Project NOSH LA 2016
A Business Strategy Conference for Natural Foods Brands
NOSH LA is a strategy and networking conference that puts the goals, needs, challenges and concerns of natural food brands in the spotlight. Explore growth strategy, sales, marketing, investment, and more through case-based presentations and panels by an all star roster of speakers.
Project NOSH LA 2016 Speakers:
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Chief Brand Officer & Co-Founder, Foodstirs
Sarah Michelle Gellar is a Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winning actress best known for her roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ABC’s All My Children, CBS’s The Crazy Ones, and Cruel Intentions among others. Off screen, Gellar lends her time and support to child and hunger organizations as an advocate and activist. She works closely with No Kid Hungry and Baby Buggy as well as the nonprofit organization CARE. In October 2015, Gellar stepped into a new role as entrepreneur, co-founding Foodstirs (www.foodstirs.com) along with Galit Laibow and Gia Russo. Foodstirs is a culinary lifestyle brand that offers convenient, delicious and healthier ways to bring families together in the kitchen. From creative cooking kits to premium signature baking mixes, Foodstirs inspires creativity and curiosity, while emphasizing the importance of a healthier lifestyle.
Director, Retail Brand Partnerships, Starbucks
Deb joined Starbucks 5 years ago, and for the past year has led the Retail Brand Partnerships team. She and her team run the snack category across North America and have the enviable task of finding new food brands for Starbucks stores that customers can feel good about—ones made with simple, pure ingredients and crafted with love and care. Prior to working with food entrepreneurs to build a snack business for Starbucks stores, Deb spent 12 years in traditional consumer packaged goods. At Starbucks she created the shopper marketing and shopper insights function from the ground up, and managed various coffee brands for the FDMC channel including Starbucks packaged coffee, Seattle’s Best, and VIA Instant coffee. At Kimberly-Clark she worked in various brand management and innovation roles. There she managed the creation of multi-brand marketing programs and the brand and shopper marketing efforts for the U by Kotex® launch, which won numerous awards including an IRI product Pacesetter, a Silver Effie for Shopper Marketing, and a Gold Hub Prize. Prior to Kimberly-Clark, Deb worked as a consultant with several leading retailers for Kurt Salmon. Deb has an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
Co-Founder & President, Quest Nutrition
Tom Bilyeu is the co-founder and president of Quest Nutrition and the host of the weekly thought leadership talk show, Inside Quest. Tom and his business partners have been working as a team for 13 years, across multiple companies. Quest Nutrition, however, was the company that broke the mold. Previously driven by an obsessive focus on profitability and companies designed to be sold, Tom and his partners founded Quest with a different vision: building a company with a mission - a company designed to last. To do so, they asked themselves one question, “What would we love doing even if we were failing?” Enter Quest Nutrition. In just five years, Tom has helped grow the company from a modest passion project into the second fastest growing private company in America, with over 57,000% growth in its first three years alone (via Inc. 5000). For Tom the mission of Quest is deeply personal – he wants to save his mom and sister from metabolic disease. To do that he plans to transform the entire food industry by creating foods that taste as good as they are good for you. That’s what makes Quest more than just a food company, it’s a company that will never stop innovating until global nutrition has been freed from the stranglehold of junk food. Tom is a forever student of life. His obsession with mastering skills has molded him into a well-rounded leader, battle-hardened and unafraid to fire moonshots.
Chief Marketing + Innovation Officer, Campbell's Fresh Division
Suzanne Ginestro is the Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer for C-Fresh, the new fresh food division of the Campbell Soup Company. In her role, Suzanne not only leads brand management for the Bolthouse Farms and Garden Fresh Gourmet business units, but also spearheads the strategy & development of new product platforms, partnerships and acquisitions that will enable the C-Fresh Division to expand into more fresh refrigerated categories in the future. Prior to this expanded role, Suzanne was the Chief Marketing Officer for Bolthouse Farms, where she led brand strategy, product marketing, creative development, communications and digital engagement for the Bolthouse Farms fresh carrots, super-premium beverages, and refrigerated salad dressings businesses. Before joining Bolthouse Farms, Suzanne had more than 12 years of marketing experience and held leadership roles in both consumer packaged goods and the retail foodservice industry. Suzanne was the Vice President of Brand Marketing for Pinkberry, the Head of Brand Marketing for Red Bull North America, and held various brand management positions during her tenures at both Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream and Kraft Foods.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, BIGR Ventures
Duane began his career in natural foods over 16 years ago. In that time he has served in management positions for several prominent natural foods companies, including Frontier Natural Products Co-op and WhiteWave. In 2004 Duane co-founded Pixie Mate, a specialty tea business, and from 2007 to 2015 he held several senior management positions for Boulder Brands, ultimately serving as the Executive Vice President of the Balance segment for Boulder Brands, responsible for 3 of the 6 businesses in the portfolio. Concurrent to this role, Duane was the Managing Director of the Boulder Brands Investment Group from 2013 to 2015. Duane currently sits or has sat on the Board of Directors of Suja Juice, EPIC, Temple Turmeric, Primizie, Live Soda, Bonafide Provisions, Rebbl and Thorne Nature Experience, a Boulder-based environmental education non-profit.
Founder, Revelry Brands & Bear Naked
Brendan Synnott is the Founder of Revelry Brands and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PACT | ORGANIC, makers of super soft organic cotton apparel. Synnott is leading his team to change the apparel industry for good. Synnott has built multiple lifestyle brands from scratch. His work has produced a unique signature across product categories that align with the millennial generation’s evolved relationship with consumption. In 2002, at the age of 23, Synnott co-founded the healthy snack company, Bear Naked that was later acquired by Kellogg. In 2009, he founded Revelry Brands as a vehicle to provide strategy, people and capital to new ventures including co-founding EVOL Foods. Currently, Revelry holdings include the pet care brand I and Love and You, candy brand Little Secrets as well as apparel brand PACT | ORGANIC. With a degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, Synnott has levied his strengths to not only follow his passions, but tap into his competitive and energetic nature, which has included a role with the talent department at Saturday Night Live and a stint as a cast member on CBS’s Survivor.
CEO & Co-Founder, Sunrise Strategic Partners
Stephen Hughes (Chief Executive Officer) is a pioneer in the natural and organic food and beverage industry, and a veteran food industry executive with over 30 years of experience. Most recently Steve was Founder, Chairman and CEO of Boulder Brands, a publically-traded natural food and beverage company with a portfolio that included well-known brands EVOL, Udi's Gluten Free, Glutino, and Earth Balance. Steve has previously worked in leadership positions on such brands as Celestial Seasonings, Silk, Tropicana and Healthy Choice. Steve's network includes relationships with the industry's founding leaders, key influencers and decision makers, including cutting edge retailers, sales and marketing organizations, advertising agencies and consultancies. But most importantly, Steve has been fortunate to have a strong partner - and love of his life - in his wife, Grace. Throughout Steve's career, she has always kept Steve focused on doing the right thing - which ultimately led them to Boulder and to Steve's passion for the natural products industry. In 1992, Steve was offered the coveted job as Chief Marketing Officer of Frito Lay. Grace's reaction was 'Do you really want to wake up every day and sell potato chips?' Always the first one to see the next new thing, this insightful comment by Grace completely changed the trajectory of Steve's career - for the better. Steve received a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Steve currently serves on the board of Good Belly, PACT Apparel, Perky Jerky and Teton Waters Ranch.
CEO & Founder, RangeMe
The concept of RangeMe came to Nicky while developing a range of baby skincare products. Looking for ways to achieve fast distribution, she had the idea to create a single network to match sellers with buyers looking for products like theirs. Before launching RangeMe Nicky worked as a Marketing Executive at Kellogg’s, Uncle Toby’s, Goodman Fielder, Pepsico and Jim Beam. A keeper of an entrepreneurial spirit, Nicky is also a leading voice for women in business and technology. The accelerated growth of RangeMe with her at the helm has catapulted Nicky as a true pioneer in the CPG Technology space. Nicky currently resides in San Francisco with her beautiful family of four.
COO & Co-Founder, Foodstirs
Greg has created and grown some of the world's largest and most successful brands during his 20-year career - launching 500+ items across 17 food and beverage categories into 12 countries - focusing primarily on the "natural green Space". Greg is currently president & co-founder of Purely Righteous Brands LLC (PRB), a boutique consultancy dedicated to fostering the growth of "green space" health food & beverage companies. Clients include Tasty Brand, Revolution Foods, Arctic Zero & SUJA Juice - all committed to revolutionizing the spaces they are in. Under PRB, Greg served as Chief Marketing & Strategy for Suja, the #1 cold-pressured fresh juice brand in the US where he led business strategy, marketing, innovation, and retail customer development. There he positioned the portfolio, created & launched 35 new items (including two sub-brands) and built 3 sales channels. Prior to that, he served as CMO of Sambazon, the maker of fresh amazon superfood-based beverages. As CMO, Greg led marketing, strategy, innovation and business development for Coca-Cola's FUZE & Energy portfolio. He also worked for over 14 years as an executive marketer at Kashi/Bear Naked and Kelloggs.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, BIGR Ventures
Carole began her career in natural foods over 20 years ago, as an analyst in the then nascent natural foods industry. As one of the first analysts to cover Whole Foods, she has had a front row seat as the story of this now powerful sector has emerged. Carole has worked with RBC Capital on the Sell-side and The Boston Company on the Buy-side. In 2008, Carole left financial services, taking a leadership role in corporate finance and investor relations with Gaiam, Inc. In 2010, Carole joined Boulder Brands as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Investor Relations. While at Boulder Brands, Carole led the acquisition of 4 companies over her first 3 years. Concurrent to this role, Carole served as Managing Director of Boulder Brands Investment Group from 2013 to 2015. Carole sits or has sat on the Boards of Temple Turmeric, EPIC and Bonafide Provisions.
Co-Founder, Sherpa Foods & Sahale Snacks
Josh Schroeter is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and advisor, with a focus on innovative, disruptive, and delicious food. Josh co-founded Sahale Snacks, which was bought by the J.M. Smucker Co. in 2014. Currently, he is co-founder and president at Sherpa Foods, a producer and marketer of premium organic Tsampa, a sprouted and roasted ancient grain, and a staple of the Himalayas relied upon by the Sherpa people for centuries. Before getting involved in the food industry, Josh was a media and Internet executive and he holds an MA in Journalism and an MBA from Columbia University.
Strategic Advisor & Former Exec Global Grocery Coordinator, Whole Foods Market
Errol Schweizer has worked to build a more natural and organic food system for more than 20 years. A New York City native, Schweizer previously served as Whole Foods Market’s Executive Global Grocery Coordinator, during which his team helped bring more than 6,000 new products to the U.S. marketplace, and assisted dozens of brands in becoming household names. Their focus on ethical sourcing and product innovation drove profits and growth, while establishing Fair Trade, Organic, and Non GMO as generational shifts in consumer preference, and setting new milestones for quality and transparency in pet foods, cleaning products, HPP beverages, Kosher and Halal products, hemp, grass-fed dairy and eggs, vegan/plant-based ingredients, and much more across more than 80 product categories. Errol also serves on the boards of several organizations dedicated to a better food system, including Demeter USA, Xerces Society, Austin Food Policy Board and Farmshare Austin. His previous experiences include retail food cooperatives, community supported agriculture, urban gardening and many years of GMO labeling advocacy. He and his family reside on a small farmstead outside Austin, Texas
CEO, Farmhouse Culture
A food industry veteran, John recently joined Farmhouse Culture, a leader in the fermented foods category, as CEO. John believes probiotics are beginning to play a vital role in reshaping the American diet and leading consumers to better health and wellness by rebalancing their microbiome. John is excited to be building the Farmhouse Culture brand through thought leadership and the delivery of probiotics through superior tasting foods, snacks and beverages. John is the former CEO of bread baking pioneer, Dave’s Killer Bread. Under his leadership, the company quickly moved to address its untapped growth potential and expanded distribution. Today, the Pacific Northwest favorite is the No. 1-selling organic bread in the U.S. reaching full national distribution in May of 2015. John began his career in quality assurance, quickly evolving into research and development and product innovation with such notable companies as Kraft, Weight Watchers and Heinz. His vast experience includes working in various parts of the U.S. and overseas. Eventually he moved into marketing and business development with SO Delicious Dairy Free, where he ultimately became President. His leadership was marked by successful efforts to improve the company's innovation, re-craft their marketing and build a strong leadership team - evolving the company from soy food to a market-leading dairy-free brand. An advocate of corporate social responsibility and President of Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation, John speaks frequently to business leaders and entrepreneurs about the social value of hiring individuals with criminal backgrounds.
Local Purchasing Coordinator, Whole Foods Market
Monika Coyle oversees Local Purchasing for Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific region. In this position, Monika gets to work first hand with artisans and suppliers to launch vibrant products in the region. Monika’s experience started in the vibrant world of beer, wine and cheese, where she honed her palette and helped elevate product selection as well as team member engagement with the Specialty Foods world. She then brought her skillset to the regional Grocery team, overseeing operations and later purchasing for the region. Monika holds degrees from DePaul University in Chicago as well as Kendall, where she polished her culinary savvy. The limited time Monika is not exploring food in some capacity, she enjoys staying active with her husband and their 14 month old daughter as well as traveling as much as possible.
CEO, Kite Hill
Matthew has spent the last 20 years building disruptive consumer brands that have challenged established industries with products that are better for people and the planet. As the CEO of Kite Hill, Matthew leads the company’s efforts to replace traditional dairy in people’s lives with great tasting, plant-based foods. By marrying patented biochemistry with traditional dairy production techniques, Kite Hill has developed a broad range of cultured nut milk products, including artisanal cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, entrées and even desserts. Kite Hill is now seen as a gold standard in plant-based dairy products. Under Matthew’s leadership, Kite Hill has raised $25 million, most recently closing an $18 million round led by 301 Inc., General Mill’s venture capital arm, and CAVU Venture Partners. Kite Hill’s product leadership and industry influence were recently recognized by Forbes and CircleUp who selected Kite Hill as one of the 25 most innovative consumer brands of 2016 and have been covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune and numerous other publications. Prior to leading Kite Hill, Matthew was the CMO of Impossible Foods, a company developing plant-based options to one day replace our global reliance on industrially raised meat. Matthew was instrumental in raising upwards of $50 million in capital and introducing the public to the Impossible burger through a feature article in the Wall Street Journal. Matthew hasn’t always worked in the plant-based world. He joined Impossible Foods after founding Fork in the Road Foods, a leading sustainable meat company. Matthew started his food career in strategy at Starbucks and managed several food brands at The Clorox Company after earning his MBA from Cornell’s Johnson School.
Sr. Category Manager, Gelson's Markets
Rich Gillmore is the Senior Category Manager of Dairy/Deli/Frozen at the high end grocery retailer, Gelson's Market. An industry veteran with over 30 years of retail experience, Rich started his career with Vons, gaining valuable insight as a store manager for over two decades. He then took an opportunity at Gelson's Market in 2007 to work in their main offices as a Category Manager. Since joining Gelson's, Rich has gained a decade worth of experience in the natural/specialty sector and become widely respected as leader in the space.
Founder & President, Peeled Snacks
Noha Waibsnaider is a leading food entrepreneur and change maker in the healthy, real food movement. Originally from Israel, Noha grew up on a diet of mostly unprocessed foods and snacking on dried fruit. While working at Unilever in brand management, she learned about the preservatives, chemicals, and processing that fills most of our foods. She realized there was a big gap in the marketplace and an opportunity to create snacks that make people feel good about snacking, with food that tastes great and is naturally nutritious. In 2005, she launched Peeled Snacks: a pioneering clean-label organic food brand with simple, recognizable ingredients. Peeled Snacks makes dried fruit with no added sugar or preservatives and Peas Please, savory veggie snacks packed with protein and fiber. With her vision of providing tasty and nourishing snacks everywhere you need a snack, Peeled Snacks are sold in Target, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Giant, Hudson News, Amazon, and many other retailers. The company has ranked on the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies for four years, has been featured in Oprah’s O List, and received Healthy Snack awards from Health Magazine and Fitness Magazine. Noha has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change, Women Presidents Organization’s 50 Fastest, JWI Woman to Watch, Columbia Business School’s Distinguished Alumna, and received the Ecademy Award for Entrepreneurship. In 2007, Noha founded the NY Foodie Companies group to promote sustainable local food businesses in NY, now with 1,200 members.
CEO & Co-Founder, Foodstirs
Galit Laibow is a seasoned entrepreneur who has devoted her career to building trusted consumer brands. In 2014, Galit co-founded Foodstirs - a modern baking brand whose mission is to help create memorable experiences through baking. As co-founder and CEO of Foodstirs, Galit is leading the charge in disrupting the multi-billion dollar stagnant baking industry by offering consumers organic, non-GMO products that are not only delicious but enhance human connection. Prior to starting Foodstirs, Galit co-founded Ink Public Relations - an agency focused on consumer lifestyle product companies. For over 10 years, Galit lead the Ink PR team in delivering innovative brand awareness campaigns and driving significant results for her clients. Galit graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. in Public Relations. In her downtime, Galit loves spending time with her family (especially baking!), traveling, and considers herself a pro- juggler!
Counsel, BraunHagey & Borden, LLP
Allison Roseman Hagey is an attorney at BraunHagey & Borden. She has over 15 years of experience in food law, policy, regulation, and food systems. Allison has represented Fortune 100 companies in international and national disputes and Department of Justice hearings. She has an extensive track record developing large-scale projects in the food and agriculture sector including creating and implementing federal policies generating over $1 billion in investment in over 200 food businesses. Allison led the creation of the nation’s premier food access and retail website connecting food entrepreneurs with funding opportunities, curriculum, tools, and webinars. Allison is a nationally-recognized leader, key note speaker, advocate, and author on food, agriculture, health policy, and equity.
Founder, Natural Products Consulting Group
As a consultant since 1998, Bob Burke provides assistance in bringing natural, organic and specialty products to market across most classes of trade. This includes work in strategic planning, growth strategies, writing sales, marketing and business plans, budgeting, pricing, building distribution, broker selection and management, organizational development, strategic options, branding and trade spending management. He is also the co-author and co-publisher of the Natural Products Field Manual, Fourth Edition and The Sales Manager's Handbook. Prior to consulting, Bob was with Stonyfield Farm Yogurt for 11 years as Vice President, Sales & Corporate Development and Vice President, Marketing & Sales. He has held marketing positions with Colombo, Inc. and Sperry Top-Sider. He received an MBA from Babson College.
Managing Partner, Smith Design
On any given day, you’ll find Jenna doing what she loves doing best—developing brand identity and package design solutions for a wide range of consumer packaged goods brands. Officially, Jenna plays a primary role in business development, account management and design strategy. Unofficially, she’s great at design and operations, which might very well be the “definition of rare” in this industry. Prior to joining Smith Design, Jenna spent five years in Silicon Valley where she was a marketing manager at Cisco Systems and McAfee Security. There, she was responsible for developing and managing marketing communications targeting small- to medium-sized businesses.
Partner, Barnhorn Growth Advisors
Brad is deeply involved with leading growth stage companies and investors at the intersection of the consumer products and private equity/financing communities as a Board Member and Advisor to both operating companies and institutional investors. His career path as an entrepreneur, CEO, board member, and investor has cut across all critical strategic and operational dimensions of growth stage consumer company-building. Currently Mr. Barnhorn serves on the Board of Directors for Krave Jerky, KeVita, Zola, Rhythm Superfoods, Health Warrior, IPS, Pint Size, and Red Rabbit, and as an Operating Advisor to Encore Consumer Capital, Winona Capital, Fundamental Capital and Silverwood Partners.
Technical Director, ADM
“... If you are thinking of turning your idea into a company or if you have a product that you want to grow into a household name, Project Nosh is the place to start." - Amit Pandhi, CEO, Arctic Zero
“Project NOSH was a wonderful opportunity to catch up in person, all at one place, with several people who I had only ever shared phone or email contacts with.” - Matt Tolnick, Founder/CEO, Lawless Jerky
“A curriculum in food business fundamentals, an introduction to new innovation, a great cast of characters, and strong inspiration to keep fighting the good fight.” - Shane Emmett, CEO, Health Warrior
“... from the entrepreneur launching into their first Whole Foods' regions, to some of the most accomplished veterans in the Natural Foods industry.” - T.J. McIntyre, CEO, Bobo’s Oat Bars