NOSH Live Winter 2020 Speakers
The complete NOSH Live speaker lineup will feature more than 20 food industry leaders. Check back for updates!
Chairman and CEO, Bolthouse Farms
Monica Guzman Escobar
CEO, Startr Co.
Monica Guzman Escobar is the CEO of Startr Co., a modern public relations partner and champion for startups and emerging businesses. Utilizing her almost 15 years of experience, Monica oversees the execution of high impact PR campaigns for CPG brands in the food and beverage, health & wellness, and family/children arenas. Acting as a resource for brands amidst meteoric growth, and providing high level strategy for all agency work, Monica is on a mission to provide inventive solutions that enable businesses to reach their full potential. Under Monica’s leadership, Startr Co. works in partnership with today’s leading companies including, RightRice, SmartSweets, Bobo’s, Beanfields and Cappello’s, to name a few. Prior to Startr Co., Monica was one of the founding members of Konnect Agency in 2009. Acting as COO of Konnect, she helped grow the business from a handful of clients, to more than 60, all while growing a team of 3 to more than 50. At Konnect, she was crucial in bringing on and leading campaigns for brands including Lyft, Dave & Buster’s, Rhythm Superfoods, The Goddard School, Nuna, Attune Foods, Nautica, and others. Previous to Konnect, Monica held positions with PMK•BNC and Rox United Public Relations (previously RLPR), where she supported campaigns for brands including Nike, Got Milk?, Cheerios, Delta and Heineken.
Co-Chair, Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Companies Practice; Shareholder, Polsinelli
Rick is the co-founder of DFW CPG, a community that supports the Dallas-Fort Worth area CPG ecosystem, starting with food and beverage. Rick also is an attorney whose practice focuses on representing high-growth companies and investment funds, primarily in the food/bev/consumer sector. His experience covers a broad spectrum of corporate and governance matters, including early-and late stage venture capital financings, growth equity investments, and exit transactions. Rick serves as Co-Chair of Polsinelli’s national Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Companies Group.
Co-Founder, Whole Brain Consulting
After earning a B.S. in biology from Colorado State University, Brandon began his career in food safety at Zateca Foods (now Teasdale Latin Foods). Today he is the co-founder of Whole Brain Consulting—a robust team of experienced food industry experts that provide a wide range of services, from co-manufacturer sourcing and contract negotiation to R&D, food quality, food safety and supply chain, logistics and operations management services.
Managing Director & Co-Founder, Whipstich 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 sector. Nick has over 20 years of investment banking experience and has worked with Whipstitch co-founder Mike Burgmaier since 2008 at a previous investment bank that Nick also co-founded. Previously Nick was in the Investment Banking Group at First Albany (now Jeffries), Director of M&A at Allmerica Financial Corp, and a Senior Associate, Corporate Development at Wheelabrator Technologies. Nick often speaks and is quoted on various investiture and acquisition-related topics. Personally, Nick is an avid road cyclist and thinks it’s ok to cross country ski in below-zero temperatures. He’s a health-focused foodie, cooks frequently and has an extensive knowledge of wine and whiskey (just ask him). Nick is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has an MBA from Wake Forest University and an undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire.
Founder, Natural Products Consulting
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, financing, branding, trade spending management and assistance around M&A, due diligence and venture strategy groups. He is also the co-author and co-publisher of the Natural Products Field Manual, Ninth Edition. 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.
Principal , AF Ventures
David is a Vice President where he supports the investment activities of the Fund, including sourcing and due diligence. He also works with the founders of our investments building their financial plans. Prior to joining the Fund, David worked at Incentrum Group in a strategic advisory role for select life sciences & healthcare corporate clients and pursued private equity and venture-oriented investing. Before that, David worked at BNP Paribas in both their M&A and capital markets groups. David holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Bucknell University.
Co-Chair, Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Companies Practice; Shareholder, Polsinelli
Adam Hull is the Co-Chair of Polsinelli’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Companies Group. Adam’s practice focuses on representing investment funds and emerging companies throughout the venture capital life cycle, with a particular focus on later stage venture capital and growth equity financings, strategic corporate relationships, securities regulation, and complex mergers and acquisitions.
Founder, Off The Ground Consulting
Andrew founded Off The Ground Consulting in 2016. His experience in the Food & Beverage industry began at Celsius Beverage while attending The University of Rhode Island. In 2013, he took the lead in introducing Celsius to the Northeast. Andrew brings a fresh perspective while managing many aspects involving the overall growth of the brand. Following working with Polar Beverages, Andrew chose to help incubate a local iced tea company from Rhode Island. It was at this time that he fell in love working with emerging brands. From that moment on, Andrew gradually cultivated the OTG concept. His areas of concentration are distribution management, grocery retail expansion, and CPG retail alignment on social media. Andrew is a proud CSA member and enjoys educating on the importance of sustainability-minded family farming.
Director of Talent, VMG Partners
Ami Desai Mathur
Chief Commercial Officer, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Co-Founder & Chief Progress Officer, Force Brands
Retail Speed Dating Experts
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.
Buyer - Sundries, Costco
Account Executive, Amazon Marketplace
Thomas supports the Amazon’s Recruitment and Development Division in the Consumables Grocery and Gourmet category. Thomas primarily focuses on recruiting new and emerging brands to the Amazon Marketplace within the Emerging Brands program. If accepted into the program, sellers are offered free account guidance and management for a calendar year including optimization coaching for listings, shipping plans, advertising and troubleshooting. This opportunity also includes exclusive marketing and advertising support. The ideal candidate will have existing interest to launch on Amazon, understand the bandwidth necessary to manage Seller Central, and have the ability to ship products to FBA for Prime or handle shipping logistics.
Director of Business Ventures, Albertsons
Karen Ivanis-Rogers is the Director of Business Ventures at Albertsons. In her over 20-year career in CPG, Karen has held roles with Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Clorox and Del Monte. She has been on the retailer side two years in her current role with Albertsons working with emerging food and beverage brands. She’s intrigued by the pace and diversity of innovation in beverage but admits to Diet Dr Pepper as a guilty pleasure. Karen graduated from Gonzaga University and received an MBA from UC Irvine. She lives in the Oakland Hills.
Vice-President, Business Ventures, Albertsons
Director - Product Strategy & Merchandising, Foxtrot Ventures
Account Executive II, Amazon Private Label
CEO and Founder, Union Kitchen
As CEO and Founder of Union Kitchen, Cullen Gilchrist has partnered with food businesses of all sizes to grow and accelerate their success. Cullen and his team work with exceptional food businesses to connect entrepreneurs with the resources, capital, and networks that they need to establish sustainable success. Cullen oversees the operations and management of Union Kitchen’s accelerator program as well as Union Kitchen’s commercial kitchen, distribution company, and grocery stores.
Vice President, Global Partnerships, AEG Presents
Alexandra McArthur is directly responsible for creating and selling cross-platform partnerships for the AEG Presents portfolio of assets including events, music festivals, venues, tours, content and digital media properties. As a vice president working for one of the largest concert promoters in the world, she also oversees budgets for several high-profile AEG Presents music properties including Rams Head Live, The National, The Norva and Firefly Music Festival, while also creating prominent partnerships across AEG’s entire global portfolio. Alex has worked with several brands in food and beverage including Pop-Tarts, Heineken, Anheuser Busch, Proximo Spirits, Bai, Dogfish Head, Boost Juice, Rekorderlig Cider and more. She is brand obsessed, and works closely with her team to pioneer the most creative solutions to drive awareness, sampling and sales with her brand partners.
Manager, Global Partnerships, AEG Presents
Ben Silver is an integrated marketing manager within the Global Partnerships division of AEG Presents. Ben helps emerging and established food and beverage brands reach millions of live music fans through onsite and digital campaigns across 75+ AEG Presents music festivals and venues in the U.S. including Coachella, Firefly, Hangout, The Roxy, and Webster Hall. In addition to sales/distribution, sampling, and shopper-marketing initiatives, Ben works with brands to develop high-impact “partnerships with purpose” across AEG Presents’ sustainability, civic engagement, and social justice efforts.
Designer Speed Dating Experts
New Business Director , BrandFirst Creative Agency
As head of Brand Strategy and New Business at BrandFirst, Dianna is a strategic thinker with over 13 years of experience in developing cohesive brand experiences. Driven and detail-oriented, Dianna is inquisitive and analytical by nature with an ability to think creatively and find unconventional solutions to tough challenges. She is also a multi-tasker who is responsible for account leadership, project management and new business initiatives. In her New Business Director role, Dianna grows current business engagements and leads new business efforts. She collaborates with the creative and business management teams to develop high-impact content for our clients and their brands. On a day-to-day basis, Dianna is responsible for multiple business accounts, acting as a liaison between clients and the design team, to deliver high quality creative work that exceeds expectations within time and on budget.
Owner / Brand Director, Frooishen
Casey Harshman is Owner and Director of Frooishen, a branding agency that positions natural product companies to launch, scale and grow. Our process is grounded in sound strategy, compelling storytelling, brand-forward design and communication. This holistic approach develops authentic connections with the tribe and ensures brands are competing on-shelf and online for attention and sales. The Frooishen team has produced award-winning branding and package design for clients like: Nutpods, Genius, Tia Lupita, Baskin Robbins, The Good Bean and Peanut Butter & Co.
Becky Nelson Dahl
Founder and Creative Director, Bex Brands
Coming from Wisconsin but living in Southern California, Becky has an understanding of consumers on the coast and in Middle America. At BexBrands, she leads a team of designers and communication visionaries that find unique and authentic ways to connect brands with their tribe, no matter where they live or what their lifestyle. Mostly food drink and beauty, all clients have an aligned vision to make the world’s community healthier and happier. Experience includes: Suja Organic Juice, Chameleon Cold Brew, Dr. Praeger’s, Once Upon a Farm, Back to the Roots, Barnana, Bumble Bee, Lily’s
Founder and Creative Director, Bex Brands
• Passionate about helping brands communicate and educate consumers on how better ingredients affect a person’s well-being. • Makes sure brands engage consumers from both a left and right-brained perspective. • Understands the difference between a Coastal vs Middle Country consumer point of view. • Experience includes: Suja Organic Juice, Chameleon Cold Brew, Dr. Praeger’s, Once Upon a Farm, Back to the Roots, Barnana, Bumble Bee, Lily’s
Founder / CEO / Creative Director, Brim Branding
Raise a glass! You’ve just found the perfect tonic for your branding headache. Brim Branding develops and evolves the brand identities of beverage and food companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. We’ve designed for PepsiCo brands KeVita, Naked Juice, and Gatorade, Soylent, Coors Light, Miller High Life, ZenWTR, VEEV Spirits, Pei Wei, Merci Chocolate, Mars, Inc., and Southern Comfort. Along the way, our work has been featured on AdWeek, AdAge, Refinery29, and Forbes. Whether you approach us with a branding foundation already built, or we build one with you, we design to serve your customers and your brand’s longevity with empathy for your goals and excitement for your vision.
Partner, Little Big Brands (LBB)
Crystal joined Little Big Brands, a NY-based boutique branding agency, in 2011, as a Partner leading the firm’s business development efforts. She began her career in biz dev at various leading agencies, recognized that she had found her passion, and hasn’t changed course since. And in her own words – at LBB she is "living the dream." A self-proclaimed brand fanatic, Crystal is inspired by how people relate to different brands/products across categories, how they make their choices and what those selections say about them. She’s also a true client advocate, ensuring that each project’s goals are met and exceeded, and working hand-in-hand with creative and account management to maximize project success. Crystal lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and tiny dog. She is obsessed with people, travel, cooking, origami, and absolutely anything competitive, with ping pong at the top of the list. She is known for her crazy curly hair.
Katie Knapp Littlefield
Business Development Account Director , Little Big Brands (LBB)
Katie has been at LBB since 2018, leading business development efforts and expansion into new industries, categories, and digital services. She has over 14 years of experience in branding, from her own Shanghai-based start-up branding agency to growing accounts at some of the largest agencies in the US. She has worn hats from Head of Marketing to Strategic Account Director and Digital Amplification lead allowing her to explore her passion for developing and growing brands. She brought several global brands into the Asia market, led a rebrand for Switzerland's largest retail company, and launched Metallica’s whiskey brand, Blackened. She lives in New York City with her husband and in her free time, she leading marketing for her family’s Missouri-based Vineyard, Winery & Brewery, and volunteers for Shanghai-based charity, Heart to Heart which provides heart surgeries to children with CHD.
Creative Director, Interact Boulder
Fred Hart is the creative director and a partner at Interact, a Boulder-based branding and design firm. Fred’s CPG experience includes work in multiple bleeding-and-leading edge food categories, as well as nearly every beverage category imaginable. Notable brands he’s worked with over his career include Monster Energy, Dogfish Head Brewery, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and International Delight.
Account Supervisor, Interact Boulder
Chief Executive Officer & Head Strategist, MOXIE SOZO
For more than a decade, Evan Faber has worked across industries to create innovation, growth, and brand strategies that have overturned industries and transformed startups into category leaders. As VP of Brand Strategy, his leadership and vision helped earn Moxie Sozo the global reputation it enjoys today. As CEO, he continues to guide our agency. He has worked with clients such as Boston Beer, Mauna Loa, Danone, Nurture Life, Suja, and Gruppo Campari. A man of many talents, he has also been known to make a mean moonshine.
Chief Creative Officer, MOXIE SOZO
Derek Springston leverages more than a decade of design and brand building experience in his role as Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Moxie Sozo. Under his leadership, the Senior Creative Team has developed innovative, disruptive, inspired work for startups and global brands like Boston Beer Company, Campari America, Danone, and Suja. His portfolio includes projects across virtually every industry and media, from natural foods to luxury apparel and from packaging design to interactive. Derek got his start earlier than most, going to work in his parents’ small, family-owned print company at the age of 12. He has loved all things paper and ink ever since.
President + Head of Strategy, Retail Voodoo
With over 20 years of CPG experience David Lemley has helped build brands that better-for-you consumers actively crave with their mind, body, and soul. His insight, visioning diagnostics, research analysis and consensus building has helped many brands, including Essentia, HighKey, LesserEvil, KIND, Sur la Table, Sahale Snacks, and Starbucks become the beloved & dominant brands they are today.
Partner & Chief Marketing Officer, Retail Voodoo
Network your face off, hug trees, rock heels while riding a Harley then change the world from a mini-van. Diana Believes that brands should be a force for good. And she should know. Diana began cutting her sustainability teeth on a Jane Goodall project in1999 – then championing environmental packaging and marketing. Diana is a marketing industry executive with 20 years advising brands from fortune 50 to start-ups like REI, Jane Goodall, Hilary’s Eat Well, Dry Soda, Sahale Snacks, Alden’s, and PCC Natural Markets.
Marketing & Web Development, MHD Group
Maria spearheads business development and building client relationships. She takes on the daily challenge of growing the business through strategy, leadership and drive. With more than 20 years of experience in marketing and web design, she coordinates and works with businesses and organizations to create strategic marketing plans, advertising budgets, and social media strategies. Maria also manages and oversees the creation of websites and interactive web tools.
Owner and Creative Director, MHD Group
Marcia is the owner and creative director of MHD Group. For more than 30 years, her agency has worked with discerning businesses in the areas of brand strategy, visual design and strategic communications. Marcia has a strong sense of design intuition and personal integrity, and she values each client relationship. She has combined her design acumen and leadership to inspire and shape her team, and to create an energetic, high-performance culture at work. Thanks to Marcia, MHD Group is a respected branding and design agency. She has a Master of Arts Degree in visual communications.
Creative Director, The Stable
Rebecca Sloat is the creative director at The Stable, defining and translating food, beverage and consumer brands across DTC, Amazon, and retail channels. Rebecca has over a decade of in-house and agency-side experience across groundbreaking startups, Fortune 500 brands, and large design agencies. Rebecca has worked with world-class brands including Birchbox, Care/of, hims, NBC Universal, Simple Mills, and Target, and she was a founding partner of a NYC-based branding agency. Her passion for the space is fueled by the copious number of beverages she keeps stocked in her fridge.
Principal and Creative Director, OffWhite Co.
Josh White is Principal and Creative Director of NYC-based brand and design agency, OffWhite Co. With more than two decades of transforming some of the world’s most successful consumer product companies through the intersection of brand strategy, creative product development, innovative packaging and technology, White’s award-winning holistic creative systems have played a key role in reinventing brands and helping clients like Chobani, Maple Hill Organic, and Nightfood Ice Cream find their secret sauce to advance their companies to the next level.
Chief Creative Officer, The GRO Agency
Chief Strategy Officer, The GRO Agency
Danielle Muller is the VP of Strategy at The GRO Agency, leading the next generation of GRO creative strategists attuned to the modern CPG landscape. With a contagious curiosity and furious-mind, she is passionate about connecting people with the things that move them. Harnessing left-and-right brain synergy, industry insight, and collaborative creativity, she crafts attuned strategy with both authentic and pragmatic perspective. With over 15 years of experience in dynamic brand creation, marketing, and operational strategy, Danielle has worked with everyone from spunky start-ups to Fortune 500 luxury brands. Leveraging her broad cross-industry experience, she draws from the full scope of opportunity to bridge brands and consumers, driving revenue and defining culture.
Creative Director, Voicebox Creative
Founder and Creative Director, Blind Tiger Design
Oceania Eagan is the Founder and Creative Director of Blindtiger Design, a creative agency specializing in the unique needs of the craft beverage industry. Bringing an unmatched depth of knowledge from her 15+ years immersed in the industry, she has built and grown successful brands that connect with today's consumer. Oce has found success by focusing on the uniqueness of each brand to elevate, define and launch products across on- and off-premise channels. Prior to founding Blindtiger, she served as the Chief Design Officer at Taphandles, building and leading the creative operations for over a decade. Her experience also includes 3 years in Central Washington University's Craft Brewing Program, teaching the Sales, Marketing and Business of Beer course.