NOSH LIVE PITCH SLAM 5 WINNING PITCH: CREATION NATION
Karen Nation, Founder & CEO of Creation Nation, presents her winning pitch during Pitch Slam 5 at NOSH Live Winter 2018 held in Santa Monica, California. The 6th volume of Pitch Slam will take place during NOSH Live Summer 2019 held June 10th and 11th in New York City. Applications are due on Friday, May 17th.
INDUSTRY ALL STARS TO SPEAK AT NOSH LIVE SUMMER 2019
Former co-CEO, Whole Foods Market; Principal, Stonewall Robb Advisors
An investor, mentor and advisor to the next generation of American food companies, former co- CEO of Whole Foods Market Walter Robb has a long and varied entrepreneurial history, ranging from natural food retailer to farmer to consultant. Robb joined Whole Foods Market in 1991 and in 2010 was named co-CEO along with John Mackey, at which time he joined the Whole Foods Market Board of Directors. In 2017, Robb transitioned his leadership focus to his role as a passionate advocate for greater food access in underserved communities, serving as Chairman of the Board for Whole Kids Foundation and Whole Cities Foundation. Robb also serves on the Board of Directors for Union Square Hospitality Group, The Container Store, FoodMaven, HeatGenie and Apeel Sciences.
Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Frozen Foods, Walmart
Laura Rush currently serves as Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager of Frozen Foods for Walmart Stores, Inc. Laura has been with Walmart since 2010. She began her career as the Sr. Director of TV, Home Audio Video & iPod/iPad business. In 2013 she moved to the Fresh Services Bakery Department as the Sr. Director on that team. She stayed there four years, and was most recently promoted to VP/DMM of Frozen Foods in Feb. 2017. Prior coming to Walmart, Laura worked for Sears Holdings (2008-2010), CompUSA (1996 – 2008) and Game Stop. She was always in electronics merchandising for those companies.
President & CEO, The Tofurky Company
Jaime Athos is a visionary and passionate leader in the plant-based foods industry. With more than 14 years of experience building and supporting its growth, Athos is energized by the ever-increasing opportunity and adoption of plant-based foods worldwide. Prior to his current role as President and CEO at The Tofurky Company, Athos held a variety of other positions within the brand that is also his family’s business, from a college summer job making tempeh to roles in quality assurance, research and development, and operations. As a category leader Tofurky serves a purpose beyond the plate, acting as an engine for global change. Athos exemplifies and manifests this change by way of plant-based political activism, eco-friendly manufacturing, and pursuit of food innovation that helps people to make better choices for farm animals, the environment and health. Athos holds a Doctoral degree in neurobiology and behavior from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science degree in fish biology from the same. He is a founding member of the Plant Based Foods Association, where he currently serves as president of the Board. The association aims to ensure a fair and competitive market place for all businesses selling plant-based foods, promoting policies and practices that improve opportunities for the industry, and educating consumers.
Jeni Britton Bauer
Founder, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni Britton Bauer is an American ice cream maker and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the artisan ice cream movement, she introduced a modern, ingredient-driven style of ice cream making that has been widely emulated across the world but never duplicated. Jeni opened her first ice cream shop, Scream, in 1996, then founded Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002. Her first cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and won a coveted James Beard Award in 2012. It quickly became the de facto bible for anybody making their own ice cream or thinking about opening a new-style ice cream shop. Her second cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts (2014), took ice cream to the next level with an array of incredible plated, layered, and piled-high ice cream-centric desserts. Today, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a Certified B Corporation with 34 scoop shops, an online shop at jenis.com, and distribution in top grocery stores across the country. As Founder, Jeni remains the beating heart of the company and is in charge of all creative output—from the ice cream itself to the supporting details that enhance the experience of eating it. Jeni is a 2017 Henry Crown Fellow and has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in business today.
CEO, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
John Lowe believes the world has too many know-it-alls and self-proclaimed experts. And way, way too many guys who were born on third base and think they hit a triple. John is on a mission to bring a level of humbleness and humility - what some call Midwest Kindness - to business leadership. John left a Fortune 4, GE, to join a four shop ice cream company, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams - based on his belief that Jeni Britton Bauer was a once-in-a-generation talent with whom he could partner to build a company capable of being a force for good. Today the Company is a Certified B Corporation with 1,200 employees who carry out the company’s two-part mission of making the best ice creams the world has ever known and bringing people together. Jeni’s has 34 scoop shops from LA to DC, ships ice cream to homes across the country and is available on the shelves of all Whole Foods Markets, Publix and more than 2,000 of America’s finest retailers. John has appeared on Bloomberg, MSNBC and CNN, but generally remains behind the scenes in favor of the Company’s founder, who remains its creative driving force. John is as an outside director of White Castle Company, Watershed Distillery and Acre Farm-to-Table-To-Go. He is a founding board member of Conscious Capitalism’s Columbus Chapter, and has served on the Columbus Chamber of Commerce board for the past six years. He is a graduate of GE’s famed Manager Development Course, the Human Performance Institute’s Corporate Athlete training program, and Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program. Most importantly, John, along with IceMiller partner Catherine L. Strauss, is co-owner of a circus featuring three clowns: Jack, 13, Alex, 10 and Luke, 8.
Founder & CEO, CAULIPOWER and Vegolutionary Foods
Gail Becker is the Founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER and Vegolutionary Foods. Already well known in professional circles, Gail’s career reached the highest levels of media, politics and business - including executive roles at Warner Bros., The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and Edelman. But as a mom of two boys with celiac disease, Gail was not happy with the gluten-free options available to her family. Who wants pizza that’s full of sugar and chemicals, or doesn’t taste anything like pizza, or takes 90 minutes to make? Seeing that the food industry offered no nutritious solutions for busy, foodie families to enjoy together, Gail took matters into her own hands and launched CAULIPOWER in early 2017. CAULIPOWER disrupted one of grocery’s most stagnant categories and is now the #1 gluten-free pizza and #1 fastest growing pizza brand in the U.S., with availability in over 17,500 stores. In 2018, Gail launched a new mother brand, Vegolutionary Foods, as a platform for innovative, approachable and convenient meal-hacking products, including the world’s first superfood toast, Sweet PotaTOASTS. Gail is a passionate advocate for new entrepreneurs, women in business and making vegetable nutrition accessible and delicious to all - especially kids.
Head of CPG Strategy, Pinterest
Arthur Sevilla (@arthursevilla) is Pinterest's CPG vertical strategy lead. Committed to inspiring brands to think beyond media metrics and value the context of consumer engagement, Arthur is a passionate brand builder. Before joining Pinterest, Sevilla spent a decade at Kraft Foods and Mondelez International, in global equity and innovation roles within the grocery and confectionary categories. Most recently he was a Director of Global eCommerce where he set the strategic roadmap for the 2020 ambition of $1B in revenue and executed Oreo Colorfilled, the first DTC activation for the iconic brand. He lives in NYC with his wife and currently is saving ideas about dinner party recipes and a Southeast Asia trip.
Divisional Merchandise Manager, Chilled Packaged Goods, Walmart
Sarah has spent the last 10 years in the food business at Walmart. During this time she has held roles in private brands, sustainability as well as various buying roles in merchandising. She’s currently leading the refrigerated buying teams to cultivate a new shopping experience. She is passionate about growing American entrepreneurs and creating new models for growth.
Founder and Managing Partner, Harbinger Ventures
Megan Bent is the Founder and Managing Partner at Harbinger Ventures. A lifelong investor and entrepreneur with deep expertise in consumer brands, Megan has spent the past decade working to identify and scale high-growth, early-stage companies in the consumer sector serving as a lead director, problem solver, operator, strategic thinker and confidant to emerging entrepreneurs. In launching Harbinger in 2016, Megan began also leveraging a model that emphasizes female leadership and fosters close collaboration among entrepreneurs and investors to accelerate value creation. Prior to founding Harbinger in 2016, Megan served as Managing Director of Revelry Brands, where she demonstrated the viability of the unique investment model that now serves as the basis for Harbinger Ventures.
CEO, Lily's Sweets
Jane Miller has 30-years of executive experience in the food industry. She has worked with both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. She is also the founder of Janeknows.com, a career advice website geared towards young leaders starting their careers. Jane is the author of Sleep your Way to the Top (and other myths about business success), a sassy business book targeted at Millennials. Jane is currently the CEO of Lily’s Sweets and has held several other CEO roles in the natural and organic industry, including Rudi’s Bakery, ProYo High Protein Ice Cream, and HannahMax Cookie Chips. Over the course of her career Jane was part of an executive team that brought Hostess out of bankruptcy, worked for HJ Heinz as the Chief Growth Officer and then the President of the UK & Ireland Division. She also ran the Western division of Bestfoods Baking. Jane spent the first fourteen years of her career at PepsiCo, where she rose to be the President of the Central division of Frito-Lay. Jane currently serves as a board member at the University of Colorado Leeds Business School and Eldorado Springs Artesian Water. In 2013 the Denver Business Journal named Jane the Lifetime Achievement Award Winner for her work mentoring young professionals and start-ups. Her other honors include the Boulder Chamber of Commerce’s Women Who Light the Community Award in 2015 and the Naturally Boulder Industry Leader Award in 2016. In 2015, Jane established the Jane Knows Scholarship Fund at Leeds supporting students who are the first in their family to go to college. In 2018, Leeds recognized Jane with a non-alumni service award. Jane has a degree in Russian Studies from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, where she received a 2017 Alumni Achievement Award. She earned her MBA degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
T.J. McIntyre joined Beryl Stafford and Bobo’s as CEO in December 2015 with the mission of building the Bobo’s business and brand into a leading natural foods company that bakes simple, nourishing food. T.J. was previously the Executive Vice President over natural brands at Boulder Brands where he oversaw the acquisition and management of Udi’s, Glutino and Evol and grew the portfolio from $20M to over $400M in 6 years. Prior to Boulder Brands, he served as Brand Manager of Silk at White Wave Foods, leading up to its acquisition by Dean Foods. From 2005 through 2009, he pursued entrepreneurial endeavors in specialty tea and coffee, including co-founding Pekoe Sip House, a regional tea-coffee chain in Boulder, Colorado. Mr. McIntyre holds a BA degree from Michigan State University, and an MBA with a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Oregon.
Director of New Business Ventures, Nestle
Doug Munk has spent 15 years driving innovation and growth within Nestlé. Today he leads the company's New Business Ventures group, through which Nestlé looks to both cultivate and incubate employee innovation ideas and build partnerships with promising food and beverage brands to generate and scale healthy solutions for consumers. His experience includes leading the Nestlé USA Innovation Center of Excellence, driving platform-based food and beverage innovation, while also training the broader employee base on how to better innovate in this new consumer reality. Prior to this, Doug has lead marketing and innovation across several core Nestle brands including Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Coffee-mate, and Nesquik. Doug has recently moved to the D.C. area from Los Angeles with his wife and two boys.
Founder, Wild Ventures
John Durant is the founder of Wild Ventures, an influencer-based venture fund focused on consumer health. John was a pre-launch advisor to Thrive Market, Kettle & Fire, Magic Spoon, and part of the only funding round in Primal Kitchen (recently acquired by Kraft Heinz). John runs Wild Ventures out of Thrive Market's headquarters in Los Angeles, where he recruited the earliest health influencers to invest in the company’s seed round and designed an influencer strategy that drove 20k+ paid members four months after launch with $0 media spend and helped the company achieve a $100M ARR 16 months after launch. Wild Ventures deals include top health & wellness influencers, such as Wellness Mama, Melissa Hartwig Urban (Whole30), Thrive Market co-founders, and Mark Sisson (Primal Kitchen). More than just “influencers” – now a buzzword – Wild Ventures works with authentic leaders who are domain experts, have significant digital platforms, and love helping founders build a better future. John is also the New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Manifesto and Spartan Fit! with Joe De Sena, the founder of Spartan Race. He has been featured in the New York Times and The New Yorker, interviewed on The Colbert Report and NPR Morning Edition, and has been rated one of The 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness. He studied evolutionary psychology at Harvard under Steven Pinker. John loves barrel saunas, ice baths, bone marrow, and thinks intermittent fasting is still underrated.
Business Development Manager, National Co+op Grocers
Heidi Traore has been a passionate member of the natural products industry since the late 1980s and currently serves as business development manager for National Co+op Grocers (NCG), a business services and purchasing co-op with $2.1 billion in annual sales serving 145 US retail food co-op members. An established sales and marketing professional, Heidi worked with NCG’s category management team on solidifying a fact based business approach through targeted bi-annual business planning events that have enhanced business relationships and created efficiencies for her organization and its partners. Under her leadership, NCG promotional program revenue grew 69% over a four-year period. Through collaborations within cooperative supply chains, Heidi has been instrumental in bringing exclusive products produced by co-ops or made with cooperatively sourced ingredients to market at retail food co-ops. In her current role, she introduces new and emerging brands to NCG and works to promote the vital role that food co-ops play in the natural products industry. Heidi strives to be an agent of change and is a fervent supporter of inclusivity in society. When she’s not at work, you may find her on the floor of a West African or Latin based dance class, or roller skating with her daughter and grandchildren.
Principal, KMG Group
Mr TJ Varecka is currently Principal at KMG Group. Prior to entering the broker business, Mr Varecka was a senior executive at Target, moving through various positions in brand management, negotiations, buying and operations. At KMG, he works closely with Brands to navigate the Mass Channel, providing hands-on guidance to launch, develop and thoughtfully grow at both Target and Walmart. His group is focused on the rapidly growing categories within natural, organic, socially responsible, eco-friendly and healthy-lifestyle that continue to disrupt and gain market share.
VP of Innovation and Brand Development, Presence Marketing
As Vice-President of Innovation and Brand Development, Tracy Miedema leads business development and investing at Presence Marketing, the nation’s top brokerage agency for the natural products trade. She also heads up Presence’s burgeoning portfolio of cannabis-hemp food, beverage and supplement companies and currently sits on the US Hemp Roundtable Board of Directors. Additionally, she is an operating partner in BIGR Ventures. From start-ups to Fortune 50 food & beverage, she works closely with brands to optimize their growth, profitability, and positive impact on people and the planet. During her 20-year career in natural products, Tracy has also worked for Earthbound Farm/ WhiteWave and for General Mills’ organic brands. In the service arena, Tracy leads graduate student projects at the Darden School of Business at University of Virginia and served for 5 years on the US Federal regulatory advisory committee for organic, the USDA National Organic Standards Board, including Chair of the Board. She lives with her family in rural Oregon where she makes craft wine and hunts for mushrooms.
Chief Sales Officer, Team Direct Management
Tregg is Chief Sales Officer for Team Direct, the leading Sales & Marketing agency in Bentonville, AR, and has been calling on Walmart since 1989. He is 36 years young in the ever-evolving CPG industry, having held various sales and marketing roles with industry stalwarts such as P&G and Revlon. Tregg joined Team Direct 10 years ago as Chief Sales Officer with a mission to disrupt categories with great brands and lead a “Best in Class” multi-functional customer team. Team Direct has a 15+ year history of bringing innovative and disruptive brands across food, beverage and other categories to Walmart and SAM’S Club ahead of their inflection point in a manner that delivers on the brand’s equity and ensures the best opportunity for success.
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.
Carol is the Editor of NOSH, BevNet’s media property focusing on Natural, Healthy, Sustainable and Organic food products. Carol previously worked and consulted for several consumer goods companies, many within the food space. She also was on the marketing team for Whole Foods Market in the North Atlantic region. Prior to focusing on the food industry, Carol worked at several tech companies, including HubSpot, and served as a consumer researcher at AMP Agency. A graduate of Brandeis University in Journalism, Cultural Anthropology and Theater Arts, Carol is passionate about the food, agriculture and beverage industries.
Chief Creative Officer, The GRO Agency
Kelly Criswell is a visionary and creative leader, shepherding The GRO Agency as the Chief Creative Officer based in the Los Angeles office. With a fierce love of beverage branding and a 16+ year career in CPG brand development and packaging design, Kelly will relentlessly push brands to the next level for success on shelf. Over her career she has worked with such notable brands as Dunkin’ Donuts, Nestlé, Premier Nutrition, Diageo, and Red Bull. Her latest modus operandi is harnessing her extensive experience in CPG to help entrepreneurs and start-ups launch their brands. Her current passion project is Kabaki Kenyan Purple Tea- she has teamed up with the founder Martin and helped him position, brand, package, and develop go-to-market strategy for a 2018 launch. When she’s not obsessively taking photos in grocery stores (say hi if you see her!) she’s painting or hiking with her two kids.
Founder, McGinn eCommConsulting
Betsy is the co-author of The Amazon Roadmap: How Innovative Brands are Reinventing the Path to Market, the quintessential start-to-finish guide for brands who want to launch, recalibrate, or optimize their business on Amazon and ensure continued growth on this powerful platform. As Seventh Generation’s first eCommerce channel director, Betsy pioneered the company’s innovative eComm strategy and created a thriving multimillion-dollar partnership with Amazon and other key online retailers. Since founding McGinn eComm in 2014, Betsy has worked with hundreds of natural and specialty brands to establish and strengthen their presence on Amazon. From product development and profitability analysis to guiding organizational change, McGinn eComm leads clients through every step of this complex channel, helping to ensure a successful and profitable online businesses. With more than a decade of eCommerce experience, Betsy is a thought-leader and regular speaker at workshops and conferences globally. Visit Betsy at mcginnecomm.com
Partner & Director of Business Development, Nutter
Jeremy Halpern is a partner and co-chairs and serves as the Director of Business Development for Nutter’s Emerging Companies Group. Jeremy’s practice focuses on emerging companies, private equity, venture capital and angel financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, executive and team compensation matters, and general start-up support. Serving as the firm’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Jeremy often works on strategy and corporate development matters with companies, investors, and executives in technology, life sciences and the food and beverage industry. Jeremy is an active angel investor and is a member of the board of The Capital Network, a Boston based non-profit serving entrepreneurs seeking high growth capital. Jeremy serves on the Advisory Board and the Executive Education Committee of the MBI Health Program and on the Advisory Board of Pintley, a MassChallenge 2011 finalist company providing marketing solutions to the craft brewers and bars. He continues to serve as a mentor at MassChallenge and LearnLaunch, an expert advisor at the Innovation Hub at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and as a speaker, reviewer, judge or mentor for MIT HackingMedicine, HackingPediatrics, the Mass Tech Transfer Center, the Mass Life Science Center, M2D2, BranchFood and Startup Institute. Previously Jeremy served on the Board and Investment Committee of MassVentures, an early stage venture capital fund funding technology companies in Massachusetts. Jeremy taught entrepreneurial leadership at Tufts University for nine years and cofounded a company in the mobile technology synchronization space. Jeremy received his B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Founder & CEO, BOU
Robert is a food entrepreneur. He is the CEO and Founder of BOU and the former CEO and Co-owner of Metcalfe’s skinny and Metcalfe’s Food Company. In May 2017 Robert launched BOU which is a better-for-you range of bouillon and gravy cubes with the aim of disrupting categories in the food industry that have not seen innovation in years. BOU recreates timeless kitchen staples by packing better for you ingredients into easy to use cubes that never compromise on flavor or quality. By innovating a stale category, they were able to grow into a national company overnight by securing major retailers such as Amazon, Fresh Direct, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods and over 4,000 other retailers. Their current range of bouillon and gravy cubes are convenient and hassle-free and never sacrifice on taste or quality. They also just launched an exciting and innovative instant, better for you range of soup cups. All their products are non-GMO, made with no artificial ingredients, and have less sodium than leading brands.
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.
Sales & Strategy Consultant,
Ian Kelleher co-founded the pioneering brand Peeled Snacks when healthy food wasn't yet cool. As part of a generation of mission-focused food entrepreneurs, he helped lay down industry groundwork and standards for an ever-improving food-landscape we can luckily now take for granted. With a hand in every aspect of the business, he grew Peeled Snacks from a cute-idea-hatched-at-the-breakfast-table into a multi-million dollar manufacturer of organic snacks with coast-to-coast distribution. Since his successful exit in 2017, he's helped dozens of food companies large and small navigate the industry's ever-shifted seas. An expert in sales, hiring, and corporate strategy, Ian is a mentor, coach, board member and investor. He lives with his wife and two shockingly wonderful children in Brooklyn, New York.
GATHER WITH THE NATURAL FOOD INDUSTRY
The next NOSH Live conference takes place at the Metropolitan West in New York, NY on June 10th and 11th. More than 300 natural food industry founder and executives come together to move their businesses forward and discover what's next for the industry. Plan ahead and secure your seat at the two-day conference for the natural food industry.