About our mentor program
We partnered with a group of accomplished alternative protein experts who applied to and were selected for our program out of hundreds of applicants. These exceptional mentors choose to give back to the sector by volunteering their time and industry knowledge.
Areas of expertise include, but are not limited to:
- Go-to-market strategy
- Fundraising and investor relations
- Pitching and presenting
If you are interested in speaking with a GFI Mentor please review the mentor bios below and submit the form at the end of this page. You may request sessions with more than one mentor.
Meet our mentors
HEAD OF FRONT END INNOVATION AT GIVAUDAN
Areas of expertise: Foodtech, venturing, entrepreneurship, strategy development and digital transformation.
Angel investor| Advisory board
Alexandre has more than 20 years in the food industry, mature and high growth markets; solid experience in foodtech, venturing, entrepreneurship, strategy development and digital transformation; cross-functional in corporate and multi-cultural background. Previously, he has had top global consulting and petro & oil industry experience.
FOUNDER, MOVE THE MESSAGE
Areas of expertise: Fundraising, public speaking, storytelling, high performance
Location: United States
Leadership coach | Pitch consultant | Speaker | Master facilitators | Author, Move the Message
Josephine helps large organizations, startups and individuals, turning leaders and innovators into great communicators. As a pitch coach, she helps founders get funding and grow their business. As a leadership coach, she specializes in executive presence, presentations and high performance. Jo has worked with VMware, Microsoft, Zoom, MasterCard, American Express, Expedia, Deloitte, Capital One, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Bloomberg, HSBC, Korn Ferry Hay Group, Willis Towers Watson, Akamai, ThoughtSpot, Razorfish, McCann, Tribal DDB, Y&R, Dentsu Aegis, Packard Foundation (SOCAP), Bay Area Video Coalition, Perfect World Entertainment, Cryptic Studios, and Mission Barns.
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF SUSTAINABILITY, REDHILL
Areas of expertise: Strategic planning, media relations, crisis communication, CSR communication, campaign management
Marta has 15 years of international communications experience in both in-house and agency settings. Marta worked with brands like HP, TomTom, Crocs, Mars, Heineken, NBC Universal and Unilever throughout her career. At Redhill, Marta is responsible for the sustainability practice, working with clients from NGOs to disruptive startups in the alt-protein space. Marta is highly skilled in strategic planning, media relations, crisis communication, CSR communication and campaign management. Marta is a Portuguese national who lived in The Netherlands, Spain, before moving to Singapore, where she lives now with her husband and two children.
EDITOR AT LARGE, CNET
Areas of expertise: Communications, media relations, marketing
Location: United States
Experienced technology editor, media host and speaker who can help with executive presentations, media training, podcast design & production, and video strategy and production. Has coached and consulted numerous major brands in the food, package goods and consumer electronics industries to help them communicate with consumers effectively.
PRINCIPAL, BLUE HORIZON
Areas of expertise: Fundraising strategy, commercial strategy, alternative protein technology differentiation
Location: United States
VC investor in alternative proteins & post-animal bioeconomy
Nate is a Principal at Blue Horizon, an investment company dedicated to accelerating the transition to a New Sustainable Food System. He is primarily focused on alt proteins at the pre-seed/seed stages. He was previously at the Good Food Institute and a biotech incubator in startup and investment support roles. Nate can help with your investor pitch, commercial strategy, and differentiating your technology. Nate currently lives in Kansas and is into writing, animal welfare, effective altruism, cooking (especially with fire and microbes), and hiking.
Areas of expertise: B2B sales, product realization (prototype/MVP through production), supply chain management and logistics, and international partnerships
Location: United States
Entrepreneur | Adventurer | Mentor
Working in leading edge industries throughout his early career, Howard created operational success in new technology businesses working in key positions as an Intrapreneur at forward-thinking companies: Microwave Microelectronics in the 1980s, Electric Vehicles and Warehouse Automation in the 1990s, and Fiber Optic Telecommunications in the 2000s. He went on to start up two automated equipment manufacturing companies in the warehousing and distribution space – one co-owned with a Dutch company, the other wholly owned in the US. As President of both companies simultaneously, Howard and his team grew Eurosort Inc. and United Sortation Solutions LLC (USS) to a combined revenue of over $120M with net margin significantly higher than the industry standard. Both companies were acquired in 2016 by Intelligrated, now a division of Honeywell. Howard is founding Co-Director of the Georgetown University Startup Accelerator, an Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown University, a mentor at Halcyon House – a social impact incubator, and an active angel investor. Areas of expertise include B2B sales, product realization (prototype/MVP through production), supply chain management and logistics, and international partnerships. Howard holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Buffalo, an MS in Financial Management from Johns Hopkins University, and an MS in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford University. He resides in Washington DC and enjoys exploring new places with family, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, and photography.
DIRECTOR AT STERNE, KESSLER, GOLDSTEIN & FOX
Areas of expertise: Global patent portfolio procurement, management and enforcement strategies, technology transfer, invalidity, non-infringement, freedom-to-operate and patentability opinions, due diligence investigations.
Location: United States
Peter Jackman is a director in Sterne Kessler’s Biotechnology & Chemical Practice Group. His practice includes counseling clients in areas such as global patent portfolio procurement, management and enforcement strategies, technology transfer, invalidity, non-infringement, freedom-to-operate and patentability opinions and due diligence investigations. He has significant experience in representing clients in patent reexaminations and inter partes review proceedings and has written and prosecuted patent applications domestically and internationally in areas such as immunology, genomics, molecular biology, recombinant DNA technologies, transgenics, bioprocessing, advanced biofuels, bio-based chemicals, fertilizers and enzymes, fermentation technologies, microbiology, cell and gene therapies and food science. Peter is also a member of the firm’s CleanTech Industry Group. He frequently lectures and publishes on intellectual property issues surrounding renewable technologies, and he was an Associate Editor for Clean Tech Law & Business, the first peer-reviewed journal devoted exclusively to the pursuit of environmentally sustainable technology. He further served on the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the firm, Peter worked in the Office of Technology Development, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, as a Technology Transfer Fellow. He has also been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law co-teaching a course in Technology Transfer. Peter holds a BS in Biology from Villanova University and an MS in Microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University. He received his J.D. with concentrations in both Intellectual Property Law and Business Law.
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, YEAP
Areas of expertise: Protein functionality, texture, emulsions, food physical chemistry
Food science and technology consultant
Keren is a motivated food scientist with a Ph.D. and a strong background in food chemistry with great passion for “fun foods” and innovation, reaching back to her family’s dessert factory. More than 10 years of food industry experience (4.5 years working at a food tech start up, 1.5 years at a large CPG company and 5 years of food manufacturing experience), 7 years of academic research focusing on protein functionality, texture, emulsions and food physical chemistry. Ten years of teaching experience in a variety of different food science classes. Excellent leadership and presentation skills.
PRINCIPAL, CLEAR CURRENT CAPITAL
Areas of expertise: Growth strategy, fundraising strategy and storytelling, competitive positioning
Location: United States
Steven is a Principal at Clear Current Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on reinventing food through sustainable alternative protein investments. CCC’s primary investment categories are focused on plant-based food (meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs), cultivated meat, fermentation, and other mission-oriented enterprises focused on removing animals from the supply chain at scale. With CCC, Steven is responsible for leading new investment and diligence activities, portfolio management needs, and internal operations support. Steven has prior experience at leading mission-driven VC firms, as well as in the alternative investments and strategy consulting spaces. He is a Board Member at Sundial Foods and is a mentor with ProVeg Incubator and The Protein Directory and a member of The Rising Tide Collective. He received his a BS in Finance from The College of New Jersey (magna cum laude) and an MBA from Columbia Business School (Dean’s List). Key areas of expertise, as it relates to the GFI Mentor Program, are in the areas of growth strategy, fundraising strategy and storytelling, and competitive positioning.
GLOBAL FINANCE LEAD, CARGILL SEAFOOD & CARGILL ALT PROTEINS
Areas of expertise: Partnering with strategics, fundraising from strategics, FP&A/strategic finance, seafood/alt seafood, international markets (particularly Latin America and Asia)
Location: United States
Finance, M&A and strategy leader | Board member
He Mu is a finance, strategy and M&A leader within Cargill’s Animal Protein business. He has led finance for Cargill’s Seafood BU and Alternative Protein BU, and previously worked in investment banking and at the IFC/World Bank. He currently also serves on the board of Salmones Multiexport, a Chilean salmon farmer. His areas of expertise include partnering with strategics, fundraising from strategics, FP&A/strategic finance, seafood/alt seafood, and international markets (particularly Latin America and Asia). He Mu is originally Chinese and grew up in Argentina.
VICE PRESIDENT, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AT PERFECT DAY
Areas of expertise: Industrial biotechnology, including discovery and development of fermentation-based products like alternative proteins, enzymes, microbes, and secondary metabolites
Ashish serves as Vice President, R&D at Perfect Day, a consumer biology company on a mission to create a kinder, greener tomorrow by developing new ways to make the foods you love today through precision fermentation — starting in the dairy aisle. Ashish brings more than 20 years of experience in industrial biotechnology, including discovery and development of fermentation-based products like alternative proteins, enzymes, microbes, and secondary metabolites, with applications across food, feed, household care, personal care, and human health. Ashish has held various R&D leadership roles in biotechnology across multinational corporations like Novozymes, DuPont, and Procter & Gamble. Ashish received his Ph.D. from Dalhousie University and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta (both in Canada). His skills in building strong, innovative, and empowered R&D organizations, technology strategies, and open innovation are critical for the future of Perfect Day. He is passionate about the future of animal-free dairy and, with the rest of the Executive Leadership Team, is driving Perfect Day to its vision of building a more equitable, resilient, and diverse food system for all of us. Ashish is based in Bangalore, India.
VENTURE PARTNER, DESERT BLOOM FOODS
Areas of expertise: ESG, impact investing, team dynamics, execution
Location: United States
Strategic advisor | Entrepreneur
Alexandra Peterson is an advisor and investor focused on impact-driven companies and funds, with a particular interest in healthy food systems. Her current work includes her role as Venture Partner at Desert Bloom Foods, a next-generation food platform, and co-founder of Trofi Holdings, an investment collective.
Previously, Alexandra co-founded Madeira Global, a leading ESG advisory and reporting firm, in 2012. With nearly a decade of experience as a specialized consultancy, Madeira worked alongside some of the largest alternative fund managers, family offices and Fortune 100 companies providing world-class frameworks for ESG strategy and integration. Madeira Global was acquired in 2020. For her work, Alexandra was named a Forbes “30 Under 30” Social Entrepreneur in 2015 and has been a featured speaker at Yale University, UBS, J.P. Morgan, the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, and the Nexus Global Summit at the United Nations, among others.
Alexandra began her career in investment management at G2 Investment Group, ultimately serving as Managing Director and interim-COO. She has a B.A. from Middlebury College in International Studies and Political Science with a specialization in Latin America. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Additionally, she is an advisor to PATH, the refillable bottled water brand on a mission to end single-use plastic, Overlay Capital and serves on the Advisory Council of Rockefeller Capital Management.
FOUNDER, PROTTEINA FOODS
Areas of expertise: Developing strategic plans, negotiation of distribution agreements, commercial strategies, integrated marketing initiatives, digital innovation, social responsibility
Board member | CEO
Sandra is a Board Member, Director, General Manager, Regional Manager Latin America in Marketing, Sales and Planning with over 20 years of experience in leading roles at multinational retail and consumer goods companies: Cencosud, Nike, Nestlé and Kraft. She has managed distribution of: New Balance, Quiksilver, Trek, Original Penguin, Paul Frank, among others. She has a track record of strong business results with increased levels of responsibilities, with emphasis in: developing strategic plans, negotiation of distribution agreements, commercial strategies, integrated marketing initiatives, digital innovation and social responsibility.
CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, ROSLIN TECHNOLOGIES
Areas of expertise: Strategic planning, business development, pitching & fundraising, financial modeling, structuring & negotiating partnerships, team building
Alternative protein | Cellular agriculture | Cultivated meat
Tom has 18 years of commercial experience in sustainability, food and agriculture as a strategy consultant, investor and operator, including senior management and board-level positions with early-stage companies. For the past three years Tom has focused on the future of food and opportunities in alternative protein, cellular agriculture and cultivated meat in particular. As a mentor Tom works with early-stage companies on commercial topics, including: strategic planning, business development, pitching & fundraising, financial modeling, structuring & negotiating partnerships and team building.
Areas of expertise: Branding, business model and point of differentiation, go-to market strategy (markets, channels, partners), storytelling, communications
Plant-based strategies for international markets | Scaling up | Transformation | Innovation
Seasoned brand and business builder with over 30 years of global experience across different channels and geographies in multinational, SMEs and various start-ups, with 12 yrs in senior leadership roles in food and food service at Nestlé creating the biggest plant-based brand in EMENA. Awards, failures, being celebrated internationally and being retrenched were an integral part of it. Let me help you to seize untapped opportunities and avoid mistakes that I have made with my teams in the past. Sounding board and mentor: Sharpening your identity, business model and point of differentiation to succeed in the market (marketing-mix modeling, purpose); applying knowledge about cross-cultural go-to market strategies (markets, channels, partners) and vast network to access; helping you to clearer understand your consumers’ needs and market dynamics/trends in plant-based and conventional food (pains/needs/wants/expectations of your target audience); developing your ownable, compelling storytelling that creates desire and sustainable value with your stakeholders; making you fit for presentations and negotiations with investors, partners, trade, etc.
FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER AT AIIM PARTNERS
Areas of expertise: Fundraising, impact investing
Location: United States
Shally Shanker is the founder and managing partner of AiiM Partners, which invests in businesses leveraging technology to address climate change and generate measurable social, environmental, and financial returns.
The AiiM team, comprising investors, entrepreneurs, operators, and researchers, has invested in companies that have benefitted 3 million people worldwide with 50 percent of the assets invested in women founders and CEOs.
A Chartered Financial Analyst®, Shally has over 22 years of investment management experience structuring and stewarding global portfolios. She has been involved with the boards of 16 portfolio investments, actively engaged in supporting emerging solutions ranging from using data for advocacy to using technology to scale innovations, and, over the last decade, mentoring women entrepreneurs in more than half of her portfolio.
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF FIELD SALES – FOOD SERVICE, HUNGRY PLANET
Areas of expertise: Partnership and account development, pricing strategy, plant-based products, food industry R&D, brand development, distribution, retail, procurement, sales strategy
Location: United States
Paul brings over 20 years of experience in the food service industry managing multiple sales channels and securing national accounts. He is currently the Senior Director of Field Sales – Food Service for Hungry Planet. His previous experience includes National Sales Manager, Food Service & Industrial Sales at Earth Island, Follow Your Heart. In that role, Paul held responsibility for food service and industrial sales throughout the U.S. and Canada. Prior to Follow Your Heart, he held sales and marketing leadership roles with companies including Bindi North America, Taste It Presents, Australis Aquaculture, and Conagra.
MANAGING PARTNER, BLUE REVOLUTION FUND (HATCH)
Areas of expertise: Fundraising, financial modeling, general business strategy, corporate partnerships
Impact investor | Early-stage venture capital | Startup advisor | Experienced banker
Supriya is an experienced banker turned Early Stage Venture Capitalist and is currently Managing Partner at the Blue Revolution Funds (BRF)-a partnership between Hatch Blue and The Nature Conservancy. Passionate about transferring her skills to the sustainable food space, Supriya joined Hatch in early 2020 and prior to the BRF, managed the Hatch Portfolio (which includes investments in the Alt-Seafood space such as Umami Meats, The Plant Based Seafood Company and Finless Foods). Prior to Hatch, Supriya was the Global Head of a USD 76 Bn Portfolio at Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore. Her banking career also includes roles in Strategy Consulting, where she led projects around Mergers & Acquisitions for the bank and investing in incubating digital ventures. Supriya has a master’s degree in Physics from the Indian Institute of Tech-Madras, and retains a deep appreciation and curiosity for the sciences. With a desire to commercialize her scientific interests, she then secured an MBA in Finance from a leading Indian Business School. Supriya can help with preparing for fundraising and understanding term sheets; financial models; general business strategy – including building business plans; navigating partnerships with corporates; and emotional support navigating the start-up journey (Supriya is extremely passionate about helping entrepreneurs navigate this space!)
CEO AND FOUNDER, NUTRITION SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIES
Areas of expertise: Consumer driven innovation, global regulatory business strategy and international market expansion, DEI and leadership development, nutrition, sustainability, health, and wellness
Location: United States
Board advisor | Nutrition and sustainability | Scaling up food tech | Innovation | Business development | Former Chief Health and Wellness Officer at General Mills
Maha is best known for developing game-changing strategies that translate science and technology into business opportunities. With deep knowledge of the global regulatory landscape, she anticipates and mitigates risk and creates competitive advantage to accelerate growth. Maha is an internationally recognized expert in the health and nutrition sector who leads at the intersection of scientific research, regulatory, and communication in public and private Fortune 300 global companies across more than 30 categories of food and beverages. Currently, Maha is CEO and Founder of Nutrition Sustainability Strategies LLC, a boutique consulting firm supporting early-stage start-ups and multibillion-dollar companies aiming to improve the food system. Previously Maha was Chief Health & Wellness Officer at General Mills. She specializes in consumer driven innovation, global regulatory business strategy and international market expansion, DEI and leadership development, nutrition, sustainability, health, and wellness.
HEAD OF INNOVATION AND OPERATION, ALTERNATIVE PROTEIN AT THAI UNION GROUP PCL
Areas of expertise: Project management, industrialization, supply chain management
Experienced in setting up new companies, new factories, and global business units with a demonstrated history of working in the food and FMCG industry. Strong project management, industrialization, and supply chain focus with more than 12 years of work experience in Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, and Germany. Passionate about the future of food, food system transformation, sustainable food, and bringing “healthy living, healthy ocean” to life. Set up global Alternative Protein business unit including building and launching the first plant-based brand for Thai Union.
STRATEGY MANAGER, IMPOSSIBLE FOODS
Areas of expertise: Sustainability and impact assessment, stakeholder engagement, business analytics, science communication, and bringing energy and connection to diverse teams
Location: United States
Startup and impact strategy | Food tech and nature-based solutions | Climate justice and food equity
Saskia’s goal is to make our planet and people healthier by building more sustainable and equitable food systems. As a former environmental engineer and climate physicist, she excels in translating practical ideas between tech and business teams. She is also committed to developing solutions with strong local community impact and equity, and has worked on-the-ground in Europe and Mexico in previous roles. Currently at Impossible Foods she leads mission-accelerating projects including impact strategy, nature-based climate solutions, and increasing protein access to low-income communities. Saskia’s specialties include sustainability and impact assessment, stakeholder engagement, business analytics, science communication, and bringing energy and connection to diverse teams. She’s an ardent supporter of plant-based diets, bicycle paths, women’s and immigrant rights, and climate justice.
CONTRACT MANUFACTURING, MANUFACTURING SCALE-UP, SUPPLY CHAIN AND OPERATIONS, ENGINEERING ADVISOR, FOODANZA INC
Areas of expertise: Manufacturing, supply chain, engineering
Manufacturing scale-up | Supply chain and network strategy | Biotech and foodtech engineering | Alternative proteins | Cultivated meat | Precision fermentation
Emil acted as a global supply chain and manufacturing professional for a leading global food company with over 20 years professional experience in the food industry. He worked on building and starting up greenfield and brownfield manufacturing operations in various international markets (Europe, North America, and Asia), developed new technologies in close cooperation with major technology vendors, worked on innovation and new product development and launches under major global power brands, and expanded the company portfolio globally by working on route to markets. He offers management consulting services in the field of alternative proteins with a focus on manufacturing and contract manufacturing, supply chain, and engineering. He is keen to help the alternative protein ecosystem to grow and to make the food industry more sustainable. Do you have a great idea in the field of biotech and foodtech? Would you like to develop it successfully for global markets? Right from the start of development it is important to consider how a new product can also be produced on an industrial scale, where the product can be produced in such a way that manufacturing costs do not ruin the business and there is a reliable supply chain.
HEAD OF MARKETING PLANT PROTEINS, ROQUETTE
Areas of expertise: Market analysis, innovation, formulation, value chain understanding, plant proteins and food ingredients
Benjamin Voiry is Head of Marketing for Plant Proteins at Roquette and located in the North of France. With a master’s degree in science and engineering, he has spent more than 15 years in the B2B ingredients manufacturing space and works on promoting plant-based ingredients around the world. One of Benjamin’s key focuses is on innovation to create and improve plant-based gastronomy with tasty, healthy, and sustainable food. He envisions a food system that is responsible in its local and global consideration of the planet and its population. Benjamin’s expertise includes market analysis, innovation, formulation, value chain understanding, plant proteins and food ingredients.
Hon Mun Yip
MANAGING DIRECTOR, KICL GROUP
Areas of expertise: CEO coaching, category development, fundraising, talent acquisition
Full-time climate investor | Reimagining our future | Fixing food
Hon Mun has over thirty years of investment, operations, and board level experience with investment funds, family offices, start-ups and as a founder. He was based in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Seoul, China and Singapore performing Post M&A integration, turning-around and growing new businesses for Private Equity firms and family-owned Asia businesses. Hon Mun was the CEO of a Singapore-China government Joint Venture Sustainable farming and food security in Northeast China. He is currently the Regional MD managing assets and investment strategy for a family office. He is a partner & advisor in various Food Tech VC, holds a board seat in a China alternative protein company and a private investor in the alternative protein space.
Areas that might be of interest to the mentees: Coaching to be a CEO, How to develop a Category, Fundraising and Talent Acquisition.
Mentor session request
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