MEET THE TEAM

 

Nicole Rawling
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

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Nicole is an experienced attorney and nonprofit executive. She co-founded the Material Innovation Initiative after identifying the rich potential of the next-gen materials market through her work catapulting plant-based foods into the mainstream. In her previous role as director of international engagement at the Good Food Institute, Nicole worked with key audiences around the world including companies, entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, and government officials to promote the development of alternatives to animal products. Her expertise in the field and in bringing together stakeholders made her a sought after speaker at conferences and high profile meetings in locations like Israel, Estonia, Poland, London, Brazil, India, and across the U.S.

Stephanie Downs Bio

Stephanie Downs
Co-Founder & Board Chair

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Stephanie is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience founding, building and selling businesses. She also spent over a decade as a Corporate Social Responsibility Consultant advising companies on alternatives to animal materials. She founded her first company in 1999, an internet marketing company which she sold in 2014. She founded her most recent venture in 2016, Good Dot, which quickly grew to be the largest plant-based meat company in India. She sold her interest to embark on helping build more innovative material companies. She has been awarded the 40 Under 40 Award in two US states; received the Dewey DoGooder Award from SxSW; and has been a TEDx speaker.

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Sydney Gladman
Chief Scientific Officer
sydney@materialinnovation.org

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Sydney is a materials scientist who is passionate about sustainable materials and processes that harness the resources and principles of nature. She spent nearly 5 years at the global scientific and engineering firm, Exponent, Inc. Sydney obtained her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Harvard University with prior materials education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Florida, with research focus in bioinspired materials including 3D/4D printing, bioprinting, self-healing, and anti-fouling materials.

Elaine Siu
Chief Innovation Officer
elaine@materialinnovation.org

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Elaine’s north star is to harness the power of business to shift the world away from industrial animal agriculture. Prior to MII, Elaine founded and managed the Good Food Institute Asia Pacific. She advised startups, corporates, and investors from market trends to business strategies; published industry reports and startup manuals; worked with scientists and policymakers to accelerate the alternative protein industry. Before immersing in the post-animal bio-economy, Elaine had over a decade of experience in corporate and finance law, from IPO and M&A to structured products and investment funds, at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, Slaughter and May, and Simmons & Simmons.

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Jacqueline Kravette
Chief Brand Officer 
jacqueline@materialinnovation.org

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Jacqueline works with the leading brands in the fashion, automotive, and homegoods industries to help them transform their supply chains and incorporate next-gen materials into their product lines. Her experience spans both the public and private sectors, most recently as a Senior Account Executive for Open Table, where she ranked among the world's top salespeople. Jacqueline has also worked as a political fundraiser in New York City and serves as an advisor to the Good Food Institute and Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Virginia. 

Cortney Busch
Chief Operating Officer

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Cortney is responsible for MII’s finances, operations, IT systems, and our people's experience. After receiving her law degree and LL.M., Cortney joined human rights legal charities in London and Pakistan. She has worked across nonprofit organizations around the world, including programming, operations, communications, resource development, and human resources for over 15 years. She joined MII after serving as Executive Director of a grantmaking foundation operating an annual income of over $11M. Cortney has also provided operations, governance, fundraising, and human resources consultancy services for numerous nonprofits and political campaigns.

Victoria Ramm
Chief Development Officer

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Victoria brings a unique and blend of nonprofit and tech startup experience to MII. She comes to us after two-and-a-half years of working with visionary philanthropists to fund the work at The Good Food Institute. It was GFI and MII's focus on using innovation and markets to create change that inspired her to return to nonprofit work after an incredible experience working with a high-growth SaaS company in New York and San Francisco, and, prior to that, in online advocacy and fundraising campaigns at The Humane Society of the United States in Washington D.C.

Thomasine Dolan
Fashion Design Specialist
 thomasined@materialinnovation.org

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Thomasine Dolan Dow has been in the fashion industry for 25 years.  In addition to founding her own line, she worked for Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Armani Exchange, and others, where she held directorial and VP roles.  She has consulted for both small and large brands and has a broad understanding of the process and the market. 

Anne Green
Project Manager

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 Anne is an award-winning educator and organizer with 25+ years in administration, serving as executive director, director of operations, and director of development and programs at four non-profits, including two she co-founded. Anne holds a Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has co-written several books and edited many others. She uses her skills in planning, organizing, and editing to manage MII’s many projects.

Fernanda Onça
Research Coordinator

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A professional in Marketing and Communications based in São Paulo, Fernanda has built her career working for a variety of industries, including cosmetics, commercial real estate, hospitality, and food. Her passion for delivering positive experiences to customers and associates make her attentive to innovations and new trends worldwide. She is also a dedicated advocate for a cause dear to her heart: a sustainable and cruelty-free world. She’ll use her language and communications skills to profile material innovators in Europe and South America for MII. 

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Toube Benedetto
Volunteer Development 
Team Coordinator

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Toube brings more than 15 years of executive assistant experience from tech startups, the banking industry and a high-impact nonprofit. She is passionate about creating a healthier, more compassionate world and serves as a consultant for California State University and Chico’s Town Hall Meeting program on the topic of the humane treatment of animals. Toube also holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Matt Ball
Volunteer Communications Specialist

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Matt has graduate degrees in Engineering and Public Policy and Forest Ecology, which he earned during his tenure as a Department of Energy Global Change Fellow. Prior to grad school, he was an engineer at Pratt & Whitney, and before that at Booz Allen Hamilton. In 1997, he left Carnegie Mellon’s PhD program in Environmental Engineering to pursue advocacy full-time. He founded two organizations, most recently One Step for Animals, and worked for and advised several others, including the Good Food Institute. Matt has been an invited speaker on environmental and animal issues around the world. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, he co-authored The Animal Activist’s Handbook and also wrote The Accidental Activist.

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Anastasia Orth
Volunteer Development Research Specialist

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Anastasia joined the Development Team as a volunteer in May 2021. After beginning her career in sales, Anastasia was a recruiter for startups in Silicon Valley where she witnessed first-hand the power of technology to disrupt and transform long-established industries and practices. Inspired by the possibilities for innovation to create change and drive sustainability, Anastasia comes to MII after most recently serving as Culture and Engagement Specialist at The Good Food Institute. Anastasia graduated with honors from the University of California at Berkeley and is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Joshua Hanosh
Web Designer

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Josh is the co-founder of Blackberry Creek Farm Animal Sanctuary and the founder of Dedicated Designs which is a marketing agency focused on growing the sales of small and medium sized companies. Josh and his team of eight at Dedicated Designs took over all things related to the website in May of 2021. He has a BS in Finance and a Masters in Education from UC Davis.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 
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Linne Caudell
Senior Director of Finance at Integer Holdings Corporation

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Linne has a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Management. She has in depth experience coaching and mentoring her colleagues to think more creatively about finance and how it drives decision-making. She is also fluent in Spanish and has lived in Spain and Mexico. She is currently the Senior Director of Finance for the Cardiac Rhythm Management and Neuro at Integer and serves as the treasurer of the MII board of directors.

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Alicia Cahill
Investor Relations at Fresenius Medical Care

Alicia is an experienced public speaker with a degree in Art History from New York University and certificate in Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School Online. Since 2007, she has been Investor Relations Adviser at Makinson Cowell, where she is head of North American institutional investor research and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) thought leadership. Her expertise in sustainability trends is a particular asset to the MII board of directors, where she serves as secretary.

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Angela Padilla
Corporate Board Member & Start-up Legal Strategist 

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Angela Padilla is a corporate lawyer and longtime animal advocate. Most recently she served as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Litigation & Employment at Uber in San Francisco. In addition to taking on pro bono cases to advance animal rights, Angela founded the nonprofit Family Dog Rescue in 2010 as another way to give back to the animals who gave her comfort and inspiration through a battle with aggressive breast cancer. She received her J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law, her B.A. degree from Harvard College.

Jacqueline Kravette Bio

Jacqueline Kravette
Chief Brand Officer 

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After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Virginia, Jacqueline worked in New York City as a political fundraiser. Since then she has enjoyed a diverse career spanning both public and private sectors, most recently as a Senior Account Executive for Open Table working with local and national restaurant chains as well as independent operators. She also serves as a senior advisor to the Good Food Institute and Factory Farming Awareness Coalition among others.

Naomi Sachs
Advisory Board Member

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Naomi spent the last 25 years leading operations, strategy and finance for both small and large companies, most recently as President and COO at Sittercity, a VC-backed digital marketplace for childcare. She is now focused on working with companies and organizations to fight climate change, end animal exploitation, and create a more sustainable and equitable food system. Naomi serves on the Advisory Council for Factory Farming Awareness Coalition and is an active member of an angel investment group in Chicago that focuses at the intersection of sustainability, food justice, and nutritious food in the Midwest.

Amy Rosenfeld
Vice President at ESPN Production

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Amy has spent over 30 years in sports television production with a portfolio that includes coverage of 8 Men’s and Women’s World Cup soccer tournaments and 5 Olympic Games.

She is currently Vice President of Production at ESPN with oversight of the ACC and Longhorn Networks, international and domestic soccer and 18 collegiate sports and NCAA Championships.

Amy earned a BA in history from Colorado College.

SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COUNCIL

 

David Kolesky
Biotechnology & Entrepreneurship

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As a Senior Associate at Flagship Pioneering, David conceives, creates, resources, and builds first-in-category companies spanning agriculture, nutrition, and therapeutics industries. David cofounded Senda Biosciences and Montai Health and currently leads the iLabs Innovation team at Invaio. As part of this team of entrepreneurial scientists, he develops the science, intellectual property, and business strategy that form the foundation of the firm’s breakthrough startups. An engineer by training, David has a multidisciplinary background in materials science, stretchable electronics, microfluidics, and bioengineering. Prior to joining Flagship, David earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University where he focused on 3D bioprinting of vascularized tissues, where his work has been adopted broadly as a method for creating in vitro models.

Pankaj Karande
Chemical & Biological Engineering

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Pankaj Karande is an assistant professor in chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Before joining Rensselaer, Prof. Karande was a postdoctoral scholar in the Chemical Engineering Department and Center for Cancer Research at MIT. Prof. Karande has received numerous awards for his work including The Edison Award for best Product in Science and Medicine (2009).

Helen Zha
Recombinant Silk Protein

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Helen Zha is an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She attended MIT and Northwestern University for her B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering. Helen brings with her 13+ years of experience in protein and peptide-based materials. Her research at Rensselaer focuses on the exploration of natural biomaterials and the synthesis of new biomimetic material technologies.

Claudia Richardson
Materials Engineering

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Claudia is an experienced technical product leader and materials engineer with a degree from MIT in Materials Science and Engineering. She led the Materials Innovation Team at Patagonia for over five years, where she oversaw the strategic portfolio of R&D partners and investments in raw materials, polymers, coatings, surface chemistry, and end-of-life solutions for apparel with an inclination toward environmental materials.

Lauren Dermody
Synthetic Biology

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Lauren Dermody is a synthetic biologist with a passion for protecting the natural world. She has worked as a senior scientist at EnduraBio, matriculating at IndieBio accelerator, and at academic labs including Memorial Sloan Kettering. She graduated Magna cum Laude at Cornell University and completed her graduate education at Cornell Medical School.

Erin Rees Clayton
Associate Director of Science & Technology

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Erin is the Associate Director of Science and Technology for The Good Food Institute (GFI), an international nonprofit developing the roadmap for a sustainable, secure, and just protein supply. Erin works with GFI's SciTech team to identify critical research needs in the alternative protein field and mobilize research grant funds for these key research white spaces. She established and now leads GFI’s Research Grant Program, which has awarded grants totaling over $12 million to 65 plant-based and cultivated meat research projects in 16 countries around the world. Prior to joining GFI, Erin was a research faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Erin holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from DePauw University, a Ph.D. in genetics from Duke University, and a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology from the University of Michigan.

Jayaranjan Anthonypillai
Co-founder & Managing Partner at Focus Academy

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Jayaranjan has an extensive background in scientific research and technology validation and has worked in clinical, clean-tech, biotech, and agri-tech sectors. Leveraging his experience and background in biology and lipid chemistry, he has developed novel technologies for overcoming product development, process development, and engineering challenges. 

He has also been an active figure in the Bay Area biotech startup scene and is the founder of Berkeley Biolabs, a biotech incubator where he helped mentor and launch over 30 companies, and co-founded The Berkeley Program which equips high school and middle school STEM students to pursue entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur and mentor for several startups, J’s emphasis is often on product/market fit as the main driver of R&D effort and strategy.

Sandra Bohne
Natural Fibers &
Waste Valorization

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Sandra brings 3+ years of experience in natural fiber innovation, supply chain management, textile certification and impact assessment. She has a B.Sc. in Economics and a Masters in Trade Management in Textile Business. Currently she is the Research and Impact Project Manager at a clean-tech start up innovating on crop residues emerging as a resource in a fully regenerative system for the apparel industry. Prior to that she worked at a sustainability consulting company. She is passionate about next-gen materials and has the vision to shape a future in which waste equals resource.

Lewis Shuler
Head of Innovation at Alpine Group

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Lewis has a passion for material innovation and advanced manufacturing. For most of the past 15 years he has been living in China and leading textile innovation and sustainability initiatives for the world's largest sportswear and fast fashion brands. Aside from roles at Under Armour, Gap, and Stance, he has consulted for over 50 apparel and footwear brands around the world. Today his research is focused on microfiber mitigation, textile recycling, and low impact technologies for textile and garment manufacturing. He supports academia, NGO’s, and industry groups as an SME on textiles, and regularly presents on sustainable innovation at conferences around the US, Europe, and Asia.

David Kaplan
Ph.D. & Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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David Kaplan is the Stern Family Endowed Professor of Engineering at Tufts University, a Distinguished University Professor, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research focal areas are on biopolymer engineering, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and cellular agriculture.  He has published over 900 peer-reviewed papers, he is editor-in-chief of the journal ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, and he serves on many editorial boards and programs for journals and universities.  He has received numerous awards for his research and teaching and was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

INVESTMENT ADVISORY COUNCIL

 

Amy Trakinski
Managing Director at VegInvest

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Amy Trakinski is Managing Director of VegInvest, a mission-driven investment firm which provides early-stage capital to companies focusing on providing alternatives to the use of animals. Amy has also practiced animal law for 18 years and was a partner in Egert and Trakinski, where she litigated on behalf of national animal protection organizations, grassroots advocacy groups, and individual clients.She serves on the boards of Wild Earth Inc. and Animal Welfare Trust and holds a B.A. in History from Binghamton University and a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Taylor Davis
Specialized Investment Research at Slate Path Capital

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Taylor has worked for more than 15 years in research and analysis roles at firms that invest capital on behalf of institutions and families, including since 2017 at Slate Path Capital, a registered SEC investment advisor that seeks to achieve risk-adjusted capital growth over the long term through a fundamental, research-based security selection process.  He is a member of GlassWall Syndicate, a group of investors who want to accelerate the adoption of products and services that will make a difference in the lives of animals and people and are better for the planet.  Taylor earned a BA from Middlebury College and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Mark Langley
Managing Partner at Unovis Asset Mgmt. & New Crop Capital

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Mark Langley is a Managing Partner at Unovis Asset Management, B.V.  Unovis focuses on innovative alternatives to conventional meat, dairy and eggs, to fix an antiquated and broken food system that poses the most vital economic and ethical imperative of our time.  Mark works on deal flow and performs asset and market level analyses. He has worked as an engineer, analyst, economic consultant, entrepreneur, and as an advisor to plant-based start-ups. Mark also has more than a decade of experience on Wall Street where he analyzed special-situation and high-tech companies.

Michiel van Deursen
Vegan Investor at Capital V

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Michiel, an avid triathlete and vegan, is a tech entrepreneur from the first generation of internet pioneers who believed they could change the world and defy established rules. He founded Capital V and as an early investor in The Vegetarian Butcher he has helped the alternative protein space develop. Michiel has identified bio-based materials as the next space that he wants to help disrupt. Michiel thrives at helping early stage teams getting started and accelerate their entrepreneurial journey. His driving force for his investment choices is always to ‘take as many animals as possible out of production.’

Corinna Chen
Partner at Material Impact

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Corinna is a Partner at Material Impact and focuses on applying fundamental technologies across sectors to meet new needs and solve emerging real-world problems. Her areas of interest include synthetic biology, bio-based materials, advanced electronic materials, and next gen computing; her expertise spans many fields—including sensor technologies, device design, biotechnology, electronics, and semiconductors. Corinna began her career as a rocket scientist at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. Corinna is dedicated to the advancement of science and technology to better human lives and the environment.

Heather Courtney
CEO at Alwyn Capital

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Heather is Founder and CEO of Alwyn Capital, an early-stage investment firm that focuses on removing animals from the consumer supply chain. Heather has been vegan for 25 years. She holds a degree in Biochemistry from University of Florida and worked as a researcher in a pharmacology lab focused on the biophysics of neurotransmitter receptors. She also holds a degree in Photography from Parson School of Design and worked as a lifestyle photographer in New York City for over a decade, helping fashion and lifestyle brands tell their stories through images.

Elise Bernal
Impact Finance Advisor & Investor

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Elise is an impact investor and start-up advisor whose mission it is to improve the health of the planet and its inhabitants through a shift to more sustainable and humane global solutions, particularly in sustainable agriculture. She is passionate about food innovation, applied biotech, animal welfare, and plant-based everything. Elise works with private foundations such as the Greenbaum Foundation, and has 10 years experience working with U.S. and European family offices and investment funds. Prior to that she worked for biotechnology and engineering companies in the U.S., Germany and France.

Karla Mora
Founder & Managing Partner at Alante Capital

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Karla is founder and Managing Partner of Alante Capital, a VC fund investing in innovative technologies that address climate change and enable a resilient, sustainable future for apparel production and retail. Launched in partnership with Eileen Fisher and Leslie Harwell, Alante invests in innovative technology startups that improve production practices, support mindful consumption, and recover and recycle apparel waste. Previously, Karla served as Investment Director at VilCap Investments and Associate Director at the Eleos Foundation. Karla's passion for supply chain reform and deep concern with the state of the apparel industry led her to create Alante Capital.

Macy Marriott
Director at GlassWall Syndicate

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Macy Marriott is the Director of GlassWall Syndicate. Stray Dog Capital pioneered a one-of-a-kind nonprofit network in the global impact investing ecosystem that engages and empowers individual investors and firms in the plant-based and cell ag space by connecting them with game-changing companies. This global collective, GWS, has led to millions in additional capital deployed into innovative companies in the landscape. As the Syndicate Leader, Ms. Marriott works daily with entrepreneurs and investors to build relationships that drive forward sustainable, scalable, disruptive companies.

BRAND ADVISORY COUNCIL

 

Kirsty Stevenson
Senior Director & Global Sustainability at GAP

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Kirsty has worked on all sides of sustainability: as a corporate executive for Gap Inc., senior program lead of a global Public-Private Partnership, VP of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and triple-bottom-line oriented supply chain leader for both Apple and HP. She has served on advisory boards for an impact investment firm, 2 sustainability incubators/accelerators, and a circular economy-focused apparel industry consortium.

John Bartlett
Director of Fashion at
Marist College

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John Bartlett is an award-winning fashion designer who has worked in the fashion industry for over thirty years. With his own eponymous collection, John earned awards as Best Newcomer and Best Menswear Designer of the Year from the prestigious C.F.D.A. (Council of Fashion Designers of America). He was also honored as Designer of the Year by the American Footwear and Apparel Association. John has shown his collection globally and has also worked as Design Director for other American Brands such as Ghurka and Liz Claiborne, as well as the Italian brand Byblos.

John Pletzke Bio

John Pletzke
Global Sourcing at Kate Spade

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John is a career fashion executive with over 30 years of experience in global sourcing, product development, and supply chains. He was the SVP of Product Development and Global Sourcing at both Kate Spade and JJill, and he was the VP of Global Production at Banana Republic. He is consistently recognized for outstanding results, with a constant focus on the ultimate retail consumer.

Tara St. James
Fashion Design & Sustainability

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Tara St James has worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years.  In addition to founding her own sustainable brand, she has consulted for both small and large brands and has a broad understanding of sustainable design and supply chain.  Most recently Tara worked as Production Coordinator and Research Fellow in the Sustainable Strategies Lab for Pratt’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. She has built a sustainable textile library and sourcing service to help the industry find responsible solutions. Tara also teaches a sustainable material sourcing course at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Lauren Bright
Fashion Sustainability

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Lauren has a BS in Multidisciplinary Engineering from Purdue University and is a leader in multinational manufacturing environments, most recently at Gap. Her other roles in the field include Materials Developer at Nike, R&D Engineer in Global Innovation at Columbia Sportswear, and Studio Design Engineer at Chrysler.

Chase Kahmann
 Innovation in Apparel and Footwear Specialist

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Chase Kahmann has 11-years of cross-industry R&D experience on design, manufacturing, innovation, and sustainability with 8-years at Columbia Sportswear and in a contract capacity at Nike. He has received material and product awards in performance and sustainability-driven technologies leveraging polymers, fabrics, and manufacturing innovations and is an expert on next-gen materials and circularity driven recycling methods. He can be found through his consulting company Integrated Sustainability R&D

Alison Rabschnuk
Business Development Director, Plant Protein at Kerry

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Alison Rabschnuk has along run working to help food manufacturers make great-tasting and nutritious alternative-protein products.
Prior to Kerry, Alison was the Director of Corporate Engagement at the Good Food Institute, where she helped accelerate the creation and adoption of alternative proteins by working with investors, suppliers, restaurants, grocery stores, food manufacturers, and foodservice companies.
Alison has 30 years of consumer, B2B, and digital marketing, communications, and business development experience. She has worked with top brands like Taco Bell, Levi Strauss & Co., and GAP, regional companies like Boscov's Department Stores, as well as with global startups like Gourmet Ads. She is graduated from Wellesley College. 

Tara Luckman
Co-Founder and Director at Flourish CSR

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 Tara serves as an advisor to Cotton Council International and consults on Sustainable Fashion and projects, having previously held roles with responsibility for environmental stewardship at ASOS.com and Tesco plc. A Strategist and Sustainability Programme Leader with BSC Hons in Textile Science and deep experience in apparel and sourcing. Passionate about transforming the fashion industry with a proven track record for delivering change and fostering collaboration on the international platform. Tara led the ASOS product sustainability strategy from raw materials to recycling, introducing circular methodologies and an industry-leading partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. Experienced across the gamut of environmental challenges for fashion from chemical compliance to customer engagement, having held roles at ASOS.com and Tesco plc spanning 15 years of team building and leadership in environmental stewardship.

Karine Kicak
Sustainability Manager

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Karine is a Chemical Engineer and a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) expert with over ten years of experience in environmental modeling and footprinting. She started off her career with the International Reference Center for Life Cycle of Products and was then part of the Quantis International team with a mandate to deliver robust sustainability metrics to a wide array of clients and sectors. Karine has been actively involved in developing product footprint tools with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and is the author and co-author of numerous peer-reviewed LCA studies.

Marina Plentl
Public Relations & Marketing

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Marina Plentl is a PR executive with over 17 years of corporate experience working in the marketing departments of major global companies such as Sony and Burberry. An expert at brand & product marketing, Marina has strong connections across the global fashion & entertainment communities. After leading the entertainment team at Burberry in Los Angeles for ten years, Marina now lives in London where she works as a freelance consultant in this field.

Jessica Kruger
Founder of LUXTRA

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Jessica Kruger’s barefooted outdoor upbringing in Sydney, Australia fostered her love and respect for nature. Moving to Europe in 2009 she completed her MBA in Paris and lived between Paris, Geneva and Berlin before settling in London where she created the award-winning vegetarian restaurant, ETHOS. She sold her share in the business in 2016 and shortly after founded LUXTRA, a sustainably-minded, vegan accessories brand that certified as a B Corp in 2020. Jessica is a PhD candidate at ISM, Paris.

OTHER ADVISORS

Simone Friedrich
Head of Philanthropy & Impact Investment for EJF Philanthropies

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Simone manages grantmaking across the foundations and other charitable giving programs under the EJF Philanthropies umbrella. Her current focus is on using media impact campaigns as catalysts for social change. Specific issues of interest for her include promoting environmental justice, protecting biodiversity, and creating a more sustainable and humane food system. Prior to EJF Philanthropies, Simone founded and later sold an analytics company that used trends in patenting to assist businesses with competitive intelligence and technology foresight. Simone graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University, which she attended on academic scholarship, and she earned a Master’s of Urban and Environmental Planning degree with a concentration in Policy Analysis from the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture..

David Meyer
CEO at Food Systems

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David is co-founder and CEO of Adopt-a-Pet.com, the world's largest non-profit homeless companion animal adoption website. His mission is to create a tool that not only would save hundreds of thousands of pets' lives but would do so in a way that was funded by companies for whom we create value, leaving private donations largely for the shelters and rescues. Among others, David has worked supporting great companies, including Nestle Purina, Chewy, and Elanco Animal Health, and has had an association with Maddie's Fund, a top granter of funds for innovation in animal welfare.

Bruce Friedrich
Co-founder & CEO at The Good Food Institute

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Bruce Friedrich is co-founder and executive director of The Good Food Institute that promotes innovative alternatives to industrial animal agriculture, and co-founder of New Crop Capital a venture fund that invests in companies that are using food technology to create products that will outcompete the products of factory farming. USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications spotlight his work. Bruce has presented repeatedly at most of the nation's top universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. Bruce graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law and Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College. He also holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics.

Emily Byrd
Marketing & Communications Specialist

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Emily has designed communications strategies for some of the most forward-thinking startups, nonprofits, and venture capital groups working to develop and support sustainable alternatives to common goods. After graduating from the School of Journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill, Emily was a magazine writer and editor for a leading food industry publication before using her content creation skills to lead media, branding, and public relations efforts for mission-driven initiatives

Jonathan Frappier
Development Specialist

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Jonathan has 20+ years of experience in nonprofit executive management, operations, program development, fundraising, and community engagement. He’s both founded and scaled small non- and for-profit startups (co-founded three, sold one) and supervised at top universities (Emory University: assisting to close a $1.6B capital campaign, UNC: principal and major gifts for capital campaign, and SCAD: Head of Institutional Advancement for five campuses across three continents). He is also a yogi, meditator, runner, and vegan.

 

Lisa Lupinski
Fashion Marketing & Communications Strategist

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Lisa Lupinski is a marketing and communications strategist with 25 years of experience in the luxury fashion and beauty industries. In executive roles at global public relations agencies PR Consulting and Karla Otto, she led communication efforts for numerous top fashion brands such as Altuzarra, Loewe, Gabriela Hearst, Dries Van Noten, Christopher Kane, and Versace. On the beauty side, Lisa handled global communications for designer fragrances at both Coty Prestige and Estee Lauder Companies in addition to global marketing roles at Stila Cosmetics and Clinique. She has strong industry relationships and has focused on brand-building and creating highly effective 360 degree strategies.

Liz Friedland
Brand, Marketing & Communications Strategist

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Liz is an industry-recognized Communications Leader and Brand Marketer with a career spanning 20 years in Public Relations and Marketing within the wellness, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, hospitality, and culture industries across startups, growth-stage, and Fortune 500 companies. She has proven brand builder, impactful storyteller, and keen navigator of strategy. Known as a strategic and holistic thinker, adept at solving problems, forecasting trends, and identifying white space. She is also driven by endless curiosity, a fascination for next-gen ideas, and mission-driven brands.

FALL 2021 INTERNS

Julia Renna
Fashion Merchandising Specialist

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Julia Renna is a recent graduate of Marist College with a degree in Fashion

Merchandising and Business. She began as an intern in Communications at MII in spring 2021 and currently plans and coordinates all social media. She is passionate about contributing to the evolution of animal cruelty-free and environmentally friendly practices and their impact on the fashion industry and our planet.

Winnie May Chan
Scientific Researcher

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Winnie May Chan is an international Researcher that specializes in Earth and Environmental Sciences. Her research career has taken her across continents from examining how groundwater conditions have changed in response to climate cycles in the Yucatan Peninsula, to studying the geoarchaeological implications of ancient ports around the Mediterranean Sea with The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

 

Her career to date has been driven by her passion for ‘doing better’ for the planet and people. After seeing the direct impacts of the apparel industry during a trip to Prato (Italy) and working for global fashion brands like Club Monaco and Burberry, Winnie May has shifted her focus to transforming the apparel and footwear industry into one that is positive for nature, people, and growth. Her current research interests include material innovation, nature-based solutions, and circular economy principles. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from McMaster University (Hamilton ON, Canada), and holds an MSc in Earth and Environmental Sciences at McMaster’s School of Earth, Environment, and Society.

Brooke Green
Sophomore at Marist College

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Brooke Green is a sophomore at Marist College pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising specialized in business following a pre-medicinal track. This past year, Brooke served as President of her residence hall where she created sustainability programs to educate students on the adverse effects of fast fashion. Her passion for making positive environmental impacts, as well as raising awareness towards animal cruelty originated through her time in Girl Scouts. She is excited to intertwine both fashion and the sciences to research the future of sustainability.

 

Saachi Kuthari 
Rising Junior at Millburn High School

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Saachi Kuthari is a rising junior at Millburn High School in New Jersey and is part of the New York Academy of Sciences Research Program for high school students. Saachi is interested in biodegradable materials and methods that can be used to create textiles in the fashion industry, including fermentation and recombinant protein technologies. This summer, she will also research novel plant-based materials that have desirable properties for next-gen materials.

Emilia Mann
Rising Senior in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program

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Emilia K Mann is a rising senior in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree programing, studying material engineering at Brown University and apparel design at the Rhode Island School of Design. Emilia's concern about the negative environmental and social impact of the fashion industry is what led her to her studies. She is excited by the potential of science and technology to develop more sustainable and higher-performing materials for the fashion industry. In the past, she has worked at NASA researching the development of Martian habitats from Mycelium and designing a collection of astronaut garments for the next lunar mission. She has also been a team member of Better World by Design, a student-run design conference that focuses on how designers can have positive environmental and social impact.