TEAM & CONTRIBUTORS
The Pragmatic Visionary Award was conceived by friends and family of Greg Steltenpohl as a way to honor and continue his legacy of social entrepreneurship. It is administered in collaboration with the Plant Futures Initiative.
The Plant Futures Initiative is a non-profit social venture that connects college and graduate students with a network of innovative food and agricultural enterprises for experiential learning opportunities. It is dedicated to accelerating transitions to sustainable and healthy food systems and growing the future leadership needed to guide the way.
This initiative was one of Greg Steltenpohl’s final entrepreneurial explorations. Anchor funding was provided by the Steltenpohl Family Foundation and Califia Farms.
Gary is co-founder and former CE-Yo of Stonyfield Organic, the country’s leading organic yogurt producer, chairman and founding partner of Just Label It!, the national campaign to label genetically engineered foods and he also is currently establishing an Organic Entrepreneurship Centre in Motueka, NZ. Gary has received 12 honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA. Gary and Greg were early comrades and Industry peers.
Known as the “Beverage Whisperer” Ken Sadowsky has spent his life in the beverage industry. Originally taking over his family’s beverage distribution company, Ken currently is the US Beverage Advisor for Verlinvest and serves on the boards of directors for Vita Coco, Lifeaid Beverage, and Hint. Inc. He previously served on the board of Energy Brands, makers of Vitaminwater and Smartwater and advised the board of Califia Farms. Ken and Greg shared countless memories together that included many trips to London where they laughed, talked business and discussed societal issues and British history.
As Greg’s son, Eli grew up surrounded by hippie values and whizzing juice machines at Odwalla, where he served as the resident “child smoothie recipe-taster.” Once he “aged out” of that position, Eli spent four years in Southern Chile working with conservationists Douglas and Kristine Tompkins to create the 750,000 acre Patagonia National Park, managing tourism operations and the park’s lodge and restaurant. He later became the Sustainability manager at Califia Farms for five years and is currently on the company’s Board of Directors.
Sonia joined Califia Farms in 2010 as the third employee and is a current vice president of Sales. For many years, Sonia served as the sole sales contact creating uniquely collaborative partnerships at top U.S retailers that inspired product innovation and a creative go-to market strategy. Sonia also worked with Greg at Adina for Life, a socially conscious beverage brand. She spent the last 16 years working side-by-side with her mentor and friend.
Nina Gheihman, PhD is a Harvard-trained sociologist and a plant-based chef and author. Currently, Nina is a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Berkeley Haas’ Sustainable Food Initiative where she is co-founder of the Plant Futures Symposium and Challenge Lab. Nina’s true passion is cooking, eating, and sharing food that is just, nourishing, and grounded in the land. Her first book is about the cultural evolution of veganism from a niche subculture into a mainstream movement that challenges the food system.
CO-FOUNDERS & ADVISORS
Recipient of the 2010 Oslo Business for Peace Award, Will has spent more than 25 years cultivating thriving startups while teaching and mentoring mission-driven entrepreneurs. Will was founding CEO (and Minister of Progress) of The Republic of Tea and has served on the professional faculty of the Haas School of Business at UC, Berkeley since 1999 where he is a Social Impact Fellow. Will is managing partner of Physic Ventures and is a Senior Advisor to Generation Investment Management, a public and growth equity practice chaired by Al Gore. In 2015, Will founded and was named dean of The Food Business School at The Culinary Institute of America and in 2016, he was named one of seven people shaping the Future of Food by Bon Appetit magazine. Will also was a senior vice president of Marketing at Odwalla that began his lifelong friendship with Greg.
Mike leads The Burbank Group at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, a practice focused on serving the founders of food, beverage, and consumer products companies. Mike is a Morgan Stanley Investing with Impact Director and has consistently ranked as a top advisor in the U.S. by the Financial Times, Forbes, and Barron’s since 2013. Mike is a former marine biologist and serves on the Directors Council of The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UCSB, and previously served as President of the Board of Trustees for Seacology. He had the honor of being one of Greg’s friends and advisors for twenty-six years.
Kiff is an entrepreneurial executive with deep experience in corporate affairs, social and environmental impact and general management across sectors. He advises CEO’s of early-mid stage growth companies, and offers innovative leadership to larger ones in crisis, transition or in leading new ventures. Greg Steltenpohl was an early mentor and a dear friend of Kiff’s through their passion for culture, ideas, entrepreneurship and purpose in the world. They worked closely together at Odwalla, Social Venture Network and Califia Farms.
Jessica is co-founder of Crafted Communications, a strategic PR agency, where she is focused on food, health & wellness and social consciousness. She understands the trends and issues that affect companies making a difference in the space and has an expertise in crafting strategic programs that generate awareness, engage audiences and make an impact. She worked with Greg at Califia, and still represents the brand, but misses long calls where he riffed on everything from plant-based eating as self care to food injustice to white privilege.
With nearly 20 years in the food industry, Amy Goldsmith is currently the chief marketing officer of Halo Healthy Tribes, a family of all natural, no sugar added food and beverage products. Previously, she founded GK Communications that served as an outsourced marketing and communications department for various natural food and beverage brands. Amy currently hosts a biweekly food and beverage radio segment that broadcasts on several Southern California radio stations and she misses chatting with Greg at industry gatherings and his office about the modern meaning of Queen Califia and her female warriors