2021 Expo East NEXTY Judges

Preliminary Judging: The first round of judging takes place in the New Hope Network office in Boulder, Colorado. Conducted by members of the New Hope Network content team, standards team, marketing team and NEXTY Data & Insights team, our-in-house expert judges review hundreds of nominated products using these criteria to select 2-5 finalists in each category.

Final Judging: The final round of judging is conducted by a panel of invited industry experts, spanning specialties such as investment, retail, brokerage, social media influence, sustainability and more. These judges join the New Hope Network content team, standards team, marketing team and NEXTY Data & Insights team to select the single winners within each category!

Kate Christian

Corporate Sustainability Manager, Eco-Cycle

Kate Christian is the Corporate Sustainability Manager for Eco-Cycle and a zero-waste authority on working with businesses and leading the charge on innovative projects around hard-to-recycle materials. She manages the organization’s Green Star Business program that on moves industries toward greater sustainability by working with early adopters to share their knowledge and best practices to engage and encourage their peers. With a Masters of Science in Sustainable Food Systems, Kate is also Eco-Cycle’s in-house authority on food loss, food waste and packaging. Kate is a staunch believer that lost food and wasted resources are lost and wasted connections and it is her passion to create lasting sustainable change in our food systems.  

Elizabeth Earle

Senior Associate, BFG Partners

Elizabeth has been with BFG since 2019. She currently serves as a Board Observer at Barnana, Curlsmith, 4th & Heart, Mid-Day Squares and Zitsticka, and is an advisor to a number of other CPG businesses in the BFG ecosystem. She is particularly passionate about plant-based alternatives and sustainability broadly in the CPG world. Prior to joining BFG, Elizabeth worked in management consulting at The Parthenon Group and Parthenon-EY. Elizabeth is based in Seattle, WA. Outside of the office, she is an avid cook, amateur runner and lifelong skier. 

Geoff Brokx

Senior Nutrition & Quality Standards Specialist, Natural Grocers

Geoff is the Senior Nutrition and Quality Standard Specialist for Natural Grocers and has been with the company for over 8 years. What started as a personal passion for nutrition has now turned into a career educating others on the benefits of following a healthy diet and lifestyle. He also supports the quality standards for Natural Grocers and ensures every ingredient in every product is scrutinized for its effects on human and environmental health. Geoff’s personal values align with his career which allow him to take pride in the work he does.     

Sam Kressler

Owner, Stir Consulting

Sam Kressler is the owner of Stir Consulting, an innovation, commercialization, and product development firm for the natural foods industry specializing in organic and regenerative supply chains. Stir helps clients bring their products to market from ideation through scale-up to steady state production, with a focus on flavor-first and ultra-clean label development. Prior to Stir, Sam spent several years at Boulder Brands where he oversaw commercialization for all Evol, Glutino, and Udi’s innovation and renovation projects. Sam comes to this work as a classically trained development chef with extensive experience in both Culinary and CPG and holds a Masters in Sustainable Food Systems from NYU. 

Ellie Mersereau

Sustainable Sourcing Manager, EarthHero

Ellie is a Sustainable Sourcing Manager for EarthHero, an online marketplace dedicated to sourcing the very best in sustainable and ethically made goods. Ellie focuses primarily on researching and vetting products and brands, ensuring that they meet the EarthHero standards for supply chain transparency, quality, and impact. Originally from the East Coast, she graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Visual Arts.  

 

Arron Mansika

Former Executive Director, Naturally Boulder

Arron Mansika developed Naturally Boulder for over 15 years, serving on the nonprofit's inaugural board of directors and eventually leading as inaugural Executive Director before stepping down at the start of 2021. Arron created the organization’s membership structure, financial model and operations while collaborating with highly effective boards of directors to establish strategy, programming and community culture. Leveraging that success, Arron co-created Naturally Network, a nationwide organization of interdependent Naturally affiliates with a mission to harness, accelerate and elevate the impact of conscious business practices in the natural and organic products ecosystem.  Prior to his tenure with Naturally Boulder, Arron founded and operated Boulder’s Best Organics, Inc., a pioneering internet-based gift-box company in 2006. The business was named “Colorado’s Success Story” by the Colorado Small Business Development Center and recognized as “Boulder Valley’s Second-Fastest Growing Company with Sales Under $2M” by BizWest Media. Arron was selected as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He led the company through acquisition in 2009.  Arron’s passion is to increase mindfulness in the world – the remedy for all our social ills – through the power of business.  

Stephanie Dobbie

Executive Director, Garden to Table

Stephanie Dobbie is Executive Director of Garden To Table, a nonprofit organization that provides gardens, curriculum and support to schools so that all students can participate in garden-based learning. With a passion for healthy, sustainable food, Stephanie brings 20 years of experience in education and nonprofit leadership to the table to create more sustainable and equitable local food systems. Stephanie has a strong background in environmental science including a recent deep dive into soil health and regenerative agricultural practices. Stephanie has served in board positions for the Rio Grande Community Farm, La Montanita Natural Foods Coop and the Flatirons Young Farmers Coalition. She is trained as a Colorado Master Gardener and a volunteer with Eco-Cycle’s Community Carbon Farming Campaign. Stephanie is committed to building community around learning, growing and eating healthy food to foster connections to nature, personal health and wellness, and environmental stewardship.