Compass Coffee Talk Episode 27 – Elevating an Industry — Leaders of Naturally Network Join Compass Coffee Talk
Leading Podcast Compass Coffee Talk Welcomes Naturally Network Leaders Eric Schnell, Katrina Tolentino, Jim Slama and Ari Raz for an Overview of the Nation’s Largest Community of Natural Products Industry Business Leaders, August 17, 2022, 11:30 A.M. EST Zoom, Admission is Free
Compass Coffee Talk™ continues its series with a panel of leaders from Naturally Network, a collaborative community that advances and champions the wide-ranging ecosystem that makes up the natural and organic products industry. Alongside Co-Host Steve Hoffman, Compass Coffee Talk Co-Host Bill Capsalis, Executive Director of Naturally Boulder, is joined by his Naturally Network colleagues Eric Schnell, Co-Chair, Naturally New York; Katrina Tolentino, Executive Director, Naturally Network; Jim Slama, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Naturally Chicago; and Ari Raz, President and Board Member, Naturally San Diego.
About Eric Schnell
From startup to exit, Eric is a Visionary Disruptor with 25-years experience creating mission-based and purpose-driven products. Eric is the recipient of New Hope Media’s 2007 “Sustainable Business of the Year Award” and 6X winner of their Expo NEXTY Awards, 4X annual winner BevNET.com, 2X winner of the Beverage Digest “Best Product of the Year Awards” – and awarded Top 50 Beverage World Magazine “Disruptor”.
Since 2012, Eric has served as a Nutrition Capital Network Selection Committee Member & Cornerstone Investor. In 2002, he Co-Founded Steaz, world’s first USDA Organic RTD tea brand and positioned it to be a leader today in the beverage category, while establishing a Triple Bottom-Line business model founded on People, Planet & ethical Profitability. In 2015, Eric co-founded mood33, pioneering this new beverage category marketing cannabis infused products to consumers seeking the benefits of this healing plant as well as Good Catch, the first Plant-Based seafood brand to scale globally. ln early 2016, Eric launched the strategic consulting agency BeyondBrands, together with his wife, Eco-Fashion pioneer, Marci Zaroff. BeyondBrands is a “Conscious Products” incubator and accelerator which focuses its Super-Tribe of experts on advising entrepreneurs, CPG brands and VCs in need of developing better-for-you, products in Food, Beverage, Fashion, Beauty, Plant Medicine & Nutraceuticals.
About Katrina Tolentino
Katrina is an award winning executive director and has successfully led and scaled multiple innovative nonprofits. She recently became the Executive Director of the Naturally Network, the national industry hub for the better for you consumer goods community. The Naturally Network has eight affiliate communities across the country – Austin, Bay Area, Boulder, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, North Bay, and San Diego. Prior to the Naturally Network, Katrina was the Executive Director at Naturally Austin where she launched the M/O Fellowship, a six-month program that accelerates diverse founders, and the Women in CPG Summit, which became a national Network program in 2022. She was nominated for Startup Leader of the year as part of DivInc’s Champions of Change Awards this year and was recognized as a Community Builder honoree on Austin Inno’s 50 on Fire in 2021. She is bringing 17 years of experience and expertise in community building and engagement, program development, events, fundraising, and partnerships.
About Jim Slama
Jim Slama is a Solutions-driven leader, early innovator, and connector in the natural products industry. Co-founded Naturally Chicago with CEO’s of industry leaders KeHE, SPINS, and PRESENCE. Created the Good Food Accelerator, in partnership with Whole Foods Market and worked with numerous early-stage companies to help them grow. Is part of the management team of Fantastic Fungi, Go Grocer, and Tiny But Mighty Foods. Founded FamilyFarmed, a leading non-profit supporting the growth of sustainable food systems.
About Ari Raz
Ari grew up in a household that taught him the value of eating minimally processed food from a young age and decided to make it his life’s mission to make this style of eating more accessible to families across the country. He got his start in CPG in 2015 when he, along with his co-founder Cassandra Curtis, launched Once Upon a Farm, the first cold-pressed refrigerated kids nutrition pouch on the market. In late 2017, Ari and Cassandra joined forces with the powerhouse duo of former Annie’s Organic CEO John Foraker and actress Jennifer Garner to launch Once Upon a Farm onto the national stage. From 2017-2021, Ari served as president through its growth from annual sales of +$1mm through +$50mm. In 2021, the cofounders of The Coconut Cult reached out to Ari for strategic advice, and over time asked him to join the team as CEO. Finding the mission, products, and promise of the brand to be aligned with his values, Ari jumped in with both feet and hasn’t looked back since.
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About Compass Coffee Talk
Take a 30-minute virtual coffee break with Compass Coffee Talk™. Hosted by natural industry veterans Bill Capsalis and Steve Hoffman, Coffee Talk features lively interactive conversations with industry leaders and experts designed to help guide entrepreneurs and businesses of any size succeed in the market for natural, organic, regenerative, hemp-derived, and other eco-friendly products.