FIELD Exec Ed Program 2019 – Curriculum


The curriculum for the 2019 FIELD program is geared toward mid-career executives who want to accelerate their professional development through immersion into a variety of MBA topics, in-depth natural products industry research, and tactical/practical skills.  It has been designed with specific feedback from the participants of our inaugural program in 2018.

Here are the major areas of study we are planning, which will be team-taught by leading professors and industry practitioners, and punctuated with presentations from keynote speakers and the research team at New Hope Network (specific sessions may be added or changed as the date draws nearer):


Day 0: Introduction and Networking

  • OPTIONAL: get to know your cohort at a Major League Baseball game, on a mountain hike, or during a tour at Celestial Seasonings
  • Welcome and orientation dinner
  • History of the natural foods industry presentation


Day 1: Management and Leadership

  • The latest in organizational behavior research: what make companies run smoothly, productively, creatively?
  • Best practices in hiring, retention, compensation, motivation
  • The art and science of team-building and team effectiveness
  • The role of leaders in promoting diversity and inclusion
  • Personal leadership development: how to transform yourself from a manager into a leader
  • Ethical leadership


Day 2: 21st Century Sales and Marketing

  • Disruptions in the US Consumer Ecosystem
  • Digital marketing strategies: tips, tricks, and research into effectiveness
  • Social media marketing: pure gold, or fool’s gold?
  • Sales track 1 (for non-sales executives): fundamental concepts of retail sales (concepts, terminology, structures, and tools)
  • Sales track 2 (for advanced sales and marketing executives): omni-channel sales strategies, working with SPINS data, coupons, and trade promotions
  • Negotiations training and interactive exercise

Day 3: Strategy

  • Living Laboratory Tour of some of the Boulder area’s more interesting food production and retail facilities
  • Competitive strategy: understanding customer-centric Blue Ocean approaches
  • Fundamentals of game theory
  • Business ethics and human-centered design exercise


Day 4: Business Economics

  • Macroeconomic view of the industry and its importance
  • Track 1 (for non-finance executives):
    • Business Economics 101: essential accounting and cash flow concepts, terminology, formulas
    • The Magic of Margins: the importance of gross margins in the food business and how they impact financial statements
  • Track 2 (for finance-oriented executives and entrepreneurs): forecasting and financial modeling
  • Data analytics and applied marketing research: statistical tools and research techniques for gathering market intelligence and understanding consumer insights


Day 5: Sustainability and Supply Chain Management

  • A look at regenerative ag and the circular economy
  • Principles of sustainability: the evolution from noble goal to business practice
  • Supply chain management
  • Practical navigation of supply chain issues in the natural products industry
  • OPTIONAL: rapid-fire problem solving at the Hirshberg Entrepreneurship Institute
  • OPTIONAL: Naturally Boulder Spring Fling networking party