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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 NEXT Data & Insights team, our-in-house expert judges review hundreds of nominated products using these criteria to select 3-7 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 NEXT Data & Insights team to select the single winners within each category!
Business Development Coordinator, B Lab U.S. & Canada
Keriann plays an important role supporting the growth of the Certified B Corp Community within the U.S. and Canada. Oftentimes she is the first point of contact a prospective B Corp will encounter and is responsible for explaining the 'why' and 'how' of B Corp Certification to any interested parties. She is accountable for supporting small to medium-sized companies on their customer journeys through the initial Certification process. She provides this support through direct one-on-one discussions as well as broad update communications, developing resources such as how-to videos, webinars, and one-pagers, and keeping information up-to-date on the organization's website and knowledge base. Keriann has learned a lot about what makes a truly impactful company by working with the companies of tomorrow and digging through the best practices described within the B Impact Assessment. When it comes to evaluating products, she is particularly passionate about the fair and equitable treatment of humans at all levels within the supply chain. As a routine climber and hiker, she is always looking for ways to minimize her negative impact on the natural world and advocates that others do the same.
Owner, ROOT the good food agency
Kuvy Ax has been helping shine a spotlight on exceptional food and beverage companies and organizations for more than two decades. Born in Boulder, Colorado, Kuvy spent her teen years in England, and moved back to Colorado in 1990. After a decade working in radio, newspaper and TV as a writer, announcer, producer and promoter, an obsession with good food prompted her to create ROOT Marketing & PR in 2001. Since then, Kuvy has handled public relations and marketing for almost every type of food- or beverage-related company, program and event, including promoting restaurant openings, coordinating special events and festivals, and leading national media tours, both bringing the media to her clients and taking her clients for media deskside interviews in NYC.
Kuvy is very active in the non-profit world, including serving as president of Pollination Planet, and as a board member of both Les Dames D'Escoffier and the World Food Travel Association. She has co-chaired Slow Food Boulder County, been a member of the Colorado Tourism Office and Dept. of Agriculture's Heritage & Agritourism Committee, and frequently volunteers her time supporting organizations such as the Flatirons Food Film Festival.
Membership Manager, Upcycled Food Association
Rochelle is the Membership Manager of the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), a nonprofit trade association working to prevent food waste by accelerating the upcycled food economy. After working in brand marketing for major outdoor and recreation CPG brands, Rochelle decided to pursue her passion for sustainable food systems. She spent time living in Chile where she worked on various farms & sustainable projects across the country and developed a passion for reducing food waste and improving the food supply chain. In her 2 years at UFA, Rochelle has paired her passions of product innovation and sustainable food systems through her role as Membership Manager where she supports a network of 220+ (and growing!) companies in the upcycled food industry. Rochelle loves working with the UFA community of change-makers and innovative companies to grow the upcycled food economy and create a more habitable ecosystem for upcycled food brands to succeed.
Managing Director, Naturally Boulder
Julie has over 25 years of experience in the natural and organic products industry, including stints in store management with Fresh Fields, as a buyer for WholeFoods.com and Sutton Place Gourmet/Balducci’s, managing social media for Sprouts Farmers Market, and working with a number of small food brands and large hotel companies as a retail and marketing consultant. As Managing Director for Naturally Boulder, Julie creates community by developing and executing programs, special events, and strategic direction for this trade association with more than 1,100 members and 110 sponsoring companies. She also manages MBArk, a program for progressive-minded MBA students looking to break into the natural products business, and its FIELD (Food Industry Executive Leadership Development) executive education program. Julie believes her life’s work is to bring natural foods to a wider audience and couldn't be more excited about recognizing progressive and impactful products as a NEXTY judge. She is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
Sustainability Manager, Environmental Research and Education Foundation
Callyn Gonzalez runs the Sustainability Program at the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, whose mission is to light the way towards a more circular economy. She works to connect packaging manufacturers and CPG brands with the waste management industry by developing educational materials and resources for both ends of the supply chain. Her Masters of the Environment degree in Sustainable Food Systems and her past experience in compostable packaging development and corporate sustainability strategy have led her to dedicate her career towards building a circular economy that we can all benefit from.
Vice President of Merchandising Food, Thrive Market
Jason Bidart is a 20 year veteran in the food/grocery industry with a passion for bringing the highest quality and best tasting food products to market while making a positive impact on people, communities, and our planet. He is currently the Vice President of Merchandising of Food at Thrive Market where he manages a team of passionate Category Managers and Product Innovators tasked with building and maintaining a highly-curated catalog of food products; following strict standards and ensuring every product aligns with our core values of sustainable and ethical sourcing and mission of making healthy living affordable and accessible. Through his years in the industry, Jason has gained extensive experience in category management, merchandising, e-commerce, product innovation and development, and brand building in various roles at The Fresh Market, Earth Fare, Fairway Market, and Thrive Market.
Senior Director Grocery, Misfits Market
13 years ago, I began working with a small West Coast Gelato company. I loved it, and ever since that point my career has been focused around food. After Gelato, I joined a small chain of family-owned stores and over the next nine years, helped grow them into a 400+ location, public traded company. In 2019, I was awarded by Progressive Grocery Magazine a “Rising Star” Top Women In Grocery Award and shortly after named an “Industry Disruptor” by Supermarket News. It is also where I developed my passion for increasing accessibility to healthy and affordable food for everyone. Food insecurities affect more 13.8 million households in the US and the pandemic has made the divide even greater. Now at Misfits Market as a Senior Director of Grocery, I am able to help build a healthy, affordable, and accessible assortment delivered to all zip codes in the US. I live to have fun, work with good people, and get affordable healthy food to all!