TEAM

The Conscious Kitchen was founded in 2013 by Judi Shils, Executive Director of Turning Green, and Justin Everett, Executive Chef at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, California

STAFF
Judi Shils

Judi Shils | Founder & Executive Director, Turning Green & The Conscious Kitchen

Judi has spent the last 24 years of her life spearheading grassroots community projects. The dearth of answers around Marin County’s high cancer rates led Judi to found the nonprofit Search for the Cause, now Turning Green, a global student-led movement advocating for healthy food, safer products, and ethical businesses. She is also the force behind The Conscious Kitchen, a paradigm shifting model for school food service, transitioning school meals from pre-packaged, processed, heat-and-serve to chef-prepared, scratch cooked local, organic food, cooked in on-site zero waste kitchens. Believing that access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege, she began this work on a campus where 95% of children live below the poverty line, qualifying for free-and-reduced government-subsidized school meals. Moving to the Bay Area in 1989 and becoming a mother to daughter Erin changed the course of Judi’s life. Prior to this, she was an Emmy Award-winning television producer for 25 years with ABC Sports, FOX and Oxygen, founded The Diary Project forum for youth at the onset of the internet, and ran a successful student art exhibition, Celebrate Arts. Judi has been a consultant with the California Coastal Commission around public education for the past two decades.

Debbie Friedman | Program Director

Debbie is an attorney who practiced business law in San Francisco for 5 years. Since leaving the practice of law to pursue environmental work, Debbie has served in a variety of advocacy, communications and leadership positions including as producer for EcoTalk Radio which aired nationally on Air America Radio, and as a communications consultant for innovative nonprofits and businesses. Debbie has also co-founded and led two environmental health nonprofits. In her role at Moms Advocating Sustainability, Debbie led policy initiatives and organized coalitions, with an emphasis on shifting agricultural policies towards ecologically-oriented practices, to reduce the amounts of pesticides sprayed by state and local agencies. Debbie also was lead organizer and negotiator with County Government Officials in a 2009 successful campaign to revise Marin County’s regulations to substantially reduce the use of pesticides on County property. Prior to joining The Conscious Kitchen team as Program Director, she was a co-founder and served as Executive Director of GMOScience, a science-based educational and information platform that addresses the costs, risks and benefits of genetically engineered food. Debbie was selected in 2011 as a “Marin Hero for Children,” by Marin Advocates for Children.

Debbie Friedman
Debbie Friedman

Guillaume Pfahl | Executive Chef

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Guillaume has experienced many different cultures and beliefs. He sees food and family as the common denominator between people. His goal with the Conscious Kitchen is to create community for children centered around food, to unite the multi cultures in school settings. Prior to joining Conscious Kitchen, Guillaume had a wide breadth of cooking and restaurant experience, including working as sous chef for Saint Francis Yacht Club restaurants in San Francisco, and at a large SF based catering company, opening a farm-to-table restaurant in Sausalito, and training at several restaurants throughout France, including at a one-star Michelin restaurant.

Kelly Browning | Education Specialist & School Outreach Liaison

Kelly is a 2nd grade teacher and Director of the Garden and Nutrition Program at Willow Creek Academy.
She is passionate about inspiring students to eat and grow healthy food. A graduate of Dominican University with a Certificate in Sustainable Practices, she works to connect teachers and staff with the lunch program. Her focus and expertise is on education and curriculum building and connecting that to the FLOSN food her students eat daily. Previously, Kelly worked as a nutrition and cooking teacher in the Sausalito Marin City School District, and was the inspiration for the start of The Conscious Kitchen.

Debbie Friedman
Sue Waiss

Sue Waiss | Program Administrator

Sue has worked with Turning Green for 7 years and has helped bring all of our key programs to life. She is passionate about sustainability, education, and bringing our programs to students across the country and around the world. Prior to TG, Sue worked as a Project Manager and Studio Manager in the graphic design industry and co-founded two video production companies.

Jennifer O’Connor | Strategic Consultant

Jenny began her career in philanthropy at Teach for America, working within education targeting at-risk youth in the Bay Area and helping develop a more robust after school initiative. After leaving TFA, Jennifer spent a few years working with community development programs, mostly in health and water, in Africa, most notably with The United Nations in Sudan. After returning from Sudan, she founded and ran her own organization, Groundwork Opportunities, for 8 years, with a focus on building leadership capacity within small community organizations. In 2015, Jennifer became a USAID health fellow, working in Zimbabwe with the Ministry of Health on their rural health program expansion. As she wrapped up the fellowship, she founded Guidelight Strategies and began consulting as a program officer for The Gates Foundation on their food security and health programs. Today, Jenny is the principal consultant and founding director of Guidelight Strategies, a strategic development firm working with innovative non-profits, foundations and businesses focused on the intersection of climate, environment, and agricultural issues to strengthen organizational capacity and amplify impact.

Debbie Friedman
Megan Fuerst

Katie McCann | Strategic Consultant

Katie was one of the initial employees at The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, assisting in setting up the foundation and then moved into a role as program officer working on both the science and environment programs. After leaving the Moore Foundation, Katie went on to assist Doug Tompkins with his philanthropy in Patagonia working for both of his organizations, The Foundation for Deep Ecology and Conservacion Patagonica. After her work in Patagonia, she joined Dr. Daniel Nepstad as a Program Director at The Earth Innovation Institute, a science and environment based research institute located in San Francisco. She is a Kinship Conservation Fellow and has an MBA with a focus in Sustainability. Currently, Katie is a principal consultant and strategist at Guidelight Strategies, working with innovative non-profits, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the food, ag, climate, and environment sectors.

Kavya Velagapudi | Grant Writer Consultant

Kavya is a non-profit and development consultant who helps agencies achieve their fundraising goals. She is a creative, results-driven nonprofit professional with six years of diverse experience generating revenue and resources for nonprofits. With a Masters in Social Welfare and a concentration in Non-Profit Administration & Policy Advocacy, Kavya has a unique blend of development, management, and clinical skills. Before becoming an independent consultant and joining the Turning Green team, she was the Development Director of International Museum of Women, now part of Global Fund for Women, in San Francisco. Prior to joining the Museum, Kavya was the Western Region Director of Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles, where she oversaw all development, communications and program services in Starlight’s Western Region. Kavya has raised funds for various nonprofits through grants, special events, corporations, memberships, annual appeals, crowd-funding, e-appeals, silent auctions, and major gifts.

Kavya

Evelyn Barash, Intern & Senior, Lawrence University

Evelyn, a rising senior at Lawrence University, is interested in holistic wellness + healing. She loves cooking fresh, vibrant meals with her friends and family and working in her school’s garden. Past experience includes interning with Centro Community Partners in Oakland, CA, and creating and leading a Spanish book club + girls group for bilingual middle school girls. Evelyn is excited to be working on projects promoting food equality and sustainability with the team!

BOARD
David Bennett

David Bennett | Board Chair

Founding Partner, Hannover Advisors

David has been working across multiple sectors to support environmental innovation for over 15 years. As an independent consultant, David advises clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies on topics including clean energy, green building technologies and broader corporate sustainability strategy. Prior to launching a consulting practice, David was a Business & Society Program Fellow at the Aspen Institute and worked at Google as the company’s Real Estate Green Team Operations & Innovations Lead where he was responsible for bringing green building practices and next generation technologies into a portfolio that spans more than 40 countries around the globe. Previously, David partnered with NOAA to develop web-based information tools to support the agency’s recovery planning efforts for Northern California’s threatened and endangered salmon species. Additionally, David has worked on sustainability initiatives with Environmental Defense Fund, The Smithsonian Institute, USDA, USGS and the School for Field Studies in Puerto San Carlos, Mexico.

David holds a B.S. in Geographic Information Sciences from James Madison University, an M.A. in International Development & Social Change from Clark University and an MBA in Sustainable Business Management from Presidio Graduate School. David is a LEED AP O+M and holds an Energy Innovation & Emerging Technologies Certificate from Stanford University.

Al Baylacq | Board Member

Partner, Good Earth Natural Foods

Al has co-led the growth of Good Earth Natural Foods since 1999. Since the early 1970’s, Good Earth’s mission has been to bring organic food into grocery stores in a consistent way, while supporting innovative and ethical organic growers and ranchers. Al’s dream was to be part of a marketplace that reflected the community it served. At the time he joined Good Earth, it was his intention that Good Earth would play a role as a “community hub,” while influencing and educating people and businesses far beyond its local community. Al is proud to have initiated an organic school lunch program through Good Earth in 2003. Good Earth’s school lunch program began with 4 schools, and currently is in 17 Marin County schools. Al and Good Earth’s support has been instrumental in the founding and growth of The Conscious Kitchen program.

David Bennett
Caitlin Bristol

Caitlin Bristol | Board Member

Global Manager, Green, eBay Inc.

A creative strategist focused on the design and development of more sustainable forms of commerce, Caitlin believes you can have your organic cake and eat it too. As eBay Inc.’s Global Manager of Green, she helps to catalyze, incubate and bring to scale new programs and initiatives that enable both business and social value. A couple of the more well-known programs she has helped to develop include partnerships with Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative and the PGA Trade-In Network. Before joining eBay, she led content and creative for San Francisco-based green media company ecofabulous.com, where she worked on strategic programs and media campaigns with companies such as Intel, Safeway, Method, Levi’s, and Electrolux. When she’s not working towards the seamless integration of sustainability into our everyday lives, Caitlin can be found exploring the San Francisco Bay Area on two wheels.

Justina Lai | Treasurer, Finance Chair

Director of Impact Investing, Wetherby Asset Management

Justina is a private equity investor that believes in harnessing the power of capital – and applying the discipline and rigor of conventional investing – to create meaningful social and environmental impact. Justina joined Wetherby Asset management in 2015 where she leads the firm’s impact investment strategy. Prior to Wetherby, she was a Director and Senior Investment Analyst focused on private markets strategies at Sonen Capital, an impact investment management firm. Previously, Justina helped manage the Rockefeller Foundation’s Program Related Investments portfolio comprised of domestic and international impact investments in private equity and private debt. She was also a core member of the Impact Investing team where she advanced and shaped the initiative strategy focused on building the field of impact investing. In addition, she has held positions with Legacy Venture in Palo Alto, CA and Rwanda Ventures, a business incubator launching and operating sustainable agricultural companies in Kigali, Rwanda.
Prior to her career in impact investing, she was an Associate in the New York and Paris offices of Vestar Capital Partners, where she diligenced and executed growth equity and leveraged buyout transactions across the US and Europe. Justina began her career in the sponsor coverage group within Citigroup’s Investment Banking Division in New York. Justina received a BS in Finance and International Business, summa cum laude, from New York University and an MBA with certificates in Public and Global Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Justina is proficient in Cantonese Chinese and Spanish and has lived and worked in Hong Kong, France, the UK and Rwanda.

Justina Lai
Heidi Locke Simon

Heidi Locke Simon | Board Member

Former Partner, Bain & Company

Heidi recently retired as a Partner of Bain & Company, a global strategy consulting firm where she worked for 20 years. She was a leader of the firm’s performance improvement capability area and managed Bain’s marketing and client development efforts on the West Coast. Prior to joining Bain in 1993, Heidi worked in investment banking for Goldman, Sachs & Company and spent time in brand management with Colgate-Palmolive Company. Heidi earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Politics and Economics with highest honors from Middlebury College, including course work at the University of Paris. Heidi began volunteering for Turning Green with its first Search for the Cause campaign a decade ago. She has served in numerous roles, including Board Chair for several years.

James Schurz | Legal Advisor

Attorney, Morrison and Foerster

Mr. Schurz’s practice encompasses all manner of commercial transactions and intellectual property matters, including actions for breach of contract and business torts, including unfair competition, fraud, trade libel, products liability, and joint venture/distributor termination. Mr. Schurz has broad experience representing energy companies, resource companies, electronics manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies. He has appeared extensively in courts throughout Northern California, and, in particular, San Francisco Superior Court, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California, and the California Courts of Appeal. He is an adjunct professor of law at the University of California, San Francisco, Hastings College of the Law (1998 to present)  is the co-author of “How to Choose a Forum that is Right for You” (International Commercial Litigation 2002) and “Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Mechanisms in International Environmental Conventions and Multilateral Trade Agreements,” (United Nations Environmental Programme 1995) and a series of articles for California Law Business, California Real Property Journal, and International Commercial Litigation.

James Schurz
ADVISORY BOARD

Demi Basiliades, Wholesale Manager, Mindful Meats
Al Baylacq, Owner, Good Earth Natural Foods
Susan Black, Co-founder, EO Products
Jawan Eldridge, Principal, Peres Elementary
Justin Everett, Executive Chef, Cavallo Point Lodge / Partner Chef
Haylea Hannah, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle
Peter Heinemann, Co-founder and Managing Director, Passport Resorts
Dana Kueffner, Environmental Director, Passport Resorts
Alison Makela, Principal, Madera Elementary
Stacy Malkan, Journalist, Co-founder, US Right to Know
Jeremiah McElwee, Senior Vice President for Marketing, ThriveMarket
Dr. Jennifer Rienks, Assoc. Director, UCSF Family Health Outcomes Project
Eric Robinson, Principal, Paulett Taggart Architects
Paulett Taggart, Principal & Founder, Paulett Taggart Architects
Cianna Walker-Flom, Richmond resident and community activist; Member, Richmond Food Policy Council
Alice Waters, Chef, Author, Founder, Chez Panisse & The Edible Schoolyard Project
Matt Willis, Public Health Officer, Marin County Dept. of Health & Human Services