Director of Food Sourcing and Allocation, SF-Marin Food Bank
Barbara Abbott joined the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank in 2009. She oversees procuring and allocating more than 46 million pounds of food a year, 25 million of which is fresh produce. Prior to holding that position at the Food Bank she was the Food Donation Developer with a strong emphasis on developing the grocery pickup program. The Food Bank provides a spectrum of services designed to support the health and well-being of low-income people in our community who are struggling to make ends meet.
Prior to joining the Food Bank she worked in Key Account Management, Sales Management and Marketing roles for National packaged goods companies such as Ralston Purina and Campbell Soup Company. Born and educated in Canada she now lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.
Psychotherapist and Community Educator
Nancy Culhane is a psychotherapist and community educator based in San Anselmo, California. She holds a B.A. Degree in Psychology from CSU San Bernardino, and an M.S. Degree in Psychology from San Jose State University.
Nancy has worked in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1982. Her lifelong vocation has been to advocate for meaningful relationships both inside and outside the home.
Nancy is firmly committed to using a collaborative approach in her local community, as well as with international humanitarian projects. She has developed a variety of project based programs, service-learning modules, and environmental education curricula for schools and non-profit organizations.
Nancy believes that in order for our neighborhoods to be healthy, every person must have safe housing, nutritious food, education, and meaningful interpersonal connections. Her current projects include labors of love with Homeward Bound of Marin, Seeds of Learning, Bay Area Women's and Children's Center Advisory Board and Unbroken Chain Foundation. Weaving together her professional background and personal life experience, Nancy’s daily mission is to find opportunities to increase health, hope, and support.
Says Nancy, "Working with ExtraFood is a perfect fit: When we have more than we need, we find ways to make the table longer, inviting those that are hungry into nourishment, community, and conversation."
President and Publisher, Marin Independent Journal
Rob was appointed president and publisher of the Marin Independent Journal in October 2015. He oversees all operations for the San Rafael-based media company, which includes the IJ and all of its digital solutions.
Rob has worked in media for 25 years. Prior to the IJ, he was editor and publisher of a group of newspapers in Silicon Valley affiliated with the San Jose Mercury News. He began his career as a reporter.
The Milpitas Chamber of Commerce named Rob the Milpitas Business Person of the Year in 2010, and he was a finalist for Milpitas Citizen of the Year in 2015.
He serves on the board of directors for Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and the Marin County School to Career Partnership Board. He is a member of the Rotary Club of San Rafael, the Marin Builders Association Scholarship Program Selection Committee, and the Elks.
Rob is a graduate of Santa Clara University, where he studied journalism and broadcasting. He is married and has two teen sons.
Lisa D. Gurwitch
President and CEO, Delivering Good
Lisa D. Gurwitch is the president and CEO of Delivering Good, a nonprofit organization that unites retailers, manufacturers, foundations and individuals to provide people impacted by poverty and tragedy with new merchandise. Donated products are effectively distributed through a network of agency partners to improve the well-being, self-esteem and dignity of at-risk children, families, and individuals.
Lisa assumed her role in 2015 and brings a passion for addressing unmet community needs. Her past professional experience includes serving as Senior Vice President, Institutional Advancement/External Relations, for World Learning, a global platform for education, exchange, and development programs that advance leadership. She also enjoyed an 18-year tenure in various roles at the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, including as its executive director, overseeing approximately $2 billion of philanthropic assets.
Lisa previously practiced law in San Francisco and Chicago, where she specialized in commercial real estate and financial transactions. She holds a JD from George Washington University Law School, a BA in economics from Vanderbilt University, and is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage and Mandel Executive Development Programs. Currently a board member of Hostelling International – USA, Lisa has served as a director and/or officer for over 40 trusts, foundations and other nonprofit organizations. She has traveled extensively and is based in New York City.
Director, Garden of Eatin’ Project
David was the lead author of the 2012 Marin County Food System Assessment Project. He directs the Garden of Eatin’ Project, a collaboration with the North Bay Children’s Center that establishes on-site gardens as part of a comprehensive childhood obesity prevention program.
Dr. Jon Haveman -- Consulting Economist
Principal, Marin Economic Consulting
Jon Haveman is widely considered to be one of California’s leading experts on the economics of seaports, goods movement, and international trade policy. He is also an expert in regional economies and local economic development. Prior to joining Marin Economic Consulting, Dr. Haveman was the Chief Economist at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, a founding principal at Beacon Economics, and the Director of the Economy Program at the Public Policy Institute of California. He has been a Senior Economist with the President's Council of Economic Advisers and an Economist with the Federal Trade Commission, and he has held a faculty position in the Business School at Purdue University. Dr. Haveman holds a Ph.D. and Master of Science in Economics from The University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Wisconsin.
Patricia Kendall, RN
Medical Group Administrator, Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center
Pat's leadership position is operational, strategic, financial, quality, care, service, people and community. Her guiding philosophies are patient, family, staff and physician focused. She often speaks of working in the Intimacy Business believing that seeking Health Care is one of the most intimate things we do in life. In addition, Pat believes in building a healthy community with an upstream emphasis focused across the spectrum of Prevention, recognizing the impact of the social determinants on health. Creating a healthy work place and engaging the leader in all levels of staff is a lifelong endeavor. Pat holds degrees in Nursing, Business, Organizational Development, Human Resources and Leadership. She has completed post graduate work at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Pat is presently on the boards of North Bay Leadership Council, Healthy Marin Partnership, School to Career Partnership, Marin Economic Forum, Hospice, Marin Sustainable Agriculture and Dominican University School of Natural Sciences Advisory Board. Pat is also a member of the citizen's oversight committee of SMART, Friends of San Rafael, San Rafael City Schools Advisory Team – 114th Partnership, Marin Workforce Housing Trust and the Pickleweed Advancement Team. She is the recipient of the North Bay Leadership Award for Leadership for 2012 and San Rafael Citizen of the Year, 2013.
Dr. Ann McCormick
President, Learning Circle Kids
A pioneering entrepreneur, Ann founded and led software design at the Learning Company (TLC) for its first 16 products, including Rocky’s Boots and Reader Rabbit. TLC created a new category of software and a leading national brand. Ann gave invited presentations for the Special Office of the President (US), the LIbrary of Congress, Members of Parliament (UK), the Congress of the Latin Americas (Brazil), and spoke at telecommunications companies (Northern Telecom, Pacific Bell, ATT) advanced labs (IBM, Apple, HP), for publishers and toy companies. She consulted to Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow and won grants from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, the Apple Education Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and venture funds from Melchor Venture Management, NEA, and Robertson Stevens. TLC went public and was sold for $660M.
Ann next founded Learning Friends, where she invited industry leaders to “build the future now” at the Nueva School where young children built and played in their own virtual realities, learned C programming with “mentors by modem,” learned 3D graphic design from Macromedia Fellow, Young Harvill. Supported by Apple, the Library Corp and 35 software companies, Ann worked with Apple Fellow Bill Atkinson, consulted to Alan Kay’s group at Apple ATG and to government and industry leaders in 15 nations. She developed prototype literacy software for urban illiterate African-American teen boys with US Department of Education SBIR grants, consulted to Gravity, Inc, Tiny Planets, KidSource and other start-ups. She serves on Board of Synapse School in Menlo Park, CA and was appointed Honorary Head of School for an international school in Beijing. She was awarded grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the US Department of Education, National Science Foundation and funded by venture capitalists, Melchor Venture Management, NEC, Mohr-David, Greylock, Viacom, and Singapore EDB.
Ann is now President of Learning Circle Kids, where she leads a team that recently launched an iPad app, Reader Bee and the Story Tree, for young children learning to read. She continues to tutor children in reading, math and other subjects.
CEO, Agricultural Institute of Marin
Brigitte has served as the CEO/Executive Director of Agricultural Institute of Marin since 2004. AIM operates 7 farmers markets throughout the Bay Area, including the Thursday and Sunday markets at the Marin Ciivic Center. AIM works tirelessly to educate the public about the nutritional and economic benefits of buying locally grown food directly from farmers, and is in the process of building a pavilion where local farmers, ranchers, specialty food purveyors, artisans, agricultural organizations and the public will come together under one roof.
Brigitte's passion for healthy local food and her commitment to helping farmers make a viable living are evident in everything she does. On any given day, you might find Brigitte working on plans for the permanent home for the Farmers Market, advocating for farmers at the national level, or telling a group of kids about what’s really in their fast food French fries.
Before joining AIM, Brigitte had over 20 years’ experience facilitating farmers markets, having started the downtown San Rafael Farmers Market on 4th Street in 1989. She owned and operated a restaurant with her daughter and mother, and coordinated a diverse array of public and private events as an event producer. She serves on the boards of several community organizations, including Marin Economic Forum, Marin Forum, and Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership.
Claire Insalata Poulos
Founder, Table to Table
Claire Insalata Poulos spent the first 20 years of her professional life working for IBM. Her distinguished marketing career was frequently highlighted by accelerated advancements and awards of excellence. However, certain there was more to life than selling computers, she seized a companywide ‘golden handshake’ opportunity in 1989 and left Big Blue to enter a Patisserie Program at the Culinary Institute of America. Being inspired and intrigued by the kitchen after completing it, she then enrolled in the intensive Professional Chef program at Peter Kump’s NY Cooking School.
After graduating with honors, she looked for food-related volunteer opportunities and began working at a local food bank where she wrote the cookbook “Pure Pantry” to provide clients with interesting and inexpensive ways to prepare nutritious meals using pantry food. Next, with her marketing background, she began directing the pantry’s fundraising and engaging the local restaurant community, she worked as the Northeast NJ Chairperson for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation. During her years at the helm, NENJ became one of the top revenue producing regions in the country and she received the SOS Calphalon National Award for Excellence as a Community Leader.
However, frustrated by New Jersey’s lack of any food rescue initiatives, in 1999 she coaxed a few chefs and volunteers, and together with the help of NYC’s City Harvest, they launched NJ’s first and only food rescue program, Table to Table. Starting with a single donated vehicle and two employees, Table to Table began by picking up fresh, excess food from three local restaurants and a few supermarkets and delivering it, free of charge, to two soup kitchens in Paterson.
Today, Table to Table is one of the most successful food rescue programs in the entire country. Their fleet of five refrigerated trucks serve over 80 hunger relief agencies throughout Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and Essex counties. Receiving no government support they depend entirely on their own efforts to collect the food and the funds needed to serve the community. Each year they have been able to raise more money and deliver more food than the previous year and last year they again exceeded their goal and delivered enough food for over 11 million meals at the remarkable cost of less than 10 cents/meal.
Founder, Trips for Kids
Marilyn started Trips for Kids in 1988 in San Rafael, CA, as a mountain bike ride program for inner city youth. She brought her love of kids, bicycling, desire for a healthy environment and indefatigable devotion to the organization. A visionary with keen entrepreneurial skills, in 1994 she spearheaded Trips for Kids’ first-ever bike thrift shop, a totally “green” business that currently supports 50% of the Marin Chapter’s current Bay Area programs’ operating expenses. Over the years, Marilyn has received much recognition on national programs including CNN, General Norman Schwarzkopf’s Schwarzkopf’s America news segment; Tom Brokaw’s NBC Nightly News; and Sports Illustrated Magazine, among many more. She has received numerous awards, most recently as a CNN Hero for her humanitarian work at Trips for Kids and was also inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Marilyn earned the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Community Leadership Award as well as the University of Michigan Humanitarian Service Award -- the University’s most prestigious alumni honor.
President, Relevant Wealth Advisors
Bruce’s tenure includes over twenty years of honing and developing a consultative wealth management process for Bay Area high net-worth families and private foundations. His expertise in investment policy development, asset allocation, security selection (domestic and international) has allowed him to develop an understanding of the special circumstances surrounding the financial needs and goals of his clients and the significant organizations he works with. Bruce also acts as his clients’ personal financial officer working closely with their other professional relationships thereby addressing advanced planning needs that are often neglected. As President of Relevant Wealth Advisors, Bruce is instrumental in creating and driving the strategic initiatives of the company and determining which direction the company should take to best serve the foundations and families he works with.
His professional designations include Registered Investment Advisor, Chartered Financial Analyst, General Securities Principal, NYSE Supervisory Analyst, Registered Options Principal, and General Securities Representative. In addition, Bruce received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Davis, and his MBA in Finance from Golden Gate University.
He is a member of the Council on Foundations Philanthropic Advisory Network, The Marin Estate Planning Council, The Financial Planning Association, and the CFA Institute. Bruce also serves on the boards and committees for several Bay Area non-profit organizations. His current and former board experience includes Family Service Agency of Marin, The Marin Valentines Ball, Sunny Hills Services, Red Hill Academy, The Branson School, USF Center for Global Justice, and the Quincy Foundation for Medical Research. He is the founder of HelpMarin.org.
Bruce lives in Kent Woodlands with his wife Sara. They have three children, Jordan (25), Brooke (18) & Benjamin (5), and one dog Dexter (7). As an accomplished pilot, scuba diver, and cyclist, Bruce enjoys the adventures offered by the great outdoors.
Founder, Food Runners
A pioneering figure in the Bay Area food community, Mary Risley started Tante Marie’s Cooking School as a full-time professional school over 35 years ago. In 1987, she founded Food Runners as a grass roots organization picking up excess food from businesses and delivering it directly to agencies feeding the hungry in San Francisco. 12 years later, she was awarded “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation for her work with Food Runners. In 2007 she was awarded the Jefferson Award for outstanding volunteerism. Today, Food Runners picks up and delivers 15 tons of food per week in San Francisco.
Dean, The Food Business School, Culinary Institute of America
Will was founding CEO (and Minister of Progress) of The Republic of Tea, an award-winning specialty tea company that is credited with creating the premium tea category in the United States. As an entrepreneur and investor, he has been involved in Odwalla, Stonyfield Farms, Trinity Springs, Winetasting.com and Brand New Brands, a functional food incubator he founded in 2003. In November 2014, Will joined forces with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to launch The Food Business School (FBS), the CIA’s new center for executive and graduate education. As dean and executive director of The Food Business School, Will is working with industry experts to create specialized programs that enable and empower entrepreneurs to design, deliver, and lead transformative innovations that address the world’s most pressing food challenges—and its greatest business opportunities.
Will is also founding managing partner of Physic Ventures, the first venture capital firm dedicated to investing in keeping people healthy, where he has supported innovative early-stage companies including Revolution Foods, Pharmaca, Recyclebank, Novomer, Gazelle, EnergyHub, Watersmart, and Yummly. Based in San Francisco, the firm’s strategy is to capitalize on major economic, social, and political trends that shape health and sustainability.
Yoav Schlesinger -- Development Counsel
Chief of Staff, Technology and Society, Omidyar Network
A 5th generation Californian, Yoav attended Stanford University, where he received his B.A. in Jewish Studies and Political Science. Since then, he has worked as a professional fundraiser, executive, and consultant for a range of nonprofits throughout the Bay Area and nationally. Yoav previously served as the Executive Director of Reboot and the Chief Executive of The Kitchen. In addition to building community, he enjoys trail running, discovering new ice cream flavors and nursing his addictions to NPR and The New Yorker. Yoav lives in Marin with his wife and daughter.
President, Mercy Housing California
Doug Shoemaker was appointed President of Mercy Housing California in 2011. In this role, he is responsible for leading Mercy Housing’s operations in California including the oversight of affordable housing development, fundraising and resident services. He brings more than 15 years experience in the affordable housing and community development industry to Mercy Housing California.
Prior to Mercy Housing, Shoemaker served as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH), San Francisco’s housing finance and community development agency. He led various key mayoral initiatives at MOH, including the launch of HOPE SF, San Francisco’s groundbreaking effort to revitalize five distressed public housing sites into mixed income communities. Shoemaker joined MOH in February 2006 as the Deputy Director and was promoted to Director in 2008. Prior to joining MOH, Shoemaker served as Deputy Director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, a 500-member affordable housing trade association. From 2001 to 2006, he directed policy and advocacy work with housing finance agencies as well as the State Legislature. A highlight of this work was serving as the Northern California campaign coordinator for Proposition 46, a successful $2.1 billion affordable housing bond passed by voters in 2002. In addition, Shoemaker supervised regional advocacy work on inclusionary housing and co-authored numerous reports and articles including "Inclusionary Housing in California: 30 Years of Innovation."
Shoemaker started his career in housing as a project manager for Mission Housing Development Corporation (MHDC), a community-based housing developer in San Francisco. At MHDC from 1995-2000, he developed the first affordable housing community in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco and helped to develop numerous supportive housing developments in the Mission District and South of Market.
He serves on the Board of Governors for California Housing Consortium and the Northern California Leadership Council for Enterprise Community Partners. He previously served on the Treasure Island Development Authority, chaired the High Cost Cities Housing Forum and was President of the California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies.
Executive Director, California Association of Food Banks
Sue Sigler joined the California Association of Food Banks as Executive Director in 2008, with over 25 years experience in providing direct social services and non-profit management. Sue holds a BS degree from Cornell University and a Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University.
Early in her career, she focused on direct service work with a variety of populations, including elementary school counseling, mental health, homeless teens, and women with eating disorders. Sue then moved on to work in housing and shelter services, directing programs for homeless youth, domestic violence and supportive service housing, and eventually to low-income housing development with Habitat for Humanity.
In addition to staff positions, Sue spent several years in private practice as a consultant, specializing in the areas of general administration, fundraising, and turn-around management for troubled organizations with a wide variety of agencies, including social service, arts and faith-based organizations.
Since joining CAFB, Sue has led the organization to double the amount of fresh produce delivered to food banks through the Farm to Family program, currently at over 120 million pounds per year, and focused on strong advocacy efforts aimed at reducing hunger. She provides leadership to the Alliance to Transform CalFresh, a group of seven organizations working with federal, state, and county officials to increase CalFresh (food stamp) access and move California from the poorest performer in the country the top 10 among the states.
Founder, California Cheese Trail
Vivien grew up on her family’s dairy in Marshall. She ran away from the farm (she couldn’t really marry a cow and the gene pool in the area was rather small) to become an actress. She has been in numerous films including “Peggy Sue Got Married,” “Thirteen Days,” “Heaven and Earth” and “One Good Cop.” Her television credits include recurring roles in “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” “Capital News” and “Freddy’s Nightmares” (where she died twice). She’s been in over 30 plays and in the NYC sketch comedy group, “BOB,” and too many other things to list. (IMDb)
For many years, Vivien was the VP Marketing for Straus Family Creamery, where she managed the development and evolution of what has become an iconic organic farm brand. When not writing or acting, she manages the Straus Home Ranch, leads cheese tours for Cowgirl Creamery, and works to support small farms. She created CheeseTrail.org – which includes the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail map and California Cheese Trail app.