Kevin Cleary – Principal, Big Rock Growth Advisors (Formerly President and CEO, Clif Bar & Company): Kevin Cleary is a results-driven, people leader with a successful track record at private and public companies. His focus on vision and strategy is brought to life by successfully aligning all executional elements throughout an organization. He’s an effective team builder and inspirational leader who believes strong culture is the key ingredient to long-term success.
Currently, as Principal at Big Rock Growth Advisors LLC, he helps CEOs and companies drive and manage growth, while developing healthy cultures to ensure long-term success. Much of his advisory work is in leading organizations through the strategic planning process while also helping them create highly effective C-Suite teams.
Previously, as CEO at Clif Bar & Company, Kevin was instrumental in building Clif from a small company to the leader in the healthy snack food category. With a relentless focus on strategy, execution and culture, he built a multiple bottom line organization that won awards for green business, “Great Places to Work” and sustainable agriculture.
Aditi Dash – Partner, Circle Up Growth Partners:
Aditi is a partner at CircleUp Growth Partners, a data-driven venture fund focused exclusively on early-stage consumer. She serves on the board of Pop & Bottle (a plant-based beverage company) and is an observer on the boards of Nutpods (plant-based creamer) and Peach (a direct selling athleisure business). Previously, Aditi was the Director of New Products/Incubator at La Colombe Coffee, where she led the R&D and pilot production teams in an effort to rapidly launch new products across the company’s four channels (CPG, retail cafes, food service/hospitality, and eCommerce). Before La Colombe, Aditi worked at Blue Apron in Operations and was an investor at Stripes Group, focused on technology and consumer products. Aditi started her career at Morgan Stanley, first in investment banking and then was one of the first hires at Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, a consumer and tech growth equity fund. Aditi has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a dual degree in Biomedical Engineering and Economics from Brown University.
Danny Rubenstein – Managing Partner, MISTA: Danny brings a unique combination of skills, abilities, and relationships to MISTA and its members. He’s held every C-Suite role, and he has served as a board member, investor, and advisor for startups and early-stage companies multiple times over. Add in his big CPG company background and experience and you have a mind that’s able to switch gears easily between where you are and where you want to be, and can help develop a strategic path between them.
Robyn Rutledge – Partner, SBG Growth: Robyn Rutledge’s nearly two decade-long career in finance and investing has been concentrated in the consumer industry, with a focus on food, beverage, and wellness-oriented companies. Robyn is the Founder & CEO of SBG Growth, a consumer-focused investment and advisory business. Through SBG, Robyn invests directly in consumer-facing businesses, often serving on the Board of Directors and as a regular advisor to the leadership team.
Robyn also currently advises investment firms, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders on the consumer market landscape. Prior to launching SBG, Robyn spent close to a decade with TSG Consumer Partners, a leading investment firm. She was also a member of the investment team at Thoma Cressey (now Thoma Bravo), and prior to that, worked in M&A at Goldman Sachs in New York.
Patrick Wyman – Local Forager, Whole Foods Market, Northern California and Reno: Patrick Wyman has 28 years of experience in the natural foods industry, and 18 with Whole Foods Market. He started with the company in a store support role for the grocery department, moved through grocery leadership, and now oversees the Northern California region’s local purchasing program and local vendor partnerships.
In his current role, Patrick helps guide vendors through the logistics of bringing a product to market including topics like packaging, distribution, financing, and compliance with company and governmental standards. He’s passionate about the environment; professionally he participates in Whole Foods Market’s Green Mission leadership team, and spends plenty of time off work hiking and skiing.