We are taking a short one-week hiatus from our regular Office Hours schedule this week to bring you a special encore presentation from BevNET & NOSH Virtually Live Summer 2020, featuring a panel discussion with Greg Fleishman, CEO and co-Founder of cooking and lifestyle brand Foodstirs; Maya French, co-founder of plant-based beverage brand Koia; and Raquel Tavares, founder and CEO of ghee butter brand 4th & Heart about brand building during a time of crisis.
We are living in unprecedented times; it’s a phrase we’ve gotten used to hearing over the last few months, as the COVID-19 pandemic, economic suffering and political gridlock have combined to challenge Americans in ways previously unimaginable. Against that backdrop, the murder of George Floyd catalyzed a nationwide movement of protests and activism in support of racial justice and equality, generating a demand for actionable change that has reached some of the biggest and richest corporations in the world.
Whether through statements of solidarity on Instagram or by initiating new internal hiring and HR policies or donating to civil rights organizations, corporate America is being tasked with rising to the moment and taking a side in the greater pursuit of justice. But at the same time, coronavirus cases continue to rise, now spiking in many major states that before only saw mild outbreaks and the economic consequences of lockdown have brought us to a recession. On top of it all, it’s an election year.
For CPG entrepreneurs, professionals and brands, the question is simple but profound: what is my role here? What are the effective ways to speak out on issues such as racism without appearing opportunistic or distasteful? What is the right approach to building relationships with consumers who are balancing the traumas of a lethal virus and economic instability? And importantly, how can a company be a force for good in this environment?
Maya French is the co-founder of plant-based protein drink brand Koia. Coming from a background of journalism, Maya and her team have grown Koia to a national brand with a footprint in over 7,000 stores nationwide.
Raquel Tavares is the founder and CEO of ghee butter brand 4th & Heart. Born in Brazil, Raquel founded her company in 2015 and has since been the recipient of numerous awards including a place on the Inc. 5000 list in 2019.
Greg Fleishman is the co-founder and CEO of Foodstirs Junk-Free Bakery which produces lines of organic, non-GMO donuts, muffins and baking mixes which are available in 10,000 stores nationwide including 3,000 Walmart locations. He has previously held marketing roles at FUZE and Suja.