea Drops has become a favorite among new and experienced tea drinkers alike, launching innovative tea experiences that merge flavorful blends, food art, and edgy design. A favorite of Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States, Tea Drops are also loved by Oprah Magazine, Forbes, and the Tory Burch Foundation.
CEO, Kitu Life, Inc.
Jim DeCicco is the Oldest Brother and CEO at Kitu Life, Inc. makers of Super Coffee. Jim is a 2015 graduate from Colgate University where he studied Philosophy and served as captain of the football team. After graduation Jim teamed up with his two younger brothers to launch Super Coffee—a sugar free line of bottled coffees blended with protein and MCT oil. Over the last three years, Jim and his brothers have brought Super Coffee from an idea in a dorm room to the best-selling bottled coffee in the nation on a dollars per point of distribution basis (SPINS). Along the way Kitu has launched several Positive Energy innovations such as Super Creamer, Super Espresso, and Super Cold Brew. In 2018 the DeCicco brothers pitched on ABC's Shark Tank and were featured in the 2019 class of Forbes 30 Under 30. Kitu Life, Inc. is based in NYC.
Managing Partner, LivWell Ventures
Bryan Bulte is a Managing Partner at LivWell Ventures, a $60M, early stage investment firm, focused on better-for-you lifestyle brands across food, beverage, nutritional supplements and fitness technology. LivWell’s portfolio includes a few of the following notable brands: C4, The Living Apothecary, Xtend, Lemon Perfect, FitJoy Foods, Big Swig, Orro, AmpleMeal, Studio.Live, and most recently, Yerbae and Weller. Bryan has invested in over 40 companies from a wide array of industries, with a special penchant for technology and consumer packaged goods in the wellness space. In 2013, Bryan co-founded Seed Sumo, a Texas-based startup accelerator that invested in and mentored 24 companies over a 3-year period, with an unrealized IRR in the triple digits. Bryan is highly engaged with the startup community, serving on the board of newly formed Naturally Austin, a mentor at Capital Factory, a venture partner at NextGen VP, and an active LP in Brand Foundry (NYC), Vestigo Ventures (Boston), and Funders Club (SF).
John is the co-founder of Weller Snacks, a CBD-enriched food and beverage brand. As an entrepreneur with an eye for early trends, John has a passion for creating brands and establishing new innovations that ignite previously unknown categories. In 1995, he founded Third Street Chai and led it through its acquisition in 2013, paving the way for sustainable supply chain standards via Fair Trade and Certified Organic ingredients. With Weller, he is once again focused on developing interesting products that can help CBD’s wellness benefits go mainstream. John himself embraces a life of living well-er as a former professional bicycle racer who lives in Boulder, Colorado.
VP, Consumer Insights, BDS Analytics, Inc.
Prior to joining BDS Analytics, Jessica Lukas spent 10 years working with top global CPG and Beverage Alcohol companies at BASES (Nielsen Innovation) and on the shopper marketing team at Dr Pepper Snapple Group. After taking a short break to develop and launch an app with a business partner, Jessica returned to data analytics—but this time for cannabis. At BDS Analytics, she is the VP of Consumer Insights. BDS Analytics is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, and is the leader in data, market research, analytics, and consumer insights for the cannabis industry. She helps clients understand the evolution of the cannabis market and consumer in order to assess the opportunities and threats that drive strategic decisions. Given her many years spent working within beverages (alcohol and non), the interaction, overlap, substitutability, pairing of cannabis with beverages is a particular focus.
Founding Partner, TGZ Capital
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Whipstitch Capital
Nick McCoy is a Co-Founder and Managing Director with Whipstitch Capital, the largest independent investment bank in the U.S., solely focused on the better-for-you consumer market. The Whipstitch team has completed nearly 100 transactions over the years for clients such as Core Nutrition, Essentia Water, KeVita, Spindrift, Blake’s All Natural and Otter Creek Brewing Company.
Global Director - Explore Fund, ZX Ventures
Liz Tomic leads CPG investing for ZX Ventures, the global growth and innovation group of AB InBev. Prior to taking on that focus in 2018, she was the global director for innovation at the company. Before ZX she worked at Prophet, a brand and marketing consultancy, and started her career in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. Liz holds a MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and bachelor’s degree from Fordham University.
Founder & CEO, OTG
Rick Blatstein is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OTG - an award-winning company specializing in elevating the airport and customer experience. Having established more than 350 restaurant locations across 10 airports in North America, Rick has overseen the growth of a company that he initially formed with just over a dozen locations in 1996 at Philadelphia International Airport. With more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality sectors, Rick is responsible for breakthrough chef collaborations, design innovations and the substantial growth of technology integration in the airport space.
Chief Revenue Officer, Hudson News Distributors
A CPG/Retail executive with more than 30 years' experience building and operating global brands and retail marketing/service agencies. An entrepreneurial individual that is passionate about innovative strategies and tactics to gain market share and win against much larger, embedded incumbents. • Developed Hudson News Distributors Beverage/Snack DSD business over 3-years into a major Northeast player with LaCroix, Hint Water, Polar Seltzer, New Age Beverages, Nestle Waters, illy Coffee, FIJI, Icelandic Glacial and Old Trapper Beef Jerky brands under contract. • Founded National In-Store (NIS) in 1994 and grew the company to +$50 million in revenues, over 10,000 field merchandisers/sales trainers/brand ambassadors and exited the business with a sale to NYC based Omnicom Group. • Participated in in over 30 International New Product launches at Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Combe Inc. in leadership positions. • Established partnerships with most of the major retail chains in the USA including Walmart, Target, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Kroger, Safeway, Publix, Staples, Best Buy, Office Depot, Home Depot and others.
Group Director for Venturing and Portfolio Management, VEB Coca-Cola
Bill is the Group Director for Venturing and Portfolio Management. Prior to joining the Venturing & Emerging Brands team, Bill was the General Manager of the coffee business at TreeHouse Foods. Bill’s interest in partnering with brands to drive value comes from his years as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. He graduated with a BBA from Western Michigan University and an MBA from Kellogg - Northwestern University.
VP of Marketing & Innovation, VEB Coca-Cola
Managing Partner, Powerplant Ventures
Dan is a Managing Partner at Powerplant Ventures ("PPV"). Powerplant Ventures is a growth equity fund investing in emerging consumer food & beverage, foodservice and food-tech companies. Notable investments include Beyond Meat, REBBL Beverages, Ripple, Vive Organic, Perennial and Thrive Market. Dan currently serves on the board of Your Super, another PPV Portfolio Company. Dan cut his teeth in the consumer food sector as the Co-Founder of Health Warrior, which he successfully helped incubate, scale and exit to Pepsi in 2018. Prior to diving into entrepreneurship and venture investing, Dan spent 15 years working on Wall Street as a Partner and Portfolio Manager at a large investment management firm.
CMO, High Brew Coffee
Mari Johnson serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for High Brew Coffee. She joined the High Brew team in fall 2015 and has over two decades of experience building consumer brands. At High Brew, Johnson is responsible for generating awareness for the brand through trade and consumer activities, experiential, social media and public relations, while bringing new thinking to continue to grow the brand nationally. Previously, she led the field marketing efforts for KIND Healthy Snacks and was also previously the Field Marketing Director for glacéau, creating strategic marketing plans for vitaminwater, vitaminwater10, smartwater, POWERade and POWERade ZERO.
Director of Dairy & Beverage, Whole Foods
Lee leads the Dairy and Beverage businesses at Whole Foods Market, which includes all refrigerated and shelf stable beverages as well as mainstay refrigerated grocery segments. His depth of experience at Whole Foods Market is used to propel innovative business strategies and organizational evolution forward. Equally comfortable strolling through grassfed farms, retail store backrooms, or state-of-the-art facilities, he’s passionate about developing his team of experts who continually push the boundaries of category innovation. Prior to his experience at Whole Foods Market, he matched up his passion for bicycle racing with his profession at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Bike buying department.
COO & Partner, Cambridge Companies SPG
CEO & Founder, BevNET
As founder and CEO of BevNET, John Craven is a widely-recognized authority on the beverage industry and he is frequently cited in mainstream media. His vision shapes the editorial, publishing, and positioning of all of BevNET's properties, including BevNET.com, BevNET Magazine, Brewbound.com, BevNET FBU and their associated conferences. John is a graduate of Boston College with a BS in Marketing and Computer Science.
As Editor-in-Chief of BevNET, Jeffrey Klineman oversees the organization's reporting across all of its web sites, as well as BevNET Magazine. Jeffrey is also responsible for developing the content for conferences like BevNET Live and Food and Beverage University (FBU). Jeffrey previously worked as a newspaper reporter for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, the Boston TAB and the Metrowest Daily News, and has freelanced for publications like Slate, Boston Magazine, Self, George, Commonwealth, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Jeffrey is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A frequently-cited expert on the beverage industry, Jeffrey has also been named in Forbes as one of the 25 Most Influential Kingmakers in Consumer and Retail Companies. He is still trying to live that one down.
Managing Editor, BevNET
Editor/Producer, Taste Radio, BevNET
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Co-Founder & CEO, Califia Farms
In 2017, Sheryl O'Loughlin introduced her book, Killing It: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart. She is currently the CEO of REBBL, the first super herb adaptogen beverage company. REBBL partners with Not for Sale, a non-profit dedicated to eliminating human trafficking. Sheryl was the CEO of Clif Bar and Company and co-founded and served as CEO for Plum, Inc. She has held positions in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Sonoma State University, and she currently serves the boards of Once Upon a Farm, the Harvest Summit, and Conscious Capitalism. She is a member of the Forbes San Francisco Business Council and One Step Closer to a Sustainable Community (OSC2). Sheryl earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She lives in California with her husband, Patrick, and their two sons.
Founder & CEO, GT’s Living Foods
GT Dave is the category creator of the Kombucha industry with his line of #1 selling products known as GT's Kombucha & Synergy. Over 20 years ago while he was barely a teenager, GT started brewing and bottling his authentic organic raw Kombucha in his parent's kitchen in Los Angeles. Since then, he has expanded his company's portfolio beyond Kombucha and has once again become a pioneer of cutting-edge wellness offerings including non-dairy kefirs, non-dairy raw coconut yogurts, probiotic shots, adaptogenic teas, and much more. GT continues to be the creative and visionary force behind all of GT's Living Foods while allowing the company to remain family-owned and operated.
Partner, Stripes Group
Karen is a Partner at Stripes Group and has been an investor and operator in the consumer growth space for more than 12 years. Stripes, a leading growth equity firm based in New York City, brings a unique, entrepreneurial culture and perspective to investing in Branded Consumer Products, Internet, and Software businesses around the world. For over a decade, Stripes has been partnering to support high growth market-leading companies with their core business needs across talent, technology, operations and infrastructure. Stripes provides entrepreneurs with a unique perspective, leveraging its investments in digital marketing, social media and ecommerce partners to build brands across traditional brick and mortar and online channels. Karen has been at Stripes since its inception. She is currently on the Board of, and/or is actively involved with, Stripes Group current and past portfolio companies’ Califia Farms, On Running, Stella & Chewy's, Snooze Eatery, Blue Apron, Turtle Beach, Ketra Lighting, Audio Network and Seamless/Grubhub, among others. Prior to Stripes, Karen was a management consultant at Bain and Company. She is in a Canada native, and now lives in Tribeca, New York with her husband and two daughters, Katie and Anna. Karen holds an M.B.A. from the Stanford Business School and a B.A. in Biomedical Engineering and Economics from Yale University.
President, American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp
Starting in 2010, Mr. Knutson began working with a number of licensed medical marijuana organizations to establish compliant operating procedures. Since that time he has helped shape industry standards surrounding super-critical CO2 extraction techniques and oral liquid medical marijuana delivery systems. Since August 2014, Mr. Knutson has served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of CanCore Concepts, Inc. In 2013, Mr. Knutson also co-founded Denver Packaging Company (“DPAC”), a licensed Colorado Medical and Adult-Retail Cannabis Manufacturing company. Additionally, he is a co-founder, Board Member and President of the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (“ATACH”). In 2012, Kelly and Erik Knutson (brothers) founded Isolate Extraction Systems, Inc. (IES). Since then IES has sold over 50 commercial extraction machines into the regulated Cannabis space. Many of these machines went to start-up businesses in burgeoning medical marijuana states. Together, IES and CCC have assisted dozens of companies in Canada, Puerto Rico, California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado and New York with processing/ extraction operations. Mr. Knutson received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Colorado in 2009.
Co-Founder & CEO, Vita Coco
Founder & CEO, Hint Inc.
Former Senior Category Manager, Whole Foods Market
Matt Jimenez is the former Senior Category Leader for Whole Foods Market's global grocery team. In his combined 12 years with the company, he held senior leadership positions in category management and retail merchandising on both the national and regional scale. Matt has also held leadership positions in product development, trade management and team building for both small and large portfolio brands. In his current role, Matt leads Whole Foods Market’s dairy and beverage businesses and supports the purchasing evolution for the non-perishables product teams. He's passionate about discovering and preparing brands for market, and in his spare time donates his industry expertise to advising emerging food companies. During his tenure at Whole Foods, Matt has launched a multitude of exclusive product lines within center store. In addition to product development, he has also worked with industry leaders to define standards for domestic fair trade ingredients, compostable packaging initiatives, sustainable palm oil sourcing and grass fed dairy inputs. As a 2016 Global Support All Star award recipient from Whole Foods Market, Matt was recognized as being a foundational leader for the company.
Founder & CEO, Humm Kombucha
Jamie leads Humm with endless energy, abundant optimism and a big heart; traits that have enabled her to find success at numerous startups during a career spanning more than 20 years. Previous to starting Humm she founded and served as CEO of the consulting firm JLD Enterprises before pivoting to create EON Organics, a natural products company with distribution throughout the East Coast. Using the skills and knowledge gleaned from these successes, Jamie built Humm from the ground up and is now focused on defining strategy and leading the overall execution of Humm’s rapid expansion. Her passion for healthy should taste great is rivaled only by her desire to spread joy throughout the world. As a founding board member of Kombucha Brewers International, she is a national leader driving positive advocacy for the kombucha sector. Jamie holds a B.S. in international marketing from Temple University. She is an avid traveler and spends as much time as possible outside, usually on her mountain bike.
DMM of Chilled Packaged Goods, Walmart
Sarah Alderson leads the refrigerated buying teams at Walmart. A 10-year veteran of the company's food business, she has worked in Private Brands and in a variety of buying roles in merchandising. She is working to create a new shopping experience in Walmart's refrigerated set and is passionate about growing American entrepreneurial companies to cultivate a new assortment to surprise and delight her customers.
Senior Manager, Category Management - Fresh, Jet.com
Kerrie Lopez is a category lead for Jet.com's fresh business, focused on dairy, beverage, and cross-category initiatives such as managing the artisanal and local food assortment. She has also been part of the original team bringing Jet's first private brands to market. Prior to joining Jet (which was acquired by Walmart in September 2016) Kerrie managed the makeup and private brand categories at Birchbox, strategically sourcing samples for the monthly beauty subscription box as well as full-size product for the rapidly growing e-commerce site. Kerrie lives in New York City with her husband and their dog, Maisie.
Chief Brand Cebador/Co-founder, Guayakí Yerba Mate
David Karr is the Chief Brand Cebador of Guayaki SRP, inc., a company he co-founded with Alex Pryor, his “soul brother” in 1996. As the brand steward, David is responsible for the look, feel and story of Guayaki and is committed to creating sustainable, regenerating enterprises that nourish the planet and humanity. He lives on his community farm on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada with his wife Jennifer Lloyd and two boys Alex and Rio.
Founder & CEO, Nutpods
Madeline Haydon is the founder and CEO of nutpods, one of the fastest-growing plant-based, alternative dairy brands in the country. Created because of Haydon’s desire for a dairy-free creamer she would personally use and enjoy, her successful commercialization of nutpods has, in just two years, built a multi-million-dollar brand with an enviable direct-to-consumer business. The insight that helped make nutpods an immediate success was surprisingly simple: fill the market need for a better-for-you, dairy-free creamer that consumers could easily purchase online, and enthusiastically stock in their pantry. nutpods’ high-quality, shelf-stable formulation and packaging strategy made it portable and convenient to use with minimal waste. The brand’s fit into diets emphasizing plant-based foods, and healthier lifestyle programs like Whole30, also helped the brand build exceptional consumer loyalty and recommendation. nutpods today is helping lead the evolution of what consumers expect from premium plant-based, dairy-free foods. nutpods is consistently one of the best-selling creamer brands online, and one of the fastest-growing alternative dairy brands at retail. Haydon is expanding the brand’s availability nationwide and also pursuing an aggressive innovation strategy to make nutpods the dairy-free creamer brand of choice with consumers and coffee retailers. Haydon holds a BS in English from the University of Washington and an MBA in General Management from Seattle University. MSNBC “Your Business” recently profiled Haydon and the nutpods brand’s e-commerce success.
Co-Founder & Chief Organic Optimist, Stonyfield Farm
Gary Hirshberg is Co-Founder and Chief Organic Optimist of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, and the author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World (Hyperion, 2008). Gary frequently speaks on topics including sustainability, organic agriculture and the profitability of green business. Gary serves on several corporate and non-profit boards, including Blue Apron, Forager, Orgain, Peak Organic Brewing, and UNreal chocolates as well as Advisory Board member for Applegate. He has received 12 honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a 2015 Champion for Children Award from Mount Sinai Hospital’s Children’s Environmental Health Center and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA.
Co-Founder & CEO, Health-Ade Kombucha
Daina Trout co-founded Health-Ade Kombucha in 2012 alongside her husband, Justin Trout, and best friend, Vanessa Dew, in Los Angeles. Daina, who has Masters’ degrees in Nutrition and in Public Health from Tufts University, was working in corporate America when she decided to pursue her passion for “real” food and develop the best-tasting, highest quality kombucha on the market. Under her fearless leadership, Health-Ade has grown from a small production, artisanal item made in Daina’s tiny apartment and sold at local farmer’s markets into the fastest growing brand in the category that is now available in more than 12,000 stores and restaurants nationwide.
President, Nestlé Beverage Division
As President of the Beverage Division for Nestlé USA, John leads a portfolio of some of the nation’s best-known beverage brands comprising $2.5 billion in combined annual sales, including Nescafé® Taster’s Choice®; Nescafé® Clasico™, COFFEE-MATE ®; COFFEE-MATE natural bliss ®, and Nesquik®. Under John’s leadership the division has reinvigorated its base brands to meet the needs of consumers’ changing tastes and preferences, successfully expanding into natural and plant-based territories. John has also led the expansion of the division’s coffee portfolio through recent investments in high-potential brands like Chameleon Cold-Brew and Blue Bottle Coffee, both leading providers of premium-crafted coffee. Most recently, Nestlé reached an agreement granting it the rights to market Starbucks consumer and foodservice products globally, outside of the company’s coffee shops. John will lead the commercial collaboration with the new team’s leadership to define the roadmap for the future of Nestlé’s U.S. beverage portfolio. Since he joined Nestlé in 1995, John has held multiple positions both in the U.S. and globally. Prior to his current role, he was President of Nestlé’s Pizza & Snacking Division. Under his leadership, the Pizza Division achieved market share gains while expanding margins and innovating into new territories. John’s innovative management style, for instance, enabled the company to develop internal incubator-brands, including Outsiders Pizza. John holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and an MBA from The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
VP of Merchandising, Natural Foods, Kroger
President & CEO, Chameleon Cold Brew
Chris Campbell is Co-Founder, President and CEO of Austin, TX-based Chameleon Cold-Brew, the nation's first fair-trade and 100% organic cold-brew coffee company. Since Chameleon's founding in 2010, Campbell has successfully steered the company through triple digit annual growth and rapid expansion to more than 30 states and 1,400 stores nationwide. Each batch of Chameleon is brewed extra slowly at carefully controlled temperatures using filtered Texas Hill Country water and is available in both concentrate and read-to-drink formats. Come hear Campbell share his thoughts on the rewards and setbacks that accompany running a startup food and beverage business and Chameleon's success, which includes being the recipient of BevNET's Best of 2014 Award for Best Coffee. www.chameleoncoldbrew.com
CEO, WTRMLN WTR
Jody Levy is the Co-founder and CEO of World Waters | WTRMLN WTR a company and brand committed to redefining how and what we drink to nourish our bodies and sustain our ecosystem. World Waters first product WTRMLN WTR (watermelon water) was created out of a solve for the hundreds of millions of pounds of unused watermelons in the United States. These waste melons are either ugly, misshapen, sunburned but otherwise perfect to press nutrient-dense, hydrating WTRMLN WTR. WTRMLN WTR is a hot pink juicy drink that is packed with electrolytes, vitamins, lycopene, anti-oxidants, magnesium, iron, L-Cittruline and more. WTRMLN WTR consists of nothing but raw watermelon and a drop of organic lemon juice. No added water, and no added sugar. WTRMLN WTR is cold-pressed and never heated with no additives, no preservatives, absolutely nothing artificial! The mission of World Waters and WTRMLN WTR is to educate people about why clean healthy eating is so important for the health and sustainability of our communities. Jody Levy is also a director and executive producer and has been in the world of experience design since 2001. Jody has been creating unique events, interactive environments, brands, products, and multi-sensory installations that connect people in engaging ways. Her professional focus is all about the integration of art and technology. Jody is a creative director and executive producer and her work includes the design and production of live theatrical events, touring stages, hospitality environments, interactive installations, immersive brand activations, and non-traditional marketing and social campaigns. Clients include American Idol, Chrysler, The Coachella Music Festival, Ford Motor Company, Heineken, Hewlett Packard, Lexus, MAC Cosmetics, Mos Def, Museum Of Modern Art, The Museum of Science and Industry Chicago, Palm, Paramount Pictures, Project Runway, San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art, Scion, Shades Optical, Toyota, W Hotels and many other international brands. Jody is an entrepreneur, artist, designer, director, producer, educator and writer from the Detroit area who lives in New York City.
CEO and Co-Founder, CircleUp
Ryan Caldbeck is the CEO and cofounder of CircleUp, the platform providing capital and resources to innovative, early-stage consumer brands, and opportunities for sophisticated investors. Ryan founded CircleUp after nearly seven years of investing experience in consumer product and retail-focused private equity at TSG Consumer Partners and Encore Consumer Capital. The experience exposed him to many great consumer and retail businesses too small to obtain funding through the customary private equity channels. Inspired by these often-overlooked opportunities, he founded CircleUp to make funding available to promising companies. Ryan has been recognized as a “Titan of Retail” by Bloomberg and “40 Under 40” by both M&A Advisors and the San Francisco Business Times.
Sarah has over 25 years of brand building experience and is fueled by a passion for doing well and doing good. She is CEO of Boulder, CO based Bhakti, Inc, a mission-driven, natural tea company devoted to craft brewed beverages, vibrant flavors and sustainability. Prior to Bhakti, Sarah was Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Three Twins Organic Ice Cream and before that Chief Commercial Officer for Ecologic, a sustainable packaging company. Sarah was CMO at Annie’s, Inc. from the time Annie’s was a small mac and cheese company thru its IPO and to the General Mills acquisition. Sarah began her career with marketing roles at Frito Lay, followed by Nestle and then PowerBar. Sarah recently completed 3 terms (9 years) on the Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors. She is currently on the board of Just Label It, an organization focused on federal GMO labeling.
Executive Vice President, Marketing, High Brew Coffee
Mari Johnson serves as the Executive Vice President of Marketing for High Brew Coffee, the country’s first ready-to-drink, shelf-stable, cold-brewed coffee. Johnson joined the High Brew team in fall 2015 with over two decades of experience building consumer brands. At High Brew, Johnson is responsible for generating awareness for the brand through trade and consumer activities, experiential, social media and public relations, while bringing new thinking to continue the grow the brand nationally. Previously, she led the field marketing efforts for KIND Healthy Snacks where she not only created the department, but grew it from eight people in eight markets to a staff of over 200 in 26 markets. In just five years, with her guidance, the brand reached 14.2 million consumers with sampling through demos, events, occasion sampling, mobile marketing, retail programs and influencer seeding. Her expertise helped lead KIND Healthy Snacks to an annual increase in sales of 90% and a total increase exceeding 1,200% over her tenure there. Johnson was also previously the Field Marketing Director for glacéau, creating strategic marketing plans for vitaminwater, vitaminwater10, smartwater, POWERade and POWERade ZERO. She played a key role in early stage brand development, while working closely with distribution and retail channels to grow the business. In addition she established Red Bull’s first “Mobile Energy Foot Team” and developed marketing activities to target key consumers in her territory. Johnson also worked in promotions for WXRT radio in Chicago, IL for three years, organizing the station’s involvement in major festivals and concerts, as well as leading sales promotions with major accounts.
Entrepreneur and businessman Bill Moses has a passion for bringing consumers healthy choices in organic and better for you consumer package goods products which led him to co-found KeVita Probiotic Drinks Inc., where he was the Chairman and CEO until selling KeVita to PepsiCo. Bill is currently consulting with four food and beverage companies as a strategic advisor, investor and serves on their board of directors. He also incubates new ventures. He owns Fermented Sciences Inc. a R&D company that develops and studies the functional health benefits of Fermented drinks. He also started MicroBiome Skin Care Co. where he and his team is researching and developing a new functional Skin Care line that will support our bodies Probiotic health in our skins micro biota.
Senior Vice President, Brand Partnerships, FreshDirect
Michelle Harmon-Madsen is senior vice president, brand partnerships for FreshDirect leading all shopper marketing efforts across the FreshDirect experience to connect brands with the company’s massive base of highly engaged online shoppers. Previously, Michelle was vice president, director of global strategy and partnerships for MediaVest. In that role, she developed entertainment properties for Procter & Gamble Entertainment, working closely with producers and content creators, and led sponsorship and business development for the People’s Choice Awards. Prior to MediaVest, Michelle was vice president of branded entertainment for 19 Entertainment where she led branded entertainment and sponsorship for American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Michelle is a Board Director for the She Runs It (formerly Advertising Women of New York) and on Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business Alumni Society Board.
Founder & CEO, Presence Marketing
Bill started working in a natural food store when he was 16 and began reading books on nutrition and healthy living at a fervent pace. Paavo Airola, Norman Walker and Paul Bragg were some of the early natural food enthusiasts who influenced his lifestyle choices, along with the inimitable Dr. John R. Christopher, an early pioneer in herbal medicine. After nearly a dozen years of working in the Natural Products Industry, in varied roles within the sales and retail sectors, he launched Presence Marketing in January, 1990. He is surrounded by a dedicated cast of creative and intelligent people who carry out the mission of bringing healthy products to consumers, with great energy, passion, and resolve. With nearly 35 years of industry experience, he is uniquely qualified to lead Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence during booming as well as unstable economic times. His passion for sustainable agriculture, healthy foods and integrated medicine are key drivers behind his commitment to continue building Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence, the only independently owned, national - natural products brokerage in the United States.
NextFoods CEO Alan Murray has worked with the beverage industry for more than 20 years, having held various international marketing and general management roles within packaging giant Tetra Pak. As CEO in North America, he worked closely with many leading beverage brands and played a key role in bringing new packaging formats to the U.S. In 2010 he decided to step into the startup world by taking on the CEO role at NextFoods, makers of probiotic juice, GoodBelly. Murray was instrumental in licensing the brand’s patented probiotic technology from Sweden and participated in early activities such as brand creation and pitching to investors. Murray is also Vice Chairman of the publicly listed company SunOpta, a $1 billion global provider of natural and organic foods ingredients. His experience includes board work for private equity and venture backed companies in the packaging and food industries. He has worked closely with CEO’s as coach and sounding board in companies ranging in size from pre-revenue all the way to $1billion. He was the founder of the North American Carton Council, an industry body that serves to promote the recycling of cartons in the US. A graduate of the University of Cape Town, South Africa with a degree in Biochemistry and Applied Statistics, Murray participated in the Unilever Management Development Program and has attended various courses at the Business School IMD in Lausanne Switzerland. He is a Guest Speaker at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and has taught case studies of his work at London’s Ashridge Business School.
SVP, Brand Growth Solutions, SPINS
Andrew joined SPINS as the Vice President of the Brand Growth Solutions team in 2015 to help the most innovative health & wellness brands in the industry grow even faster. The Brand Growth Solutions team now advises a broad portfolio of high-performing brands and investors on marketing, sales, innovation, and M&A. The team leverages SPINS’ industry-leading market data in combination with robust consumer information, analytics, and strategic analyses to generate powerful insights and develop profitable growth solutions for our clients. Andrew brings a passion for the Natural and Specialty Products Industry, plus over twenty years of consumer brand experience in strategy, marketing, and innovation leadership roles at McKinsey, Kraft, and PepsiCo.