“Food for Health” Judges
Communities IMPACT Diabetes Center is proud to announce the esteemed judges for each round of the Food for Health Business Plan Competition. The panel contains leading experts in the areas of business development, entrepreneurship, organizational management, food systems, government affairs, public health, finance and philanthropy.
Judges for Food Enterprise Summaries
Business Development Officer
ERICA DORN is ACCION USA’s New York Business Development Officer. The leading U.S. microfinance institution, ACCION USA gave its first microloan in 1991 in Brooklyn, New York. She builds partnerships with organizations that serve a similar mission to create vibrant small business communities in the United States. Dorn’s work at ACCION provides funding for individuals with great ideas and a network of entrepreneurs, both seasoned and emerging that help one another to flourish. After several years of volunteer work for New Orleans, Dorn became Kiva.org’s first U.S.-based fellow helping to launch a pivotal partnership that has now funded close to a million dollars in microloans. She has a degree in Spanish literature from Colorado State University, and she blogs and speaks often on the topic of U.S. microfinance. Email her at email@example.com to apply for a loan or to set up a partnership. Twitter: @eldorn.
Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO)
Lawrence Feldman is a former board member at WIBO and still serves as a leader for its 16-week workshop helping small business owners and budding entrepreneurs from under-served communities obtain financial success by helping them start, operate, and build successful businesses that develop economic power, provide jobs, and improve communities. He has been the director of the Rug Warehouse, Inc., a New York City oriental rug retailer and wholesaler, since 1977 and President of Loom & Weave, LLC, a wholesaler of collectible antique textiles and rugs, since 2000. From 1973 to 1977, Mr. Feldman was Vice President for Design and Product Development for Hart Schaffner & Marx, a clothing manufacturer and retailer. Mr. Feldman’s qualifications to serve on the Board of Directors include his 38 years in the retail industry, from which he brings to the Board of Directors a broad perspective for understanding the Company’s industry. Mr. Feldman also has extensive leadership and management experience, including experience derived from his involvement as a director of various not-for-profit organizations.
Judges for Business Plans
Vice-President for Research and Policy
Pattern for Progress
Sarah Brannen is the vice-president for research and policy at Pattern for Progress, a not-for-profit policy, planning, advocacy and research organization whose mission is to promote regional, balanced and sustainable solutions that enhance the growth and vitality of the Hudson Valley. She is currently managing a multi-year initiative, supported by the New World Foundation, to research and develop a food hub for the Hudson Valley and increase local food procurement. Previously, Sarah was a Senior Policy Analyst at the New York City Council where she advised the Speaker on economic development and food policy issues. While there, she researched, designed, and launched the nationally-recognized FoodWorks initiative to improve economic, health, and environmental outcomes in the New York food system. As a result, the city has passed legislation to encourage more procurement of regional food, reduce packaging on goods purchased by the city, publish an annual report on food system metrics and will be encouraging local food processing, improved food distribution, and urban agriculture. While at the Council, Sarah also developed a biotech tax credit for New York City start-ups, piloted an initiative to train new nurses at CUNY schools, launched a kitchen incubator at La Marqueta in East Harlem, and successfully lobbied the Mayor's Office to begin a system of expedited inspections for new businesses, now called the New Business Acceleration Team. Sarah has also worked at the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board where she supervised investigations of police misconduct. She has her Master in Public Policy degree from the Johns Hopkins University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Barnard College.
Organizational/business plan development
Associate Director, Master's Program in Learning & Organizational Change
Northwestern University, School of Education and Social Policy
Jeff Merrell is Associate Director of the Master's Program in Learning & Organizational Change (MSLOC) at Northwestern University and the Center for Learning & Organizational Change (CLOC). At MSLOC he teaches the program's organizational knowledge management course and is faculty adviser for student Practicum projects. Through the CLOC he manages the development of new Practicum projects with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Jeff's professional background includes experience as both a consultant and corporate leader in organizational learning and knowledge management. He is founder of Purple Line Associates, a consultancy and research practice established in 2001 to help organizations define knowledge sharing and collaboration strategies and to implement new technologies and practices. His consulting work includes projects for global leaders in the pharmaceutical and retail industries as well as not-for-profit and federal government organizations.
Executive Vice President
Director, Health Practice
CRT/Tanaka New York
With 25 years of health care public relations and marketing experience, Debbie has a strong background in strategic communications planning, branding and issues management. She leads CRT/tanaka’s Health Practice, which serves clients in the fields of hospitals and health systems, medical technology, associations and pharmaceuticals. Debbie led creation of a national consumer brand awareness campaign for the American Physical Therapy Association. She also developed re-branding programs for Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. Other clients include Universal American, TSI Health Sciences and Valley Health. Prior to joining CRT/tanaka, Debbie was director of corporate communications for Sentara Healthcare, an eight-hospital integrated health care system in Virginia, where she managed public relations, corporate communications and government relations. Debbie is a recipient of the Inside Business Top 25 Women in Business Achievement Award, the 2009 Marietta College Distinguished Alumna Award and the 2009 CRT/tanaka Whatcanbe Award. She also is past chair of the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and is a member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD). She has been a featured conference speaker on Communicating with Millennials, including the 2009 SHSMD conference, the 2009 PRSA international conference, and the 2008 HBA national conference.
Director, Physical Activity and Nutrition Programs
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Cathy Nonas directs the New York City Health Department’s Physical Activity and Nutrition program within the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Trained as a clinical dietitian, she has published a number of peer-reviewed articles and has contributed to many books on type 2 diabetes and obesity prevention/ treatment while at the federally funded Obesity Research Center. Since joining the Health Department almost four years ago, Nonas has worked on many policy and program initiatives to combat obesity, increase access to healthy foods and improve physical activity opportunities in underserved neighborhoods. Among other efforts, her team developed New York City’s calorie-posting regulation and the changes in the City’s day care regulation on beverages and physical activity. Nonas has also helped direct the Pouring on the Pounds anti-sugar sweetened beverage campaign, the NYC Green Cart initiative (an effort to expand the number of mobile food vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables), and the largest Farmers Market incentive program in the country.
Alexa Van De Walle
Lexi is a food advocate, writer/health coach/chef/marketer, and focuses on recipes, nutrition, policy and sustainability. Founder of www.LightheartedLocavore.com, she has worked on dozens of projects including: UN Commission on Sustainable Development (NYC Host Committee), the NYC Food Charter and Food and Climate Summit, Child Nutrition Reauthorization/Slow Food Eat-in, and is on the board of trustees of the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ (IACP) Foundation, The Culinary Trust. She is co-chair of IACP’s Food Policy section and Education chair for The Trust. She served as a business plan judge in Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management’s “Social Entrepreneurship in Health & Wellness Challenge.” She has organized workshops and tours on meat and climate change, local grains, food policy, urban agriculture and the regional food system in NY. Lexi’s articles have appeared in Mother Earth News, Huffington Post, FoodBuzz and The Daily Meal. She has a MBA from Kellogg and certifications from Peter Kump’s Cooking School (now the Institute of Culinary Education) and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Before dedicating her career to the good food movement in 2006, she was a marketing executive for over 20 years in pharmaceuticals and financial services at Citibank, Pfizer, American Express and Ogilvy and Mather.
Zac Zeitlin invests in and advises early stage companies focused on positive change, and serves as a Director of Late Nite Labs, LLC. Zac is a member of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education, and Domus, a Stamford-based charter school and community outreach organization. He also serves on the advisory boards of College Unbound and QuestBridge, a college recruitment platform for high-achieving, low-income students, as well as the Education Policy Committee of Greens Farms Academy. He is a former partner of Silver Point Capital, where he ran the firm’s Principal Finance business. He previously worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and TPG Capital. He received a bachelor of business administration and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in Westport, CT, with his wife and three children.
Judges for Finals Presentation
Myron I. Blumenfeld & Associates
Mike Blumenfeld has over forty years of management experience working with and for companies of varied size and structure, from small family-owned ventures at some of the largest publicly held corporations around the world. He has served as vice president of three retail chains with line responsibility for store operations, administration, management information systems, warehousing, distribution and personnel. He was manager of retail consulting for Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young) and Vice President of the Garr Consulting Group (subsidiary of Deloitte Touche). He formed Myron I. Blumenfeld & Associates in 1981.
Mr. Blumenfeld holds a B.S. degree in Economics from the Wharton School and earned his M.B.A. from New York University, where he also serves as an adjunct professor. He is a long-time supporter of the American Women's Economic Development Corp. (AWED), and WIBO (Workshop in Business Opportunity), both non-profit organizations that provide training and support for entrepreneurs in the underserved communities of New York. He has served on the Board of Directors of both organizations and has taught, counseled and mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs to help them start, manage and grow their businesses profitably.
Robert S. Lawrence, M.D.
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy, and International Health
Director, Center for a Livable Future
Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Robert S. Lawrence, MD is the Center for a Livable Future Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences with joint appointments in Health Policy and Management and International Health. He is the founding Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF). The CLF supports research and develops policies related to the public health impacts of industrial food animal production, improving food security, and adopting healthier diets. Dr. Lawrence is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He served for three years as an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Lawrence is a Master of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, the American Public Health Association, and Physicians for Human Rights.
Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund
Rick Luftglass is a seasoned philanthropy professional who has worked in the private, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. He began his career in New York City cultural nonprofits, received an MBA at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and spent 16 years at Pfizer, where he served as Executive Director of the Pfizer Foundation and Senior Director of Corporate Philanthropy and Community Engagement for Pfizer Inc. Recently, Mr. Luftglass has served as a consultant for private foundations, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and as a grants reviewer for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods and the Department of Education's Promise Neighborhoods initiatives, which are part of the White House's new flagship neighborhood revitalization strategy. Mr. Luftglass' passion is in urban issues - appreciating the vitality, diversity and rich assets of cities and developing solutions for the problems that affect them. His areas of interest include health care, education, community and economic development, affordable housing, urban history, arts and immigrant communities. He is particularly attuned to collaborative strategies that address multiple issues, engage multiple sectors and foster comprehensive community change.
In addition to grantmaking, Mr. Luftglass has worked on public/private partnerships and engaged with community and elected representatives at the city, state and federal levels. He led the ramp-up of Pfizer's Community Health Advocacy, a novel strategy to partner with community-based, multicultural and faith-based organizations to advance public policy issues of mutual interest. He has also worked in New York City's arts organizations, with a particular focus on jazz and immigrant culture. Mr. Luftglass has served on the Board of Directors of Philanthropy New York, the Council on Foundation's Corporate Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee of the Conference Board's Contributions Council, and was past Chair of the Contributions Advisory Group, a professional association in New York City. He currently serves as President of the board of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and is co-chair of economic development on the Economic/Waterfront, Community Development and Housing committee of Brooklyn's Community Board 6.
Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
Community Development Finance Group
Sam Marks is Vice President at Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and the bank’s Community Development Finance Group. He manages the group's community development grants and philanthropic loans, covering program areas of affordable housing, community economic development, and their intersections with public education and arts & culture. He also originates transactions for the bank's $400 million portfolio of community development loans and investments. Before joining Deutsche Bank in 2007, Sam was the Director of Housing & Community Development of WHEDCo (Bronx, NY), where oversaw the development of the green, affordable housing complex Intervale Green, and initiated the Urban Horizons Retrofit Project. Sam serves on the boards of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) and AAFE’s Community Development Fund. He has a Bachelors Degree from Brown University and a Masters in Public Policy & Urban Planning from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Chef Michel Nischaun
Wholesome Wave Foundation
As the son of displaced farmers, Michel Nischan, CEO, Founder and President of Wholesome Wave, grew up with a great appreciation and respect for local agriculture and those who work the land. He translated these childhood values into a career as a James Beard Award-winning chef, author and restaurateur, becoming a catalyst for change in the sustainable food movement. An Ashoka Fellow, Michel serves on the Board of Trustees for the James Beard Foundation, The Rodale Institute and The Center for Health and the Global Environment (Harvard Medical School).