Moving from Big Company to Small Company:
An Innovator's Daydream or An Entrepreneur's Nightmare?
Join the Innovation Breakfast to Find Out!
The Innovation Breakfast Series continues in February with three Chicago food and beverages leaders who traded in their day jobs for entrepreneurial adventure!
Our panel will feature:
As you think about your professional journey or the talent you need to run your company, come learn what’s worked and what hasn’t from these three business leaders who bravely made the jump from Big to Small!
Introducing the Speakers:
Lesley Butler is Chief Marketing Officer of food tech startup Tovala, a cooking solution that combines a smart countertop steam oven with a fresh meal delivery service. Lesley oversees all marketing efforts across the consumer journey including lead generation, retention, user experience, brand and design. Prior to Tovala, Lesley founded The Growth Project , a marketing advisory business to help food & beverage startups chart a consumer-led path to growth. She continues as an advisor to several early-stage food companies and VCs. Before her Small Co adventures, Lesley spent 15 years in senior roles in marketing, innovation, and strategy at Kraft Foods, Bain & Company, and most recently PepsiCo. She led M&A and new business model innovation for PepsiCo’s $5B Nutrition business, and oversaw innovation for the Quaker portfolio where she launched over 30 products generating over $200MM in annual revenue. Originally from Canada, Lesley holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and lives in Chicago with her husband and 2 young boys.
Shibani Baluja is the Founder & CEO of lil'gourmets, which she launched in July 2018. lil’gourmets creates fresh, nutritious, and 100% organic veggie meals designed to expand a child’s palate and teach them that vegetables are delicious. Inspired by her experiences as a first-time mom, her vision is to transform the baby food industry into one that offers truly nutritious, delicious meals that parents can feel great about feeding to their children. Before being consumed by baby food, Shibani spent 11 years at Kraft Foods, most recently as a Director on its Mergers & Acquisitions team, where she led a number of acquisitions, divestures, and other strategic initiatives. Prior to that, she spent six years at Merrill Lynch's Private Client Group. She holds a BA in Economics and an MBA in Finance & Strategy from the University of Michigan.
Shari Matras is the Founder of BrandNext Partners, a growth strategy company, where she helps her clients create the future through strategy, branding, and innovation. She has over 20 years of experience leading businesses and building innovation pipelines. Her experience spans global and domestic, big ($66B) and early stage ($1MM), and nearly every aisle in the grocery store. In her Big Co roles, Shari led the launch of Orbit Gum, Orbit White Gum, Gevalia Kaffe Roast & Ground Coffee, K-Cups for Maxwell House and Gevalia, and new platforms for brands such as Quaker’s Breakfast Snacking and Tropicana Juice with Probiotics. Shari has also held senior roles at Grainful, Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Schools and Recycled Paper Greetings. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Northwestern University and lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
**Note: To all you lovers out there, we are moving February’s Innovation Breakfast to Wednesday to avoid Valentines Day.
Innovation Breakfast Series Location: 403 N. Carpenter, Chicago, IL 60642
Breakfast provided by Fifty Gazelles
Schedule of Events (February 13th):
7:00 AM - Doors Open, Networking & Breakfast
7:30 AM - Panel Discussion
8:30 AM - Wrap-up
This event is presented in partnership with CFBN Member, Fifty Gazelles.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
1 W Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653