Scott Jarus, Chair, is Chief Executive Officer of EV Connect, a provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging station solutions and developer of the most robust and feature-rich platform for managing the EV charging eco-system, which includes the charging stations, the drivers who use them and the electric utilities that feed them. Previously, he was Chairman and CEO of Ironclad Performance Wear, CEO of Cognition, CEO of j2 Global Communications (eFax), President and Chief Operating Officer for OnSite Access. He is a member of the Tech Coast Angels, a partner at Social Venture Partners, and a Sr. Fellow in the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. In 2005, Mr. Jarus was named National Entrepreneur of the Year for Media/Entertainment/
Christy Remey Chin, Treasurer, is instrumental in finding, funding and supporting DRK entrepreneurs, as well as cultivating and engaging DRK’s network of donor partners. Christy has devoted her career to advancing social entrepreneurship and championing high-impact philanthropy. She worked as a research associate at the Harvard Business School, supporting Greg Dees who defined social entrepreneurship. Christy later served as a Senior Program Officer at the Skoll Foundation. Prior to DRK, Christy was the Deputy Director at the Hewlett Foundation’s The Philanthropy Workshop West. Christy received her MBA from the Harvard Business School and holds a BA in History from Colgate University. Christy currently serves on the boards of DRK portfolio organizations Accountability Counsel, Adventure Scientists, Education Opens Doors, Food Forward, New Story and Transcend. Christy also chairs the board of Benetech, serves on the National Venture Capital Association board.
SuzAnn Brantner, Secretary, is the owner of The Family Business, a Los Angeles based marketing company. Founded in 2013, The Family Business works with various entertainment and nonprofit clients such as Steve Aoki, Hilarity for Charity, Fox Pictures, Alanis Morissette, GRiZ, and Island Records. Having served in various roles throughout her 20+ year career, she most recently served as WME’s Worldwide Head of Digital. Committing herself to public and nonprofit service, SuzAnn is also the President of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council and is a Climate Reality leader and mentor as part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.
Jason Crayne is a financial and operational executive who has served in leadership roles for companies in agriculture, consumer products, media, technology, and professional services. Jason has over fifteen years of experience helping organizations improve operational effectiveness and achieve desired outcomes. He has worked with numerous companies of all sizes (from start-up to multi-national) and developed deep relationships with his clients and partners. Jason can usually be found cooking for his family and friends, roasting coffee, and trying to keep his little girl from sharing her raspberries with the family dog.
Crystal L. Frierson is a lawyer in private practice with over a decade of experience representing private equity and other alternative asset managers in raising and managing private investment funds. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and, while working at her family’s small local delivery service, was first introduced to the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, the hard work required to bring food to market, and the scale of food waste. Crystal is a graduate of Howard University, Berkeley Law and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.
Jedd Gold is the co-founder of Artkive, the leading app and service that solves the problem for parents of what to do with all the art kids create. Jedd also serves as head of business development for JibJab. Previously, Jedd co-founded a gaming company that built virtual training games for corporations and the government. He has held senior executive positions in the entertainment and interactive industries, and received his MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business. Jedd is the father of two girls who work tirelessly every summer attempting to keep the squirrels from eating all the plums off their plum tree.
Carol Goldstein is an urban planner involved in program design and strategic planning for cultural and community infrastructure. A consultant to non-profits, funders, designers and the public sector, she collaborates on new initiatives, from formulation through implementation and evaluation. Her work includes concept design, policy planning, project management, feasibility analysis, and organizational development and assessment. Carol is a practice faculty member of the Department of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Neil Haltrecht worked at Decurion Corporation for nineteen years ending in 2010. In his roles as chief operating officer and then chief strategy and finance officer, Neil oversaw all business operations and led business planning, strategy development, and value creation processes for Decurion and its businesses: Robertson Properties Group (RPG), Arc Light Cinemas, and Pacific Theatres. He was the president of RPG where he oversaw all activities including the development, acquisition and management of real estate, primarily in California, Seattle and Hawaii. Since leaving Decurion Neil has pursued a variety of philanthropic and personal interests. Since 2010 he has been an active member of Home for Good, an initiative to end chronic and veteran homelessness in Los Angeles County. Neil obtained his master’s degree in business administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. A James McGill Scholar, he received his Bachelor of Commerce degree with distinction from McGill University.
Carla Heer grew up in Newport Beach and has lived in Arcadia for the past 20 years. After graduating from UCLA, she developed a career as an event planner for the Bradbury Building in Downtown Los Angeles and later at various venues in the San Gabriel Valley. She has used this talent to successfully fundraise for local non-profits. Her passion for fruit harvesting began when she joined her friends, the Selby Family, at Fruit For All – a San Gabriel Valley-based youth engagement and fruit harvesting non-profit that is now a part of Food Forward. Carla is excited about growing Food Forward in the San Gabriel Valley.
Rick Nahmias, Founder/Executive Director (See Our Team for Rick’s Bio)
Betty Zamorano-Pedregon is a Program Director with 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, specifically in childcare. She has served as the Head Start/Early Head Start and State Preschool Director at the Child Care Resource Center since 2010, serving the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley. Betty is a skilled leader and project manager, and currently leads a team in monitoring interconnected projects, formulating strategies and defining project objectives. She holds a BA in Child Development from CSU Los Angeles and an MS in Child and Family Studies from CSU Northridge. Betty comes to Food Forward through the Riordan Leadership Institute (RLI) Fellowship program, where she worked with the staff and board on an extensive 8-month project to build capacity for Produce Pick-Ups.
Robert Valencia is an attorney with 25 years of experience representing non-profit healthcare organizations including hospitals, community clinics, and medical foundations in the areas of business transactions, regulatory compliance, governance, and strategic planning. A former partner in the healthcare law firm of Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, and senior counsel at Dignity Health, Robert started his own law practice in 2013 so he could better pursue his interest in serving community based non-profit organizations such as Food Forward, Foothill Family Service, Union Station Homeless Services, Kids Charities of the Antelope Valley, and Verdugo Housing Corporation. Robert is a native of Los Angeles and graduate of California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and the Pepperdine School of Law.
Council of Advisors
Laura Avery – Former Farmers Market Supervisor, Santa Monica
Lisa Brenneis – Churchill Orchard, Ojai
Carl Buratti – Empowered Engineering Group, Inc
Jim Churchill – Churchill Orchard, Ojai
Erica Dent – Senior Project Manager, AltaMed
Anthony E. Ghosn – Information Technology Expert
Nike Irvin – Managing Director, Civil Society Fellowship of the Aspen Institute
Pam Kaizer – Philanthropic Advisor
Robin Kramer – Chief of Staff to both Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Richard Riordan
Carrie La Londe – Chief Operating Officer, Valley Fruit and Produce
Cindy Lee – U.S. House of Representatives, California 27th Congressional District
Neil Newman – Consumer Products Marketing & Branding Executive. Proud “Can-It” Graduate
Jill Overdorf – Director of Business and Culinary Development, Corp. Chef, Coosemans LA Shipping
Maxine Pollack – Retired CFO & Business Executive
Iesha Siler – Public Health Professional
Lee Smith – Attorney
Al Vangelos – Wholesale Produce Veteran
Nancy Volpert – Director of Public Policy, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles
Council of Advisors: Ventura County
Rod Cordova – Public Works Department, Sustainability Division
Lucky Lynch – The Kaleidoscope Institute
Tobie Mitchell – County of Ventura Public Works Agency, Integrated Waste Management Division
Chris Sayer – Petty Ranch
Suki Sir – The Turning Point Foundation
Sarene Wallace – Food Journalist and Marketing Professional
Culinary Advisory Board
Representing diverse corners of the culinary world, Food Forward’s Culinary Advisory Board members lend expertise and advocacy, are ambassadors to the food and beverage industries, and introduce customers and colleagues to Food Forward’s hunger-relief and food waste-reduction efforts. The Culinary Advisory Board seeks to foster both appreciation for Food Forward’s work as well as a broader awareness of food justice concerns in our community.
Matthew Biancaniello – Owner, Eat Your Drink
Clemence Gossett – Co-Owner, The Gourmandise School
Roxana Jullapat and Daniel Mattern – Friends and Family
Michelle Lainez – Chef/Owner, Chef Michelle & Company
Josh Lurie – Food GPS
Annie Miler – Chef/Owner, Clementine Bakery, Cafe & Catering
Minh Phan – porridge & puffs
Laurie Porter – Smog City Brewing
Jocelyn Ramirez – Chef/Owner, Todo Verde
Henry Tarmy and Anthony Caspary – Co-Founders, Ventura Spirits Company
David Thorne – Elysian
Edna R.S. Alvarez – Retired Attorney and Founder, First Friday Ideas Salon
Margaret Bach – Founding President, Los Angeles Conservancy
Jesse Gilbert – Founder, Dark Matter Media LLC
Joan Hanawi – Social Impact Manager, Lyft
Gay Yee Hill – Media Relations Specialist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Erica Kopmar – Former Harvest Coordinator and Founding Board Member, Food Forward
Mary MacVean – Executive Director, GrowGood
Paul Robbins – Founder, British Garden Company
Karen Sillas – Actress
Sarah A Spitz – Former Publicity Director KCRW, Master Gardener, & Master Food Preserver