Our Team

GFI has a team of scientists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and lobbyists, all of whom are laser focused on using markets and food technology to transform our food system away from factory farmed animal products and toward clean meat and plant-based alternatives. If you are a member of the media and would like to connect with one of our experts, please contact Emily Byrd at

Bruce Friedrich

Executive Director

Bruce graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law and Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College and also holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics. Bruce has held leadership roles for the past two decades at top nonprofits working to reform animal agriculture. Bruce is a popular speaker on college campuses and has presented repeatedly at most of the nation's top universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. Bruce co-authored one book, contributed chapters to five books, and authored six law review articles. Bruce is co-founder of New Crop Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in plant-based and clean meat companies.

Chris Kerr

Entrepreneur in Residence

Chris has more than two decades of leadership experience in financial and venture capital management. Chris is investment manager of New Crop Capital and serves as director of Anark Corporation, director at Pitcairn Financial Group, and managing partner at Abele Kerr Investments. Chris mentors startups in the good food space, provides market-level due diligence for potential investors, and connects the most innovative and disruptive good food companies with an array of potential funders.

Jessica Almy

Policy Director

Jessica oversees GFI’s work to create a better future of food through regulatory and statutory reform in Washington. She came to The Good Food Institute from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, where she served as Deputy Director of Nutrition Policy. Before working for CSPI, she worked for the D.C.-based law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal. She holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and an M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University. She is a member of the bar in New York and Washington, D.C.

Joanna Grossman, Ph.D.

Senior Policy Specialist

A native of Mansfield, Texas, Joanna received her B.A. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University. She also holds a master's degree from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and a doctorate from Harvard University, where she wrote her dissertation on Shakespeare's depiction of animals and the natural world. Prior to joining the Good Food Institute, Joanna served as the federal policy advisor for the Animal Welfare Institute, where she lobbied on the Hill for a wide range of animal protection issues, including improved wildlife management practices and higher standards for the raising of farm animals.

Alison Rabschnuk

Director of Corporate Engagement

Alison brings 25 years of advertising, marketing, and sales experience to GFI working with brands including Taco Bell, Levi Strauss, Gap, Kiplinger’s, and Parents magazine. For the last 17 years, she has developed affiliate programs and ad networks for clients that include General Mills, BET, and Gourmet Ads. Alison works with restaurants, grocery stores, food service, and food processing companies to diversify their protein offerings. She is a graduate of Wellesley College.

Clare Bland

Development Director

Clare brings 24 years of fund development, community relations, program management, and leadership experience to GFI, first in the private sector and then in the nonprofit field. Focused on securing transformational gifts and grants, Clare has developed philanthropic support for a major medical center and teaching hospital, companion animal shelters, a wildlife rehabilitation center and hospital, and most recently, the United States’ leading farmed animal protection group, Mercy For Animals. A native of the United Kingdom, Clare completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Leeds and Master of Science degree at the University of Nottingham.

Christie Lagally

Senior Scientist

Christie holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and a bachelor’s in organizational psychology. She has worked as a mechanical engineer on diverse projects, including space- and ground-based telescopes, natural gas engines, roller coasters, and commercial aircraft. She joined The Good Food Institute from Boeing, where she worked as a mechanical engineer and technical project manager on the 777 and 777X programs. Christie is a Washington state council member for The Humane Society of the United States, a co-founder of the Humane Voters of Washington, and a Fellow at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Liz Specht, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist

Liz holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Johns Hopkins University, a doctorate in biological sciences from the University of California, San Diego, and postdoctoral research experience from the University of Colorado Boulder. Liz is a Fellow with the University of Colorado at Boulder Sustainability Innovation Lab. She has a decade of academic research experience in synthetic biology, recombinant protein expression, and development of genetic engineering tools. Liz firmly believes in the potential of bioengineering and synthetic biology to solve many of the planet’s most pressing concerns, starting with animal agriculture. She works to identify and address areas of need for plant-based and cultured scientific innovation and encourages funding agencies to prioritize research that moves this field forward.

Erin Rees Clayton, Ph.D.

Scientific Foundations Liaison

Erin earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from DePauw University before going on to obtain a Master’s in Public Health in epidemiology from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in genetics from Duke University. She has ten years of research experience focused on a variety of topics, including molecular biology, nutrition, poverty, and social disparity. Erin seeks out funding opportunities for plant-based and clean agriculture research, and she is also working to establish a dedicated plant-based and clean food lab at a top research university in the United States. 

Brianna Cameron

Business Analyst

A public health professional with an academic background in tissue engineering research, Brianna most recently worked at Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant on a variety of health care projects. She holds a Masters of Public Health from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University. Brianna's work at GFI is focused on launching new plant-based and clean meat companies and helping start-ups be as successful as possible.

Gustavo Guadagnini

Managing Director, Brazil

Gustavo lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil and is focused on developing and promoting Brazil's plant-based food industry. He has experience as a start-up strategist and is involved in the Brazilian entrepreneurship community. Gustavo worked with the Whirlpool Corporation for seven years, and he has a background in project management, product development, and marketing. He holds a bachelors degree in Business from Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.

Reannon Branchesi

Operations Director

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Reannon has more than a decade of nonprofit management experience working primarily to reform animal agriculture. She is also the founder of Generation Veggie, an online community that supports plant-based families by providing resources on how to raise plant-based kids. Reannon supports The Good Food Institute's mission to create a healthy, humane, and sustainable food supply by keeping our work organized and efficient and providing programmatic support across the organization.

Emily Byrd

Senior Communications Specialist

Emily grew up in hog country, North Carolina, sailing and swimming in one of the most endangered rivers in the United States. Consequently, she developed a keen interest in the links between animal agriculture, environmental destruction, nutritional choices, and social change. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism, she worked as a writer and editor for Food News Media, reporting on the food industry and the structures that govern it. Emily has also volunteered with a number of organizations seeking to connect low-income families with sustainable plant-based foods and nutritional education. As communications manager, Emily is dedicated to discovering the misconceptions that keep the food system from functioning sustainably and remedying them with accurate information.

Cameron Meyer Shorb

Innovation Coordinator

Cameron holds a degree in biology with distinction from Carleton College. He has interned and worked for several nonprofit organizations, including Animal Charity Evaluators and Citizens for Farm Animal Protection, a project of the Humane Society of the United States. Cameron enables GFI to achieve its mission as rapidly as possible by finding the best talent to grow our team.

Toube Benedetto

Executive Assistant

Toube (pron. "Toby") brings more than 15 years of executive assistant experience from tech startups and the banking industry to GFI. She is passionate about creating a healthier, more compassionate world and serves as a consultant for California State University and Chico’s Town Hall Meeting program on the topic of the humane treatment of animals. Toube also holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Milena Esherick, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor

After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in economics, Milena went on to earn a doctorate in psychology from the Wright Institute, where she developed expertise in dietary behavior change. Milena currently holds an academic position as director of counseling psychology at the Wright Institute. She has also partnered with a number of nonprofit organizations to promote the wide-ranging benefits of a plant-strong diet. Milena is a California state councilmember for The Humane Society of the United States and speaks nationally on the psychology of dietary and social change.

Jaime Surenkamp

Senior Advisor

Jaime graduated with honors from Longwood University in Virginia. Shortly thereafter she moved to California and began a career in corporate sales. Jaime’s experience is focused in the restaurant and hospitality industry, having worked with industry leaders such as OpenTable, Daiya Foods and HotSchedules. She is encouraged by the growing focus of putting plants at the center of the plate, and as an advisor to GFI, she helps to connect chefs and restaurant operators with leading innovators and innovations in plant-based and “clean” (i.e., cultured) meat, dairy, and eggs.

Jamie Macfarlane

Communications Advisor

Jamie Macfarlane is a political and brand communications specialist and is currently completing an MBA at Stanford Business School. He spent five years with communications group WPP, where he ran election campaigns across the world. He served as a high level communications advisor to the Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Croatia and led the digital campaign of the democracy movement in Cambodia. Jamie also has extensive experience working with major consumer brands, designing advertising campaigns for Unilever, Carlsberg, Red Bull, and GSK. Jamie supports GFI through engaging in social science research and by representing us in social science coalitions related to plant based and clean meat research.

Jacqueline Kravette

Senior Advisor

As an advisor to GFI, Jacqueline assists restaurants and wholesale distributors with improving and expanding their plant-based offerings. She has enjoyed a diverse career spanning both public and private sectors, most recently as a Senior Account Executive for Open Table, working with local and national restaurant chains as well as independent operators. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Virginia.

Michael Sheehan

Innovation Intern

Michael is an entrepreneur and student who is currently pursuing a degree in Business Management, specializing in Entrepreneurship, at the University of Maryland. He co-founded Citizens of Earth, an organization that works to foster sustainable food production and create edible landscapes. In 2014, he received his certification as a Permaculture Designer from the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. Michael is passionate about living a sustainable, plant-based lifestyle. 

Gibb Anella

Corporate Engagement Intern

Gibb is a student at the University of CaliforniaSan Diego where he is pursuing a double major in Mathematics and Economics. He read Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation in a philosophy class his freshman year and came to realize how incorporating more plant-based options has immense benefits to human health, animal welfare, and the environment. He is excited to combine his passions for sustainability and innovation by helping The Good Food Institute get more plant-based options in stores and restaurants.

Nick Tallant

Corporate Engagement Intern

Nick is currently pursuing a master's degree in Environmental Science & Policy at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Growing up in rural East Texas, Nick developed a love of the outdoors and a curiosity about the natural world. He combined his passions for research and environmentalism and aims to work at the intersection of markets, food production, and environmental policy. 

Camila Cossio

Legal Fellow

Camila is an Animal Law L.L.M. Candidate at Lewis & Clark Law School. She received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law '16 and her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Houston '12. She is a recipient of the Animal Law Leadership Award from Lewis & Clark Law School and was a Public Service Scholar at the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law. Camila has previously interned and worked pro bono for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Animal Welfare Institute, and the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense. She served as a Litigation Fellow for Compassion Over Killing.

Robin Nagele

Legal Intern

Robin is a law student at Arizona State University, where she is focusing on environmental law and sustainable development. Prior to law school, Robin earned her B.S. in Animal Science and Agribusiness from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and worked in sales for a produce company.

Natalie Kelly

Legal Fellow

Natalie earned her J.D. From Boston College Law School in 2016 and her B.A. in English and Political Science from Boston College in 2013. She has a deep love for animals and is dedicated to advocating for their legal rights and care. Natalie also currently works as an intern in the dog behavior department at the Peninsula Humane Society. She is thrilled to be able to use her legal background in service of animals, the environment, and the future of food.

Miranda Grizio

Research Fellow

Miranda is a food scientist working in R&D for the natural foods industry who has won several new product awards, including a Vegetarian Times Foodie Award. She holds a master’s degree in Food Science from Kansas State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in International Development from Tulane University. Miranda also volunteers at Compatible Technology International providing technical assistance for food processing projects in developing countries to improve the incomes and nutrition of smallholder farmers and their families. At GFI, she supports food entrepreneurs and scientists interested in plant-based foods by researching plant-based ingredient functionality. 

Julie Massa

Science and Technology Fellow

Julie graduated from Rowan University with a B.A. in Communications and B.S. in Biology. Shortly after, she received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Wilmington University and taught middle and high school life and physical sciences. Julie currently teaches adults with intellectual disabilities and educates others about cruelty-free lifestyle choices through blogging, social media, mentoring, and volunteer work. Julie uses her knowledge of science and animal agriculture, as well as her educational experiences, to inform and inspire others to make informed, compassionate, and environmentally-friendly choices.

Yad Jayanth

Science and Technology Intern

Yad is an experienced software professional with a passion for animal rights and the environment. Armed with an insatiable curiosity, Yad aims to be a part of the solution to the big problems that earthlings face. As an intern at GFI, Yad envisions using technology to tackle these problems and bring positive change to the world's many varied residents.

Valentin Waschulin

Science and Technology Intern

Based in Denmark, Valentin is a biotechnology MSc from the University of Copenhagen. Led by the conviction that a more humane and sustainable future of animal products is possible and motivated by the social isolation felt as a vegan at barbecues, he wants to use his knowledge to help bring about the cellular agriculture revolution.


Khaled bin Alwaleed

HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, an advocate of animal rights and a proponent of healthy living, believes in a bevy of clean and green methodologies. Khaled, having enthusiastically adopted a vegan lifestyle and energy efficient alternatives, is an avid healthpreneur. As a business figure, a technology enthusiast, and the founding chairman of KBW Investments, Khaled has holdings on five continents. He invests in diverse global businesses and early-stage ventures, including those in advanced technology and clean energy, at the intersection of innovation and economic stability. A member of the Saudi Arabian royal family, Khaled is a motivated spokesperson for entrepreneurs in the Middle East and endeavors to educate on animal rights while advocating the benefits of sustainability and going green. In his capacity as chairman of the elected Saudi Green Building Forum Trustee Board, he works to advance Saudi Arabia’s green building targets.

Josh Balk

Josh Balk is co-founder of Hampton Creek, one of the fastest-growing food technology companies in the marketplace today. Josh works full time at The Humane Society of the United States where he helps build start-up companies in the food tech arena. He also works with the world’s largest food companies, such as Walmart, McDonald’s, and Starbucks, to create more humane, sustainable purchasing policies. The New York Times, Fortune magazine, and CNN are among the many media outlets to spotlight his work.

Ryan Bethencourt

Since Ryan Bethencourt co-founded Indie Bio in 2014, he and his team have funded 42 biotech startups, including companies building the post-animal bioeconomy: Clara Foods, Memphis Meats, Gelzen, New Wave, and Pembient. Previously, Ryan headed the Life Sciences Prize Group at the XPRIZE Foundation and co-founded Berkeley Biolabs in addition to serving as its CEO. He is co-founder of Sudo Room, Counter Culture Labs, Lab Launch, and The Open Source Insulin Project as well. Ryan also helped catalyze the early biohacker movement starting in 2008.

Kevin Boylan

Kevin Boylan is co-founder and co-chairman of Veggie Grill, the largest plant-based restaurant company in the United States. He is also a founding partner of Powerplant Ventures, which invests in emerging growth companies that deliver better nutrition in more sustainable and ethical ways by making it easier and more enjoyable to consume plant-based products. Kevin spent the first 10 of his more than 25 years in finance at investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert as senior vice president and the subsequent 15 years at his own firm, Standard Capital Group. 

Asheem Chandna

Asheem Chandna is a partner at Greylock Partners where he assists entrepreneurs in creating and building the next generation of enterprise companies. He has helped establish and grow multiple businesses to market-leading positions. Asheem has appeared on the Forbes Midas list of top technology investors for the past several years.  

Michael Christie

Michael Christie is a patent and trade mark attorney with a technical background in biotechnology. He assists entrepreneurs and start-ups through to large research institutes and multinational corporations to identify, protect, and enforce their inventions. Before working as a patent attorney, Michael worked as a post-doctoral scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Tuebingen, Germany and as a commercialization analyst at an Australian technology transfer company. Michael holds a bachelor's degree in biotechnology (with honors), a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, a Masters Degree in Intellectual Property, and a Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialization.

Liz Dee

Liz Dee is changing the conversation about food production and sustainable business through her dynamic experiential base as a company executive, ethical vegan, and angel investor. As co-owner and executive vice president of Smarties Candy Company and CEO of Baleine & Bjorn Capital LLC, Liz provides unique insights into the future of food production, agro-business safety, and the shifting trajectory toward conscious business models. Liz has been featured on CNN Money and in The New York TimesThe Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star, among other publications. She shares updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Brad Goldberg

Brad Goldberg spent 35 years in investment management as an executive vice president, portfolio manager, and head of the value and balanced account segment of Jennison Associates, a subsidiary of Prudential Financial. He is a certified financial analyst. Brad founded Animal Welfare Trust in 2001, which provides grants to students and organizations, and is chair of HEART, a humane education organization. Brad helped establish the Animal Studies Initiative at NYU and the Animal Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.

Alinta Hawkins

Alinta Hawkins is co-founder of the ARK Foundation, which donates to and invests in environmental projects, animal welfare charities, and other compassionate causes. She also co-owns a plant-based restaurant in Bahrain, helps create and sustain animal shelters around the world, and serves as the voice of animals across the Middle East. Alinta is passionate about natural health, well-being, animals, and the environment.

Winnie Lam

Winnie is the "Water Captain and Air Pilot" at Google. She is responsible for environmental initiatives, with a focus on data centers' environmental footprint. Since joining Google in 2004, Winnie has won several Founder's Award and Executive Management Awards, recognizing her contributions to Google's top achievements. Winnie is also an avid champion for animals.  She successfully advocated for the ban of elephant ivory products to be sold through Google. She advises several charities on using technology to further conservation, including World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy. For three years, she recruited Google employees to volunteer on a turtle conservation project in Belize, with scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Chuck Laue

Chuck Laue is vice chairman of Asurion, responsible for global underwriting and insurance operations as well as key client executive relationships. Chuck is on the board of the Great Plains SPCA and The Humane Society of the United States, and is a co-founder and board director of The Quinn Foundation and Ringo's Fund, private foundations focused on animal welfare. Chuck sits on the board of IRL Holdings in Mexico City and is also managing partner of Quinn Capital, a private investment firm focused on insurance assets. He and his wife, Jennifer, co-founded Stray Dog Capital, which focuses on mission-centric direct investment in food and technology companies with vegan and animal advocacy business models.

Michael Pellman Rowland

Michael Pellman Rowland is an SVP for The Vector Group at Morgan Stanley. Michael also writes a column for Forbes, discussing the future of food. Michael's passion centers around improving our food system to address the world's most pressing problems.

Craig Phillips

Craig Phillips has held leadership positions in foodservice for decades. These include director of purchasing and corporate director of strategic planning at U.S. Foodservice Inc., and vice president of purchasing for Metz Culinary Management, a top 20 management company running foodservice operations in college, hospital, K–12, and other segments, as well as franchisee restaurants and hotels. Craig is especially interested in helping plant-based companies better understand the needs of foodservice companies.

Mark Post, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor Mark Post has taught for the KNAW Interuniversity Cardiology Institute of the Netherlands, Harvard Medical School, and Dartmouth Medical School. Since 2002, he has served as professor of vascular physiology at Maastricht University and professor of angiogenesis in tissue engineering at the Technical University Eindhoven. Since 2008, he has worked on creating "clean" meat (i.e., cultured meat), including a highly publicized project to produce a clean meat hamburger, which was funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Matt Prescott

Matthew Prescott is Senior Food Policy Director for The Humane Society of the United States. For over a decade and a half, Prescott has spearheaded efforts to reform our food system and global diet. His work has led to sweeping changes in the supply chains of over 100 major food companies and impacted countless individuals' diets. Prescott is a leading figure in the global movement to reform the way we farm and eat-he's a sought-after speaker, published writer and thought leader on the topic, having lectured and spoken at Ivy League universities, Fortune 500 food companies, and more.

Alicia Robb

Alicia Robb is a senior fellow with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She is also founder and CEO of Next Wave Ventures, which has launched two angel funds and training programs focused on bringing more women into angel investing. Alicia is a visiting scholar with the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is founder and former executive director and board chair of the Foundation for Sustainable Development, an international development organization. Alicia currently serves on the board of the National Advisory Council for Minority Business Enterprise, the Advisory Board for Global Entrepreneurship Week, and the Deming Center Venture Fund. She is also a guest contributor to outlets such as The Huffington Post and Forbes.

Chris Roth

Chris Roth has more than 14 years of finance experience and more than nine years of experience as a financial advisor to wealthy families. He is currently a senior advisor and founding partner at Delegate Advisors, an independent wealth advisory firm based in San Francisco, California, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. As a senior advisor, Chris works directly with families to provide them investment advice and family office services. Previously, Chris worked directly with the former COO and president of a very successful Silicon Valley company as a consultant to his family office on a portfolio of direct investments. Prior to that, Chris was a manager at Brownson, Rehmus, and Foxworth (BRF), a multi-family office based for wealthy families. He has also worked in Strategic Planning for Accenture and Equity Research for JP Morgan Asset Management. Chris holds a bachelor of science cum laude with a double concentration in finance and accounting from Georgetown University. He is also a CFA® charterholder.

Maggie Sadowsky

As founder of The Culinary Architects, Maggie transforms food categories and innovates products. She is focused on shifting the way people eat and is considered a thought leader in natural, organic, and plant based solutions. She has influenced and launched more than 100 successful products in her 20 years in the CPG industry. Maggie is a Certified Food Scientist from the Institute of Food Technologists and holds a B.S. in Food Science from The Ohio State University.

Chad Sarno

Chad Sarno is vice president of Plant-Based Wellness at Rouxbe online culinary school. Previously, Chad launched a boutique plant-based restaurant brand throughout Europe, developed innovative health and wellness initiatives as culinary media spokesperson for Whole Foods Market’s global healthy eating program, and partnered with numerous physicians to bring culinary education into the forefront of the wellness and prevention conversation. Chad is co-author of Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution and co-creator with his brother of, an online community sharing simple recipes and food inspiration.  

Derek Sarno

Derek Sarno is Whole Foods Market’s senior global executive chef, overseeing national recipe and product development, training team members on healthy eating initiatives, and catering all of the company’s leadership dinners and major executive board events. Derek is founder of a sustainable farm and learning center and former owner of several critically acclaimed restaurants and catering businesses. Derek is also co-founder with his brother of, a thriving plant-based community with a large social media following that inspires increased plant consumption.

Kurt Schmidinger, Ph.D.

Kurt Schmidinger is a geophysicist and earned a doctorate in food science in Vienna, focusing his dissertation on "clean" (i.e., cultured) and plant-based alternatives to animal products. In 2005, he founded the project Future Food, which gathers and presents a worldwide portfolio of alternatives to animal products for human nutrition, as well as possible future technologies for food production, such as biofermentation and clean meat.

Paul Shapiro

Paul Shapiro is the vice president of policy engagement at The Humane Society of the United States, the founder of Compassion Over Killing, and the author of Clean Meat (being published in fall 2017).

Ajit Singh, Ph.D.

Ajit Singh is a partner at Artiman Ventures, an early-stage Silicon Valley-based venture fund that invests in white space companies that create or disrupt multibillion-dollar markets. Ajit focuses on early-stage technology and life science investments. He is also a consulting professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University and serves on the board of directors of Max Healthcare based in New Delhi, India.

Shen Tong

Shen Tong is a serial entrepreneur and impact investor. He has more than 30 food innovation investments in addition to media tech and other high-tech investments. Shen is founder and managing partner of Food Future. One of Newsweek’s 1989 People of the Year, he was an organizer of the democracy movement that occupied Tiananmen Square while he was at Beijing University. After his exile to the U.S., he finished his undergraduate degree at Brandeis University and went on to doctoral programs at Boston University and Harvard University. Shen became an entrepreneur in the 1990s, founding B&B Media and VFinity and serving on directorial and advisory boards, including those for Food Tank, Change Food, and Poets & Writers. He founded FOOD-X in 2014 and is also a venture partner of SOSV, the accelerator VC and a global multi-stage venture capital fund.

Uma Valeti, M.D.

Uma Valeti, M.D., is CEO of the "clean" (i.e., cultured) meat company Memphis Meats and is laser focused on advancing the commercial viability of meat farmed directly from real meat cells. A cardiologist by training, Uma believes that meat that is safe and sustainable should be good for the body and the soul. Uma has extensive business experience and is an investor in a variety of food and tech companies. In addition to his many contributions in health sciences, he wants his biggest contribution to be leading the development of a profitable and a world positive future food system. Fun fact: Uma has rescued several people in cardiac arrest.

Susan Vitka

Susan Vitka brings more than three decades of experience as a strategic financial adviser to clients in the private and social benefit sectors. Her clients have consisted of startups, Fortune 100 companies, and sovereign wealth funds, among others. She is an active early stage investor and adviser, with particular interest in life sciences, nutrition and agriculture, and the environment. Susan has served on numerous boards in the U.S. and abroad, including those of Women for Women International, Women for Women International UK (as founding chair), Physicians for Human Rights, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, and several family foundations. 

Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch is co-author, with husband, Jack Welch, of international best sellers The Real Life MBA and Winning. She is also author of New York Times best seller 10-10-10: A Life Transforming Idea. Her career expertise and perceptive commentary have made her a regular contributor on The TODAY Show and Bulls & Bears. Suzy, a vegan and longtime animal rights supporter, currently serves on the board of directors of The Humane Society of the United States and is a mother of four. 

Eron Zehavi

Eron Zehavi is the founder and CEO of WellNest, an on-demand platform that provides in-home health and wellness services with trained professionals. Prior to WellNest, he was the co-founder and chief rewards officer of Swagbucks, the web's largest and most engaged rewards and loyalty community, with more than $100 million in distributed rewards upon his departure. Eron is also a socially conscious consultant and investor with a focus on food education and reform, having worked with the Food Revolution Network and Thrive Market. He is committed to his family and friends and creating a happy, healthy, harmonious, and compassionate world.

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