Denielle Finkelstein - The Future of Plant Based Period Products

Denielle Finkelstein - The Future of Plant Based Period Products

October 26, 2020

In today’s episode, we are joined by a highly accomplished retail executive with a proven track record in growing large scale businesses profitably and creating new business opportunities within brands, sharp business acumen with a keen ability to assess business conditions and manage towards opportunity with a relentless focus on the customer, Denielle Finkelstein, President and Co-Founder of TOP (the organic project). She is experienced in overseeing brand development and strategy, launching businesses, Omni-channel merchandising, marketing, international expansion and operations. She is also recognized as a passionate and strategic leader, known for relationship building.

Join us as we dive deep into healthy living, her organic business, plant-based organic period products and the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur and how to overcome them. We discuss the decisions that helped her leave the retail fashion world to focus on a passion and build a brand (from the ground up) to tackle the legacy taboo of period products, building a greener product and doubling down on the leadership and innovation that she’s been craving.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis of The Organic Movement (TOP) - organic/natural period products.
  • How Gen Z is changing the conversation around personal care and period products.
  • What plant-based innovation has been a game changer for the brand and the industry.
  • How the leadership experience of a large retail brand helps, and hinders the start-up business process.
  • The challenges legacy conventional brands may have converting natural shoppers.
  • What period poverty is and how pervasive it is in the United States.
  • Denielle’s call to arms to major period product brands.

About Denielle Finkelstein:

Denielle Finkelstein, Co-Founder and President of TOP (the organic project) was raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY. Post graduation, she moved to NYC with her future husband and started her career in fashion retail at Ann Taylor. She went on to executive merchandising roles at Coach, Kate Spade and Talbots. She was always recognized for her strength in building businesses, finding the white space and managing high performing teams. At the height of her career, she began looking for more purpose in her work and how she could do things differently for future generations.    

After spending 22 years in fashion retail and sitting in the C-suite, she took the best risk both professionally and personally and left the corporate world to join Thyme Sullivan, to launch TOP the organic project. As moms, they went searching for organic period products that were healthy and safe for their girls and the environment and came away empty-handed. They have set out to build TOP as a business to drive positive social and environmental change.  TOP is bringing innovation to period products with Organic and Plant-based Tampons & Pads.  What we put in and on our bodies matters more than ever!

Show Resources:

TOP (the organic project) - We are here to educate, enlighten, and embarrass ourselves so that every girl and woman on the planet has access to healthy, 100% organic, eco-loving tampons and pads. and every step of the way, we’ll inspire stigma-shattering conversations about periods.

Poo-Pourri - We’re Poo~Pourri. A poop-positive brand dumping the shame around the things we *all* do. We deliver quality products made with natural essential oils that leave the bathroom smelling amazing and liberate you from harmful ingredients and inhibiting worries.

Beautycounter - One by one, we are leading a movement to a future where all beauty is clean beauty. We are powered by people, and our collective mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Formulate, advocate, & educate—that’s our motto for creating products that truly perform while holding ourselves to unparalleled standards of safety. Why? It’s really this simple: beauty should be good for you.

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A creative marketing firm specializing in building, growing and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness and fitness industry. If your natural brand is in need of positioning, package design or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at.

Christy Goldsby - The Simplicity of Life and Health in a Bite-Sized Moment

Christy Goldsby - The Simplicity of Life and Health in a Bite-Sized Moment

October 19, 2020

Food as medicine is not an out-of-the-box idea now. But back in 2011, it was not conventional thinking. After watching a friend struggle with food-related illness and attending the journey of wellness self-discovery, Christy went on a mission to change the diets of us all. The goal: refocus people away from diets fill with processed foods and bring back health empowerment through food choice . As she says - knowing what you’re eating may be the first step of and most powerful form of medicine.

Join Christy Goldsby, CEO and Founder of Honey Mama's and I, as we discuss how her love of baking, innovating and caring for people developed into a healthy indulgence brand with the express goal of spreading vitality and playfulness into everyone’s life. 

Innovation and change doesn’t happen in one moment. - Christy Goldsby

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis of the Honey Mama’s brand.
  • How Christy’s health experiences combined with her baking background turned into a passion for caring for people beyond her immediate community.
  • How slowing down and being present can be a powerful leadership tool.
  • The long-term vision and impacts Honey Mama’s wants to make in the world.
  • Why brands producing snacks should innovative and promote healthy snacking.
  • How indulgent treats can boost our immune systems to prevent illnesses in more than one way.
  • Fundraising during COVID and how Amberstone Ventures is poised to help spread Honey Mama’s vision.

About Christy Goldsby:

Christy Goldsby, CEO & Founder of Honey Mama’s, an award-winning premium melts in your mouth delicious, honey-sweetened cocoa bar in the refrigerated better for you indulgence category. Growing up in a family of cooks, bakers, farmers, and gardeners, the kitchen was always a place of celebration, creativity, nourishment and joy for Christy. She started Honey Mama’s as a way to share these celebrated family traditions, a passion for healthy living, and a love of the natural world. She was determined to create a treat that exudes vitality and playfulness, something you’d as likely take to a formal dinner party as enjoy on the hiking trail or share around a campfire. Made with pure honey as the only sweetener, Honey Mama's are full of everything delightful: bold, deep flavors, and decadent textures and are naturally free from gluten, soy, dairy, and grain, allowing your body to thrive. 


Show Resources:

Honey Mama’s - "We create opportunities that empower well-being for all people by making treats that are fun, nutritious and delicious. They are an invitation to be present, playful, open, and genuine. Our bars are full of bold, deep flavors, decadent textures, and are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and grain, allowing your body to thrive and your taste buds to celebrate. Made from five whole foods, Honey-Cocoa Bars are perfect to grab as a snack between meals, buy as a gift, or serve at your next dinner party."

Amberstone VenturesWe started Amberstone to support entrepreneurs building breakthrough food and consumer product companies. We partner with brands at their earliest stages, providing the capital and insights necessary to scale efficiently into category leaders.

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A branding firm building, growing and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 
Ciara Dilley - Frito-Lay is Changing the World of Business for The Better

Ciara Dilley - Frito-Lay is Changing the World of Business for The Better

October 12, 2020

Those of us outside the walls of Frito-Lay have not necessarily considered the brand aligned with natural foods, environmental stewardship, or considered a small business advocate. But little did we all know, that this mammoth tanker of an organization has been quietly growing a passionate army of stewards ready to take on some of businesses biggest issues including healthy food innovation, food instability, small and women-owned business finance and mentoring, environmental stewardship and so much more. The number of business initiatives PepsiCo and Frito-Lay has been developing to make a positive impact in business and the lives of the most marginalized is staggering.

Join Ciara Dilley, VP of Marketing, Transform Brands and Portfolio Innovation for Frito-Lay North America and I, as we discuss how she is harnessing the resources of a multi-national to affect positive change in the food and beverage industries — starting with the Stacy’s Rise Project and venturing into other initiatives. It turns out that Frito-Lay may be becoming the largest Citizen brand in our category, and they’ve got just the right person to lead the way.

When we support women-owned business - the world will become a better place. - Ciara Dilley

In this episode we learn:

  • Ciara’s passion for Female Founders and woman-owned business.
  • How she uses Frito-Lay strengths of brand, product, and voice to empower and support female founder brands.
  • The power of Stacy’s Rise Project and WomenMade initiatives.
  • Why Stacy's Rise Project is bridging the funding gap for female-founded business.
  • How she uses stewardship initiatives to grow employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction.
  • How the impact of the Frito-Lay initiatives complement and supplement the work being done in the Naturals industry.

About Ciara Dilley:

Ciara Dilley - Vice President of Marketing, Transform Brands and Portfolio Innovation for Frito-Lay North America, leads the company’s ever-evolving and diverse portfolio of Transform Brands – including Stacy’s, SunChips, Smartfood, Popcorners, and Off the Eaten Path. Also overseeing Frito-Lay’s portfolio innovation, Ciara is making it easier than ever for consumers to discover new flavors, ingredients and brands powered by purpose. Ciara also leads our Sustainability agenda, championing our focus on more environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

A seasoned veteran with more than 20 years of industry experience, Ciara’s passion is supporting women, both inside and outside the walls of Frito-Lay. In addition to being personally involved in a number of initiatives that involve coaching and connecting businesswomen, Ciara recently led the launch of WomanMade, a PepsiCo initiative developed to advance female founders in the food and beverage industry through funding and exclusive mentoring opportunities.

Since joining Frito-Lay in February 2019, Ciara has led Stacy’s Rise Project – a flagship grant and mentorship program by the female-founded Stacy’s brand – to flourish as an industry best-in-class initiative, awarding up-and-coming female entrepreneurs with hundreds of thousands of dollars in business grants and providing them with unprecedented access to PepsiCo people and resources to achieve long-term success.

In addition, under Ciara’s leadership, Smartfood popcorn added Smart50 to its lineup – featuring 50 calories or less per cup – and underwent a full brand redesign that involved a complete swipe of its social channels and packaging updates across the entire portfolio.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Dilley leveraged her experience in communications and innovation to grow major international consumer brands including Diageo, Campbell Soup Company and Kellogg Company. 

LinkedIn: Ciara Dilley,

Media Contact - Frito-Lay Brand Communications: Jen Crichton,

Show Resources:
Pepsico - An American multinational food, snack and beverage corporation headquartered in Harrison, New York, in the hamlet of Purchase. PepsiCo has interests in the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of grain-based snack foods, beverages, and other products
Frito-Lay - an American subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures, markets, and sells corn chips, potato chips, and other snack foods
Stacy’s - Stacy's Pita Chips is a brand of snack products based in Randolph, Massachusetts, specializing in various flavors of pita chips. Pita chips are slices of pita bread which are baked until crunchy. 
Stacy’s Rise - Created to help bridge the funding gap for female founders, Stacy’s Rise Project™ has been connecting and empowering women business owners for years. That’s why Stacy’s is sharing our resources with other female-founded businesses like those founded by these 30 women. Support them by adding their products and services to your cart.
Pepsico Foundation - As we strive to become a Better company, we are helping nurture that potential all around the world by leading the way toward a more sustainable food system, from investing in sustained nutrition, to promoting safe water access, effective waste management, and women’s empowerment.
Kelloggs - An American multinational food manufacturing company headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States. And the original plant-based well-being company.
Greenhouse Accelerator - Support food and beverage entrepreneurs through a collaborative mentor-guided business acceleration program.
Hello Alice -  Step-by-step guides, expert resources, and collaborative communities of fellow entrepreneurs to find funding opportunities and experts for small business.
The J.E.D.I Collaborative - The OSC² J.E.D.I Collaborative of industry peers and experts is leading this project for the natural products industry to frame the business case for embedding justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into our entire food ecosystem. Our intent is to take a positive, forward look vs. a “fix what’s broken” position. We seek to understand the deeper issues and to devise an outline for the best solutions. We will clarify the systemic issues that require courage and thought leadership and define immediately controllable issues we all can address as an industry and in our day-to-day operations. We will develop a step-by-step approach to serve as a model to facilitate and inspire the industry to commit and take action. We will develop a reporting tool to demonstrate the impact of the project on progress. We believe the benchmark reporting will result in an increase in productivity in an increasingly multicultural marketplace.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle - In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us. Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the Worldby Melinda Gates -A debut from Melinda Gates, a timely and necessary call to action for women's empowerment.
The Boss Network by Cameka Smith - Our mission is to promote and encourage the small business spirit and professional development of women of color. The BOSS Network is a community of career and entrepreneurial women, who support each other through content, online programs and event-based networking. 
Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A branding firm building, growing and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 
Linda Appel Lipsius - Living Your Truth: Linda’s B-Corp Story

Linda Appel Lipsius - Living Your Truth: Linda’s B-Corp Story

October 5, 2020

Ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages is a category where consumers are continually demanding more from the brands they bring into their homes and lives — especially Gen Z. Features, benefits, and ingredients are table stakes, and as the natural products industry continues to become increasingly competitive, Brand has become more important. How a brand operates in relation to employees, environmental footprint, and business ethics that are paramount to this group. 

Straight from the center of the naturals universe in Denver Colorado - join Linda Appel Lipsius (Co-Founder of Teatulia) and I as we cover everything people, planet, and profitability and how a B-Corp certification helps brands like Teatulia lean into their missions. Learn why Linda says “Gen Z will save the world."

In this episode we learn:

  • Linda’s journey and aha moment creating the Teatulia brand.
  • What Gen Z and Millennials expect from brands and employers right now.
  • That investment in company culture and employees can have a higher than expected ROI than other typical “benefit” investments.
  • What a B-Corp is: It’s importance to and impact on business.
  • How the tips and tools that B-Corp provides can help brands become better business leaders.
  • About trends in beverage, functional ingredients, and innovation in powdered/crystalized beverages.

About Linda Appel Lipsius:

Linda Appel Lipsius is the Co-Founder of Teatulia Organic Teas. Since 2006, she’s been working with her partners in Bangladesh to bring premium, 100% Organic, direct-sourced teas & herbs to the United States. Teatulia produces innovative, delicious & award-winning hot teas, foodservice iced teas & canned RTD teas that are sold throughout the U.S in grocery, foodservice, and online. Lipsius has built a universally-respected brand known for doing things better. From the 3,000-acre regenerative tea garden itself to Teatulia’s stunningly sustainable packaging to the long list of awards Teatulia has received for quality and using business as a force for good. Named one of Food & Wine/ Fortune’s 20 Most Innovative Women in Food & Wine, one of Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business, and a frequent public speaker, she is a leading voice on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to sustainable business practices to the food & beverage industry in general.

In 2012, Linda also started the mama 'hood,a resource for new & expecting moms & their families, and opened Teatulia Tea & Coffee Bar next door to Teatulia’s Denver Headquarters. Previously, Linda was VP International with Orange Glo International (OGI) - makers of OxiClean, Kaboom, Orange Glo and Orange Clean - and Account Manager for Young & Rubicam. A Denver Native, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Columbia University in New York City and her MBA in Finance from New York University before moving to Washington, DC, London, Los Angeles then back to Denver. 

She currently lives in downtown Denver with her filmmaker husband and her two children. In her spare time, Linda hangs with her kiddos, escapes to the mountains, devours movies & books, runs, cycles and practices yoga to keep her head & heart clear.



Show Resources:
Teatulia - Organic hot and ready-to-drink (RTD) teas and beverages. Teatulia’s single-garden direct, sustainably grown teas hail from our very own tea garden in the Tetulia region of Northern Bangladesh. We created a new tea-growing region, nestled between Assam and Darjeeling at the base of the Himalayas, that has introduced the unique flavor profile of Bangladesh teas to the rest of the world.
B-Corp - Certification for businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Athleta - Clothing that integrates performance and technical features for active women and girls. A division of the GAP.
Jeni’s Ice Cream - An artisan ice cream company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Jeni's has over 40 branded 'scoop shops', and retail distributors nationally.Built from the ground up with superlative ingredients.
Wisdom Supply Co - Environmental office and school supplies. “We curate + design products that prevent waste, for good. Waste is a design flaw."
Patagonia - An American clothing company that markets and sells outdoor clothing. The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, and is based in Ventura, California.
Kehe Distributors - With more than 5,500 employee-owners and a 16-distribution center network across North America, we’re one of the largest and most respected national fresh, natural & organic, and specialty food distributors.
Kroger - an American retail company founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the United States' largest supermarket by revenue, and the second-largest general retailer, operating nearly 2,800 stores.
Costco - An American multinational corporation that operates a chain of membership-only warehouse clubs. Everything you could want including a $1.50 hot dog!
Rise Coffee -  A New York-based nitro cold brew coffee company specializing in nitrogen-infused organic coffee and sourcing Fair Trade organic beans from Peru's Chanchamayo Valley
Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A branding firm building, growing, and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 
Karen Huh - Food Techs Role in Reinventing the Joy of Everyday Foods

Karen Huh - Food Techs Role in Reinventing the Joy of Everyday Foods

September 28, 2020

American’s obsession with health and wellness and grown exponentially over the last few years. And gone are the days of “hippy” organics. The influence of food culture shows and celebrities and San Francisco's technology industry has collided into a multi-billion-dollar world of better-for-you food and ingredient alternatives. As this part of the food industry grows and consumers continue to push manufacturers and retailers to mitigate impacts on the environment and better our health altogether, food technology is playing a huge role in meeting those needs.

In this episode, Karen Huh, CEO of Joywell Foods, and I cover the gamut of food tech. From fundraising during COVID to consumer adoption and leadership management style, Karen brings her start-up experience and dedication to servant leadership to this exciting (and exploding) category.

In this episode we learn:

  • The Joywell Foods genesis backstory, its mission and long-term plans to reduce refined sugar consumption.
  • Karen’s journey from Starbucks to Bulletproof to Joywell.
  • Who’s open to adopting alternative sweeteners in manufacturing.
  • The importance of developing a consistent brand experience.
  • The impact of food tech on natural and Better-For-Your products.
  • The impact COVID had on investment and capital raises.
  • How fundraising and investment has changed for the food tech and natural food industries in the last 18 months.
  • A little bit about Karen's personal obsession with RTD's and who she's watching.

About Karen Huh:

Karen Huh brings a deep background in consumer, brand, and products from 15 years in the food and beverage industry. Prior to Joywell Foods, Karen served as Vice President of Product and Brand Strategy at Bulletproof 360, a food and beverage brand, where she built the consumer strategy and product portfolio to support the Bulletproof lifestyle while scaling teams across R&D, brand, marketing and product development. Prior to Bulletproof, Karen was at Starbucks Coffee Company for nearly 11 years in a wide range of roles including coffee innovation, launch of RTD and packaged coffee in international markets, and the acquisition of Evolution Fresh. Before joining Starbucks, Karen was an investment professional at two tech-focused venture capital firms.


Show Resources:
Joywell Foods - A food tech company focused on building new a new and exciting class of foods around the best tasting and healthiest sweeteners in the world.
Bulletproof - a lifestyle brand that takes a science-based approach to nutrition and wellness. The original butter coffee brand. Bulletproof makes beverage, snacks and other health brands to help high performers hack their own biology to operate at peak performance.
Starbucks - More than just great coffee. Starbucks in an American multinational chain of coffeehouses and roasters reserves headquartered in Seattle, WA. As the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks is seen to be the main representation of the United States’ second wave of coffee culture.
Whole Foods -  an American multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, which exclusively sells products free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A USDA Certified Organic grocer in the United States, the chain is popularly known for its organic selections.
Beyond Meat - a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company's initial products were launched in the United States in 2012. The company has products designed to emulate chicken, beef, and pork sausage.
Impossible Foods - A company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products. Founded in 2011, and headquartered in Redwood City, California, the company’s state aim is to give people the taste and nutritional benefits of meat without the negative health and environmental impacts associated with livestock products.
Burger King - An American multinational chain of hamburger fast food restaurants. Headquartered in Miami-Dade County, Florida and founding in 1953 as Insta-Burger King.
Tech Crunch - [Article] Alternative protein raises $1.5 Billion in first 7 months of 2020
DRY - Welcome to DRY Botanical Bubbly! The non-alcoholic sparkling soda perfect for celebrating any occasion. Enjoyed on the rocks or in your favorite zero-proof cocktail.
Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A branding firm building, growing and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 
Sharelle Klaus - Changing Consumers Behavior Around Happy Hour

Sharelle Klaus - Changing Consumers Behavior Around Happy Hour

September 21, 2020

In our current culture, alcoholic beverages have traditionally been the center of all celebrations. It’s how we wind down our day, relax and give ourselves a moment to rest. That is until now. Generation Z and Millennials are bucking those habits and finding better and healthier ways to relax. Part of it is self-awareness, the ability to recognize when alcohol is a crutch - rather than a treat, and some of it is “I’m not doing what my parents did”. They are normalizing alcohol-free celebrations, getting real about mental health, and creating an inclusive environment for everyone. It’s time for the sober revolution. 

Sharelle Klaus and I walk through her journey of self-discovery, and the ins and outs of finding her and her brands true north. We discuss her passion to create inclusive celebrations for all people. And that sometimes, you just have to start all over.

In this episode we learn:

  • Sharelle’s aha moment that turned into DRY.
  • The story of teaming up with Sans Bar.
  • How Millennials and Generation Z are changing our relationship with alcohol consumption.
  • How to educate, socialize, and enroll behavior change for consumers.
  • How “bad news” can be the path to opportunity.
  • To trust your gut, even when you're the only one in the room that believes it.

About Sharelle Klaus:

Sharelle Klaus is the Founder and CEO of DRY Soda Company  As the visionary behind DRY Soda Company, Sharelle has always had a passion for the culinary world and celebrating each part of a meal – including the beverage. After having four children, she didn’t want to let a lack of wine or cocktails stop her from being a part of the party. Klaus recognized an absence of refreshing, clean, non-alcoholic options in the market, and became determined to create the first line of botanical bubbly that was worthy of meal pairing. She believed savory and sweet flavors more commonly used in cuisine could offer exciting compliments to her favorite meals. In 2005, Klaus crafted the first batches of DRY in her home kitchen and officially launched DRY Soda Co. a few months later. 

Klaus brings over two decades of entrepreneurial, financial and technology industry experience to her role as CEO at DRY, and oversees all marketing, strategic planning, and innovation for the brand. With guidance from some of the Pacific Northwest’s best chefs and a savvy corporate team, Klaus pioneered a new category of sparkling beverages, fearlessly leading DRY’s aggressive growth in a male-dominated industry. Prior to founding DRY, Klaus worked as a consultant for Infrastructure Management Group and Price Waterhouse. She also served as president of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, where she drove strategic development of programs, events, and fundraising for the organization’s 250+ Seattle-area members. Klaus has been featured by Huffpost, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Imbibe, and others.  Klaus has also won several honors including, Seattle Business Magazine’s CEO of the year, Puget Sound Business Journal Women of Influence, and PSBJ 40 under 40. 

With a keen appreciation for humor and wit, Klaus is an avid supporter of entrepreneurship and frequently speaks at professional conferences, workshops, and the University of Washington Business School, where she also participates as a judge for the Michael G. Foster’s School’s well-known business plan competitions. She is also a board member of the Aliados Foundation that builds resilient community business based on biodiversity in the Andes and the Amazon—and connect them to markets across the globe.  Klaus graduated from Seattle Pacific University with an undergraduate degree in political science and currently resides in Seattle, Wash.

LinkedIn -

Show Resources

DRY - Welcome to DRY Botanical Bubbly! The non-alcoholic sparkling soda perfect for celebrating any occasion. Enjoyed on the rocks or in your favorite zero-proof cocktail.

Sans Bar - We are a growing group of average people who recognize that life can be fun without alcohol.  We are sober, we are on the move, and we believe that real connection happens when people are sober.  We want to create a space that is free of alcohol and welcoming to all.  We believe that the best version of anyone’s life includes healthy socialization, helping others, and taking care of both mind and body.  Sans Bar is composed of people who want to change themselves and the world around them.  We believe positive change can happen in the smallest ways, and still yield a tremendous impact.

This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life (Book) - offers a new, positive solution. Here, Annie Grace clearly presents the psychological and neurological components of alcohol use based on the latest science, and reveals the cultural, social, and industry factors that support alcohol dependence in all of us.  Packed with surprising insight into the reasons we drink, this book will open your eyes to the startling role of alcohol in our culture, and how the stigma of alcoholism and recovery keeps people from getting the help they need. With Annie’s own extraordinary and candid personal story at its heart, this book is a must-read for anyone who drinks.

BevMo - a privately held corporation based in Concord, California, selling mainly alcoholic beverages. 

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing, and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your natural brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 

Susie Quesada - Leading with Purpose and Values in a 3rd Generation Family Business

Susie Quesada - Leading with Purpose and Values in a 3rd Generation Family Business

September 14, 2020

Running a family-owned business, no matter how big, is task enough alone. But guiding a family-owned business through cultural change for a better future can be a bit tricky. Keeping recipes and ingredients legitimate can be tough when you know that they're not always the best for your community’s health. So, how do you care for your culture and community while running a profitable business?

In this episode, join Susie Quesada and I as we walk through the history of her third-generation family-owned business and discuss the peaks and valleys of a changing business landscape and balancing the desires of die-hard consumers and family values as she steers the brand into new territory, leveraging and honoring the strength of the family leaders before her.

In this episode we learn:

  • The story of Susie’s path from teaching to running the family business. (Grandma’s are the best!)
  • That consensus building is a strong leadership tool.
  • How family and cultural values impact business decisions differently than traditional ones.
  • How to socialize and enroll behavior change for you most die-hard consumers.
  • That growth and learning come from mistakes. 

About Susie Quesada:

Susie Quesada is a 3rd generation owner and President of Ramar Foods International. As the #1 Trusted Filipino Food Company, Ramar Foods manufactures authentic high-quality tropical ice cream, lumpia and sausages that brings the Flavor of the Philippines to supermarkets and restaurants. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Filipina Women’s Network supporting their mission for a Filipina leader in all industries. 

Susie holds a BA in Multicultural Literature and Education from UC Berkeley and is a Harvard Business School alumni from the Owner/President Management Program (OPM51). 

Susie spends her free time reading, hiking and traveling with her husband. They reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. 


Show Resources

Ramar Foods - #1 Filipino Food company in the United States. Founded in 1969, Ramar's goal is to bring the flavors of the Philippines to your household. Ramar foods is committed to manufacturing your favorite frozen Filipino food products. Ramar’s success for 50 years of experience in the industry is attributed to its people, its deep relationship with the Filipino diaspora and a commitment to understanding what brings satisfaction to Filipino families. 

Ramar Scholarship Foundation - A charitable organization the provides financial assistance to hard working students.

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing, and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your natural brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 

Janet Lee - What Big CPG Has Learned From Entrepreneurial Brands About Innovation

Janet Lee - What Big CPG Has Learned From Entrepreneurial Brands About Innovation

September 7, 2020

How can big CPGs capture the magic of smaller brands? Small to mid-size brands have a roll-up-your-sleeves, wear multiple hats, and run with a gut instinct ethic. They're scrappy, willing to fail, and passionate about their goals. There used to be a time when these small brands shed blood, sweat and tears and then felt bad when they needed to take on the operation superpowers of a multinational. In a desire to gain new consumers and innovations, these large companies used to swallow up these brands and cost engineered the heart out of them - well because operations efficiency is one of their superpowers. But they’ve learned, and are still learning.

In this episode, Janet and I dive deep into the intersection of the innovative entrepreneurial mindset and big CPG operational prowess. Janet shares her insights on what they both can learn from each other on the path to delivering healthy food, beverage, and wellness options to consumers. Listen, learn, and be inspired!

In this episode we learn:

  • That large companies and brands are effectively making a difference in the naturals food and beverage industry.
  • What gets in the way of a large organization’s ability to understand the consumer.
  • How larger brands and teams can mimic the entrepreneurial spirit.
  • How to redefine market opportunity and build different infrastructures to support it.
  • At the end of the day, your instincts are stronger than you think.

About Janet Lee:

Janet Lee is an experienced marketer & innovator who has worked at both big corporates as well as start-ups in the CPG industry. She has had a 13-yr post-MBA marketing career working for brands such as Gatorade and Starbucks.

Janet was the Head of Marketing at Sahale Snacks through its acquisition by the J.M. Smucker Company in 2014 and led its evolution from a specialty brand to a national grocery brand. For the past 4 years, Janet has worked as a Marketing Director for PepsiCo Europe, incubating small brands such as Off the Eaten Path and Kevita as Head of Marketing for the Future Brands business unit as well as mentoring external start-ups through the Nutrition Greenhouse program.

Janet’s passion is helping small brands scale while protecting what makes them special.

In her free time, she is a huge Peloton fan, obsesses about all things food, and is working through 19 seasons of American Ninja Warrior with her husband Charlie and their two sons. 

Show Resources

The J.M. Smucker Company - Get to know the leading consumer packaged goods company behind the iconic food and beverage brands and new favorites that people and pets love. From our passion for crafting the tastes families love, to the values that have inspired us for more than 120 years—we are The J.M. Smucker Company.

Sahale - It was back in August 2003, and two best friends were mountain climbing. They had excellent weather, beautiful views and great company. But one thing was missing - wholesome great-tasting snacks. They had no formal experience in the food industry, but that didn't stop them. They went back to their kitchen the very next day and created combinations of nuts, dried fruits and exotic spices. Many were inspired by a personal memory. While others were influenced by a culinary tradition from somewhere around  the world. And so Sahale Snacks® nut mixes sprang into being. Pure ground Madagascar vanilla beans and all.

PepsiCo an American multinational food, snack and beverage corporation headquartered in Harrison, New York, in the hamlet of Purchase. See how we're working to use our global scale to help build a more sustainable food system.

Nutrition Greenhouse - a 6-month program where 10 selected companies will be paired with a lead PepsiCo mentor, and the team will be challenged to demonstrate collaboration and measurable progress.

Off The Eaten Path - Snacks for the curious. Made with real veggies.

Tesco - a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer with headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by gross revenues and the ninth-largest in the world measured by revenues. 

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing, and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your natural brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 
Jane Pinto - It’s Time To Lead With Passion And Heart

Jane Pinto - It’s Time To Lead With Passion And Heart

August 31, 2020

We humans, especially in the naturals space, have desires to live strong clean, and healthy lives. My guest Jane is no different - however, her journey into the better-for-you space took a route many of ours don’t. A child born with food allergies added fuel to her entrepreneurial ways and inspired her to use her natural leadership ways to help move the free-from movement mainstream.

In this episode, Jane Pinto, founder of First Crop, Don’t Go Nuts, Sacred Sleep, and the Pinto Barn shares with me, her journey of developing brand ecosystems that are based on the foundations of reciprocal relationships. She challenges our thinking as brand owners and consumers to do one thing every day that holds our industry accountable for the claims we make and the passions and commitments we profess. And she reminds us that true leadership starts with the heart. Listen, learn, and get inspired!

In this episode we learn:

  • What sacred economics is how companies can embrace this philosophy
  • Why we should always believe that there is enough for everyone
  • How to create brands using the foundations of love, transparency, and authenticity
  • How being honest about your knowledge, abilities and your feelings can make you a better leader
  • How to have courageous conversations with your consumers, customers, business partner, community and employees
  • That it’s time to be bold, real, and fierce leaders

About Jane Pinto:

Jane Pinto is founder of First Crop, Don’t Go Nuts, and Pinto Barn. She is a lifelong visionary in the naturals and wellness space building cultures of love and care, companies with strong missions that are devoted to healing and elevating people and the planet, and spent her entire career helping corporations create workplaces that honor unconditional equality. Her companies create innovative products and services that help people improve their lives through engaging with consciously created, uniquely designed products. 




Show Resources

Pinto Barn - Founded in 2011, based in Salida, Colo., Pinto Barn is a collective of caring hearts who commit their energy, talents, and passion to consciously creating products that help people to live healthy, whole lives. Divisions include Don’t Go Nuts and Sacred Sleep. 

Don't Go Nuts - makes safe nut-free foods using organic, non-GMO ingredients that are good for you and good for the planet. 

First Crop – A hemp and CBD brand with the mission of “Healing People and Planet one seed…one soul… one regenerative act at a time.”

Sacred Sleep – a division of Pinto Barn Inc., is a company dedicated to Lifestyle Sleep Wellness and to creating Sleep Sanctuaries to help people set intention around sleep. In addition to the new organic cotton and fair-trade alpaca collections, Sacred Sleep’s product offering includes luxury eucalyptus blend sheets and mattress covers, medicinal herb loose-leaf teas in daytime and nighttime blends, and custom locally made pottery mugs and tea bowls. Sleep is sacred, so are you.

Hilary's Eat Well - is the creator of convenient and culinary foods that are made from real ingredients and are free from common allergens. We are helping to heal the American diet by bringing these foods to all people who seek tasty, nourishing cuisine. Our products forge innovative culinary paths and disrupt the status quo. We care about the health of our customers, employees and ecosystem.

EnjoyLife - Enjoy Life Foods is the leading brand in the growing Free-From category, featuring a robust portfolio of Certified Gluten Free and Non-GMO Project Verified products that are free-from 14 common allergens. Enjoy Life’s mission and brand promise is to deliver safe, better-for-you products free-from food allergens, but not free-from taste so everyone can Enjoy Life and Eat Freely!

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing, and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your natural brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 

Darcey Howard - Coaching a Passion Brand to Performance

Darcey Howard - Coaching a Passion Brand to Performance

August 24, 2020

Passion brand, founder brand, entrepreneurial brand, family brand. Yep - we love them. And we love working with and in them. And when comes a time for a brand to grow up to fulfill its mission - everyone wants to be part of it. But passion brands aren’t for everyone. While the brand owners have a strong vision of the future, sometimes the path isn’t clear, and their super-mission-driven-power gets in the way. It takes compassion, direction and a bit of pragmatism to guide this brand on it’s true journey

Darcey Howard, Director of Marketing for Coconut Bliss shares the journey of identifying the right brand for her expertise, the journey of coaching a “Humble Hippy” brand team to that new future and transitioning that team into the HumanCo family - all while maintaining her New York sense of style.

In this episode, we learn:

  • How to coach passion brand owners through brand and operational changes
  • How to leverage the humble beginnings of a brand and develop a national brand voice
  • How defining your brands ethos creates the foundation for a brand
  • The difference between a disruptor and a change agent
  • To revisit audience definitions and trends to truly leverage a passion brand opportunity

About Darcey Howard:

Darcey Howard is the Global Director of Marketing for Coconut Bliss; a brand leader in divinely creamy plant-based creations. She has a 20+ year success record in growing global brands such as Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, Kerry Foods/Da Vinci Gourmet and Starbucks. Darcey is an energetic leader that engages teams to create elegant solutions through strategic process development. 

She joined Coconut Bliss in 2017 to lead a complete rebrand while also spearheading the launch of 2 new product lines, a new business sector and e-commerce. When she's not eating ice cream for a living she's exploring the world through food.


Show Resources

Coconut Bliss - At Coconut Bliss, all of our products contain organic ingredients that are minimally processed, ethically-sourced and divinely delicious. Every dairy-free, plant-based pint, ice cream bar, and cookie sandwich is crafted with our signature care and commitment. Even our packaging is plant-based and sustainable! With a belief in quality over quantity, community, organic ingredients, and doing good for the world we try to make everything we do blissful.

Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:

A creative marketing firm specializing in growing, fixing, and reinventing brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your natural brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at 


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