Although we are still in the process of putting together the program for Expo West 2018, here is a look at a typical agenda and list of participants – from the MBArk Program at Expo East for 2017.
Thursday, September 14
- Welcome, Orientation and Alumni Dinner – 7:00-9:30 p.m., Hilton Holiday 5 Ballroom (connected to the Convention Center by a skybridge)
- Introduction to the event and the industry by Joe Dobrow.
- Meet your fellow MBArk participants.
- Guest speakers include MBArk alumnae Natalie Cira (Tuck) talking about searching for a job in the natural foods industry, Eliza Timpson (HBS) talking about starting your own natural foods company; Darcy Shiber-Knowles (Yale SOM) talking about sustainability careers; Preetha Nooyi (Yale SOM) talking about the dilemma and differences of big food vs. natural food companies; and Gil Fuchsberg (Columbia GSB) talking about career paths for MBAs and the world of funding for entrepreneurs.
Friday, September 15
On both Friday and Saturday we held a mix of scheduled activities and free time so that participants could set up meetings with individual brands, roam the show floor, try food samples, and network with their favorite companies.
CEO Breakfast – 8:00-10:00 a.m., Hilton Holiday 5 Ballroom
This event featured the opportunity to interact closely with two panels of CEOs:
- “The Path from Business School to Natural Foods Fulfillment,” featuring John Foraker (Berkeley Haas, President of Annie’s), Paddy Spence (HBS, CEO of Zevia), Doug Radi (Wake Forest, CEO of Good Karma), and Betsy Foster (Rice – Jones GSB, Global VP of Business Development of Whole Foods Market).
- “How Do You Build a Great Brand in the Natural Foods Industry?” featuring Seth Goldman (Yale SOM, CEO Emeritus of Honest Tea), Tatiana Birgisson (CEO of MATI Energy), Kristy Lewis (CEO of Quinn Snacks) and Tyler Gage (CEO of RUNA).
Small Group Meeting with Dan Stangler of Annie’s -11:00, Convention Center booth 1739 OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
Small Group Meeting with Seth Goldman of Honest Tea -12:00, Convention Center booth 1704 OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
Marketing Small Group Focus Session – 1:30-2:30 p.m., Hilton Holiday 5 Ballroom OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
- A great opportunity for those interested in a marketing career to meet Jennifer Berliner (Yale SOM, VP of Marketing for Zupa Noma), Emma Frelinghuysen (Stanford GSB, VP of Cultivate Ventures for Hain Celestial), and Jenny Berrien (HBS, VP of Marketing at Kite Hill)
Strategic and Impact Investing Small Group Focus Session – 2:30-3:30 p.m., Hilton Holiday 5 Ballroom OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
- Meet with Maija Aittola (Tuck MBA) of General Mills’ 301 Brand Elevator to hear what is happening in the investment space.
Logistics and Supply Chain Small Group Focus Session – 4:00 p.m., Convention Center booth 820 OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
- Meet with JJ Cantrell, VP of Sales at UNFI.
Entrepreneurship Small Group Focus Session – 5:00-5:30 p.m., Convention Center, booth 562 OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
- Meet the only MBArk alumni who have built a company that is exhibiting at Expo: Nicole Ledoux and Rob Dalton of 88 Acres.
Women in Naturals Networking Event – 5:30-6:30 p.m., Convention Center, Level 300 Outside Terrace OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
- A low-key networking party featuring Twinlab CEO Naomi Whittel.
MBArk Cocktail Hour – 6:30-7:30 p.m., Hilton Holiday 5 Ballroom
- Finally! A chance to unwind and share experiences with fellow MBArk participants after the first day of madness. Usually, the group breaks into small groups to go out to dinner in the Inner Harbor.
Saturday, September 16
MBArk Consulting Breakfast – 8:00-10:00 a.m., Hilton Holiday 5 Ballroom
- Presentations by two natural products companies that are looking for consulting help from teams of MBArk students during the course of the school year. One presenter was Danielle Vogel, founder of Glen’s Garden Market in Washington, DC. See interesting articles here and here. The other was Megan Shea, Co-Founder of The Soulfull Project – read this article.
Small Group Meeting with Greg Steltenpohl of Califia Farms – 10:15-11:00 a.m., Convention Center booth 329 OPTIONAL ACTIVITY. See great NY Times article.
MBArk Wrap-Up Meeting – 11:15 a.m.-noon, New Hope Network Booth, Convention Center 200 level
- A talk with Adam Andersen and Lacey Gautier, show organizers from New Hope, so participants could ask questions about the show and the industry, and share their feedback about both Expo East and MBArk.