A majority of founders and leadership in growing companies in the food and beverage space have reported that they expect to see growth in 2020. Even after the volatility and challenges of 2020 - the food and beverage industry as a whole is looking forward to 2021 to see what products will impact and hit with consumers and the marketplace. Join us to explore and examine that “growth” as part of our Founders Series for 2021 - the conversation that founders and leadership from growing companies across the midwest want to be a part of!
The Founders Series has been re-imaged for 2021, in partnership with Foodbevy and CA Fortune, we are looking to industry experts, a wide range of successful and growing founders, and our own partners to provide hands-on learning opportunities around each of our primary topic areas. Each quarterly event will feature a brief opening panel discussion to examine where we are as an industry for the quarter and how the main topic area relates to each of us. And then we will break-out into roundtable or workshop sections led by our partners and panelists for in-depth conversation and problem solving. Join us to explore how your peers and industry can help you tackle growth in 2021.
*As always, Founders and CFBN Members attend these events for FREE. Reach out by dropping us an email if you are looking to be connected!
The newest phase of the pandemic - as we see a vaccine on the horizon for many of us but face continued lock-downs and shop closures around the globe - is changing customer behavior almost daily! Join us for our first event in the 2021 Founders Series, to look and learn how shopping behaviors are changing, how growth looks so different for many brands and companies in 2021, and what founders are doing to reach and connect with their customers in new ways.
Emily Groden, Founder & CEO, Evergreen
As a working mom, Emily Groden needed a quick and easy breakfast for her toddler, but was not willing to sacrifice quality, nutrition, or taste for convenience. Launched in early March 2020, Evergreen frozen waffles are made with 100 percent whole wheat flour and flavored only by real fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices – without refined sugar, dairy, or preservatives. Today, Evergreen is carried in more than 45 Whole Foods across the Midwest, Foxtrot Market and Sunset Foods in Chicago, and independent grocers throughout the region.
Prior to founding Evergreen, Emily served as General Counsel for The Alinea Group, owner of the only 3-Michelin Star restaurant in Chicago, and Tock, an industry-shifting reservation platform. Before her pivot into the hospitality industry, Emily practiced law at Kirkland & Ellis as a corporate associate focused on mergers and acquisitions. A lifelong athlete with a passion for food, Emily was a Division I swimmer and is an Ironman finisher and Boston Marathon qualifier. Emily graduated cum laude from Yale College and Harvard Law School. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter, Evergreen’s number one fan.
Ashley Nickelsen, Founder & Chief Snack Officer, B.T.R Bar
Ashley Marie, a serial snacker since birth, is the Founder & Chief Snack Officer of B.T.R. Bar. Ashley started the company in honor of her parents, determined to pass on their legacy and empower others to snack BTR to feel your best aka BOLD, TENACIOUS & RESILIENT. Five years ago, both of Ashley's parents were diagnosed with rare forms of cancer. As their caretaker, working full-time, Ashley was constantly on-the-go, inhaling so-called "better-for-you" bars and bites high in sugar with ingredients she couldn't pronounce. With a background in nutrition & food studies, Ashley craved a snack with a "BTR" ingredient profile that also served a functional purpose. And that's how B.T.R. Bar was born.
Chris Oates, Founder & CEO, WAJU: Fruit Sourced Water
11:00 AM: General Welcome (Alan Reed, CFBN)
11:05 AM - 11:35 AM: Opening Presentation/Conversation
11:40 AM - 12:30 PM: Workshopping/Networking Breakouts
11:45 AM - 12:30 PM: 1:1 Individual Networking Open (45 mins)
Jordan Buckner, Founder - Foodbevy & Founder - TeaSquares
Jordan Buckner is on a mission to help food and beverage companies build successful businesses, and launched Foodbevy.com to create a pipeline for companies to grow from startup to scale by reducing the resource and network gaps. Jordan also co-founded TeaSquares, a line of superfood energy bars designed to help people stay focused and alert so they could achieve their passions.
Steve Gaither, Chief Marketing Officer,CA Fortune
Steve Gaither is the Chief Marketing Officer at C.A. Fortune, and leads the C.A. Branding pillar. Founded as JB Chicago, C.A. Branding is an integrated marketing agency whose clients range from Fortune 500, middle-market, to emerging brands. As a mentor at the Good Food Business Accelerator, ICNC, the Food Foundry, Chicagoland Food and Bev, and The Hatchery, his relationships with entrepreneurs led him to co-found the Windy City Troublemakers, an early-stage food meetup in Chicago. Steve was formerly a partner in Spiral Sun Ventures and Windy City Food Brands, where he and his fellow CPG experts provided the capital and go-to market strategies that help brands accelerate their growth. Steve graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Architecture and Planning. He resides in Munster, Indiana with his wife and three children.
Don't worry, you can access all previous events from the Founders Series in our Virtual Content Library, FREE to all CFBN members!
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
802 Wesley Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60304
Tel (312) 525-9653