Super Mentors: accomplished industry professionals dedicate substantial time and resources to GFA and its Fellows, working one-on-one with mentees to provide high-level, strategic guidance throughout the duration of the program.
|CEO at Leeward Farms
Experienced entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of starting and growing technology companies.
Skilled in Digital Strategy, Team Building, Fundraising, Management, and Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A). Strong business development professional with a MBA focused in Finance from Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management. Values contributing back to the entrepreneurial community as a long-term Board Member of 1871 and YPO as well as Family Farmed, which is bringing good food to every table.
|Senior Advisor of Artisan Food Networks
|Co-Founder and President of Sofrito Foods
|Managing Director at Abbey / APCI Investments
|President at DeGroot Logistics, Inc.
|Co-founder & Managing Director at Insight Advisory Partners, LLC
|CEO at Conference Software Solutions, Financing & Innovation Strategist at Good Food Accelerator
Bob Gillespie is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in technology, leadership and operations. He believes that the ability to build great teams is the most important factor for success. Companies Bob has founded have gone on to raise over $60M in venture funding with an enterprise value of over $150M. In an advisory role, he has worked extensively with over 100 companies in an accelerator program, with his mentorship and network connections leading to new customers, partnerships and venture funding for the participating companies.
Bob has his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Finance.
Bob loves baseball, is an avid reader, and a passionate traveler. His favorite activity is coaching his son is basketball and baseball. He hopes to visit at least 100 countries in his lifetime. He lives in the Albany Park neighborhood of the greatest city in world.
|Business Advisor at Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Chicago
Biography coming soon.
Curriculum Presenters : subject matter experts are invited to conduct industry-specific lectures, presentations, and workshops for our fellows during our 6-month curriculum at 1871.
Michelle Beels Lorge
| VP of Marketing at Simple Mills
|Supplier & Product Management
|Local and Competitive Coordinator, Whole Foods Market Midwest
|Managing Partner, Bluestein & Associates
Andrew Bluestein leads Bluestein and Associates, developing the firm’s investment strategy, sourcing new deals, conducting due diligence, providing advisory services to portfolio companies and serving on B&A’s investment committee. In addition to his work at B&A, Andrew serves on the steering committee of the FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator and serves as a community mentor to entrepreneurs at Chicago’s 1871 business incubator. Previously, Andrew spent more than seven years as a strategy consultant at Monitor Deloitte, completing a wide variety of projects in corporate, competitive marketing and organizational strategy with a diverse set of retail, CPG, hospitality and business service clients. During his later years in consulting, Andrew focused on the intersection between growth strategy and strategic change.
|New Business Development Director at Fortune Fish & Gourmet
|Founder, Scale it Up! Sustainability Training for Women Entrepreneurs
|President, Flinn Consultants (Board Chair)
Charlotte Flinn is co-founder and president of Flinn Consultants, a 25-year-old consulting firm assisting industrial, service, professional, academic, government and not-for-profit clients to achieve and sustain optimum levels of business, leadership and organizational effectiveness. Consulting strengths include strategic planning, leadership and management development and executive coaching. She is Chair of FamilyFarmed board and has been associated with the organization for some 15 years. Charlotte is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in Philosophy from Queens College in New York and a graduate in Organization Development from the Center for Organization Development at Loyola University in Chicago. Her leadership with environmental firms, sustainability and urban agriculture initiatives supports her long-standing interest in the environment in a sustainable economy. Flinn Consultants is best known for its long-term client relationships and its ability to partner with owners, entrepreneurs and senior executives. She lives with her husband Bob in Chicago.
Anubhav S. Goel
|President, Client Growth Solutions at SPINS
|Principal at Bluestein & Associates
|Founder + President Jayaram Law, Inc. (Chicago / NY / Miami)
|Founder, Wisconsin Specialty Protein and teraswhey™ protein products
|Founder and Chairman of the Board of Elohi Strategic Advisors
Stephanie Lind, Elohi Strategic Advisors Founder and Chairman of the Board, established the company in February 2015. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Washington and Lee University and her MBA in Marketing from DePaul University, Stephanie began working in the food and beverage industry. She spent 25 years working in the retail and foodservice space for Fortune 500 companies like PepsiCo, Campbell’s Soup, Nabisco and Sysco before launching her own firm. Stephanie loves helping entrepreneurs move their brands into the foodservice channel profitably and productively, as well as working with the entertaining and impressive Elohi sales team. Stephanie is a member of the Womens’ Presidents Organization (WPO), and serves on the Board of Directors for The Blessing Basket, a nonprofit dedicated to helping artisans around the world. She recently guided Elohi through the WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) certification process. Outside of work, Stephanie and her husband enjoy spending time with their two dogs and four cats, and volunteering.
|Managing Partner at C.A. Fortune, LLC.
|Co-Founder at Whole Brain Consulting, Author
|President at Cannabistry Labs
|Founder at Speakeasy — Knowledge Brokers
|Director of Analytics of Solid Gold Pet
|Ex. Director Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at KeHE Distributors
|Founding President, NewPoint
Quoted in the New York Times, USA Today and Adweek, Patrick Nycz is the author of Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain: Marketing Strategies to Grow Local and Regional Food Brands. He is the Founding President of NewPoint Marketing, a full-service food industry marketing firm focused on emerging food companies.
Connected to Patrick on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter @PatrickNycz or email him at Patrick@NewPointMarketing.com.
Patrick is the author of Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain: Marketing Strategies to Grow Local & Regional Food Brands, a business & marketing “how-to” book for the food industry that uses trends (local food) and research (retail food buyer interviews and surveys) to support sales growth.
Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain addresses numerous topics aimed at helping local, smaller, and regional food brands increase market share and grow their business and has received numerous 5-Star reviews from business book reviewers like Kirkus and Clarion.
In 2017 Patrick and his team held the 1st Annual NewPoint Emerging Food Brands Forum in partnership with Purdue University and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Indiana Grown. This event featured a Retail Buyer’s Roundtable, NewPoint marketing and Purdue Food Science classes and a sampling event where 80+ food companies met with over a dozen buying groups.
Patrick’s vision for NewPoint emerged from his team’s success using this proven model for food industry clients and is fueled by NewPoint-funded food buyers and food manufacturers research around tracking consumer, industry, and ongoing food trends.
His name, pronounced “nice,” is not really an acronym for New York City Zoo. He just says that so people remember how to spell it. That’s a branding communications mind at work.
|Principal, New Venture Advisors
|President at Fortune Fish & Gourmet
|Vice President & General Manager at ARMR
Katie (Strohbeck) Paul
|Vice President, Category Management & Growth Solution at KeHE Distributors
|CEO at The Hatchery Chicago - Food Business Incubator
|Regional Supplier Development Manager at United Natural Foods
|Digital Content Creation | Social Media Strategy | Product Development
|Adjunct Lecturer of Executive Education at Kellogg Executive Education
Van Marwijk Kooy
Jan Van Marwijk Kooy
|Chief Executive Officer at Goat Partners International
Anna Maria Viti-Welch
|President at Guy Viti Insurance Agency Inc.
|Whole Foods Market Midwest Region Senior Grocery Buyer
|IP Litigator at Quarles & Brady LLP
Our Network : mentors, thought leaders, and industry professionals give back to the entrepreneurial community through ad-hoc mentoring, coaching, and / or speaking engagements, facilitated by FamilyFarmed and the GFA.
|Regional President at Whole Foods Market
|Manager at A.T. Kearney | Consumer Industries and Retail Practice
|President and CEO KeHe Distributors
Brandon Barnholt has served as president and CEO of KeHE Distributors since 2007. Brandon took over from Jerry Kehe, the company’s founder, as a key part of Jerry’s plan to convert the business from a privately held family company to an ESOP-owned, professionally run corporation. Under Brandon’s leadership, the company — based in Naperville, a Chicago suburb — has grown from a dominant Midwest specialty distributor with roughly $600 million in revenue to one of North America’s leading specialty food and natural products distributors, operating 12 warehouses in the U.S. and Canada and generating more than $2 billion in revenue. Brandon has held executive management positions for the past 20+ years in the food industry’s retail and supply chain sectors.
|Co-Founder & Managing Director, CompanyFirst
|Managing Partner at Bluestein and Associates
|Owner, Uncommon Ground & Greenstar brewing
Biography and profile available on LinkedIn.
|Executive Director, Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice, Kellogg School of Management
|Author, Public Speaker, Consultant
|Head of Marketing Brand Build Kraft US & Global at The Kraft Heinz Company
|Principal at Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group
|Managing Director - Spiral Sun Ventures
|Managing Director, Seed 2 Growth (S2G) Ventures
|Co-CEO & Founder at Nature's Path Foods Inc.
|CEO, Organic Valley
Biography coming soon.
|President at Eli's Cheesecake Company
|Co-Founder of Spiral Sun Ventures
Mary Fran Riley
|Senior Vice President External Affairs Accion Chicago
|Senior Policy Specialist at National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
|Distinguished Fellow at Leopold Center
|CEO and Founder of Field + Farmer
|Marianne Markowitz Managing Director, CIBC Bank USA
Marianne O’Brien Markowitz, a member of the FamilyFarmed Board of Directors, is managing director and U.S. National Government Lending Programs director for CIBC Bank. She implements the bank’s national strategy for SBA and other government-backed lending programs. Previously, Markowitz served as national Acting Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. She served as an interim member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet and was appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve on the City of Chicago’s Small Business Advisory Council. Markowitz also served as CFO for the 2008 Obama for America presidential campaign. Markowitz has more than 17 years experience providing finance and risk management expertise to leading global institutions in the U.S, U.K, and Switzerland.
|Market Leader at New Hope Network
|SVP, Strategy & Operations at RXBAR
|Good Food Accelerator Financing & Innovation Strategist
Shelby Parchman is a seasoned entrepreneur who, with a long track record of establishing and growing new businesses, has parlayed this experience into a career focused on assisting start-up and existing business ventures. After obtaining a Dual B.S. in Biology and Chemistry and then a Master’s in Analytical Chemistry, Shelby embarked upon a professional career as a research scientist with Baxter Healthcare Corporation and then the Amoco Corporation.
Whether as an entrepreneur or as a consultant, he has made significant contributions to the development and growth of start-up ventures and established businesses through funding and strategic growth strategies. In this work, he has assisted numerous organizations in obtaining funding through loans, equity, grants, and other financing strategies. Shelby is a serial entrepreneur who has started many successful small businesses including BHK Laboratories, Inc. and the Functional Beverage Group, Inc. Shelby has taught many entrepreneurs how to start and grow small businesses and has been a featured speaker at workshops sponsored by the City Treasurer’s Office and City of Chicago Office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. His work was featured in the Chicago Tribune’s Blue Sky Innovation Section – “Six ways to make sure you don’t tank your business plan.” Prior to becoming Managing Partner of InUrban Strategies LLC, Shelby was the Managing Director of Sunshine Enterprises where he successfully grew an entrepreneurship training and support program from twelve clients served in 2013 to over 300 clients served in 2017. In late 2017 Shelby formed InUrban Strategies where he focuses on economic development in underserved communities through personal financial strategies, entrepreneurial support, and new business development. Recognizing the potential growth in the good food industry, Shelby has become a partner in the Bronzeville Sausage Company, a rapidly growing company specializing in the development and distribution of chicken sausage products.
|Chief Revenue Officer at Venture-G
|Co-Founder and Executive Committee Member, SLoFIG (Sustainable Local Food Investment Group)
|Executive Director at Growing Home Inc.
|Business Development Manager at Anthony Marano Company
|Founder and Managing Director, CompanyFirst
|Supply Demand Planning at Mike's Hard Lemonade
|Managing Director at Hyde Park Angels
Charles B. Wolf
|President at Walter Mander Foundation
|Head of Springboard at The Kraft Heinz Company
|Partner at McCarthy Duffy LLP
|Attorney/Partner at Natarajan
|Investor and Industry Partner in Emerging Consumer Products Businesses
|Owner, Presence Marketing, Inc