NETWORKING NIGHTS: Understanding the Power of Mission Driven Companies


Thursday, Sept 20

5:30pm-7:30pm - Eco-Systm, 540 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94105

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NETWORKING NIGHT

Beyond Certification: Understanding the Power of Mission-Driven Companies 

Today’s cause-based companies lead with a mix passion, purpose, and pragmatism to make a lasting impact on the world.  But is “sustaining” enough?  Our conversation this month will explore how respected natural products leaders are taking a systems view to expand the capacity of their companies and their communities, all by way of food and commerce.

Special Guests

  • ZACH ADELMAN: CEO and Founder, NAVITAS ORGANICS  
  • MERRILEE OLSONCEO and Founder, PRESERVE FARM KITCHENS
  • EMILY STONE: CEO and Founder, UNCOMMON CACAO

Date/Time

September 20 /  5:30pm-7:30pm

**PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE**
In observance of Yom Kippur, we have rescheduled this program for Sep 20.

Location

Business Website Eco-Systm, 540 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94105

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Registration

Members: $25.00; Non-Members: $35.00

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Guest Profiles

ZACH ADELMAN: CEO and Founder, NAVITAS ORGANICS

Zach Adelman is serial entrepreneur and current Founder/CEO of Navitas Organics, the pioneering and leading brand of organic superfoods and snacks. Under Zach’s leadership, Navitas has searched the globe for the highest-quality organic superfoods to keep its customers energized. Navitas works hard to power the positive in all it does, including sourcing and working towards a greater good. Navitas operates with a focus on leaving as minimal a footprint on the earth as possible, including partnering with small local farmers who use sustainable organic farming methods to grow its superfoods. It also contributes to healthy causes by supporting nonprofit initiatives like A Growing Culture.


EMILY STONE: CEO and Founder, UNCOMMON CACAO

Through Uncommon Cacao, Emily Stone has spent the greater part of the last decade deep in the jungles of Central America, creating meaningful market access for thousands of indigenous Maya smallholder farmers. Her group of cacao processing, export, and sales operations spans Central America and the U.S. with partnerships in Bolivia, Colombia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Uncommon Cacao delivers excellent quality cacao through completely transparent business transactions to chocolate makers. Her efforts thus far made a lasting impact in cacao-growing communities by delivering premium prices, targeted technical assistance, and long-term partnerships with its farmer. Emily is the only Ashoka Fellow in the chocolate supply chain so far, and her work has been recognized for impact by Acumen Fund, Agora Partnerships, and Unilever.


MERRILEE OLSON: CEO and Founder, PRESERVE FARM KITCHENS

If there’s one line that describes Merrilee Olson’s approach to life and her work this is it: “We’re sailing the ship while we build it.”

In 2010, she met a small farmer who was going to compost 3 flats of incredible berries that weren’t sold at the farmer’s market. Appalled, she offered to make a small batch of preserves for the farmer. A month later, she founded PRESERVE Sonoma, a food processing and preservation company whose mission is to help local farmers utilize the whole harvest. Her company, now known as PRESERVE Farm Kitchens, makes delicious products for client farms and entrepreneurs throughout Northern California. This fall, the PFK label launches in northern California retailers, including Whole Foods Markets. She is passionate about restoring family farms and rebuilding a healthy food system. Key to that effort, in her opinion, is the infrastructure PFK provides.

Prior to her role as founder and chief food preservationist at PRESERVE Farm Kitchens, Merrilee developed and tested recipes for Sondra Bernstein’s “Plats du Jour” and Rancho La Puerta. She has also been a professional career coach and wore too many hats to list, including Culinary Director, during her 13 years at Bon Appétit Management Company.