Bill Weiland is the Founder and CEO of PRESENCE. Bill has committed his entire adult life to furthering the wellness lifestyle movement.
Bill launched PRESENCE in January 1990 after spending a dozen years in various natural products’ industry retail and sales roles. Today, after more than 40 years of dedicated service, he is surrounded by a team of thoughtful, creative people who carry out the mission of bringing healthy products to consumers.
His uncompromising belief in the power of healthy food, holistic wellness and regenerative systems are key drivers behind his commitment to building a world with clean products for all. Bill also is a leading supporter of consumer transparency and GMO labeling.
Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Most Influential ‘Kingmakers’ in Consumer and Retailer Companies,” Bill is widely recognized for his devotion to helping entrepreneurs. New Hope recognized Bill’s extensive contribution to the Natural Products Industry by inducting him to their Hall of Legends.
In working with leading national brands as well as successful startups, Bill has a keen eye for consumer and product trends driving the rapidly growing healthy lifestyles market. Under his leadership, PRESENCE is now the largest natural and organic products brokerage in the U.S.
Every company has a heart and soul and Christine Tzumas is just that for PRESENCE. As one of the original owners, Christine continues to serve as the company’s Chief Operating Officer managing the day-to-day of the company in addition to the Finance, Human Resources, and IT departments. Christine enjoys working on the company’s processes and systems evaluating and perfecting them all along the way. Her goal is to give the teams the tools they need to perform their jobs and give it to them on a silver platter facilitating best in class results. Christine has always focused on the people within the organization working to mentor leadership and bring the best out in everyone. There is nothing that she loves more than seeing individuals and departments grow and thrive and exceed expectations. As COO, she plays a key role in the company’s strategic planning looking to the future using her years of experience and her wisdom. Christine also leads the company’s philanthropic efforts which support our industry’s environmental and social concerns. Christine believes in our mission statement and has often stated that “PRESENCE is not just about running a business – there’s a sense of purpose and meaning in what we do”!
Christine has been with PRESENCE since day one! Christine worked with her dear friend and company CEO Bill Weiland, starting in January 1990. They created the spark that is now PRESENCE. Today, the company has 500 employees from coast to coast and boasts a great reputation in the industry. It all came from humble beginnings in Chicago’s Western Suburbs. In the early days, Christine ran the company’s back office and also made sales calls, did store resets and pretty much everything that was necessary to build the brokerage. She was attracted to the industry, along with Bill as they both tried to live a healthier lifestyle which started with great nutrition. As Christine deepened her appreciation for healthy food, nutrition and body care products, her personal aspirations have mirrored the mainstream’s interest and the expansion of the industry as a whole.
Her remarkable achievements include winning the 2022 Top 50 Women Leaders in Illinois.
Christine’s life is not all work and no play! Her early athletic exploits on the city’s basketball courts have now given way to fun anywhere near water surrounded by family and friends. Christine loves the outdoors, sports, travel, boating and great food experiences. Christine and her husband of more than 25 years, Frank, share time in Florida and Illinois with their three children, Jimmy, Sara and Emily.
Brian Naylor has been in the consumer packaged goods business for over 30 years and has been with PRESENCE since 2007. Currently, Brian serves as President and is directly responsible for overseeing the National Sales & Brand Management and Data Services teams. Brian also plays an active role in strategic planning and many other areas of our business. He is a well-rounded professional who brings a wealth of experience and skills with a strong focus on teamwork, relationship building, and win-win solutions.
Since joining PRESENCE, Brian and his family have re-engineered their food and body care choices with an emphasis on local, natural and organic offerings.
Brian started his consumer packaged goods career at his local ACME store while attending college. Prior to joining PRESENCE, he spent over 10 years with Millbrook Distribution Services where he held multiple roles with increasing levels of responsibility including Director of Business Development and Vice President of Sales. He also serves as a mentor with the Chicago-based Family Farmed Good Food Accelerator program. He is also a former Director of the New England Food Foundation and member of the Massachusetts Food Association.
Brian spends his spare time gardening, golfing, and watching baseball.
Eric has spent his entire career in the CPG business. Over the past 25 years, he has successfully led turnarounds at public and private equity backed food companies. In 2010 inspired by his daughter’s celiac diagnosis Eric co-founded Three Bakers, a Gluten Free Bakery. He successfully sold the company to Mayfair Capital in 2020. His passion in business is building collaborative, high performing organizations with a common purpose of “winning” in today’s highly competitive marketplace. His passion is fueled by his commitment to develop teams and individuals to realize success beyond their own expectations.
Eric attended Northwestern University and later earned his master’s degree from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Eric and his wife Susan live in Chicago and have three children Lauren, Reid, and Cate. Eric’s passion is family, friends, his dog Charlie, friends and living a healthy lifestyle.
Bill Lyons joined PRESENCE as the company’s Chief Financial Officer in 2007 during a period of rapid national expansion. Bill was responsible for building the company’s financial infrastructure which supported the expanding operation and he continues to manage all aspects of the company’s financial systems and processes in conjunction with the Financial Management Team.
Prior to joining PRESENCE, Bill was with US Cellular where he was responsible for strategic planning for customer care which included implementing both short and long term enhancements to policies, procedures and the technical infrastructure supporting approximately 6 million customers.
Bill is an avid Chicago sports fan and enjoys playing soccer and spending as much time as possible out on Lake Michigan with family and friends.
Milton Zimmerman is a 35+ year veteran of the Natural Products Industry who has been with PRESENCE since 1995, and now holds the title of Executive Vice President. Milton got his start in The Natural Foods Industry when he joined a Chicago-based beverage company in 1986 and was soon appointed as their National Sales Manager serving in that capacity for 8 years. A couple year stint working for a leading natural snack food manufacturer “seasoned” Milton and prepared him for his true calling – being a broker. Milton joined PRESENCE partners, Bill and Christine, 5 years into the company’s maturation and has loved the ride. Milton has built great friendships throughout the industry and is proud of his relationships with retailers and manufacturers from coast to coast. Today, Milton is the executive lead for NCG, INFRA and Fresh Thyme Market. He has also edited “PRESENCE News” since its inception 19 years ago.
Milton is a 1980 graduate of the University of Illinois and a lifelong native of the Chicagoland area. Milton’s tenacious work ethic is surpassed only by his love of his family with his patient wife, Michelle and three daughters – Haley, Hanah and Talia, and a son – Jack Morris. Milton is an avid sports fan and loves all sporting events, especially Chicago Bears and Blackhawk games.
Milton is also active in the Chicagoland community and has served as Board Chairman of the JCFS Chicago. JCFS provides vital, individualized, results driven, therapeutic and supportive services for thousands of children and adults and families of all backgrounds each year, facing challenges with life transitions, mental health, developmental/intellectual disability and basic human needs. Milton is also Past President of JVS Chicago, an agency that provides career coaching guidance, job training, and crucial support to more than 5,000 Chicagoans annually. Milton is also on the Executive Board of Naturally Chicago where he serves as the Sponsorship Chairman. The Naturally Network is the largest natural and organic membership organization is the U.S. with affiliates in the largest metro areas.
Chris Lobo has worked in the Natural Products industry for 34 years and has been with PRESENCE for 22 years.
Chris is currently an Executive Vice President with PRESENCE and handles many national responsibilities like the PRESENCE political liaison with the Organic Trade Association, and is a Business Development Manager as well. Chris is also the Sprouts Executive Lead and the Natural Grocers Executive Lead.
Chris started his career in the Natural Industry at the venerated original Alfalfa’s Market. During this time, Chris worked his way through a master’s degree while simultaneously learning the natural trade in the trenches at retail. Post-graduation, Chris found his way into sales and brokering and, in 1999, along with Michelle Lobo and Bill Weiland, founded Rocky Mountain PRESENCE.
Over decades of high-level engagement in the Natural Channel, Chris has honed his skills as a leader of multiple PRESENCE regions, and has developed key relationships at the upper reaches which has served PRESENCE and its clients well.
Chris enjoys biking, hiking, trail running, traveling, reading, acquiring art, riding motorcycles, and the occasional glass of great wine!
Prompted by health concerns in her family, Karen Farrell began studying natural foods and medicines at age 12. In her formative years, Karen studied traditional herbalism with Gladys Hadju and David Winston and spent six years studying traditional midwifery and women’s health, both academically and in practice – including foreign aid Midwifery journeys to Indonesia and Haiti.
Karen has worked the last 28+ years in the Natural Products Industry, starting as a working member in a co-op to working in an independent health food store to Whole Foods Market and the last 22 years in leadership in the sales & brokerage community.
Karen Farrell was the owner and force behind Topline Marketing, a highly successful Regional Sales and Marketing brokerage in the Natural Products Industry which she sold in 2012 to the most respected Independent National Brokerage in the US – PRESENCE.
Karen is now the Vice President of Brand Services at PRESENCE, where she oversees her team and the go-to market strategies for brands.
Karen lives with her husband & two sons on 75 acres in the Maine Woods, which she’s repopulating with endangered native medicinal plants.
Darin’s career has spanned more than 20 years and touched every aspect of sales leadership from sales management to sales strategy and everything in between. Darin’s experience in varied industries and categories enables him to bring a unique perspective to PRESENCE as the VP of Conventional Sales. Darin’s known for his transparent and open management style which builds strong relationships and high-performing teams.
Darin felt the pull towards the natural industry following a serious car accident in early 2020. His focus turned to utilizing the healing powers of nature (instead of medications) to restore and strengthen his body from within. Darin’s a firm believer in PRESENCE’s mission and knows the positive impact that getting back-to-basics can make in your life.
Darin has worked in the CPG industry for the last decade; most recently, as the VP of Sales Operations and Strategy at Wilton Brands leading the team’s transition from sales administration to value-add sales services: forecasting, operations, planning, & strategy. Prior to that, Darin worked in Sales Strategy and Planning at Tyson Foods leading the integration of Advance Pierre Foods into the business and developing their first 4P’s go-to-market strategy.
Darin lives with his wife, teen daughter and son, and two dogs in the northern suburbs of Chicago. His family enjoys spending time together outdoors: gardening, biking, and hiking. Darin is a huge baseball fan and pulls for the National League’s equivalent to the Yankees, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Michelle has been in the Natural Products Industry for 30 years with a background and passion in health, wellness, and natural products industry causes. She is a strong sales professional skilled in customer service, sales targets, negotiations, coaching, business planning, and brand building. Michelle possesses a natural sales ability with a strategic mindset and is a key motivator, building trusted relationships and winning outcomes. She currently serves as Vice President of Market Ready Services, Powered by PRESENCE, overseeing all operations for this division.
Michelle started in the Natural Products Industry as a buyer for a top Natural Foods chain while co-founding Zents premium body care. She moved into sales and brokering and in 1999 cofounded PRESENCE in the Rocky Mountain Region. She served as the Vice President of Nutrition Body care for the past 10 years before developing Market Ready Services, an arm of PRESENCE, working with emerging brands – building and scaling companies with key deliverables to guarantee success in the marketplace.
A Certified Nutritionist, Michelle is also a former board member of the Natural Products Association, current mentor at Colorado University Leads School of Business/Master in Sustainability, and an industry expert. Her deep knowledge of the Natural Channel, trends, data/metrics, innovation, and genuine enthusiasm for developing brands have had proven success through the years. Her record of accomplishments in launching brands and growing legacy brands include leaders such as Liquid I.V. Ancient Nutrition, Andalou, Mineral Fusion, and Vital Proteins.
Andi Hendricks has been in the Natural Products Industry for over 40 years and has been with PRESENCE for 14 years. Andi serves as our Vice President of Trade Services at PRESENCE, negotiating and solidifying all PRESENCE Broker Services, as well as management of the Trade Promotion Department. The diversity of her role requires collaboration and teamwork, in the oversight and guidance of her departments in strategically guiding clients on the design and implementation of brand strategies to capture optimal market share and trade optimization.
Andi started in the Natural Products Industry in the Midwest having worked retail, wholesale distribution, and brokerage. For 15 years, Andi was with United Natural Foods (UNFI) during which time she held the positions of Vice President of Purchasing and Vice President of Sales for the Western and Midwest Regions. She also served on UNFI’s Board of Directors as the company went public. Upon leaving UNFI, Andi held the position of President of Mitzvah Marketing, prior to the acquisition of the company by PRESENCE in 2007.
Andi currently resides in Seattle, Washington where she enjoys hiking, creating pottery, gardening, volunteering in community food and garden programs and spending time with her partner, family, and friends. Andi continues to have a passion for the Natural Products Industry and is proud to be a part of a company and to work with individuals focused on a shared commitment to the planet, shown through the brands we represent, and the industry causes we sponsor.
Meet Christina, a dedicated member of the PRESENCE team since 2011. Her journey with us has been a dynamic one, marked by diverse roles that have showcased her versatility. Starting as a KeHE Distributor Account Executive, she has seamlessly transitioned through overseeing various departments and roles, including Distributor Relations, Purchase Orders, Data Entry, and Tradeshow management, before finding her true calling in our Human Resources Department. Since 2015, Christina has been at the helm of our HR Department and now proudly serves as the Vice President of HR.
Christina’s career at PRESENCE is a testament to her unwavering commitment to personal growth and problem-solving. She is passionate about making a positive impact, both for our organization and the planet, aligning with our core mission. Christina thrives on shaping PRESENCE’s culture and crafting exceptional experiences for our teams, making her role a cornerstone of our success.
An Indiana University graduate (Go Hoosiers!), Christina resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, two children, two dogs, and a tortoise. Beyond her professional pursuits, she finds joy in hosting gatherings, indulging in culinary adventures, exploring new destinations, and staying active to balance out her love for fine wine and cuisine. Most importantly, Christina cherishes the moments spent with her cherished family and friends.
In her free time, Christina can mostly be found coaching softball or enthusiastically cheering on her kids in all their athletic endeavors. She’s not only a supportive parent but also the Vice President for the Central District Gift Softball League, where she nurtures and empowers strong girls through coaching. Her commitment to fostering the growth and strength of young athletes extends beyond the workplace, further exemplifying her dedication to personal and community development.
Her remarkable achievements include winning the 2022 Top Women in Grocery Award – Senior Level Executives from Progressive Grocer and holding a SHRM-CP Certification, demonstrating her commitment to HR excellence. Additionally, she is Mental Health First Aid Certified, underscoring her dedication to employee well-being.
Christina is not just a vital part of the PRESENCE team; she is a shining example of our values, constantly driving us forward towards greater success and a brighter future.
Andy Lockhart brings over 30 years of IT experience to PRESENCE where he has served PRESENCE as Senior Director of IT for the last 12 years. Andy’s talents have helped PRESENCE develop several proprietary company applications, support hardware and software. Andy oversees and implements all of PRESENCE’s technologies.
Prior to joining PRESENCE, Andy worked at Allstate Insurance, Sears and Rockwell International providing him with the skills and expertise needed to ensure that PRESENCE’s technology remains the best in the industry. Over his tenure at PRESENCE, Andy has implemented several successful internal applications that have greatly benefited the company and our brands. Andy strives to keep the company on cutting edge technologies which creates efficiencies and helps keeps PRESENCE as a leader of technology in our industry.
Andy has always been passionate about good health, wellness and industry causes. Andy leads an active and healthy lifestyle and he is passionate about the Natural Products Industry. He enjoys fishing, exercising, sports and vacationing with his family.
Donnie Baldwin has been in conventional retail for over 30 years and he has been with PRESENCE for the past 12 years. Today, Donnie serves as PRESENCE’s Senior Director of Conventional Sales leading the Central and Western Conventional Teams.
Donnie started his career as a C-Store and Retail Sales Representative with a small distributor. He moved to a large non-food and specialty food distributor which underwent several mergers and acquisitions and is now part of UNFI. During his time there, he served in numerous roles and executive positions supporting retail sales, distributor sales, merchandising, store set-up and design as well as marketing. Donnie has extensive experience and deep knowledge of the conventional retail landscape. He has a strong passion for mentoring, developing, and supporting team members.
Donnie is a sports enthusiast as he enjoys any sporting event in which he can set up his top-notch tailgate where all who know him have a standing invitation. He enjoys traveling, spending time with his family and friends and spoiling his grandchildren.
Jerry Stroobosscher has been in the Market Research Industry for over 25 years and with PRESENCE for 9 years. Jerry serves PRESENCE as Senior Director of Data Services/Analytics, overseeing the coordination, production and delivery of reporting used to measure retail performance, trend identification and forecasting utilizing multiple data sources and delivery tools.
Jerry started in the Market Research Industry working for Information Resources (IRI) and transitioned to the Natural Food Industry space after accepting a role with SPINS. During Jerry’s tenure at SPINS he oversaw the PRESENCE business and transitioned to a PRESENCE employee in the summer of 2012.
When Jerry is not working, he enjoys kayaking, fishing, and spending time with family and friends.
Kathy Mattisz has been a part of the Natural Products Industry for 23 years enjoying the last 14 years with PRESENCE. Today, Kathy serves PRESENCE as the Senior Director of Administrative Services managing many of our internal database systems and team. She aids in the development of new programs to fit the changing needs of the industry. Her department is comprised of the Sales Assistants that support the conventional, natural grocery and nutrition/body care retail teams and Account Executives. Her team is responsible for promotional contracts, new item forms and retail promotional planning support as well as any other needs of our retail partners.
Kathy’s has a rich background in the industry working on both the manufacturer and broker side of the business. She held the positions of Director of Marketing and National Sales Manager for a small pioneering cookie company and as a Business Development Manager for a broker before joining PRESENCE. For her first 12 years at PRESENCE, Kathy was the Regional Sales Manager in our Southeast region which included Account Executive responsibilities for Whole Foods Market, NCG and Earth Fare.
Outside of work, Kathy enjoys traveling with her husband, cooking, reading. Kathy loves animals of every kind.
Kelly is the Senior Director of Sales for Nutrition/Body Care. In this role, she is responsible for the management of the Nutrition/Body Care sales team nationally.
Kelly has spent her entire career in the Natural Foods Industry after graduating from Purdue University in 2002, a majority of that time has been with PRESENCE. She has worked in both, Grocery and Nutrition/Body Care Divisions, as well as on both the Retailer and Distributor sides of the business. Kelly is a strategic thinker and creative problem solver with a natural talent for understanding complex situations, recognizing challenges, defining and implementing solutions. She is an authentic sales leader that is engaged and enthusiastic about growing those around her as well as herself. Kelly continues to be deeply inspired by the mission-based companies and products that we bring to market. She is incredibly grateful of her knowledge received from her industry experience around health and wellness.
Kelly and husband, Jason, live in Chicago and have two children, Milton and Marley. Kelly loves camping, hiking, playing softball, loving on all their fur babies (3 dogs & 3 cats) and live music. Gardening, reading a great book, enjoying a great cup of coffee and doing yoga keeps her balanced and happy.
A 26-year Natural Product Industry veteran and natural born health and wellness enthusiast, Leah’s journey started as a child with a health-conscious family that thrived on good food, close friends, and an entrepreneurial spirt. Through family-owned restaurants, catering, dinner groups and early introduction into health food stores, Leah’s path led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics/Nutrition followed by Certification as a Holistic Health Counselor.
Leah’s Industry experience began at Bread & Circus (then acquired by Whole Foods) in the Whole-Body Department where she spent 6 years in purchasing and management supporting consumer health & wellness. Through those years and time spent working with a Holistic Health Center she developed a passion for sale & marketing in the Natural and Organic brand industry which led her to join the Topline Marketing startup team – a rapidly developing & highly acclaimed independent brokerage in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic where she held several roles throughout the years, contributing to the success of this business.
Leah joined the Presence team in 2012 via the acquisition of Topline Marketing, starting as the Northeast Brand/Sales Manager and followed by holding a National Brand Manager position where she oversees Growth Strategy and Execution for the Nutrition Body Care portfolio. Leah is a values-forward leader driving business success with a strong bias for kindness, excellence, consistency, and action.
Leah lives in the beautiful state of Maine, raising two daughters with her Partner, Brooks. You can find her exploring the coastlines by land and sea, getting dirty in her garden, and soaking up all the special moments in life.
Mary Scarcello has been in the Natural Products Industry for over 20 years and has been with PRESENCE for 14 years. Today, Mary serves as PRESENCE’s Senior Director of Natural Sales for the West overseeing the Pacific Northwest, West, Rocky Mountains and Southwest divisions. She prides herself on strong communication, sales and marketing management and execution with detailed oversight of the marketplace always working closely with the sales teams ensuring that our client partner’s goals and initiatives are exceeded.
Mary started in the Natural Products Industry in Southern California working as a sales representative for Frontier Natural Products calling on Whole Foods Markets and independent retailers. She began her foray into brokering with New Connections in 2000 as a Sales Manager directly overseeing the brands and the sales team. Mary joined PRESENCE when the company launched nationally, expanding into the west in 2007. She is a current member of Naturally San Diego.
Mary resides in Valencia, California (30 miles north of Los Angeles) with her husband, John, where she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, reading and volunteering with the Bridge to Home Homeless Shelter and the SCV Foster Program. Mary embraces the fast past and everchanging landscape within the Natural Foods Industry – both with our client and retail partners. Mary is proud to be a member of the PRESENCE family.
Mike Seina’s 37 year career in the food industry began when he was 18 years old at Baker’s Supermarkets in Omaha. It was there that Mike’s love for the industry drove him to eventually becoming an Assistant Store Director. When Baker’s sold the company and was no longer run by the Baker family, Mike decided to take the opportunity to make a change and he moved to Virginia. This move opened the world of natural and organic foods where Mike became a Grocery Manager at Fresh Fields. Through a series of changes inside Fresh Field, Bread and Circus and Whole Foods Market, Mike eventually became the Regional Grocery Buyer for the Whole Foods Mid-Atlantic Region. Five years later, the next chapter of Mike’s career brought on a major opportunity as he accepted the role of Sales Manager for BIN Marketing, an all-natural East Coast broker. BIN was acquired by Advantage Sales and Marketing which prompted Mike to look for another avenue to pursue. The goal was to work for a manufacturer but a conversation with PRESENCE’s President, Bill Weiland, changed that trajectory and Mike made PRESENCE his home.
Bill Weiland is a premier salesman and there was no way Mike was not going to embrace the opportunity to work with the premier broker in the Natural Food Industry. As a side note, Mike will always hold the dubious honor of being the second person hired for the East Coast as Pete Psaledas answered Bill’s call before Mike did. Starting as a Regional Sales Manager for the East Coast, Mike became a Director for the Natural Sales overseeing both the East and Midwest. In 2021, Mike’s career came full circle in that he accepted the role as Senior Director on the Conventional Sales Team in the East. Mike has said on more than one occasion that the past 15 years at PRESENCE have been the most productive and satisfying part of his career and he looks forward to the next 15 years at PRESENCE.
Mike likes nothing more than spending time with his wife of 23 years, his two children, and his brand-new grandson who was born in 2020. While Mike has a wide array of interests and many hobbies (possibly too many), its music collecting (i.e. vinyl records and compact discs) that takes up most of his free time.
In the 20+ years Nikki has spent with PRESENCE, she has developed a deep passion for health and wellness and has gained invaluable industry experience.
Nikki joined PRESENCE as an intern and has since progressed to serve as Senior Director of Distributor Relations. She credits this background—and her experience working across multiple functions of the business—for her ability to bring teams together, break down silos, and get everyone moving in the same direction. Today, she leads a team across distributor relations, purchase order management, and trade shows and events.
Nikki earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Southern Illinois where she played Division I softball. She enjoys spending her time with her family and friends, going to concerts, entertaining, trying new restaurants and enjoys traveling.
Reuben Morales has been in the grocery industry for over 28 years and in the natural class of trade for 17 years. Today, Reuben serves as our Senior Director of Brand Management, overseeing day-to-day operations of the Brand Management Department.
Reuben started in the Conventional Class of Trade in the Northwest market having worked with SC Johnson & Sons for 11 years during which time he held the positions of Sales Representative, Regional Sales Manager in the Northwest, and Corporate Account Executive for the Kroger West divisions. Upon leaving SC Johnson, Reuben joined the leadership team of Mitzvah Marketing as a Business/Sales Manager prior to the acquisition of the company by PRESENCE in 2007.
Reuben currently resides in Federal Way, Washington where he has a passion for supporting community youth sport’s programs and is active in his church’s youth and community programs while spending time with his wife, three sons, extended family and friends. Reuben discovered the natural industry of brands and retailers through working through his family’s medical challenges and finding solutions through the foods they chose. He has a passion for the Natural Products Industry and its impact on enabling a person to live their best life now and is proud to be a part of a company focused on a shared commitment to a legacy of health, the planet and empowering others to a level of excellence in all areas of their life.
Sarah Sturgis has always loved a good health food store. So much so, in fact, that when moving her family across the country, she mapped out potential new hometowns based on proximity to natural food co-ops, trusting that a town that could support a strong co-op was one with which she had shared values.
Having grown up around wholesale buying clubs and macrobiotics, and then having discovered life-changing food sensitivities in her teens, she believes deeply that food is medicine; that our choices at the grocery store impact our heath and that of our communities in a myriad of ways.
Sarah got her start in the Natural Products Industry nearly 20 years ago on the manufacturer side, wearing many hats and calling on retailers and distributors nationally. She joined Presence in 2016 and has been in National Brand Management since the formation of the department. Here, she thrives on utilizing her analytical and complex problem-solving skills to develop processes and strategies that support our brands and our teams in this exciting and evolving industry.
Veronica Vanni’s 30 year career in the Natural Foods Industry began soon after graduating from college. Veronica started her career as a manager and buyer at natural foods stores in Long Island and Florida back in the early nineties. She has since worked in almost every facet of the industry including publishing. Veronica’s first foray into the broker world was with BIN Sales & Marketing in both Territory Sales in Florida and then as part of the Brand Management team in their Connecticut headquarter office. Veronica then worked for a number of manufacturers in roles that included Regional Sales and Director of Brand Development. Veronica has also gained experience in the distributor world as a Supplier Relationship Manager at UNFI. In 2016, Veronica joined PRESENCE as the Regional Sales Manager for PRESENCE East.
Today, Veronica serves as our Senior Director of Natural Sales managing the East and Midwest regions. Veronica loves the day-to-day excitement at PRESENCE and being part of a team that is truly dedicated to our brands, retailers and getting the job done.
Veronica spends her free time with her family enjoying music, food and drink, gardening, antiquing, and thrifting. As a New York Mets fan, she survives through some tense baseball seasons.