MBArk Expo East 2017 Agenda




Here is a look at the agenda and list of participants in the MBArk Program at Expo East for 2017.


Expo East is one of the two big annual trade shows of the natural products industry, produced by New Hope Network. This event, at the Baltimore Convention Center, ran September 14-16, 2017.  It attracted about 28,000 people and nearly 2,000 exhibitors.


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 have a mix of scheduled activities and free time so that you can set up meetings with individual brands,  roam the show floor, try food samples, and network with your favorite companies.

CEO Breakfast – 8:00-10:00 a.m., Hilton Holiday 5 Ballroom (connected to the Convention Center by a skybridge).

This event will feature the opportunity for you to interact closely 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 – SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.


Small Group Meeting with Seth Goldman of Honest Tea -12:00, Convention Center booth 1704 OPTIONAL ACTIVITY – SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.

Marketing Small Group Focus Session – 1:30-2:30 p.m., Hilton Holiday 5 Ballroom (connected to the Convention Center by a skybridge) OPTIONAL ACTIVITY – SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.

  • A great opportunity for those who are 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 (connected to the Convention Center by a skybridge) OPTIONAL ACTIVITY – SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.

  • 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 – SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.

  • 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 – SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.

  • 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 (connected to the Convention Center by a skybridge)

  • Finally! A chance to unwind and share experiences with your fellow MBArk participants after your 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 (connected to the Convention Center by a skybridge)

  • 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 will be Danielle Vogel, founder of Glen’s Garden Market in Washington, DC.  See interesting articles here and here. The other will be 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 – SIGN UP IN ADVANCE. 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 that you can ask questions about the show and the industry, and share your feedback about both Expo East and MBArk.