Co-Founder OSC² ; CEO & Master Tea Blender
Numi Organic Tea
Ahmed Rahim is the Co-Founder, CEO and Chief Alchemist behind Numi Organic Tea, the largest premium, organic, Fair Trade Certified tea company in North America. Ahmed is responsible for all of the unique Numi blends and products the company introduces to the marketplace. He started the company in 1999 in Oakland, California with his sister, Reem Rahim Hassani.
At Numi, Ahmed travels to remote regions of the world seeking unique herbs and teas unknown in the United States, building partnerships with farmers and their communities. Numi has proudly benefited the farming community by increasing wages, sponsoring schools, hospitals, community centers, road construction and other needs to improve living standards in farming communities.
Ahmed and his sister Reem have been evolving their vision for Numi through the Numi Foundation, with initiatives that focus on local and global programs, acknowledging and addressing the challenges within their farming communities and in their backyard of Oakland, CA; from education to health and nutrition. Numi Foundation’s Together for H2OPE project is providing clean safe drinking water to farming communities across the globe.
Ahmed co-founded OSC2, One Step Closer to an Organic Sustainable Community, a national community of sustainable natural products CEOs and business leaders. OSC2 strives to leave earth and humanity in better condition than we found it by inspiring natural products leaders to work in innovative and collaborative ways toward positive change. The group addresses the toughest sustainability problems facing our industry and our planet by building new regenerative business models and agricultural systems
Ahmed sits on various for-profit and non-profit boards enhancing their growth and sustainability goals. Ahmed’s core goal is to be in service to those focused on caring for their community and creating positive change for our environment.
VP, People Operations
Amos Marvel formally began his human resources career in 1999 as the Manager of Training and Development at CarsDirect.com. Since then he has enjoyed progressive roles in entertainment, technology, retail, and non-profit award-winning companies such as The Home Depot, The Walt Disney Company, and Insomniac Games. In his most recent position as a Vice President of Global Resources, Amos was the Human Resources leader for a multinational company, overseeing, planning, organizing, and directing all aspects of human resource policy and practice, culminating in a Great Place to Work® certification.
Amos is currently the Vice President of People Operations at Thrive Market and is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He recently led the company’s initiative to offer 12 weeks of Paid Parental Leave for new mothers, Paid Parental Bonding of 4 weeks for significant others (including foster care, adoption, and legal guardianship), the implementation of All Voices to report unwanted harassment, as well as coordinated Thrive Market joining PledgeLA to collaborate with other LA tech companies and venture capitalists in improving diversity, equity and inclusion within their organizations and investments in Los Angeles. Amos is currently working with Thrive Market Leadership to create additional programs to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the company’s mission, values, and business practices.
Amos is SCP certified from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), PHR certified from the Human Resources Certification Institute, certified in Conflict Mediation from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and is an active member of SHRM and the Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA). He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree from California State University at Northridge and a Master’s degree in Executive Human Resources Management from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.
Caleb was accidentally hired as an assistant pastry chef at Ruppert’s Restaurant, in his hometown of Washington DC, when he was 16 years old, and hasn’t left the kitchen since. He has worked dish lines at national chains, service counters for independent butcher shops and front of the house for some of the best restaurants in the country (and some of the worst too). After graduating from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Globalization and Culture, Caleb interned with ProMujer in El Alto Bolivia, learning about microfinance in its infancy and bringing those programming lessons to bear at La Cocina when it opened its doors in 2005.
Since joining La Cocina, Caleb has had a hand in shaping the incubator program as it has achieved national recognition. Caleb’s work on the program curriculum and social entrepreneurship innovation has been celebrated by the Hitachi Foundation when they named him a Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneur and by Inc. Magazine’s recognition as one of 5 Community Organizers making a difference. More recently, Caleb was behind La Cocina’s San Francisco Street Food Festival and Conference which ultimately led to involvement in the legislation changes that brought increased mobile vending opportunities to San Francisco. He has been named one of San Francisco’s Tastemakers by 7×7 Magazine, though he might be as proud that before that he was named Best Waiter in San Francisco. Bilingual, a trained diversity leader, HACCP Certified and a California Food Safety Manager, Caleb’s combination of food industry experience and commitment to social justice is what helps defines La Cocina, recently named 2011 Best Small Businesses by the San Francisco Bay Gardian.
Caleb brings a love of food and a passion for social justice to La Cocina and a belief that everyone deserves an opportunity to make a living doing what they love to do.
SVP Content & Insights
Hew Hope Network
As the SVP of Content & Insights for New Hope Network, Carlotta oversees the content strategy for all of New Hope’s in-person, digital and print products serving suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, service providers, investors and consumers in the natural products industry. She is also the co-creator and lead editor of the NEXT Natural Products Industry Forecast, an annual trends and opportunities report for the food, CPG and food service industries. Carlotta is a frequent speaker on natural products issues and trends, and co-founder of a paleo snack company that was sold to 1908 Brands in 2016. In addition, Carlotta is the board president of Naturally Boulder, a nonprofit dedicated to nurturing and growing the Colorado natural products community.
VP of Talent
Cassie is the Vice President of Talent at VMG Partners, a growth equity firm which invests in consumer branded products such as KIND Snacks, Justin’s, Daily Harvest, Quest Nutrition, Bare Snacks, Stone Brewing…and many others. Prior to her tenure at VMG Partners, she did executive search at SPMB and various Operations and Talent roles at Goldman Sachs. She’s originally from Arizona where she completed her Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in Mathematics and Business. Outside of work, you’re likely to find her doing something outdoors (camping, hiking, tennis), with friends, celebrating with a delicious sour beer…and posting all of it to her Instagram story.
Founder & CEO
Something Better Foods
GW Chew, aka Chef Chew, is the founder of Something Better Foods and has been a vegan food inventor/restaurateur for over 10 years. He has traveled throughout America spreading the life-changing news of health with fun and creative classes. He has been featured on TED Talks, and he recently filmed his first television program, titled “Chew’s Challenge: 28 Days to Well-ness” on the Dare2Dream Network. He has a mission to lift people from health ills that are plaguing our communities.
Chairman of Gourd
Guayaki Yerba Mate
Chris got his BA in Economics from Harvard University but quickly realized that economics conveniently forgot about sustaining the environment and protecting people. Through his experience with Guayaki and previously with Natural Flavors, a 100% organic, vegan restaurant that employed 25 people and 60 local farmers, Chris is finding that by recognizing common purpose, seemingly disparate groups can integrate social justice, environmental restoration and economic success.
Regeneration & Sustainability Cebadora
Guayaki Yerba Mate
Gretchen has directed corporate sustainability for two natural product brands over the last seven years. Other experience includes co-founding and leading a corporate foundation, budget management for a national environmental nonprofit, serving on numerous nonprofit boards, environmental consulting, ecopsychology writing, and volunteering at a winery for 10 years. Gretchen is an advocate for personal regeneration and regenerative business as a solution to reversing climate change and social justice.
Cofounder & CEO
Once Upon A Farm
John Foraker recently left his role as President of Annie’s, Inc. and is a cofounder and CEO of Once Upon a Farm. He is a leading authority in the organic and natural foods industry. With more than 20 years of business experience and a sharp focus on sustainability and social responsibility, Foraker’s vision for growing Annie’s has always relied on transparent leadership and an over-arching commitment to creativity, innovation and honesty. In addition to his role as President, Foraker also leads within the greater General Mills organization as an advisor for the company’s small business incubator 301, Inc., a new venture group that invests in small promising companies.
Prior to assuming his role as President in October 2014, Foraker led investors to place growth capital into Annie’s in 1999, earning his title as Chairman of the Board. Beginning in 2004, Foraker led as Annie’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), taking Annie’s public under the BNNY symbol in 2012, just prior to the company’s buyout by General Mills, Inc. in October 2014.
A respected expert spokesperson in the organic and natural foods industry, Foraker has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes and Wall Street Journal, in addition to other platinum media outlets. Foraker has also shared his leadership and expertise with business owners and audiences at home in the Bay Area and across the country, addressing organizations like the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and the Nutrition Business Journal Conference, among others. Most recently, Foraker was awarded EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 in Northern California, recognizing his entrepreneurial excellence in the retail and consumer products category.
Prior to his tenure at Annie’s, Foraker served as Vice President at Bank of America, overseeing commercial banking client relationship management in the bank’s premium wine business portfolio. Foraker holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from the University of California, Davis and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
Joy Basu is currently an senior advisor to innovative food businesses and financial vehicles seeking authentic and impact-integrated growth. She was the first Chief of Staff at TPG Growth, where she served as an architect and engine of The Rise Fund. She was also The Rise Fund’s inaugural impact sector lead for food and agriculture. Prior to joining TPG, Joy was a consultant at McKinsey & Company; she focused on agricultural development, working with businesses, governments and donors to improve agricultural value chains in emerging markets. Joy served as project manager to the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture, and has closely supported strategic projects for the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency and Starbucks Coffee Company.
Joy earned her JD and MBA from Stanford University with a certificate in public management and social innovation; while at Stanford, she served as President of the Women of Stanford Law, a leader of the Afghanistan Legal Education Project and an Arbuckle Leadership Fellow. Joy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy and Economics from Duke University. She currently serves as a Trustee for the Heifer Foundation, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project. Born and raised in Illinois, Joy strives daily to be a mindful global citizen with strong Midwestern roots.
Cofounder & Executive Director
Lara works with leading brands in the Natural Foods industry as partner at Pluot Consulting. She deploys her 20 plus years of natural foods experience to work on executive level marketing, sales, and strategic planning with some of the most mission driven food companies in the world, including Alter Eco Foods, Numi Organic Tea, Nutiva, Jamba Juice, The Fruit Guys, Choice Lunch, and many others. She also serves as Executive Director and Co-Founder of OSC2 (One Step Closer to an Organic Sustainable Community), a group of founders and CEOs working together to support each other’s business growth and more sustainable food solutions. With OSC2, she has launched several industry collaboratives, including the OSC2 Compostable Packaging Collaborative, The Rising Star Chapter, and most recently, the Climate Collaborative.
Lara is a founder in the Climate Collaborative, a project of OSC2 and SFTA.
Lara was the CEO of LightFull Foods, VP Retail Sales & Marketing at Numi Organic Tea, and VP of Marketing at the Balance Bar Company, where she helped drive sales growth from $10M to $110M and sell it to Kraft Foods.
Lara has spoken on food trends, sustainability, and innovation at Natural Products Expo West, So Cap, SXSW Eco, Zero Waste Summit, SFTA, Bioneers, Net Impact, the Brower Center, and Esca Bona. Prior to her natural foods industry work, she was a product manager at Reckitt Benckiser. Lara received an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School, a BS in Finance from the University of Southern California and completed graduate work at Oxford. She lives in Piedmont, CA with her husband, three young children and 10 chickens.
Cofounder & CEO
Lisa Curtis is the Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli. Kuli Kuli is America’s leading moringa company with the highest quality moringa on the market. Moringa is more nutritious than kale and provides a complete plant protein. Over 60% of Americans say incorporating more vegetables into their diet is their #1 priority but only 4% of Americans are getting our recommended serving of veggies per day. Kuli Kuli’s delicious Moringa Superfood Bars, Pure Moringa Powder and Moringa Green Energy Shots make it easy for Americans to get their greens on the go while planting moringa trees and supporting women farmers worldwide.
Lisa began working on Kuli Kuli while in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. As a volunteer in her village’s health center, she gained a first-hand understanding of the common nutritional challenges faced in West African villages and how moringa can play a role in helping to address those challenges while providing Americans with a healthy new superfood. Prior to Kuli Kuli, Lisa served as the Communications Director at Solar Mosaic, wrote political briefings for President Obama in the White House and worked at an impact investment firm in India.
Founder & CEO
Global Diversity Leadership Exchange and ASBC Board Member Aparna Group
– Consultancy and strategic plan lead
As President and CEO of Ibis Communications, MaryAnne leads a team of consultants and creative professionals to connect visions with purpose to diverse communities through the integration of inclusive conversations, messaging and communications, branding, PR, direct, social and digital marketing, and strategic partnerships to deliver authentic social impact.
As Founder and CEO of the Global Diversity Leadership Exchange, MaryAnne leads a forum designed to facilitate an on-going dialogue with thought leaders, influencers and C-Suite executives who are at the nexus of inclusion and sustainability in the US, BRICS nations, and other emerging markets. The annual summits have been held at the New York Stock Exchange and in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters.
MaryAnne currently serves as Vice Chair on the board of the American Sustainable Business Council. The mission of American Sustainable Business Council is to advance public policies that ensure a vibrant, just, and sustainable economy. She is a past chair of Social Venture Network, the premiere organization of mission-driven social entrepreneurs who are transforming the way the world does business.
DEI Advisors-meets quarterly to support and guide progress, available to open doors, attend industry level launch, support networking and fundraising
Marketing & Communications Lead
OSC2 – Jedi Collaborative
Grace Rusch serves as the Marketing & Communications Lead for OSC2 (One Step Closer to an Organic Sustainable Community) and JEDI Collaborative. She has 8+ years of experience in the natural product industry and a personal passion for holistic wellness. With OSC2, she helped launch OSC2‘s Marketing Working Group in 2016, which served as a catalyst for what is now a full suite of Departmental Working Groups. JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) Collaborative is one of the main projects she oversees with OSC2.
Cofounder & Chief Progress Officer
National Co-op Grocers
Steven was a pioneer in the development of organic virgin coconut oil as a successful mass consumer product, helping to launch Nutiva’s coconut oil product line in 2002. His technical expertise not only helped to overcome the packaging and seal security issues inherent in the manufacture of this product, but was also instrumental in developing and maintaining the primary supply from the Philippines.
In the 30+ years of food & supplement experience, Steve’s evident ability to develop strong businesses, client relationships, and products has culminated in the development of 400+ new products and packaging, including private label items for many major retailers, distributors, and health and nutrition brand owners. Results-oriented, he has also successfully negotiated custom packaging contracts with major multi-national companies.
Steven is grateful to be a part of the health and wellness community offering organic regenerative foods. When he isn’t traveling around the world he enjoys spending time with his four boys in Canada.
Founder & CEO
Vincent launched Dang Foods in 2012 after his mother gave him a recipe for Miang Kum, a Northern Thai dish that requires toasted coconut. At the time, he was cooking experimental dishes for the SF Underground Farmer’s Market. Vincent made the dish, tasted the toasted coconut, and then immediately called his family in Thailand to find more because it tasted so dang good. Dang is named for Vincent’s mother – it’s a popular women’s name in Thailand as well as the word for the color red.
Vincent is a New York City native who started his career research environmentally and socially beneficial products for the City of New York. He moved to the Bay Area to work with GoodGuide, a natural product ratings company headed by a UC Berkeley Professor. There he helped create rating systems for hybrid vehicles, food and beverage items, recycled paper and other categories. His academic background includes two engineering degrees from Cornell University and five years of sustainability and natural product research across the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Dang Coconut Chips are sold in 7,000 locations around the US, including Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, Safeway, Stop n’ Shop, The Fresh Market, Sprouts, CVS, Amazon and many independent grocers. The coconut chips are made of sliced copra (coconut meat), seasoned and toasted to perfection. The toasting process caramelizes the sugars and creates a wonderfully buttery umami flavor from naturally occurring aromatic coconut oil. It’s a wonderful snack and a healthy alternative to fried chips, dried fruit and nuts. For home cooks, it’s a versatile topping that can be used to enhance ice cream, yogurt, salads, oatmeal and baked goods.
Vincent holds both Bachelor and Master of Engineering degrees from Cornell University and currently resides in Oakland, CA. He is a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and received a SOFI Gold award for “Best Snack” for Dang Original Recipe Coconut Chips.
REBBL, Plum, and Clif Bar, Inc.
Sheryl O’Loughlin is an accomplished entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience leading natural products companies with her trademark bold humility rooted in love.
In 2017, Sheryl introduced her first book, Killing It: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart (HarperBusiness). The book has been featured in Fortune, Conscious Company, Inc., Forbes and Huffington Post, among others.
From 2015 to 2019, Sheryl was CEO and “Chief Love Officer” of REBBL, the first plant-based, super herb adaptogen beverage company. In partnership with Not for Sale, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a future without human trafficking, REBBL works to create regenerative and just supply chains.
With a heart for human rights and mental health advocacy, Sheryl is the co-founder and co-leader of both the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Project and the Women on Boards Product for the natural products industry through One Step Closer to an Organic Sustainable Community (OSC2), a nonprofit whose mission is to address the toughest sustainability problems by building new regenerative businesses.
Earlier in her career, Sheryl served as the CEO of Clif Bar and Company. There she led the concept development and introduction of Luna, the first whole nutrition bar for women, which became a $70 million business in three years and continues to be a core brand in the company’s portfolio. She went on to co-found and serve as CEO for Plum, Inc., a healthy, organic food company that aims to nourish kids “from the high chair to the lunch box.” In 2013, Plum was successfully sold to Campbell Soup Company.
After Plum, Sheryl was the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and she held a faculty position at Sonoma State University, where she taught hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs and other professionals.
Sheryl currently serves on the board of OSC2 and Foodstirs, and she is on the advisory board of Once Upon a Farm. She is also a member of the Forbes San Francisco Business Council. Previous boards include Zuke’s, thinkThin, Sugar Bowl Bakery, Gardein and the American Sustainable Business Council.
Sheryl earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and her Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. An avid camper and traveler, she lives in Santa Rosa, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their two sons.
Learn more at www.sheryloloughlin.com
Women’s Earth Alliance
Arielle is the Program Director for Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA). She is committed to collaboratively building just food systems that work for people and the planet by centering the solutions of women around the world. Before moving to the Bay Area, Arielle lived in Africa and Asia designing and managing large-scale agricultural development projects and saw how women’s work in food systems was routinely sidelined to the detriment of communities, ecosystems, and the climate. Now with WEA, Arielle works with women environmental leaders and with mission-driven companies to accelerate, resource, and connect the women-led solutions we need to survive on this planet.
Arielle previously worked and lived internationally with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) managing national agricultural and livelihoods portfolios and then served as Regional Technical Advisor for Europe, Middle East, and Central Asia. Prior to CRS, Arielle co-founded Hands of Mothers, an NGO building women’s micro-enterprises globally, and co-founded the raw juice company Earthjuice. Arielle is a founding Advisory Board Member of Ag Innovation Development Group, a Development Impact Lab (DIL) Practitioner in Residence at UC Berkeley, and a 2014 Fellow of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy. Arielle earned her M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics and an M.S. in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis.
Ava (she/her) believes a more sustainable future is dependent on simultaneously working towards social and environmental justice. She has devoted the last six years to researching and working in this field. Currently a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Washington in the department of Anthropology, Ava has designed and implemented a research project that investigates diversity and inclusion efforts in American environmentalism and has designed and taught several of her own university level courses covering topics such as power, identity, environmentalism, health, and wilderness. Beyond her academic life, Ava puts her knowledge into practice by working as an outdoor educator. Most recently, Ava served as a lead advisor and facilitator at the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit.
Aparna (she/her) is a former natural resources and business litigator who has devoted the last seven years to helping outdoor and environmental organizations attract and engage a diverse and inclusive base of people and cultivate inclusive cultures. Aparna has facilitated workshops on inclusion, equity, cultural competence, cultural relevancy, and implicit bias for over thousands of outdoor educators, nonprofit leaders, outdoor industry professionals, land managers, conservation grantors, and conservationists. She has also spearheaded projects that encourage public dialogue about diversity and inclusion in the outdoors, including Expedition Denali: Inspiring Diversity in the Outdoors. Most recently, Aparna co-founded and has served as director for the People of the Global Majority in the Outdoors, Nature, and the Environment Summit.
Founder & CEO
Skin is Skin
Magatte Wade is Skin is Skin CEO & and founder. This is her third entrepreneurial venture. She is a leading thinker and speaker on the subject of using business as a solution to poverty and social issues. Magatte was born in Senegal, educated in France and Germany and was drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit of America, where she came to start her career. Skinisskin is her new baby, focused on encouraging curiosity beyond the skin and giving everyone a chance to flourish.
Sharon Miller is Skin is Skin CMO and brand steward. She has worked in advertising and marketing for over 25 years. A London native, Sharon started her career working for Jim Henson at the Muppets. She is drawn to creative mavericks and has learned from some of the best. She met Magatte on a plane a few years ago where they got into a deep conversation about the state of Xenophobia in the world and the role of brands in changing culture. 4 coffee meetings later, they decided to partner up to launch skinisskin.