What They Say

“Thank you so much for creating an opportunity for me and my fellow ’emissaries’ to experience Expo West. I learned a lot, met some great people, sampled far too many food items, and walked away feeling inspired and part of something really exciting! The meetings you set up were interesting and effective. I particularly enjoyed speaking with the entrepreneurs and food leaders at the Saturday morning breakfast. You did a nice job of making everyone in the room feel valued and relaxed.”

  • Ali Clare Kelley, UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business ’15, MBArk alumna; Annie’s Organic


“Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend Expo West.  What a trade show!  I have been trying to explain it to all my friends and family but it is one of those events you really need to experience to understand.   I really appreciate all the meetings you set up and found it invaluable to hear from, and speak with, those who have been leading the industry.  It was extremely motivating and encouraging for me to see so many people who are passionate about their career or business.  As you know, many MBA students seem to only consider $$$ but this leads many to empty and unfulfilling paths.  The whole weekend served to confirm my desire to make a positive impact for a cause I believe in.  Thank you again for making this amazing experience possible and I will surely be in touch.”

  • Jeff Ornellas, UC Davis – Graduate School of Management ’16, MBArk alumnus


IMG_2751(Jessica-on-show-floor)(mr)“Thank you so much for organizing the MBArk program and for inviting me to attend again this year. I really appreciated the opportunity to meet fellow MBAs interested in this space as well as your contacts in the industry who were generous enough to share their advice with us. Attending Expo was also amazingly helpful in continuing my job search because it allowed me to connect in person with companies I’m interested in – thank you.”

  • Jessica Rae Holland, UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business ’16, 2-time MBArk alumna; Assistant Brand Manager at WhiteWave


“Your event is such a great example of how people want to help and to give back they just need someone to organize it and make it easy for them to do that – that is why community organizers are the real heroes in life – and you are a shining example!

I got a great response to my talk and got Linked-In mails from about ten of the students and have my first Nissan Leaf commuter career counseling session this Thursday am!  Love it!  Keep ‘em coming!

  • Blair Kellison, CEO of Traditional Medicinals


“I can’t emphasize enough how deeply grateful I am for the MBArk program and your efforts to connect and inspire us with the Natural Food movement. These past few days have been a game changer for me and regardless whether I will find a job from Expo West (you will be among the first to know if I do) this was an incredible opportunity that truly fell from the sky for me.”

  • Fernanda Cruz, Stanford – Graduate School of Business ’17, MBArk alumna


“You have no idea how honored I was to speak and what a true pleasure it gave me. To see all their bright, eager faces gives me such hope for our industry and everything they will bring to it. I can’t tell you enough how important I believe the MBArk program is and how fortunate the students are to have you shepherding them.”

  • Naomi Whittel, CEO of Twinlab


“Thank you for throwing your passion into planning such a phenomenally educational, productive and inspiring weekend for us and for allowing me to be a part of it. Your programming was incredible and I am so appreciative of the opportunity we had to hear from and meet industry veterans / CEOs as well as other accomplished and likeminded students.”

  • Jessie Wechsler, Harvard Business School ’17, MBArk alumna


“I’ve been riding on the high of Expo West all week, and am so grateful for all the work you did to make it possible for us. The show was impressive in its very nature, but the MBArk experience was inspirational and unique — from meeting so many extraordinary values-driven CEOs at the breakfast to seeping in wisdom from Darcy and other alums over the course of the day. I really feel that your efforts and energy will help shape many of our mission-driven career dreams (I know that to be true for me), and I can’t thank you enough for that. ”

  • Grace Lesser, UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business ’16, MBArk alumna


“Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend the MBArk events at Expo West. The breakfast on Saturday was one of the most inspiring and awe inducing moments I had while in California. It was so amazing to be in a room with so many legends of the industry!

The opportunities that you offer through MBArk are second to none. If it wasn’t for you and the program I wouldn’t have half of the career opportunities that are now open to me. Thank you so much for welcoming all of us into the natural products family!”

  • Maureen O’Brien, Babson – Olin Graduate School of Business ’17, MBArk alumna


“Hi Joe, it was a pleasure for me to do this, so I thank you too. Assisting and influencing the next generation of eco-entrepreneurs is as important as any work that any of us veterans can do.”

  • Gary Hirshberg, Chairman of Stonyfield Farm


“Thank you!  The morning spent listening to all of those successful and accomplished speakers (and hearing how much respect they have for you) was truly one of the most impactful pieces I took out of Expo.  I got so much out of it personally I can only imagine how the students felt.

I met a number of your students when they stopped by the booth on Saturday and I offered my help and contact info. We are working on getting the approval to bring on an MBA intern and if we get it I will turn to you first.”

  • Megan Shea, Co-Founder of The Soulfull Project


“I was amazed at the assembled talent in the room.  A real tribute to the work you’ve put in and the success of the program so far.  Count me in as a lifetime member and volunteer.”

  • Doug Radi, CEO of Good Karma


“Thank you again for having me at such a special event – I can’t stop thinking about all the amazing and inspiring people I met, what I learned, and new ideas I now have.”

  • Alice Helker, University of Washington – Foster School of Business ’19, MBArk alumna


“Belated (but no less heartfelt!) thank you for a magical few days in Anaheim earlier this month. You prepared us so well for a whirlwind of a long weekend, and your insights, enthusiasm, and passion for this industry and helping newcomers enter made me that much more committed to finding work in the natural foods space. Thank you for the pre-conference introductions to one another, for encouraging us to wear sneakers, and for suggesting we bring an extra suitcase for all of our samples! It’s been fun and exciting to continue conversations with folks I connected with there, and I will keep you posted as plans for the next few months (hopefully) begin to gel.”

  • Kathleen Carroll, Michigan – Erb Institute/Ross School of Business ’17, MBArk alumna


“I just wanted to shoot you a quick note and thank you for organizing such a terrific program last weekend.  You did such a great job bringing together a remarkable group of people who all share a passion for making this world a more healthful place.  You took a vested interest in each one of us; from connecting us with companies or people of interest, to asking for our input on how to make the program better for those that follow.  It was such a rewarding experience and I will definitely be spreading the positive word around Tuck about MBArk!”

  • Natalie Cira, Dartmouth – Tuck School of Business ’17, MBArk alumna


“I just wanted to email to say thank you for the opportunity to attend Expo East this past weekend and for the incredible line up of speakers that you had come speak with us. I especially found their entrepreneurial stories (and in general the collective group’s entrepreneurial spirit as pioneers of the natural foods industry) incredibly encouraging and inspiring. Your commitment to this industry and to bringing more MBA’s into this industry is so appreciated.  Expo East really deepened my understanding of the natural foods industry (and how far it’s come!), and it was very exciting and eyeopening to see how many opportunities there are for those of us interested in sustainable, healthier food products. I’m glad to see such great SOM representation in the industry and feel really fortunate to be a part of this network 🙂

  • Cat Wu, Yale School of Management ’17, MBArk alumna


img_4986“Thank you so much for organizing the MBArk program at Expo East this year!  It was such an honor and a great learning experience to participate.  I can’t imagine a better way to learn about the natural foods industry – we were able to meet so many CEOs and founders, speak with different players across product categories, and even engage with fellow like-minded students across the states.  You have created a really special program and I look forward to sharing this experience with my fellow students back here.”

  • Rose Yaguchi, University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School ’17, MBArk alumna


“I really enjoyed the MBArk Breakfast and look forward to Expo West!  Thank you so much for the invitation – I look forward to sharing my journey and a few lessons learned.”

  • Tatiana Birgisson, CEO, MATI Energy


“What an awesome breakfast.  While not officially an MBA student, I am always learning and truly appreciate the opportunity just to be there and listen to your AMAZING line up of speakers.  It was an honor to be included and I THANK YOU!!  I will always be around and would love to help if I can.”

  • Heather Howitt, Founder of Oregon Chai and The Meriwether Group


“Joe, just a simple follow up note here to thank you for including amongst the great, accomplished line up of speakers at the event.  I’m glad something I said struck a chord.  I’ve just sent responses to the students you had connected and will make sure to speak with them.  It’s a great honor to pay it forward and only because of people who consented to speaking with me in the past that I’ve had the opportunities I have.”

  • John Haugen, Founder and General Manager, General Mills 301 Brand Elevator


“I meant to write a note after Expo West to say what a great event you put on and how much I appreciated the opportunity to participate. I really enjoyed meeting all the students and other business leaders and feel so fortunate to be a part of this group.”

  • Alisha Eisenstein Stagg, Yale School of Management/FES ’11, MBArk alumna; Interact On Shelf


“Thank you so much for your generous offer to include a couple of our MBA students in the natural foods trade show in Anaheim.  Ryan and Matt could not stop talking about this experience, and he said that you were absolutely terrific.”

  • Beth Walker, Formerly Chair, Department of Marketing, W.P. Carey School of Business – Arizona State University; currently Dean of College of Business, Colorado State University


“Thank YOU for putting together such and intimate and engaging event.  I think we all like to provide guidance and mentorship but are often too busy to incorporate it into our work flow.  Having an informal event with such a bright and interested audience was a great opportunity.  I look forward to making it a tradition in years to come.”

  • David Ingalls, Co-Founder and CEO, Zing Bars


“Thank you so much for all the work you have done with MBArk and for a fantastic weekend at Expo West. The opportunity to network with like-minded MBA students from across the country and hear from industry leaders was made possible through your program. I’m excited to tell my peers about the experience to build upon what you’ve created so far! ”

  • Brendan Somerville, UCLA – Anderson School of Business ’17, MBArk alumnus


“I just wanted to once again thank you for the opportunity to attend Expo West. What a phenomenal experience! I was especially interested to see how the natural foods movement is affecting established, large companies. I really enjoyed visiting with the Soulfull/Campbell project and Honest Tea. It is cool to see big companies investing in innovation, health and sustainability. From my background in ag, I have always been interested in the natural food movement, but really want to see people from all income levels have access to more healthy, safe food. It was therefore really great to meet people like Seth Goldman that are leveraging partnerships to really scale production and improve food accessibility….Just one neat thing I took away from the expo.”

  • Adele Wunsch, Michigan – Erb Institute/Ross School of Business ’19, MBArk alumna


“Thank you for everything this weekend.  The show was fantastic!  You set up some wonderful meetings for us and connected me to several really great people.  Thanks for all the support and for being such a champion for me.”

  • Sara Hillstrom, Harvard Business School ’15, MBArk alumna; Anheuser-Busch


“I just want to thank you again for a great weekend.  Walking the floor was fun, but the people that you brought to us (and just bringing us all together to meet) were really amazing.  More than anything else it just felt great to be surrounded by people who have such a similar passion and drive to food industry growth and change.”

  • Michael Gonzalez, Kellogg School of Management ’17, MBArk alumnus


“I had an enormously wonderful time at Expo and feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to be part of the MBA Emissaries group! It was great meeting with other MBAs, as well as MBA graduates who are now working in the natural products space, and hope that we can all keep in touch going forward.”

  • Jackie Laird, UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business ’15, MBArk alumna; McKinsey


“Thank you again for carving out such an important community of MBAs for food system impact.  It is comforting to know that we are not traveling in uncharted waters and I am certain to maintain connections with many of my colleagues.  My experience at the expo was certainly uplifting and I am energized to get back on campus and stay the course of non-consulting.”

  • Amanda Bushell, Duke – Fuqua School of Business ’18, MBArk alumna


“I wanted to reach out and thank you so much for including me in a gathering of such wonderful students, inspirational leaders and transformative companies. I loved listening to everyone speak during our breakfast on Friday and wandering through the aisles, collecting perspectives, techniques and experiences from all of the amazing vendors willing to share their stories.”

  • Amelia Harris, University of Michigan – Erb Institute/Ross School of Business ’19, MBArk alumna


“Thank you so much for putting on such an awesome program for us. I had a blast discovering new elements of the show and meeting such important folks in the industry.”

  • Matt Schwartz, Stanford Graduate School of Business ’17, MBArk alumnus


“It was my pleasure participating in the MBArk program…. It was patently clear – both from the students and the CEO talent in the room – that the event is highly valued and valuable to all of the participants.  It was an honor to be a small part of it.”

  • Deborah Lewison Grant, Executive Director of Food Fight


“I owe you a quite belated THANK YOU. I feel incredibly grateful that you selected me to be part of MBArk. It was so incredible to meet you, you are seriously an inspiration. To be at the expo with so many brilliant, passionate and kind people was truthfully touching.”

  • Patti Reich, USC – Marshall School of Business ’17, MBArk alumna


“What a crazy (and awesome!) mess that was! I hope you have arrived safely, or are at least getting some rest.  I just wanted to take a quick minute to say what an absolute pleasure it was to meet you all. I am (still) in awe by all of you, and have no idea how I snuck in and got to be amongst you brilliant people. Thanks, Joe and New Hope, for bringing us together. It was a truly worthwhile experience.”

Joel Ramkhelawan, North Carolina State University – Global Innovation Management ’15, MBArk alumnus


IMG_2745(Justin-on-show-floor)(mr)“Thank you doesn’t quite do justice…for your incredible generosity, enthusiasm, ideas, and connections leading up to and throughout our time at Expo West. I feel so fortunate not only to have been able to attend the conference in the first place, but also to have been exposed to so many amazing alumni and others who have such a deep knowledge of the industry. Though I very much wish I could have been there for longer, I definitely feel that in the time I was there I gained a significant number of contacts and learned a huge amount about how to best position myself for a full-time role coming out of Yale.”

  • Justin Lindenmayer, Yale School of Management ’13, MBArk alumnus; Verde Farms


“I wanted to follow-up and thank you for such an amazing experience at Expo East!  It was a really great opportunity for me to learn more about what is happening in the industry and figure out where I can contribute professionally.”

  • Bianca Jackson, Johns Hopkins – Carey Business School ’17, MBArk alumna


“Thank you for keeping me involved in MBArk!  I was truly honored to be part of such a vibrant group of both young and experienced entrepreneurs.”.”

  • Kirsten Quigley, CEO of LunchSkins




“I had an amazing time last week at Expo West, and would like to greatly thank you for creating this amazing experience for MBA students across the US. I was able to understand more about the industry, meet key professionals and network a lot!”

  • Manju Spinola, Harvard Business School ’17, 2-time MBArk alumna; internship with Revolution Foods


“MBArk was a very eye opening experience for me and gave me a new appreciation for all of the early pioneers in the natural products industry. I didn’t anticipate being so star struck when meeting Gary Hirschberg, Greg Steltenpohl, Heather Howitt, and Seth Goldman after having read about them in your book. I still have a lot to learn about the industry, but I really appreciate you helping me by providing an introduction to some of the titans of the natural products world.”

  • Dan Weiler, Duke – Fuqua School of Business ’18, MBArk alumnus


“I wanted to thank you once again for providing me the great opportunity at Expo West! I met with many stakeholders including packaging companies and potential customers. Also all my fellow MBA students were super supportive and offered to provide me with whatever support they can offer. I had no idea what this trip was going to be, but I am really glad that I applied and got in….”

  • Hiroki Koga, UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business ’17, MBArk alumnus, Oishii Farm


“I would love to attend the breakfast and would happily meet with any current student to share what little perspective I have on the industry.  I think the class is a wonderful idea by the way and think the school would try to support it.  I was meeting with Sharon Oster last week and she mentioned to me how many of the students (12) in her non-profit management class were specifically interested in food and she was both fascinated and stumped about it!”

  • Lindsay Greene, Yale School of Management ’11; The Chia Company


“I wanted to drop you a note to thank you for a great experience with MBArk and Expo West. It was educational and fun, but most importantly, inspiring. You truly went out of your way to be sure we had a great experience, and I am very appreciative.”

  • Cassandra Palmer, University of Colorado – Leeds School of Business ’16, MBArk alumna


“Thank you so much for taking the time to organize such an informative, eventful and enjoyable weekend. I can’t tell you how much I learned in those two jam-packed days. From meeting inspirational entrepreneurs to seasoned executives, I now have a much better understanding of the industry and have so much more to learn! “

  • Michelle Menclewitz, UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business ’16, MBArk alumna; internship with Nestle


“I really cannot thank you enough for organizing the MBArk Program for us MBAs who are looking to make a difference in people’s lives using natural products and nutrition.  I am going to be the Net Impact Club President next year, and as discussed in the wrap up session, I would be happy to liaise with you to bring some more USC MBAs to MBArk.  Please let me know what I can do to further this initiative moving forward.”

  • Salima Mangalji, USC – Marshall School of Business ’17; internship with Zevia


“Thanks so much for doing this Joe. It’s important!”

Trish Karter, founder of Dancing Deer Bakery and Light Effect Farms