Gillian has been helping ethical companies grow for more than 30 years. With a background in international finance as well hosting a nationally syndicated green radio talk show, Gillian provides fresh, experienced and dynamic insight and strategies to build companies into Iconic Brands based in value, meaning, and ethics. With extensive experience in a wide variety of industries, Gillian has successfully marketed numerous companies, technologies, and products through innovative, integrated campaigns.
Gillian’s greatest passion is to help ethical companies succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place. From hiking the Alcan alone to running amazing trails the world over, Gillian’s passion for life and living is contagious and inspires all those she meets.
With a background in strategic planning, brand strategy, investor relations/entrepreneurial training, and corporate social responsibility program development, Alissa leads Christie & Co’s Strategy and Growth Groups and serves as the Executive Director of the Christie CommUnity Foundation. With her degree in Communication and International Relations from the University of California San Diego, Alissa’s teams develop innovative, results-oriented, comprehensive brand and growth strategies across multiple industries to support the success of high impact companies. Co-founder of the adVenturesAcademy. Partner KIWA Investment Summit Latin America. VP of California Coast Venture Forum. Advisor to RSF Social Finance, CircleUp, and NEXT Accelerator. Recognized as Forbes 25 Most Influential Kingmakers in Consumer and Retail. Pacific Coast Business Times 40 under 40.
Alissa’s greatest passion is the adventure of helping people realize their potentials, often while getting outdoors together! From climbing Mt. Whitney to Cotopaxi (the world’s most active volcano), kayaking the Channel Islands and working in rural Sudan, Sri Lanka, Burma and beyond, many of Alissa’s favorite memories are shared with clients, team members, and partners during amazing adventures.
With over 30 years of experience in creating and developing high impact, results oriented visual communication solutions, Arthur Rumaya uses his expertise, industry knowledge, and extensive design experience to build award-winning brands, identities, websites, and more. With experience spanning numerous industries, Arthur’s work has supported Fortune 500 companies to start-ups in technology, recreation, CPG, entertainment, services, restaurants, and more.
Arthur’s dynamic yet detail-oriented personality ensures the client’s success and connection with the final design. He works with the client to understand the depth of the company’s history and vision to artfully capture it in powerful brand elements and innovative design to effectively reach, connect with, and motivate the target audiences. It is more than aesthetics, it’s about strategic design and effective visual communications that will create tangible results.
Lisa has over 25 years of experience conducting Market Research for a wide variety of natural industry companies. She believes reliable market research is key to the success of any brand and she takes pride in finding out the answers to clients questions; what do potential customers really think about my product, what would it take for customers to purchase my product over my competitors, how should I advertise?
Lisa’s greatest passion is animals. She volunteers actively with Safe Haven Horse Rescue in Cottonwood, CA for many years; a rescue that Christie & Co also generously supports.
Lindsay has more than a decade of online experience with a focus on digital marketing strategy, product development, and social media and has worked for top brands such as MySpace, JustFab, Future US, and Transworld Media. She believes in innovation, and is constantly keeping her fingers on the pulse of new and emerging trends in the digital marketplace. She is the Director of Operations for Social Media Club Los Angeles, a local chapter of a national non-profit dedicated to expanding digital media literacy and promoting standard technologies and best practices. Lindsay is also a workshop instructor at General Assembly, a global education company focusing on the most relevant and in-demand skills across data, design, business and technology. In her free time she enjoys surfing, snowboarding, playing soccer, and maintaining her health and fitness blog, fitandAwesome.com
Christine has over 15 years experience participating in the development and execution of creative projects across a host of different disciplines. These have included original content production, web site development and custom social platform integrations for major brands such as: Budweiser, Canon, Nissan, HBO, Showtime, Cadillac and more. Christine has spent many years spearheading the intersection of brands with content and social media creating impactful engaging programs. In her free time she enjoys surfing, swimming, and working on her design and photography projects.
Jacqui Somen has dedicated her career to building food, fitness & wellness brands. With over a decade of experience working with conscious companies in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles, Jacqui specializes in growing brands through multi-faceted integrated marketing and communications strategies.
Jacqui’s greatest passion is movement. Formerly a professional ballet dancer, she has never been able to stop moving. These days you can find her running half marathons, in downward dog and hiking trails near and afar.
Originally from Poland, Margaret has her Master’s Degree in Tourism & Recreation. She loves to surround herself with passionate people and appreciates the good things that make the world a better place. Margaret has over 10 years’ experience in public relations and uses her communication skills to build meaningful engagement and lasting growth. In her free time she loves to travel, dance, play beach volleyball and soak up the sun in beautiful Santa Barbara.
Bryn has been working in fostering sustainable creative business solutions for over 20 years rooted in her skills as a communicator, designer and ecological restoration expert. She is passionate about supporting ethical business and organizational models to bring products and services that create a sustainable, peace-oriented consumer market. Her passion for nature led her to continue her education in Ecological Restoration and Landscape Design. The interaction of ecology, botany and horticulture inspires her professional career, which she enjoys integrating into branding, design and communications. She also loves to consult in landscape design with native plants for residential, commercial, and agriculture properties. She has her BA in Cultural Anthropology from UCSC. Bryn is from Santa Barbara and has as also lived and worked in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and Hawaiʻi. Bryn finds time to volunteer at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, restoration on the Channel Islands, and other numerous cultural and science-based projects. Bryn is a mother with 2 daughters ages 9 and 11. She enjoys nature, hiking, camping, and pottery.
Raj is an experienced public relations executive with global experience in managing lifestyle brands in North America and Southeast Asia such as Levi Strauss, Dockers, Ray-Ban, as well as managing dynamic national campaigns for companies across the health and wellness and green sectors. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Ritsumeikan University in Japan and completed his Master’s in Communication at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa.
A die-hard L.A. Lakers fan, he is an optimist that next year will be like 2010. Raj’s endorphins shoot up from good food, good read, good movie, and great time spent with his wife and 4-year old son.
With a background in technology, Stephen has leveraged the power of social media and digital marketing to maximize the impact for clients across many sectors – green building, agriculture, clean tech, tech, food & beverage, and beyond. Hailing from South Carolina and now based in Southern California, Stephen’s perspective is rooted in years of experience in all aspects of social media, digital marketing, ecommerce and content strategy.
Rebekka has more than 5 years of professional social media experience; managing communities and creating engaging content for companies in various industries including beauty, fashion, health, music, and art. Understanding how people use social media in their day to day life, Rebekka creates content that is true to brand and connects with people.
Diana is a passionate and experienced entrepreneur who facilitates the growth and success of startups in the health, wellness, and sustainability space. Based in Boulder, CO, she has designed and implemented sold-out natural products business school programs, workshops and business plan competitions for young and growing brands at Natural Products Expos East and West. She has served as a program director and advisor to local Boulder startups with the Innovation Center of the Rockies. Diana played a key role in the conception, development, and launch of the NEXT Accelerator – a unique digital solutions tool for natural startups.
Diana’s greatest passion is education. After providing the tools, information, resources and support young brands need, she loves to watch them thrive!
Originally from Dana Point, California, Meghan graduated from Cal State Channel Islands with a degree in Art History. She brings a mind for building connections to the firm. Prior to joining Christie & Co, Meghan worked as a Gallery Assistant, making use of her love for art and creative processes. Intrigued with strategy, design and innovation, she is happy to be a part of the Christie & Co team.
Meghan is a passionate foodie and lover of animals.
Born and raised in Newport Beach, Santa Barbara is Alexa’s home away from home. Alexa has studied Psychology at Cal State Channel Islands and is deeply committed to continually expanding her knowledge of animal behavior. Alexa believes communication is a fundamental part of growth and success in all relationships and shares her passion for communication daily, helping our clients, team, and partners flourish. Alexa’s passions are anything animals, especially her two little cats, as well as her incredible artistic abilities in artisan jewelry.
Experienced in many facets of communications and media, David has worked as a newspaper editor, writer, and videographer. David’s passions lie in good music, creative photography, health and fitness. His commitment to healthy, clean living paired with his passion for creativity and communications are what drives his hard work for Christie & Co, as he believes we all have the ability to make the world a better place.
Network engineer with 20 years’ experience in the computer industry. Passionate about helping develop systems to support the growth of ethical companies. Strong emphasis on keeping Christie & Co technology forward, handling all of the in house computing and technologies as well as keeping abreast of current and changing technologies. Rick’s greatest passion is being involved in the community and promoting morality and ethics.
Rakesh M. Amin is a Member at Amin Talati & Upadhye. Mr. Amin practices Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Customs, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and related regulatory and litigation matters. Mr. Amin regularly provides legal counsel regarding food, dietary supplement, drug, cosmetic and medical device laws, including pre/post marketing requirements, GRAS and NDI issues, otc-drug monograph and homeopathic listings, labeling, advertising, good manufacturing practices, inspections, import detentions, warning letters, 483s and recalls. Related to his FTC practice, Mr. Amin helps companies defend consumer false advertising class actions and respond to National Advertising Division (NAD) inquiries. Mr. Amin also practices heavily in patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. His practice includes the searching, procurement, maintenance, licensing and litigation related to patents and trademarks, including counseling related to freedom-to-operate and patent invalidity opinions. Mr. Amin litigates IP infringement, unfair competition and breach of contract matters in federal courts throughout the country.
Vision. Perseverance. Fortitude. Innovation. Curiosity. Adaptability. Unwavering belief in self and team. Determination to make the impossible possible. Ethics. Resilience. All characteristics central to success in entrepreneurship…and high altitude mountaineering at the top of the world’s highest peaks in the harshest conditions imaginable. Over the last decade, as the ranks of high altitude mountaineering fill with capable amateur climbers pursuing their personal adventure dreams, Benitez has quietly emerged as one of the most experienced, respected and busiest professional guides and Leadership Development consultants in the world, managing expeditions to the tallest, most remote peaks on the planet as well as speaking/consulting with a deep and varied group of clientele and most recently as serving as the inaugural Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.
Jeff Grogg founded JPG Resources to build food and beverage companies and brands. JPG Resources now has three areas of practice, with focus areas of Marketing and Sales, Product Creation and Commercialization, and Operations and Quality. The JPG Resources team is a collection of senior leaders who are results focused business people, with depth developed at leading companies and an entrepreneurial spirit that connects with companies at all stages of growth. Before launching JPG Resources in 2009, Jeff led product innovation at Kashi as the company grew from $25million to $750million in sales over 9 years. In addition, he headed the R&D team for Kellogg’s Health and Wellness business, launching a series of Special K and All-Bran functional beverages and bars. These experiences have given him direct insight into rapidly moving functional food concepts from blue sky to market shelf, as well as into the creation of brands and products that capture the hearts of consumers, retailers, and investors. JPG Resources now works with companies including startups, leading natural and specialty brands, and global leaders, contributing strategic and executional expertise to enable and drive business growth.
Phil Lempert has been the Food Trends Editor for NBC’s Today show since 1991. Known as the “SupermarketGuru”, Lempert appears weekly with “New Product Hit’s & Misses” on ABC Now and hosts a weekly radio show called Good Day with SupermarketGuru.
Lempert is a contributing editor of Supermarket News, and a content provider for SN. He has written for Newsday, Family Circle, and Meat & Seafood Merchandising, among other publications.
35 plus years in Natural/Specialty Food Industry, from working in retail stores to starting his own national Natural Foods Brokerage Company for 30 years working with numerous pioneers throughout the natural products industry. Nine years ago Tom started consulting and brand management division of his Brokerage company. Tom has worked with brands such as BHI/Heel, Sweet Leaf Stevia, Herbal Clear, Jennies Macaroons, Yaya’s, Paleo People, and countless others. His passion for building growth for natural companies is matched only by his love of adventure on his Harley.
With over 15 years of experience in the marketing and sales of consumer goods, Angus Murray has worked on 3 continents managing cross border translation of brands, ideas and products. Originally from the UK, he worked with large media and communications agencies across portfolios such as Coca Cola, Schweppes Beverages, Sainsbury’s and Lyon’s.
After traveling the world, Angus settled in Australia where he continued his career with leaving marketing agencies before starting his own brand – Foxy’s Pash and Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream. After moving to the USA in 2009 and completing an MBA he bought Foxy’s to the USA with Walmart, Fresh and Easy, 7-Eleven and Albertsons being the first customers.
Foxy’s continues to grow at a triple digit rate and Angus’ sales, compliance and manufacturing knowledge and strategic management provide solid and robust platforms to plan your brand’s transition into US Grocery. He has made the mistakes, and learned the lessons the hard way so you don’t have to. Working with Angus will accelerate your success in the US market, or assist you in accurate planning of the costs, time and energy required to enter one of the most rewarding markets on the planet.
Doug Noll is an acclaimed advanced mediation advocacy and legal negotiation skills trainer. As a mediator, he specializes in mediating difficult, complex, and intractable conflicts. Since his first meditation in 1983, he has conducted over 1,500 mediations, both litigated and non-litigated. In addition to his law degree, Mr. Noll has a Master’s Degree in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies. Mr. Noll is AV-rated and was a business and commercial trial lawyer for 22 years before becoming a full-time mediator. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators, a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, a panel member of the Agency for Dispute Resolution, a panel member of the California Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and on the American Arbitration Association panel of mediators and arbitrators. Mr. Noll was one of the first U.S. mediators certified under the international mediator standards established by the International Mediation Institute. He is listed in the Who’s Who of International Commercial Mediators. Mr. Noll is currently the president of the California Dispute Resolution Council, a post he has held since 2012. Along with his colleague Laurel Kaufer, Mr. Noll was honored by California Lawyer Magazine as California Attorneys of the Year in 2012 for their pro bono Prison of Peace project. Mr. Noll has also been honored as a 2014 Lawyer of the Year by BestLawyers.com He is the creator of Negotiation Mastery for the Legal Pro, an on-line legal negotiation training course. He is the author of Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts (Prometheus Books, April 2011). Elusive Peace was the winner of the Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) International Peace and Justice Book Award for 2011. In addition, Mr. Noll is the author of Sex, Politics & Religion at the Office: The New Competitive Advantage (Auberry Press 2006), with John Boogaert, and Peacemaking: Practicing at the Intersection of Law and Human Conflict (Cascadia 2002). He has written numerous articles on peacemaking, negotiation, restorative justice, conflict resolution and mediation. He is a trainer, lecturer, and continuing education panelist. Doug has been voted as one of the Best Lawyers in America since 2005 by US News & World Report and has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer. Mr. Noll is host of the radio show The Doug Noll Show that streams live on wsRadio.com Thursday evenings at 7 pm Pacific. Mr. Noll’s teaching affiliations include:
Mr. Noll is also a second degree black belt in Chinese kung fu and has taught tai chi for over 10 years. He has a variety of other interests and accomplishments including certification as a Level III ski instructor, instrument-rated private pilot with multi-engine and helicopter ratings, a jazz violinist, and a whitewater rafter.
Ted is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets to access and profit from the +$300 billion Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability marketplace (LOHAS). He is uniquely positioned to have a large picture understanding of macro trends affecting the LOHAS market that can indirectly affect how a company conducts business in the future and assess new opportunities. He has been instrumental in the development of the global LOHAS concept that has spread rapidly throughout the world as an identifier of elevated and deeper connection with planet, people, profit and healthy living. Ted is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years. He has worked closely with executive teams pursuing environmental, social and wellness innovations at corporations including Coca-Cola, MINI, Mohawk Flooring, Jurlique, Macy’s, Ecobonus and Natureworks. Ted is a highly sought international speaker on LOHAS market insights and presents frequently to Universities, business associations, and companies. He is a contributing writer to various national and international business publications. He also serves on several boards promoting sustainability, education, social entrepreneurship, racial integration and micro-credit enterprises. Ted grew up as an outdoor enthusiast in the mountains of Colorado where his family developed a nonprofit that helps impoverished women in Vietnam and Guatemala through micro credit financing and currently has over 5,000 loans in the field. He has been involved in community outreach and nonprofit work from a young age. He has a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Colorado and a Master’s degree in adult education from Regis University. Ted has a strong passion for teaching and igniting the spark of insight in people. He has lived overseas in Asia where he assisted in nonprofit work and studied Chinese. He also lived in Japan and was a ski coach during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
I believe in what goes around, comes around. Life is too short to hang out with people you don’t like! I’m here to support sustainable efforts, commitment to excellence and fostering long-term relationships with like-minded people that are here to make a difference.
Having grown up in the business helping send faxes out at an early age, Sarah is Gillian’s youngest daughter and applies all she learned growing up in Christie & Co as a passionate non-profit executive focused on human rights and education. With experience working in Sri Lanka, Brazil, and beyond, Sarah has seen first-hand the power of entrepreneurship to transform lives and build a better world.
Founder of the Bricktown Group brings twenty-five years’ experience in General Management and Brand Building of emerging growth food, beverage, and nutraceutical companies. He has managed and owned companies in both the public and private sectors. In the past Eric served as Chairman and CEO of New Leaf Brands, a brand which he founded. In 2009 he engineered the sale of Lifetime Vitamins to Nutraceutical Inc. Served as Owner/Managing Partner of Iceland Spring Water which he exited in 2008. Prior to this Eric spent twenty years in the beverage industry working in senior-level general management, sales, marketing and distribution roles with Naked Juice, Fresh Samantha, Hansen’s and Arizona Tea. Eric began his career in the food and beverage business as a distributor in Orlando, Florida.
With extensive experience in operations and management having worked at Disney and other corporations, Cheryl serves as a the President of Bio S.I. Technology applying her management skills and passion for operations to supporting the company’s growth and mission to catalyze sustainable agriculture nationally and internationally.
Bio S.I. Technology’s organic soil inoculants’ products help to rebuild your soil naturally, making it more vigorous, more productive and able to more efficiently absorb water into the rhizosphere. Bio S.I. products help restore the carbon fraction of the soil by digesting plant and animal debris into humus, as well as through their own life cycles. Bio S.I products renew the soil life by breaking up residues that impede natural growth of soil life.
Wayne is an international sustainable agriculture expert and is a featured speaker, educator, and industry representative at trade events as well as state and national agricultural events. He possesses broad technical knowledge of sustainable agriculture, micro-organisms, enzymes, fungi, soil structure, and plant metabolism and was a Certified Crop Adviser until forming Bio S.I. Technology, LLC.
Under Wayne’s leadership, Bio S.I. Technology has developed and expanded its line of soil inoculant products. Each product returns naturally beneficial soil borne microbes (bacteria) to plants, animals, and environments where they have been depleted. Since serving in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam, and attending the University of Houston with a focus in Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Tucker has conducted extensive research and worked with many notable industry experts including James H. King, Jr., BS, MA; Gerard O’Donovan, Professor and Former Chairman, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas; Michael J. Reber, Park Services Manager, Town of Flower Mound, Texas; Dr. Terry Peek and Dr. Joseph Buti both of Texas A & I University Kingsville (now a part of Texas A&M); Dr. Benny Bruton of the USDA Research Facility and Esper K. Chandler; Noel Garcia of Texas Plant & Soil Laboratory; and Malcolm Beck, author of many organic and sustainable agriculture essays and papers.
As President/CEO of the Balance Bar Company, he led the company’s growth from $1M in sales in 1995 to $100M in sales in 1999. The company went public in 1998 and sold to Kraft Foods for $268M in 2000. Mr. Wolfe has also held executive level positions in Marketing and Sales with Welch’s, Coca-Cola, and Seven-Up Foods. He has consulted Celestial Seasonings, Welch’s, Gatorade and Snapple. Born in Buffalo, NY he was one of nine children, and graduated the University of Buffalo with a B.S. in Business Administration.
Lucinda Wright has extensive marketing and innovation experience across North America and Europe and leads the marketing and supply chain practices at JPG Resources. Her portfolio includes operational start-ups, business turnarounds, creation of new brands and new business platforms, development of business-building programs and award winning advertising. Lucinda began her marketing career at Kellogg Company in brand management and consumer marketing. For nearly a decade, she served in key leadership positions on both large established global businesses, like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran and Corn Flakes, as well as led the new product innovation team from pipeline development through commercialization and launch.
At Kellogg, Lucinda was accountable for division-level acquisition strategies and assessments and played a key role in the acquisition of Kashi Company. She led the cross-functional team through the due diligence and valuation model development, crafted the acquisition recommendation and secured approval for the purchase. As marketing vice president in the natural and frozen foods division, Lucinda was responsible for innovation, advertising and the development of business and brand strategies for a portfolio of four brands across more than two hundred SKUs in seven trade channels. In this role, she significantly improved business performance including increases in consumer awareness, purchase intent, revenue, profit and margin.
Prior to joining JPG Resources, Lucinda was Director of Foods Product Development for Meijer. In this role, she managed the creation of the innovation and product development function to support Meijer’s own brand food business. The start-up of this function required capabilities, talent and infrastructure development for: R&D, culinary, global sourcing, manufacturing procurement, regulatory and labeling. She delivered sales growth across a multi-billion dollar portfolio of five brands and more than six thousand products. Annually, her team held project management responsibility for more than three hundred new product launches across a base of both domestic and global manufacturers.
Lucinda has both a MBA and BA from Michigan State University in Marketing. In September 2012, she was presented with the Excellence in Marketing award from Michigan State University’s Marketing Leadership Advisory Board. In 2001, Lucinda was awarded an Effie for excellence in advertising. She has also been the recipient of the Top 20 Best New Frozen Products of the Year from Supermarket Review.
Mark Haas has been helping natural and organic companies grow for more than 20 years. With a background leading high growth brands as well as founding his own contract manufacturing plant, Mark provides experienced insight and strategies to bring companies to their full potential.
At The Helmsman Group, Mark and his team help accelerate high potential food brands in several new categories, including bakery, snacks, cold-press beverages, gluten-free, and free-from. Additionally, Mark often takes long-term interim C-level assignments as coach to founder or advisor to the board to facilitate growth.
As an investor and advisor outside of The Helmsman Group, Mark supports organizations that empower the global organic and natural foods industry including the Advisory Boards of Aunt Fannie’s, a Safe Near Food cleaning and pesticide alternative, and 88 Acres, a free-from healthy snack start-up. Mark is also committed to nurturing the next generation of food industry leaders through his work with the both Christie & Co’s Gang of Good, as well as the Education Research Institute, a non-profit affiliate of the North West Food Processors Association.
Mark lives in Lafayette, California with his wife and two sons.
I’ve spent 30 years making the world safe for capitalism. I want to spend my next 30 years helping grow companies that are making the world a better place.
Tim Avila blends 20 years of experience in discovery, validation and branding of bioactive ingredients and consumer packaged nutrition products. He is the CEO of Systems Bioscience, Inc., a company specializing in providing Global Fortune 500 companies with business and product development knowledge regarding dietary supplements, natural and organic foods and consumer products and services. Tim’s client list includes Cargill, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble and Coca Cola. He also is General Manager of Zero Worries Foods Inc., the manufacturer and distributor of ZSweet brand all natural zero calorie sweetener. Tim is the inventor and developer of the ZSweet proprietary blend formulations. Before founding Systems Bioscience in 1997, Tim served with Metagenics, Inc. for five years, where he was responsible for numerous proprietary formulations. He was also advisor to Sambazon Inc. Tim passionately pushes boundaries for the nutrition and health & wellness industry and currently assists large and small companies in both consumer packaged and raw material innovations. Over the last 5 years, early stage ventures have been a focus with a raft of start-ups, incubator concepts and other industry-wide ‘farm system’ activities leading to successful new brands and companies via Tim’s ability to coach and guide entrepreneurs in all aspects of the venturing process. Tim has also worked as a Senior Executive Advisor to New Hope Natural Media Inc.