Meet the Board
Founder & CEO – Wholesome Wave
Michel Nischan is a three-time James Beard Award winning chef with over 30 years of experience advocating for a more healthful, sustainable food system. He is Founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave, Co-Founder of the Chefs Action Network, as well as Founder and Partner with the late actor Paul Newman of the former Dressing Room Restaurant. Along with his team at Wholesome Wave, Nischan has successfully influenced legislative language for the recently passed Federal Farm Bill, supporting affordable access to healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables for low income consumers. He’s also the author of three cookbooks and a variety of articles focused on sustainable food systems and social equity through food. A lifetime Ashoka fellow, he serves as a director on the board of the Jacques Pepin Foundation; on the advisory board of Chef’s Collaborative, The Amazon Conservation Team, and The National Young Farmers Coalition. In Spring 2015, the James Beard Foundation honored Nischan with the Award for the 2015 Humanitarian of The Year.
August Schumacher, Jr., Founding Board Chair
Board Consultant – Wholesome Wave
Prior this, Schumacher served as Administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, worked as a senior Agri-lender for the World Bank, and served as Commissioner of Food and Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After Harvard College, he studied at the London School of Economics and was a research associate in agribusiness at the Harvard Business School, working with Professor Ray A. Goldberg.
Schumacher was a member of the 21st National Academy of Sciences whose report was published in 2010. In 2007, Schumacher jointly oversaw the preparation of the Task Force Report of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, titled “Modernizing America’s Food and Farm Policy: Vision for a New Direction” (2008). He has received leadership awards from the James Beard Foundation and the EOS Foundation.
Andrew Hertzmark, Board Chair
Partner – Generation Partners
Andrew Hertzmark is a Managing Partner at Generation Partners, a private investment firm that provides capital to growth companies through buyout and growth equity investments. Mr. Hertzmark operates out of the firm’s Greenwich, Connecticut office. Prior to joining Generation in 2004, Andrew was an Associate at Galen Partners, a private equity firm focused on growth equity investments in the healthcare industry. At Galen, Andrew focused his time primarily on the healthcare services and information technology industries. Andrew also was an Analyst and Associate in the Investment Banking divisions of Dillon, Read & Co and UBS AG, respectively, where he worked on a variety of mergers, acquisitions and capital raising assignments for companies in the healthcare sector. Additionally, Andrew worked in the Business Development Group at Pfizer, Inc. as well as the National Economic Council within the Executive Office of the President.
Andrew earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from its Wharton School of Business. Andrew has served on the Boards of Captivate Network, Post Education, ReCept Pharmacy, ShopWiki and Virtual Radiologic Corporation. He is also involved in the firm’s investment in Donuts. Andrew is a former Board Member of The New York League for Early Learning.
Managing Director – Africa at the Millennium Challenge Corporation
Melissa D. Ho has more than 20 years of experience in international development, especially related to global food security and nutrition. Currently, Melissa is Managing Director, Africa at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency working in partnership with host country governments to end global poverty. Previously, Melissa led a Technical team in the Bureau for Food Security at the US Agency of International Development (USAID), which was responsible for guiding the strategic direction, activity design, and implementation of the U.S. Feed the Future initiative globally. Melissa has also served as Senior Advisor at USAID and was the technical lead in the development of the G-8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative, launched by President Obama and partners at Camp David in 2012. Previously, Melissa was a part of the Agriculture Development team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led the development and execution of the agricultural water management strategy and portfolio managing over $100 million in grants. Melissa has worked for the U.S. Congress in varying roles, including as a Specialist in Agricultural Policy for the Congressional Research Service and as the Agriculture Policy Advisor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Melissa has a B.Sc. in Environmental Systems from Cornell University, an M.Sc. in Soil Science from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the Pennsylvania State University. She received a Rotary Fellowship, and grant funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Heinz Family Foundation, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Defense and has taught several undergraduate and graduate courses. Melissa serves on the Board of Directors of several non-profit and startup organizations in the US and abroad. She lives with her family in Washington D.C.
Founder – Think Food Group
Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2012 and “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation in 2011, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, educator, television personality and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. TFG is the team responsible for renowned dining concepts in Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Puerto Rico.
José is Dean of the Spanish Studies program at the International Culinary Center, the first program of its kind to be offered in the United States. Andrés can be seen on PBS as host and executive producer of Made in Spain. His cookbooks include Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen and Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America and he has recently launched his own line of artisanal products, Jose Andres Foods.
His native Spain awarded him the prestigious Order of Arts and Letters medallion in 2010, making him the first chef to receive this recognition. He is chairman emeritus of DC Central Kitchen, Chairman of LA Central Kitchen and the founder of World Central Kitchen. He was recently named to the Board of Directors of Wholesome Wave.
He is also culinary ambassador to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an effort championed by Secretary Hilary Clinton. Andrés also teaches “Science and Cooking” at Harvard as well as “The world on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization” at George Washington University.
Chef/Owner Craft restaurants & ‘wichcraft
Born and raised in Elizabeth, NJ, Tom Colicchio made his cooking debut at The Quilted Giraffe and Mondrian and later opened Gramercy Tavern and Craft. Tom owns Craft, Craftbar, Colicchio & Sons, Riverpark in NY; Craft in Los Angeles; Craftsteak in Las Vegas and Foxwoods; and ‘wichcraft sandwich shops. Most recently, he opened Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton and Heritage Steak in Las Vegas.
Tom is a five-time James Beard Award winner and author of three cookbooks. He has served as head judge on “Top Chef” since 2006 and as executive producer for A Place at the Table, a documentary directed by Colicchio’s wife, Lori Silverbush.
President & Founder – Serenbe
Steve’s early career was in the hospitality industry and in 1972, he opened the Pleasant Peasant, which was the beginning of a restaurant corporation that grew to 34 restaurants in eight states by the time he departed in 1994. Steve and his wife, Marie, retired to a farm just outside Atlanta with their three daughters and six years later, he became concerned about urban sprawl invading their adopted country paradise.
In 2000, Steve led the effort to create the Chattahoochee Hill Country Alliance to bring together landowners, developers and conservationists to find a mutually-agreed upon solution for balanced growth. Through two years of work and public meetings, a land use plan was adopted to preserve 70% of the 40,000 acres on the edge of Atlanta while providing 20% more housing than the traditional suburban sprawl yield.
In 2004, the Nygrens began development of Serenbe to demonstrate the land preservation concepts which interlace agriculture with a range of housing choices mixed with shops, galleries, three restaurants and a 19 room Inn located in the historic farm compound. The development is also a model for water and energy conservation. The result is reminiscent of century-old communities.
Steve’s involvement in many civic and charitable organizations provides a wide background in urban, rural and regional planning for sustainable communities. He currently serves on the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Board representing the 13th was a 2011/2012 appointment to Chair the DCA Planning Advisory Task Force to address planning in Georgia.
Karen E. Watson has a diverse professional background that has served her as a journalist, a government executive, a public policy advocate for a Fortune 100 company and chief communicator for Nielsen, the world’s largest market research firm. Ms. Watson started her career at The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. She managed the office of Public Affairs for the Federal Communications Commission during the overhaul of the Telecommunications Act, and advocated policy issues for EchoStar in the early days of satellite television. In her most recent role, as former Managing Director of Nielsen Government and Public Sector, Ms. Watson applied Nielsen’s commercial research data and analysis to solve important public policy issues around the world such as obesity, hunger, sustainability and the digital divide. A recent collaboration with the White House and the Partnership for a Healthier America encouraged Americans to drink more water and was hailed by First Lady Michelle Obama as “groundbreaking.” Savoy Magazine named Ms. Watson as one of the “100 Most Influential Black Executives of 2013” for her leadership on that public health initiative.
Currently Ms. Watson works as a consultant on the use of big data, market research and commercial advertising techniques to better communicate a culture of wellness, centered around nutrition. She is an advisor to tech investor, Esther Dyson, on her “Way to Wellville,” startup, aimed at improving community health.
Karen’s other involvement in the food sector includes being a member of the leadership team of IHI’s 100 million healthier lives initiative, a member of the Newman’s Own Foundation Nutrition Advisory board, advisor to Jim Slama on Good Food by the Numbers, and advisor to Farmer’s Fridge, the first “farm to vending machine” business, rated as a top “restaurant” in Chicago.
Karen is a certified yoga instructor and the mother of two adult children.
Chairman, CEO & Founder – Axcess Worldwide
Widely recognized as the pioneer of the emerging field of “partnership development,” Kirk has conceived and executed scores of partnerships with many of the world’s most iconic brands. He has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in contracted revenue for companies such as Audemars Piguet, Beats by Dr. Dre, Cadillac, Coca-Cola, Dom Perignon, FENDI, Ferrari/Maserati, Fiji Water, Graff, JP Morgan Chase, Las Vegas Sands, and The Tony Awards. Kirk has also conceptualized and executed partnerships on behalf of unique “living brands” such as Frank Abagnale, Tiki Barber, N’SYNC, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jonathan Tisch.
Kirk served as a strategic advisor to NetJets Founder & former Chairman, Richard Santulli, and played an integral role in the growth of NetJets for over a decade. Through the creation of dozens of partnerships with luxury brands and the execution of extraordinary events, Kirk was responsible for creating scores of “value added” partnerships and experiences for NetJets owners. During this time, Kirk conceptualized and produced the famed NetJets Poker Invitational, hosted by Richard Santulli, Warren Buffet, and Steve Wynn annually from 2004 through 2009.
Kirk is an equity partner in a variety of high-growth companies, including WORTH Media, the premier magazine and digital platform for ultra high net worth individuals, where he serves as Chairman of the Board; Forbes Travel Guide, the creator of the original Five Star Rating System for hotels, restaurants, and spas; Tequila Avión, the ultra premium tequila company; Double Cross Vodka, a top-shelf spirit produced in the Slovak Republic; Patagonia Sur, an innovative for-profit conservation project in Patagonia, Chile; Radical Skincare, the world’s most powerful anti-oxidant skin care; Thiel Audio, an ultra-luxury, high-performance speaker manufacturer; the Captivate Network, the most dominant media platform in office buildings throughout North America; Bonotel Exclusive Travel, a receptive tour operator acquired by the Carlyle Group; and ONEHOPE, a cause-oriented wine company produced in partnership with Rob Mondavi, Jr. He additionally serves on the Board of Directors for Forbes Travel Guide and the Captivate Network.
From 1993 through 2000, Kirk held a variety of senior management positions at Cendant Corporation, a Fortune 500 publicly traded conglomerate. Among other accomplishments at Cendant, Kirk conceived and launched the Cendant Entertainment Group, a venture to encourage business development and marketing relationships between Cendant companies and the entertainment industry. Kirk began his career at the American Hotel & Lodging Association, where he served as Vice President for Corporate Relations.
Kirk is involved in a variety of charitable organizations and causes, including the After-School All-Stars, where he has worked with Founder, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to provide after-school programs to inner-city children in 12 cities throughout America. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Atlanta chapter of After-School All-Stars. Kirk is the recipient of the Atlanta Falcons 2011 Community Quarterback Award for his tireless efforts in raising over $20 million for the Atlanta chapter of After-School All-Stars.
Kirk was a proud member of the ownership team of Atlanta Hawks Sports and Entertainment, an Atlanta, Georgia-based partnership that owns the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and operates their home arena, Philips Arena. In 2015, the Atlanta Hawks advanced for the first time to the Eastern Conference Finals. Kirk sold his ownership interest in June of 2015.
Kirk earned his undergraduate degree at the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Cofounder – Food & Wine and Food Arts
Ariane Batterberry cofounded two milestone magazines of the 20th century: Food Arts, recognized internationally as the publication of record for the tableservice industry, and Food & Wine, the first truly modern food magazine.
Ariane and her husband, Michael, authored 16 books on food, art and social history and are among the few to have had four concurrent Literary Guild selections. For decades, Ariane wrote for national publications and appeared on radio and television, most often to discuss food and drink in their many contexts. She was Harper’s Bazaar’s contributing editor and she and Michael contributed a column on food to USA TODAY.
In 1994, they were named Editors of the Year by the James Beard Foundation; in 2010 they received the Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Savoring Gotham summed up their legacy: “Together [Ariane & Michael Batterberry] helped shape the way Americans think about cooking, chefs, and restaurants.”
Photo credit Tom Corbett.
President – Barnegat Group
Ellen Marram is the President of the Barnegat Group, her business advisory firm. She is a director of Ford Motor Company (presiding director), Eli Lilly and Company (lead director) and the New York Times Company(former presiding director), and has previously served on the boards of Cadbury Schweppes and Kmart. She has been named an Outstanding Director by Board Alert Magazine and serves as a member of the NACD Nominating/Governance Committee Chair Advisory Council.
Ms. Marram is also a director of several private companies primarily in the food and consumer healthcare sectors. She is a trustee of Wellesley College and serves on a number of non-profit boards.She has served as a Trustee of the Conference Board and the Board of Associates of Harvard Business School.
Ms Marram is a former CEO of Tropicana and the Nabisco Biscuit Company. More recently, she was a Managing Director (2000-2005) and Operating Advisor (2006-2010) at North Castle Partners, a private equity firm focused on investments in healthy living and aging where she served as Chairman of several portfolio companies.
Owner – Wayfare Tavern & Tyler Florence Fresh
Chef Tyler Florence first found fame cooking for the American public on food TV and is now a 20-year veteran of the Food Network. He is a national food leader and is well known for his California-based restaurants: Wayfare Tavern and Tyler Florence Fresh. He was awarded “Restaurateur of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2011 and has consistently earned three star reviews from San Francisco restaurant critic, Michael Bauer.
He is the author of multiple top-selling cookbooks – most recently: Tyler Makes A Birthday Cake (Harper Collins). And in 2016, his revolutionary food app, Yumavore was released through the Apple App store.
Florence graduated from Johnson and Wales University, and got his start in New York honing his skills under the tutelage of premier chefs like Charlie Palmer, Marta Pulini and Rick Laakonen.
Tyler lives in No. California with his wife Tolan and their three children – Miles, Hayden, and Dorothy.