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 Matt Ball at

Bruce Friedrich

Co-Founder & 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 is a popular speaker on college campuses and has delivered presentations on food innovation at most of the nation's top universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. Bruce has co-authored two books, including the forthcoming Clean Protein: The Revolution That Will Reshape Your Body, Boost Your Energy—and Save Our Planet with New York Times bestselling author Kathy Freston, contributed chapters to five books, and authored seven law review articles.

Jessica Almy, Esq.

Director of Policy

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. 

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. Alison works with leading foodservice companies, supermarkets, and restaurants to help increase the quality and quantity of plant-based products available on the market. 

David Welch, Ph.D.

Director of Science and Technology

David holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in plant developmental cell biology from Utrecht University. He has more than fifteen years' experience in the life science industry, including the product development, market development and commercialization of cells, scaffolds, cell reprogramming tools and cell culture media for regenerative medicine and bioprocessing applications. At GFI, David combines his background in plant biology and regenerative medicine to help companies and academic research institutions accelerate the development of plant-based and clean meat alternatives to animal products.

Nicole Rawling, Esq.

Director of International Engagement

Nicole has a B.S. in international affairs from Georgetown School of Foreign Service. After earning a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law, she spent eight years at an international law firm advising Fortune 500 companies and executives on white collar and securities issues. Nicole left the law firm to work with animal protection nonprofits in both litigation and governance. She has also served on the board of directors of six nonprofits and fostered almost 300 animals. Nicole is working to bring The Good Food Institute's efforts worldwide and plant seeds for the good-food movement around the globe. 

Brad Barbera

Director of Innovation

Brad has thirty years of experience bringing innovative products and ideas to market in a wide variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, ergonomic devices, and food. While he has worked with major brands like Walgreens, Kraft, and Jergens, his most recent work has focused on helping start-ups, small businesses, and nonprofits strategically out-innovate their larger rivals. Brad has a B.A. in economics and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. At GFI, he supports the development and growth of businesses in the plant-based and clean meat market sectors.

Annie Cull

Director of Communications

Annie leads GFI’s team of passionate and creative communicators. She brings more than 20 years of strategic communications, public relations, and marketing experience to her role -- including time at a nonprofit, in the private sector, and at multiple Fortune 500 companies. Annie’s path to GFI started when she discovered the transformative power of capital markets through her work at Calvert Investments, a pioneering sustainable investment firm, and crystallized after managing public relations for Whole Foods Market in the mid-Atlantic region. Annie earned a master’s in Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University and has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Reannon Branchesi

Director of Operations

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.

Amy Shepherd, Esq.

General Counsel and Director of Finance

Amy earned her B.A. in economics from the University of California, Davis, and her law degree from the University of California, Hastings. After law school, she clerked for the Hon. Philip M. Pro of the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. She then worked for four years at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before moving on to a variety of in-house legal positions addressing finance, compliance, corporate governance, and regulatory issues at for-profit corporations, institutes of higher education, and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining GFI, she spent five years as Deputy General Counsel and then General Counsel of a large manufacturing trade association in the Washington, D.C. area.

Clare Bland

Director of Development

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 the United States’ leading farmed animal protection group before joining the team at GFI. 

Varun Deshpande

Managing Director, India

Varun lives in Mumbai, India and studied at Carnegie Mellon University. He brings experience in healthcare, entrepreneurship, technology, venture capitalism, and knowledge of India's plant-based market to expand GFI’s operations in India. Varun also invests in and serves on the board of a number of Asian technology companies and is assisting them with entering the Indian market. He is also working on establishing an Effective Altruism Foundation in India. 

Gus 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.

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 works to identify and address areas of need for plant-based and clean meat 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. 

Allison Berke, Ph.D.

Academic Research Advisor

Allison Berke received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley, B.S. degrees in math and biology from MIT, and previously worked in biomedical- and security-focused consulting with McKinsey & Co. She has experience managing research, education, and outreach activities as the Executive Director of the Stanford Cyber Initiative and teaches CS181 at Stanford (Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy). At GFI, Allison advises academic research and education initiatives related to clean meat and plant-based meat alternatives.

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. With GFI, Joanna lobbies on behalf of the plant-based and clean meat industries. 

Isaac Emery, Ph.D.

Senior Environmental Scientist

At GFI, Isaac studies the significant environmental and human health impacts of industrial animal agriculture and evaluates the reduced impact of plant-based and clean meat. He holds a B.A. in biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology from Whitman College and a Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University. Isaac has more than a decade of research experience in biomedical science and life cycle assessment of energy and agricultural systems. As a multidisciplinary scientist, he has a passion for discovering and communicating the most effective and efficient ways to reduce the adverse impacts of our diets.

Keri Szejda, Ph.D.

Senior Consumer Research Scientist

At GFI, Keri’s research advances the plant-based and clean meat market sectors by generating effective messaging that helps consumers make healthy, humane, and sustainable food choices. She is also a Visiting Scholar with the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU). Keri earned her Ph.D. in Communication from ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and completed postdoctoral work in Science Communication with ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

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.

Aylon Steinhart

Business Innovation Specialist

Aylon graduated cum laude from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and has co-founded two startups, Photopaz (now part of DigiLabs Inc.) and BrideBox. At GFI, Aylon uses his expertise in entrepreneurship, go-to-market strategy, marketing, and business development to help entrepreneurs launch the next generation of good food startups. He brings significant business leadership experience to GFI and has worked with companies such as Kellogg's, Applebee's, and Nestle.

Emily Byrd

Senior Communications Specialist

Emily is a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and a former writer and editor for Food News Media, where she reported on the food industry and the structures that govern it. Emily has volunteered with a number of organizations seeking to connect low-income families with sustainable plant-based foods and nutritional education. As GFI's senior communications specialist, Emily shares the story of the good-food future and works with food startups on media strategy. 

Matt Ball

Senior Media Relations Specialist

Matt has graduate degrees in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University and in forest ecology from the University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign, which he earned during his tenure as a Department of Energy Global Change Fellow. Prior to grad school, he was an engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton and Pratt & Whitney. Matt left CMU’s Ph.D. program in environmental engineering to pursue advocacy full-time, and he went on to found two nonprofit organizations and to work for and advise several others. Matt has spoken on environmental and animal issues around the world and has written two books.

Rose Convery

Senior Creative Manager

Rose is a classically trained designer with experience maintaining brand and evolving design, setting up and running in-house studios, and collaborating with teams, stakeholders, and vendors to bring ideas and strategies to life. She is passionate about GFI's mission to change the world by transforming animal agriculture, and she develops graphic designs and creative materials to empower that mission. Rose graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a BFA in graphic design.

Zak Weston

Corporate Engagement Specialist

An active member of the Effective Altruism community, Zak holds a B.A. in Business Management from Cedarville University, and joined GFI after several years of experience in sales and working with start-ups. He works with leading grocery, foodservice, and restaurant companies to help increase the quality and quantity of their plant-based product offerings. 

Brittany Chambers

Senior Development Manager

Brittany has spent her career developing innovative pathways of fundraising and constituent engagement for the advancement of the nonprofit world. She came to GFI from Keuka College, where she served as the Director of Alumni Relations and Development, connecting a broad base of diverse constituents to causes that inspire philanthropic support. Brittany volunteers on several nonprofit boards, primarily as fundraising strategy counsel. Brittany holds a master’s degree in management from Keuka College, where she studied the science behind building a culture of philanthropy, and a bachelor of arts degree in history and communications from SUNY Cortland.

Tracy Grade

Development and Operations Coordinator

With more than 15 years of experience in development, operations, and finance, Tracy ensures that GFI runs smoothly behind-the-scenes. She has expertly managed offices, databases, accounts, and spreadsheets for many years and is thrilled to live her values by supporting a good food future. Tracy holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Washington-Seattle.

Cameron Meyer Shorb

Team Expansion Leader

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.

Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D.

Team Expansion Leader

Andrew has worked as a recruiter, nonprofit administrator, college professor, and director of a postgraduate university writing center. The founder of a plant-based nutrition bar company, he also volunteers as a writer, speaker, advocate, and fundraiser for healthy, humane, and sustainable food. At GFI, he recruits and interviews talent to build our team. Andrew holds a bachelor's degree in political science from The George Washington University, a master's degree in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University, and a doctorate in administrator leadership from Walden University. 

Anastasia Orth

Team Expansion Leader

Anastasia graduated with honors from the University of California at Berkeley where she studied sociology. After several years in sales, she began recruiting for startups in Silicon Valley where she witnessed first-hand the power of technology and its ability to transform long-established industries and practices. Inspired by the possibilities for growth and innovation in the plant-based industry, Anastasia brings her skills and passion to GFI where she helps discover and attract top talent to the organization.

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.

Marie Gibbons

Research Fellow, MS Student

Marie is conducting clean meat research at Harvard Medical School under Dr. George Church with the support of GFI's REAP Grant funding. She is a MS Physiology student at North Carolina State University with a BS in Zoology, minor in Psychology, and 10 years of veterinary experience. She also serves as a New Harvest Research Fellow. Marie is using her passion for animal welfare and interest in medical science to explore and promote the cellular behavior needed for large-scale muscle cell production in bioreactors using serum-free media.

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.

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. Milena organizes meetups for good-food entrepreneurs and advises GFI on consumer behavior. 

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.

Emma Lucas

Corporate Engagement Intern

Emma is a student at the University of Miami majoring in exercise physiology with a minor in chemistry. She found her passion for a plant-based and active lifestyle after taking a nutrition class two years ago. She's excited to intern with GFI and help meat alternative products become more mainstream. 

Adam W. Jones

Corporate Engagement Intern

Adam is a third-year student at Drexel University currently pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Passionate about conscious capitalism and global sustainability, he plans to assist in pioneering the social shift to a more sustainable approach to the current food system. Eventually, Adam would like to found his own venture in the plant-based realm.

Susan Burns

Legal Fellow

Susan is a business strategist and attorney at Susan Burns LLC. She speaks on legal matters (her favorite topic is using legal to increase your business bottom line), and is a Huffington Post contributor; she has been interviewed by NYTimes, the BBC, The Guardian, and CNN and contributes to other media outlets. Susan serves as co-chair of the Mexico Committee for the American Bar Association Section of International Law and is a regular speaker and contributor to the Year-In-Review. In addition to holding a JD, Susan is completing her LLM in Agriculture & Food Law at the University of Arkansas. She joins GFI to focus on regulatory pathways for clean meat in Mexico.

Charlie Palladino

Legal Fellow

Charlie earned his J.D. from Georgetown Law and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Ashland University with a B.A. in Philosophy. Prior to joining GFI, Charlie worked at the Georgetown Climate Center, where he researched climate change adaptation strategies for local governments preparing for potential climate-related issues.  At GFI, he assists in identifying regulatory pathways for clean meat.

Nicole Manu

Legal Intern

Nicole is a third-year student at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University where she is Managing Justice of Moot Court Board as well as an oral advocate on Scalia Law’s Jessup International Moot Court team. Prior to law school, Nicole studied psychology and sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and started working for the Law Offices of Elling & Elling immediately after graduating. Nicole has continued to work at Elling & Elling throughout law school while gaining additional legal experience through various internships.

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 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. 

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.

Colleen Deyo

Science and Technology Intern

Colleen is a student at Cornell University, where she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Food Science. She is passionate about using food science to develop more sustainable and nutritious products. At GFI, she supports the Science and Technology team by uncovering information about plant proteins. 

Harriet Arnold

Science and Technology Intern

Harriet graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Biology, a minor in Environmental Studies, and a passion for food sustainability. She has worked with GFI to explore novel plant protein sources viable for utilization in plant-based meat, and is providing administrative support for the UC Berkeley Challenge Lab focused on plant-based meats for the Fall of 2017. She hopes to pursue a higher degree in Food Science and Technology in the future so she can work towards mitigating problematic causes of climate change, poor human health, and animal cruelty by providing healthier and more sustainable plant-based food options.

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. 

Advisory Council

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.

Aryenish Birdie

Aryenish Birdie is founder and executive director of Encompass, an organization working to foster racial diversity and inclusivity in the farmed animal protection movement. Prior to Encompass, Birdie was a federal lobbyist at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine promoting alternatives to animal experiments. She was part of a four-woman team instrumental in reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act to ensure that animal protection language was integrated into the law. Birdie completed her Master’s degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University. 

Yaron Bogin

Dr. Yaron Bogin serves as CEO of The Modern Agriculture Foundation (MAF), an Israeli non-profit organization that promotes the research, development, and commercialization of clean meat. Dr. Bogin holds a Ph.D. in cell biology from the Technion - Israel's Institute Technology - and also holds degrees from Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. MAF is a sister organization to GFI and works closely with GFI to advance clean meat as a viable way to feed the world.

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.

Jeremy Coller

Jeremy Coller is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Coller Capital, a leading global private equity firm. With offices in London, New York, and Hong Kong, Coller Capital has invested in approximately 16,000 private companies worldwide and has current assets under management of approximately $17 billion. Having founded the Coller Institute for Private Equity at the London Business School in 2008, Jeremy established the Coller Institute for Venture at Tel Aviv University in 2013. Most recently, he endowed the Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University.

The Jeremy Coller Foundation is also active in grantmaking, research, and strategic initiatives to end factory farming. JCF recently launched FAIRR, a collaborative investor network that shares research to raise awareness of the financial risks linked to the factory farming industry and mobilizes investors to engage with global food companies to improve practices. Since December 2015, FAIRR has signed up investors representing more than $4 trillion AUM.

Jeremy holds a BSc (Hons) in Management Sciences from the University of Manchester, UMIST and an MA in Philosophy from Sussex University. He attended Carmel College and the Diplôme Cours de Civilisation Française at the Sorbonne. In 2011, Jeremy was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the London Business School. In 2013, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Tel Aviv University.

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 co-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.

Nicole Negowetti

Nicole Negowetti is a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic. In 2016 - 2017, she served as GFI’s Policy Director. Nicole was an Associate Professor of Law at the Valparaiso University School of Law from 2011 - 2016. 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 of the Northwest Indiana Food Council, whose mission is to build a just, sustainable, and thriving locally-oriented food system.

Michael Pellman Rowland

Michael Pellman Rowland is Partner at Alpenrose Wealth Management International. 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.

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.

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. 

Arlin Wasserman

Arlin Wasserman is the founder of Changing Tastes, a consultancy that helps it clients find opportunity and realize value at the intersection of the five major drivers of change in our food system:  sustainability, public health, information technology, demographics, and the changing role of the culinary professional. While serving as the first Vice President of Sustainability at Sodexo, Arlin created the concept of plant-forward dining, which now serves as a major focus of culinary innovation in the restaurant industry. He also chairs the “Menus of Change” Sustainable Business Leadership Council for the Culinary institute of America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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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