Dory Bennett
San Gabriel Valley Harvest Coordinator
Simon Bergara
Wholesale Recovery Dispatch Coordinator
Joe Bobman
Data & Technology Manager
Merced Giles Bonfil
Wholesale Recovery Program Driver
Sam Cahall
Development Associate
Alejandro Calderon-Gamboa
Wholesale Recovery Program Coordinator
Michele Chase
Agency Relations Partnership Supervisor
Celia Cody-Carrese
Outreach & Communications Coordinator
Dominique Derse
Agency Relations & Farmers Market Recovery Program Coordinator
Wendy Chen Epstein
Senior Manager of Human Resources
Daniel Gallegos
Wholesale Recovery Program Warehouse Supervisor
Pamela Guerra
Data & Design Supervisor
Alia Haddad
Events & Partnerships Manager
LaNeisha Hodo
Agency Relations Coordinator
Andrea Howry
Ventura County Branch Coordinator
Tanzi Jackson
Farmers Market Recovery Coordinator
Laura Jellum
Outreach & Communications Director
Pearson King
Agency Relations & Field Manager
Dani Lyons
Grants Manager
Felipe Maldonado
Wholesale Recovery Program Driver
Rick Nahmias
Founder/Chief Executive Officer
Quang Nguyen
Chief Operating Officer
Leo Paz
Wholesale Recovery Program Manager
Vivian Poonsopin
Facilities Coordinator
Jason Reedy
Farmers Market Recovery Program Manager
Betsy Storm
Volunteer Engagement Manager
Samantha Teslik
Senior Manager of Backyard Harvest
Mauricio Torres
Wholesale Recovery Program Warehouse Coordinator
Antonio Velasquez
Wholesale Recovery Program Driver
Christopher Wehling
Ventura County Branch Coordinator
Luis Yepiz
Senior Manager of Wholesale Recovery Program
Amir Zambrano
Managing Director of Programs

Our Board


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/Communications by Ernst & Young.


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.


Pam Kaizer, Honorary Board Member, has extensive experience in charitable foundation and nonprofit management. She currently provides on-going foundation management services to private family foundations. She is a founding Food Forward Board Member, having served as the first Chair of the Board of Directors.


Rick Nahmias, Founder/CEO (See Our Team for Rick’s Bio)


Mark Rhein leads learning, talent, and organizational development at Perkins & Will, the global architecture and design firm. He has worked in HR and consulting roles at Spencer Stuart, Abbott Laboratories, and Deloitte. Mark studied Architecture at the University of Kansas and received a degree in Environmental Design from the University of Missouri and is scheduled to complete Northwestern University’s ELOC program in 2020. He joined Food Forward as Riordan Leadership Institute Fellow and previously served on the Board of Directors at The People’s Music School and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Missouri and has extensive volunteer experience. A Midwest native, Mark and his husband Warren moved to Los Angeles in 2017. They love to travel, host parties, and enjoy the beach and sun with their black Labrador Barney.


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.


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.

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

Jeff Harris – Nonprofit Consultant

Diane Helfrey – Nonprofit Professional and Founding Partner, Social Venture Partners

Nike Irvin – Managing Director, Civil Society Fellowship of the Aspen Institute

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

Diana Rodgers – ED/Manager Mar Vista Certified Farmers Market

Evan Schlessinger – Consultant, specializing in the food and beverage industry

Iesha Siler – Public Health Professional

Nancy Volpert – Director of Public Policy, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles


Council of Advisors: Ventura County

Rod Cordova – Public Works Department, Sustainability Division

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

Evan Kleiman – Host of Good Food on KCRW

Roxana Jullapat and Daniel MatternFriends and Family

Michelle Lainez – Chef/Owner, Chef Michelle & Company

Josh LurieFood GPS

Annie Miler – Chef/Owner, Clementine Bakery, Cafe & Catering

Minh Phanporridge & puffs

Laurie PorterSmog City Brewing

Jocelyn Ramirez – Chef/Owner, Todo Verde

Henry Tarmy and Anthony Caspary – Co-Founders, Ventura Spirits Company

David ThorneElysian

Kitchen Cabinet


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 – Journalist

Paul Robbins – Founder, British Garden Company

Karen Sillas – Actress

Sarah A Spitz – Former Publicity Director KCRW, Master Gardener, & Master Food Preserver