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-trustee of New Crop Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in plant-based and "clean meat" companies (NewCropCapital.com). Recent publications, presentations, and interviews: https://works.bepress.com/bruce_friedrich/
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.
Nicole served as an Associate Professor of Law at the Valparaiso University School of Law from 2011-2016. As a law professor, her teaching and research focused on food law and policy, agricultural law, and sustainability. Nicole serves on the Food & Drug Law Journal Editorial Advisory Board and is a founding member of the Academy of Food Law & Policy. She is also a co-founder and Vice-Chair of the Northwest Indiana Food Council, whose mission is to build a just, sustainable, and thriving locally-oriented food system. Nicole graduated magna cum laude from the University of New Hampshire Law School and earned a master’s degree in Peace and Development Studies from the University of Limerick, Ireland.
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 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 columnist for City Living Seattle newspaper.
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. Dr. Specht 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 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.
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.
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 and executive director 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.
Toube (pronounced "Tobey") 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.
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 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 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.
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.
Lauren recently earned her Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree from Vermont Law School, where she concentrated in food and agriculture policy. Prior to her graduate studies, she earned her B.A. in Sociology from Stonehill College, where she volunteered with The Farm at Stonehill as well as several other nonprofit organizations working to relieve food insecurity in nearby food deserts. Lauren wholeheartedly believes that good health begins with access to sustainable, nutritious food and seeks to make this an attainable right for all people.
Jake is from Portland, Oregon where he learned the value of good food. He studied economics at the University of Oregon, researching the market structure of food carts in Portland, and the economic benefits of innovative technology business in the Willamette Valley. Jake is currently a law student at UCLA, where he focuses on applying the legal tools of local, equitable economic development to the modern food industry and its interconnected global systems.
Lena Tachdjian is a certified nutritionist and a writer, splitting her time between Armenia and Canada. She mainly writes about food, culture, travel, and the plant-based revolution.
Tatiana is currently pursuing a masters degree in environmental engineering and science at Stanford University where she also serves as director of events for the People for Animal Welfare student organization. As a GFI Research Fellow, Tatiana works to identify and evaluate plant-based protein sources.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 WickedHealthyFood.com, an online community sharing simple recipes and food inspiration.
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 WickedHealthyFood.com, a thriving plant-based community with a large social media following that inspires increased plant consumption.
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.
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 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.
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 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.