2022 Expo West 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 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 NEXTY Data & Insights team to select the single winners within each category!

Annie Brown

Vice President of Development, Rodale Institute

Annie has been with Rodale Institute since 2012 and currently serves as the Vice President of Development. She oversees fundraising from foundations, corporations, and individuals. For 75 years, Rodale Institute has been leading game-changing research, expertly training farmers, and educating the community to help heal broken agricultural system through the power of regenerative organic agriculture.

Holly Adrien

Natural and Organic Strategy and Innovative Manager, The Kroger Co

With a deep background in customer insights, analytics and merchandising, Holly leads development of the The Kroger Co’s strategic focus for natural and organic and is responsible for execution of top activations to meet customer’s needs in natural and organic across the total store. In her role, she has the privilege of collaborating with all Kroger banners and both established and emerging brands to continuously innovate in terms of new items, promotions, and communication to customers. Her passion for natural products started as an opportunity to improve health and performance in athletics, then blossomed when she was responsible for the Baby department for Kroger and recognized the opportunity that existed to provide the best to her customers, big and small.


Kuvy Ax

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. 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.

Bill Capsalis

Executive Director, Naturally Boulder

As an avid healthy lifestyle expert, Bill works with emerging brands as well as mid-sized companies on everything from brand and sales channel strategy, finance, operational challenges and product innovation. His in-depth knowledge of the natural products industry gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing today’s food and beverage brands. He was previously the CEO of Haystack Mountain Creamery and saw the company through a sale in early 2021. Today he is the Executive Director of Naturally Boulder—a trade association in the natural products industry with over 1,000 members and 200 sponsoring companies.

Jessie Shafer

Registered Dietitian, Journalist, The Real Food Dietitians

Jessie Shafer is a registered dietitian, writer and recipe creator at The Real Food Dietitians, a nationally recognized food blog managed by a team of registered dietitians. For the last 20 years, Jessie has worked in food and health publishing, holding the roles of editor-in-chief of Delicious Living magazine and senior nutrition editor for Diabetic Living magazine. She is also the former Director of Influence & Health Education at New Hope Network.  Jessie is a nutrition consultant for health-focused food brands, as well as a frequent contributing writer and nutrition expert for national health publications, including Clean Eating and Better Homes & Gardens, where she covers nutrition- and product-based analysis and trends.


Brian Gordon

Chief Marketing Officer, Accelerate 360

Brian oversees the company’s proprietary brand development and marketing initiatives, all marketing initiatives related to its core lines of business, internal marketing and communications and the strategic IP extensions for all Accelerate360’s media properties. Previously, Brian founded Engine Shop and, as CEO, presided over the agency’s growth into one of the industry’s leading full-service engagement marketing agencies securing clients including AB InBev, American Family Insurance, Delta Airlines, Hilton, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft and Proximo Spirits.