Sarah Boltwala-Mesina, Founder and Executive Director, Inika Small Earth

Sarah Boltwala-Mesina is the founder and Executive Director of Inika Small Earth (www.inika.org), a nonprofit that focuses on transforming waste into resources for the circular economy. Sarah transitioned into the world of waste recovery after a successful decade-long career in corporate finance, public finance and valuation consulting. Inika manages Food2Soil -  a social enterprise based collective of chefs and urban gardeners to transform foodscraps into soil, food and jobs for our community. Sarah is passionate about applying her business background towards creating social and economic opportunities in the circular economy. She has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and used to be a CFA charterholder until 2013. She recently acquired a Master's in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability. In addition to managing Inika, she also takes on freelance research and consulting projects in the areas of zero waste, corporate sustainability reporting, waste recovery and non-profit organisational management.

Martine Boswell, Environmental Scientist, CalRecycle, Statewide Technical and Analytical Resources Branch

Martine Boswell is an Environmental Scientist in CalRecycle’s Statewide Technical and Analytical Resources Branch. She serves as CalRecycle’s technical specialist for food waste and food rescue, and provides scientific analysis on food systems and climate change. She is engaged in statewide efforts to improve food rescue infrastructure in California, and is a member of the CalRecycle team tasked with developing a regulatory framework for food rescue. She received her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz, and her master’s in environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Elly Brown, Director, San Diego Food System Alliance

Elly Brown is the Director of the San Diego Food System Alliance, a multi-sector coalition focused on creating a better food environment in San Diego County. Their work involves supporting local farmers, fishermen, and urban agriculture efforts as well as addressing healthy food access and food waste issues in the County. She has been leading the coalition since January 2015. Elly began her career in financial services and business consulting in Tokyo. She discovered her passion for social and environmental impact during her MBA where she focused on social entrepreneurship. She continued her work on social impact by joining Root Cause, a Boston-based nonprofit strategic consulting firm, in 2010, advising nonprofits and foundations on building organizational capacity and maximizing community impact through collaborations.

Elly received a Bachelors in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Duke University. Elly was a staff blogger for Nextbillion, covering topics on sustainable development and social innovation. She was a judge at Harvard’s Pitch for Change social enterprise competition, serving as a mentor for the winning teams. She has experiences as a strategic consultant for social impact organizations in US, Japan, India, Uganda, and Bermuda.

Samuel S. Chereskin, CEO, Co-Founder, Distiller, Misadventure & Co.

Samuel S. Chereskin

Misadventure & Co. is the first company in the world to make vodka from excess baked goods. A San Diego native, Mr. Chereskin developed Misadventure Vodka and started marketing it in June, 2017. The vodka is made with baked goods (of all sorts) rescued from food banks after these organizations can no longer be use these products to feed San Diego’s hungry or food insecure. Misadventure & Co.’s vodka reverses the normal trend of food and agricultural resources becoming less valuable over their life-cycles, and contributes to reducing food-waste in San Diego County. The company is dedicated to continuing to devise innovative ways to bring value-add products and services to San Diego’s food systems. Mr. Chereskin is an agricultural economist and agricultural economic development specialist from the University of Chicago

Stephen DeStefano, FMP, MCFE, CM, James Madison University

Stephen is a Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) with the National Restaurant Association, Master Certified Food Executive (MCFE) with the International Food Service Executive Association/American Hotel Motel Association and a Certified Manager (CM) with James Madison University.

He has been on the Board of Directors with the San Diego Food & Beverage Association for over 15 years and currently is the Secretary/Treasurer of this organization.

Stephen has been the Director of Food & Beverage/Executive Chef of four different properties in San Diego County. In 1993, Stephen opened the Barona Casino until 1999 then repositioning the Travelodge Hotel into the Hilton San Diego Harbor Island Hotel, then moving to the Golden Acorn Casino & Travel Center in 2001.

Most recently Stephen has been with the Crowne Plaza San Diego. Stephen is a hands-on manager with strong computer, culinary and motivational skills with more than twenty years in Food and Beverage management positions; includes high volume, high profile corporations across the country.

Stephen has been married for 31 years to Tina Marie and resides in Ramona, California for the last 25 years. Stephen and Tina has two lovely adult daughters Nicole and Stephanie.

Rich Flammer, Principal, Hidden Resources

Rich has more than 28 years of hands-on composting experience working extensively in nine U.S. states and Mexico. He has designed, managed, permitted, evaluated, and/or remediated more than 80 large-scale composting facilities for both private and public sector clients. He has also been involved in public policy formation, rulemaking development for state composting regulation, composting technology assessment and development, and regional studies evaluating organic resource management. A specialist in public relations and education, Rich does frequent outreach work, writes instructional manuals, promotional materials, editorial pieces, and gives lectures and workshops on a regular basis. He has designed three permanent home composting exhibits, appeared in two instructional videos, and is Contributing Editor of the BioCycle Journal of Composting & Organics Recycling. Rich and his associate Tyla Montgomery Soylu, PE, are developing the Healthy Food, Healthy Soils Toolkit for the San Diego Food Systems Alliance, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Department, and UCSD. Rich and Tyla have also been working a multitude of other projects facilitating food recovery, composting and improved organic resource management.

Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives, San Diego Food System Alliance

Barbara Hamilton serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives for the San Diego Food System Alliance, with a current focus on collaboration and engagement in both reducing food waste and increasing food donation to people in need across San Diego County.

A LEED Green Associate with a Master of Applied Science in Environmental Policy and Management, Barbara has built diverse experience over the past 12 years in sustainability program management and development via her sustainability consulting business: Eco-Stream.

Barbara has served as Chair for the Novation Environmental Advisory Group, a nation-wide advisory working to green the supply chain.  She chaired the San Diego Nutrition in Healthcare Leadership Team, working to support healthy, sustainable food in the healthcare sector, as well as participating in regional, state, and national collaborative efforts with Health Care Without Harm supporting more sustainable meat production and consumption.

Chris Hunt, Senior Advisor, ReFED (Rethink Food Waste)

Chris Hunt serves as senior advisor for ReFED (Rethink Food Waste), where he supports the multi-stakeholder collaborative’s efforts to reduce U.S. food waste by providing strategic input on communications, stakeholder engagement, and policy development. Before joining ReFED, Chris spent 12 years at the GRACE Communications Foundation, shaping the organization’s promotion of sustainable agriculture by developing campaign strategy, building collaborative partnerships, overseeing content development, and serving as the foundation’s primary spokesperson on food and agriculture issues. Previously, Chris conducted environmental economics research as an Alumni Memorial Scholar at Colgate University, served two terms on the board of directors of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, and sat on the steering committee of the New York Street Memorial Project. Though he now lives in Northern California, Chris is proud to be certified as a Master Composter by the New York City Department of Sanitation.

Kristian Krugman, Co-founder, SoulFULL

Kristian Krugman

She currently studies Environmental Science and Psychology at SDSU. Raised by a father in the military, she was given the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. and meet people from all over the world. This created a deep desire to connect with people. Entering young adulthood, she became passionate about conserving what we have been given by our planet. Kristian is interested in educating people on how the environmental issues we are facing are most often the results of our own actions and activity, and how the little actions we take and changes we make can help conserve our Earth. This current venture gives her the opportunity to put those desires to work. Her mission is to bridge the gap between the food-waste and the food-insecure populations. Through this adventure, she has discovered exactly how to channel her passion for helping people help the world.

David Lynn, Chief Investment Officer, Mission Driven Finance

David Lynn has a diverse background in finance, information technology, and philanthropy, and strives to bring his entrepreneurial spirit to focus on impact investing and improving our community. He currently serves as Investment Manager for the Price family office, primarily managing investment assets for the Price Philanthropies Foundation and Price Charities. Lynn is also the Chief Investment Officer of Mission Driven Finance, an impact investment fund and asset manager dedicated to unlocking capital for community benefit.

With a dedication to the social sector, Lynn is currently the Chair of San Diego Grantmakers, and is an active member of the Food Funders and San Diego Impact Investors Network initiatives. Lynn is a founding board member of Mission Edge San Diego, a nonprofit that provides support services to other local nonprofits and social enterprises. Other current or recent philanthropic commitments include serving as a Director of the San Diego Humane Society, Director of San Diego Social Venture Partners, and Chair of the Education Synergy Alliance.

Lynn is a San Diego native with a Bachelors in Mathematics from Whitman College. When not working or volunteering, he's likely to be found in the mountains, either hiking with the dogs or running stupid long distances with other crazy people.

Lorenzo Macaluso, Director of Client Services, Center for EcoTechnology

Lorenzo Macaluso, Director of Client Services, has worked at the Center for EcoTechnology  since 2000, and works with government, foundation and industry partners to develop successful solutions that provide technical assistance, training and outreach to businesses and homeowners to help them reduce waste, save energy, and improve environmental performance. Lorenzo is a national expert on business waste reduction systems and has helped develop a variety of award-winning services that provide waste diversion and energy information and technical assistance throughout the Northeast, and consulted with many others nationally.  He serves on the MassDEP Organics Subcommittee and has presented at numerous state and national conferences as a waste reduction infrastructure development expert. He designed and implemented a variety of energy efficiency programs across Massachusetts.  Lorenzo has a Masters of Public Health with an Environmental Health focus, and a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management; both degrees are from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Maen Mahfoud, Founder and CEO, Re-plate

Maen Mahfoud grew up in Syria, and saw the effects of poor access to food nearly every day. When he immigrated to California, he was surprised to find similar disparities within San Francisco. The divide between rich and poor is so stark in the Bay Area. Food is a great way to bridge the gap between income levels in our community and to become more aware of problems in our community. Maen is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Imperial College of London. He is passionate about food waste, food insecurity, empathy and circular economy. Maen is the Founder and CEO @ Replate a technology that matches surplus food from businesses with communities in need. Replate to date has rescued close to a million of high-quality meals for low-income communities in SF, Bay Area, NYC in one year. By 2020 Replate projects to recover 30M pounds of food a year.  Learn more

Jane Maly, Program Manager, Food Strategy, Starbucks Coffee Company

Jane Maly

As an 11 year Starbucks partner – I’ve had the opportunity to hold many different roles within store global design, sourcing & brand marketing before I was given the great opportunity on Food Innovation Strategy to lead a team to design a donation model for the more than 8000 US CO Starbucks stores that would unlock Fresh Ready-to-Eat nourishing foods to be donated on a consistent 7-day per week pick-up model.  I find immense joy in partnering with Feeding America breaking-through donation challenges many large corporations face with the end-goal of providing more meals to communities facing hunger in America.

Chris McCracken, Director of Nutrition, University of California San Diego Health Medical Centers

Chris has been the Director of Nutrition services for the University of California San Diego Health Medical Centers since 2013. Chris was the Co-Chair for NHLT (Nutrition Leaders in Healthcare Team) in San Diego from 2015-2017, where he helped coordinate efforts to improve sustainable purchasing in partnership with other medical centers and school districts in San Diego. He also served on the San Diego Food System Alliance 2016-2017 and is a lecturer at San Diego State University.

As Director of Nutrition, Chris has facilitated significant improvements within the department by implementing process changes to enhance retail operations, clinical care and patient food service. Highlights of the changes include implementation of organic waste diversion started in 2016,  enhanced sourcing efforts to increase anti-biotic free chicken and beef utilization and coordinated Room Service program on La Jolla campus with significant increases in patient satisfaction scores and decreased food waste.

Tyla Montgomery Soylu,PE, Project Engineer, Hidden Resources

Tyla provides all facets of technical and design support for organics management projects on the Hidden Resources consulting team.  Tyla has been researching regulatory and land-use barriers to composting since 2010, when she realized how difficult it is to start even a small operation. Tyla combines personal passion with professional knowledge to steer programs and policies that prioritize the highest and best use of organic materials. She is committed to help open up pathways for regional organics recovery infrastructure, while also aiming to build community and agricultural empowerment through decentralized recovery programs. Tyla organized and led local grassroots involvement through CalRecycle’s Title 14 Rulemaking process which ultimately helped achieve new statewide permit exclusions for community composting. She is a registered Civil Engineer in CA and NV and earned her BS in Environmental Engineering from SDSU. Tyla serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit organization, Inika Small Earth.

Reyanne Mustafa, Co-Founder, SoulFULL

Reyanne Mustafa

Being a first generation American, Reyanne grew up with a two-world perspective. With both parents being refugees from Syria, one foot is planted in her Arabic heritage and the other in the land of opportunity. This in mind, she is determined to make the best of any opportunity that comes her way. She studies Food and Nutritional Science at SDSU, minoring in Sustainability. Starting her own food blog Freshman year, she became fascinated with the plant-based lifestyle and how it can transform our bodies and planet. She is a strong believer that we cannot have healthy food without healthy soil, and we cannot have healthy soil without practicing sustainability. She feels a great privilege to be studying and practicing both. If she is not in the kitchen experimenting with recipes, she is in the mountains rock climbing, in the ocean surfing, or at the park bending into new yoga poses.

Kyle Pogue, Environmental Program Manager, CalRecycle

Kyle Pogue is an Environmental Program Manager with California’s recycling agency, CalRecycle. He and his team focus on reducing the amount of organic materials (such as food and green waste) disposed in California’s landfills. These efforts include preventing wasted food, recoverin edible food for human consumption, or composting it to help build healthy soils. His team helped establish the inaugural Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds program that helped fund compost, anaerobic digestion, and food rescue infrastructure. In his spare time, he values his time with his family and volunteers as a board member with the American River Conservancy land trust.

Katie Rast, Manager Community Impact Team, The San Diego Foundation

Katie manages the Community Impact Team, overseeing The Foundation’s programs by stewarding and establishing a set of strategies that will support the mission and values of the organization, as well as maximize the impact of philanthropic investments made by donors and Foundation discretionary funds.

Katie brings a wealth of programmatic expertise to The Foundation and has a proven track record of building local partnerships to enact positive change. Prior to joining The Foundation, she served as Executive Director for Fab Lab, where she worked with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and National Science Foundation to establish the first program of its kind in the region. Additionally, Rast has served as Senior Strategy Advisor for UCSD Design Lab; Program Lead for LRNG, a MacArthur Foundation-backed initiative; Director of Marketing for Cal Coast; and Manager for the General Electric Brilliant Career Lab pilot initiative on behalf of Fab Foundation, GE Foundation and Boston Public Schools.

Katie has received awards and recognition by MIT, USAID and WorldBank, San Diego Downtown Partnership, Civic San Diego, and the United Nations. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Media & Society from Goddard College