Mentor Bios


Mentor Bios

SCROLL DOWN

Mentor Bios


Mentor Bios

Holley Atkinson


Holley Atkinson, Food + Tech Connect

Holley Atkinson


Holley Atkinson, Food + Tech Connect

Holley Atkinson, Food + Tech Connect

Holley Atkinson launched Making Food Work in 2009, emerging as a true leader in food and tech initiatives on a wide range of issues and challenges, with a focus on digital and social media, product development, project management, strategic marketing and advisory services. She is passionate about local food systems, social media, and information technology. Holley co-founded the Food+Tech meetup in early 2010 and also the Slow Money NYC Meetup later that same year. 

Monica Gelinas


Monica Gelinas, Grit Work LLC

Monica Gelinas


Monica Gelinas, Grit Work LLC

Monica Gelinas, Grit Work LLC

Monica Gelinas, founder of Grit Work, has more than twenty years of experience in the food and hospitality industry. Grit Work builds trust among clients and stakeholders by implementing strategic sourcing and sustainable supply chain strategies for businesses of all sizes. Monica established a solid reputation in the industry by working with the owners of Pret A Manger and becoming its first US Head of Marketing, Supply Chain and Product Development. 

Bryan Janeczko


Bryan Janeczko, Wicked Start Innovation

Bryan Janeczko


Bryan Janeczko, Wicked Start Innovation

Bryan Janeczko, Wicked Start Innovation

Executive leadership in building startups and emerging food-based brands. Bryan is an innovator and entrepreneur seeking out extraordinary opportunities to fuel transformational experiences. Core competencies includes business model innovation, white space product development, go-to market strategies, and building operations infrastructure that drives scalability. Performance driven with a track record of results in start-ups, large corporate entities, and business incubators. 

Jason Jones


Jason Jones, Vital Farms

Jason Jones


Jason Jones, Vital Farms

Jason Jones, Vital Farms

Jason is an entrepreneur and executive with a passion for upgrading our food industry from the inside. His fortes include conceptualizing disruptive brands and products, and assembling the capability to drive rapid growth. Hew as founding President of Vital Farms Inc, at one time the #1 fastest growing food & beverage company per Inc Magazine. Vital changed grocery shelves nationwide through their pioneering approach to quality food through animal welfare. 

James Manfredonia


James Manfredonia

James Manfredonia


James Manfredonia

James Manfredonia, Magellan Partners

James is an accomplished executive, producer, and skilled communicator. He is adept at building a strong rapport among people across a wide array of social, cultural and professional circles. His career has been entrepreneurial while also having managed international businesses with revenues in the hundreds of millions. Elected to financial industry committees by competitors and clients; he is a highly regarded leader. James has advised many emerging and established entities in working to create value in shared partnerships. His philanthropic work has been effective as has been his work in diversity initiatives. James is a grateful and proud dad. He enjoys live music, is an artist, and coaching.

David Postolski


David Postolski, Gearhart Law

David Postolski


David Postolski, Gearhart Law

David Postolski, Gearhart law

David Postolski, a partner at Gearhart Law, is a registered patent attorney and Intellectual Property attorney. With over 15 years’ experience, David specializes in assisting inventors, creators, artists, start-ups, entrepreneurs, early stage companies and emerging companies with their U.S and International intellectual property strategy, protection, enforcement and monetization. David is also a Professor at Parsons School of Design where he teaches master level students about IP, ethics and other regulatory considerations in starting business ventures and products around design. David also teaches IP and Entrepreneurship at Montclair State University and the French Culinary Institute.  David is the current chair of the Professional Issues Division of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property law as well as a member of the CLE Board, Sponsorship Board, and founder of the International Action Group.

Kara Rubin


Kara Rubin, Beyond Brands

Kara Rubin


Kara Rubin, Beyond Brands

Kara Rubin, BeyondBrands

Kara is a food and retail industry veteran who spent a decade leading one of the largest regional business units for Whole Foods Market in the United States. She is now doing strategic advisory work with innovative food brands and retailers. She is a Senior Consultant with Simpactful, a network of broadly experienced CPG and retail experts. And, she is a co-founder of BeyondBrands, a collective of natural and organic food industry leaders whose goal is to incubate and accelerate new and established brands bringing innovative, sustainable, conscious products to the market.  

Ilene V. Smith


Ilene V. Smith, I On Food

Ilene V. Smith


Ilene V. Smith, I On Food

Ilene V. Smith, I On Food

For the past 17 years, Ilene has combined her expertise, knowledge and skills in food, nutrition and public relations to create game-changing communications programs for leading companies and organizations in the food industry. Among the brands, ingredient companies and commodity boards Ilene has counseled are KIND Snacks, Soyfoods Association of North America, Beyond Meat, Noosa, the Almond Board of California, the California Strawberry Commission and the California Dried Plum Board. Ilene has also worked with several leading CPG brands including those in the Kellogg, PepsiCo, Nestle and ConAgra portfolios. 

Julie Wurfel


Ilene V. Smith, I On Food

Julie Wurfel


Ilene V. Smith, I On Food

Julie wurfel, ume matsu llc

Julie Wurfel photo.jpg

Julie creates and implements strategies that enable companies to advance from proven concept to meaningful scale. She is especially interested in companies that place a high priority on ecological and social factors as much as economic returns in the food and agriculture industry—scaling supply chains while maintaining the highest integrity in sourcing and processing.

Julie has more than 20 years of experience in finance, strategy and operations.  As an investment banker for 8 years at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, she led transactions worth over $10 billion.  As Senior VP at the parent company of Food Network, Julie led the growth of non-US revenue by 6x over 3 years. She was part of the Brooklyn launch team at Good Eggs. She has secured equity, debt and PRI financing for several businesses, developed an investment plan for a 1,000 acre cacao farm in Hawaii for a $1 billion asset manager and advised a fund on a restructuring of its portfolio company, a US grass-fed beef wholesale business.  Julie is a mentor/advisor to Square Roots and FoodFutureCo, both accelerator programs in New York City, as well as The Mixing Bowl Hub, based in San Francisco.