At Lunchbox, we’re driven and dedicated to progress, innovation and moving the needle forward. We felt there was no better time to put together a collection of incredibly inspiring women from all different walks of our industry. 2021 marks the first year of our Annual 30 Top Women in Food — these 30 Women are leading the charge in Food, and leaving their everlasting mark on our industry.
A moment for the queen herself … Kat Cole is Board Director at HumanCo SPAC, the mission driven holding company that’s building brands. Prior to HumanCo SPAC, Kate was the Chief Operating Officer and President at FOCUS Brands, building up global multi-channel food services. The story of her ascension to a major industry power player is unlike any other. Cole was the first of her family to go to college at the University of North Florida, but dropped out (to her mothers dismay) because Hooters was sending her all over the world to open franchise locations. Until then, Cole had never even been on a plane. She took a $45K to $22K pay cut when she transferred from being a Hooters girl to her Corporate role, but she rose through the ranks so quickly that by the time she was 26, Cole was an Executive VP. Cut to today where her other titles run as Executive, Advisor, Investor and Clubhouse queen — so yes, she’s superwoman. She is a phenomenon in the industry, seeking to redefine capitalism and reimagine inclusive business practices.
Jackie Woodward is Chief Brand and Marketing Officer of Bojangles, the cajun fast food restaurant empire of America. Prior to Bojangles, Jackie was the Global Chief Marketing Officer for Krispy Kreme and VP of Marketing for McDonald’s, General Mills and MillerCoors. Branding and Marketing is her expertise, with over 30 years of experience pushing brands up the ladder. Jackie Woodward has transformed each company she’s entered for the better, and left a lasting impact. She recognizes each brand’s strengths, opportunities for growth and builds upon them. If you have Jackie Woodward on your team, you are on the winning team.
One of our very own! Rachel Rozen is the Chief Customer Officer here at Lunchbox. Rachel has worked in all different roles within the Restaurant industry over the last 22 years, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Nutrition. She has worked at the legendary ABC Kitchen concepts in NYC and lead Customer Relations for Salido that worked with top of the line restaurant concepts. Here at Lunchbox Rachel has made a massive impact, completely overhauling our onboarding process to make it efficient across all of our departments and providing us the framework to get clients making money even faster.
Susan Carroll-Boser is Vice President of Tech at White Castle, America’s first fast-food hamburger chain #LongLiveSliders. Prior to taking over the VP of Tech title, Susan was the Director of Information Services at the slider heaven for about 25 years. She has led the development of internal and external apps, introducing AI into White Castle’s world, proving to be a leading force in restaurant technology.
Amy Jones-Hom is Vice President of Operations at Sweetgreen, a fast casual restaurant chain focusing on healthy food. Prior to Sweetgreen, Amy held the title of Vice President of Operations at Red Robin for almost six years. Amy stands as a foodtech veteran, having served as the Senior Operations Director of Wolfgang Puck Catering, so it makes sense she would be at the helm of a leader in innovation like Sweetgreen. Along with her technical background, she prioritizes the needs of her fellow employees and prioritizes a positive culture, going by the mantra- “a restaurant’s customers are only as happy as its employees,”
Nicole West is the Vice President of Digital Strategy & Product at Chipotle, the leading fast casual Mexican food chain. Nicole began working at Chipotle fourteen years ago, where she grew from a marketing consultant, to her eventual position of VP. Chipotle was one of the first restaurants to have an ordering app, within the app store, and they have continued to lead with digital innovation under Wests leadership. West has a passion for creating valuable consumer experiences, outside of the walls of the restaurant. West thrives to the challenge of customers wanting personalized experiences, and the demand for access in more ways than ever before.
Pinky Cole is the owner and founder of Slutty Vegan, a vegan fast casual restaurant chain. After spending nearly a decade being a producer on several different television programs, Pinky realized she had a knack for food, and business. Recognizing that the vegan food industry heavily caters to wealthy white people, she created Slutty Vegan with the goal of breaking down barriers and making plant-based dishes more accessible. Her impact goes beyond her innovation in the Vegan Food industry, as the founder of ‘‘The Pinky Cole Foundation’, a nonprofit that aims to narrow the generational wealth gap. Pinky Cole is leading the charge in food innovation, and using her success for justice, a true changemaker.
Alison Kaizer is Head of Talent at Lunchbox and an overall talent boss! Alison graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Being the icon she is, she has helped to build hundreds of teams as a talent leader in industries like foodtech, CPS, telco and retail, and has worked with brands over the years such as Magnum Ice Cream, Delta Airlines, Dove, Harper’s Bazaar, etc. (yes, the list really goes on). Alison also founded King & Fox, a consulting firm that specialized in helping creatives become “artistic and employed”. The career matchmaker is truly a force to be reckoned with, influencing growth for companies from start-ups to major agencies – and now the best company (that’s Lunchbox, fyi).
Rita Patel is the Chief Marketing Officer at Buffalo Wild Wings, a fast casual wing chain. Rita has traveled around the world while working with a number of different companies, usually launching brands or developing marketing strategies. She is able to bring everything she has learned locally, and abroad, to any company she works at. With the challenges of the global pandemic, Patel has led the BWW Marketing team with innovation, with initiatives such as “The Dawg Pound Package” which provided Ohio customers with a seat inside a custom-designed Dawg Pound section inside 10 different locations throughout the Cleveland area. From Target, to the largest sports bar brand in the United States, Patel leads with consumer driven creative strategies that drive results.
Emmanuelle is the SVP of Customer Success at Toast, a cloud based restaurant software company. Emmanuelle brings her 27 years of experience to ensure the customers experience is the priority. Under her leadership, Toast guarantees the customer will achieve their goal through them. Her LinkedIn bio reads “I believe in the power of your customers. Put your customer at the center of the buying process and focus on delivering value,” and it is incredibly easy to see how this mentality translates to her success.
Allison Page is the founder and Chief Product Officer of SEVENROOMS, a guest experience platform for hospitality services. On top of leading SEVENROOMS from its conception in 2011, Allison was named one of Hospitality Technology’s 2019 Top Women in Restaurant Technology. The reservation, seating and guest management solution gives users the tools they need to develop direct relationships with guests, boosting revenue and allowing for more personalized service and marketing. SevenRooms has restaurant, hotel and nightlife clients in more than 100 cities worldwide, including: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Standard Hotels, L, Live Nation, Zuma, TAO Group, and Bagatelle. Allison also sits on the board of Directors for Red Robin.
Catherine is the founder and CEO of Sparkfly, an online marketing platform. Catherine created Sparkfly in 2011, and has led the company to an estimated annual revenue of $11.2 million. Catherine’s story is unlike any other, while in college she started a dog walking and house sitting business. From that, Coca-Cola wanted her to manage their employee discount program, she left college and never looked back. Her company Sparkfly is a turnkey, patent-protected, technology platform that merges the digital and physical marketing worlds in real-time. Providing users to instantly see real results from real customers. Providing you with the ultimate digital marketing infrastructure, and more effective customer data. From her career beginnings to owning her own marketing platform, Catherine Tabor has always had a knack for streamlining and effectiveness.
Krystle Mobayeni is CEO and Cofounder of BentoBox, a first party service giving the power back to the restaurants and away from third party services. Mobayeni is a first generation American, born to Iranian immigrant parents. She began her career as a web designer and consultant, taking on restaurant clients, and helping them improve their digital presence. She noticed in her work that new technologies were taking away from the one-on-one relationships between restaurant owners and their customers. From recognizing this she created BentoBox, With BentoBox, Restaurants are able to create online experiences for their customers that match the level of hospitality they feel inside their walls. Krystle and BentoBox have paved the way for other services to return the power back to restaurants.
Leslie is the Chief Customer Officer at Revel Systems, an IOS based Point of sale system. Leslie began as the VP of Customer Support in 2016, and has since then worked hard to earn her position of CCO. Building on her 20+ years of support-industry experience at Oracle, T-Mobile, and PwC, Leslie has leveraged her analytically minded approach and background in IT to hone in on the improvements to reduce churn, increase customer satisfaction, and decrease costs.
Amanda is the founder of House of Wise, a female centered CBD product company; she is also the Chief Marketing Officer at Teal, a digital career advancement service. Amanda a mother of three, took a risk and quit her corporate job in the middle of the pandemic to start House of Wise, providing women with commerce, content, community and cannabis to help take control of their sleep, sex, stress and wellbeing. Recently Goetz partnered with Last Prison Project, a nonprofit that fights criminal injustice and for the reimagining drug policy specifically pertaining to cannabis incarceration. In creating the House of Wise Scholarship Fund for Women & Children, Goetz is acknowledging the injustices and inequalities of the cannabis industry.
Kayla Giovinazzo is CEO of Eat Clean Bro, the delivery service that ships Chef prepared meals from New Jersey and Georgia kitchens. A big inspo to all service workers, Kayla was working in retail prior to building out the delivery empire with her husband. And don’t be fooled by the “Bro” in the name, not only are over half their customers women, but so are their managers. Eat Clean Bro provides it’s users with delicious food that is affordable, convenient, and healthy. The young company is making major waves within the industry and leading a food movement that furthers the accessibility of a health driven lifestyle.
Rachael Nemeth is CEO and Cofounder of Opus Training, an interactive training operation done over text, developed for restaurants. Being an extensive food industry veteran, Rachael’s platform helped employers send out millions of messages educating delivery personnel, grocery clerks and other frontline workers on COVID-19 safety. Opus Training keeps teams safe, engaged and productive, allowing employees to learn skills through mobile while managers track their performance – so yes: Rachael is a pandemic x business saint.
Viveka Hulyalkar is CEO and Cofounder of Beam Impact, the app and integration that gives users the power to donate part of their everyday purchases to nonprofits. Viveka started working in social impact at age 15, through the environmental nonprofit she founded that installed a million dollars worth of solar panels in Ohio schools. Through Beam Impact, Viveka helps build a connection between social responsible brands and their young consumers, driving a force for social good.
Kim and Vanessa Pham are the Cofounders of Omsom, the venture-backed CPG brand that’s bringing proud and loud Asian flavors into American homes. The two dynamic duos are first-generation Vietnamese-Americans that have set out to reclaim the cultural integrity of Asian cuisines that are lost in the grocery aisles. Omsom partners with incredible POC chefs to craft starters for Asian dishes that we know and love. Each of these starters pack all the sauces, aromatics, seasonings, and oils that decades of tradition call for. Vanessa is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in Sociology and Economics, with her background ranging from volunteering with the ACLU, to strategy work at Bain & Company. Kim has worked with startups for nearly 15 years, providing her expertise in VC platforms and bringing scale and infrastructure to the early-stage tech investors. The sisters are truly originals within our industry, creating spaces that didn’t exist before their innovation.
Helena is the Co-Founder of Haus, a sustainably-produced liquor brand made with all organic and natural ingredients, packaged in gorgeous frosted glass bottles. Helena comes from an impressive background in Tech, She built her own Silicon Valley production company Dagmar Studios, doing creative work for all of the industry heavyweights such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Airbnb. Along the way after marrying her husband Woody, an expert in the Wine industry, they brought together their expertise to create an innovative alcohol brand that is truly shaking up the alcohol industry, which is so often controlled by huge liquor companies that spend big. Creating something we can truly feel good about drinking.
Christina Tosi is the founder and creative mastermind behind Milk Bar. She is a classically trained pastry chef who merges masterful culinary technique with unexpected and genius ingredients. Working her way into the industry Christina began her career working with a number of the industries top chefs. Leading her to opening Milk Bar’s doors in 2008, which has since brought her to the forefront, as one of the most iconic American Pastry chefs. From milk cereal flavored ice cream to gorgeous layered cakes, you know when a dessert is Milkbar instantly.
Born in Southern California to a multi-cultural family, Nyesha Arrington’s culinary journey began at five years old in her Korean grandmothers kitchen. Her unique point of view is rooted in her exposure to such a plethora of different cuisines, and spices from a young age. A graduate of the prestigious Culinary School at the Art Institute of California, Chef Nyesha progressed on to further her education in the field by working under the mentorship of Josiah Citrin, Chef/Owner of the acclaimed 2 Star Michelin- Melisse restaurant. From there she opened two of her own acclaimed restaurants, and went on to appearing on season 9 of Top Chef. Now she is the owner and operator of a full-service Chef consulting + catering business. She’s truly a badass or in her own words “the grittiest fucking chef.”
Chef Adrienne Cheatham’s relationship with the kitchen dates back to growing up in the kitchen and dining rooms of the restaurants her mother managed in Chicago. After years mastering her craft at some of New York’s top restaurants, she became a fan favorite when she competed on Season 15 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Adrienne has gone on to start her own pop-up dining series, SundayBest. Held about once a month at varying locations around New York City, SundayBest dinners are intimate—only 12–20 guests—and feature dishes inspired by Southern cuisine and soul food. She is changing the industry by doing intimate, special experiences, on a grand scale.
Ayesha Curry instantly resonated with her audience, when she started to share her family life and personal experiences on her lifestyle blog and Youtube channel, Little Lights of Mine. She has acquired a vast, loyal following of people invested in her point of view, experiences and family life. This quickly crossed over into her being a success in the Food Industry, as a judge on shows like Chopped Junior, and a frequent contributor The Rachael Ray Show and Good Morning America. She released her first cookbook The Seasoned Life, containing 100 of Ayesha’s Favorite Recipes. She also translates this passion for food into her activism as an ambassador for No Kid Hungry, an Organization that is working to end childhood hunger. We get the feeling with future projects on the horizon, Ayesha is just getting started making her mark on the industry.
I think we’re all familiar with Drew Barrymore the actress, and icon. She’s shared her life like an open book for decades with us, and that includes her relationship with food. Barrymore has used her platform to be transparent with her followers about her post pregnancy weight loss journey, and her overall battle with wellness. Barrymore stays active, and documents her flexitarian approach to dieting. Those who follow her Instagram, are drawn into her kitchen in an authentic way- as she shares her journey with food, and provides recipes for her healthy meals. Now with her new show “The Drew Barrymore Show” Drew has used her platform even more to spotlight some of her favorite people in the wellness and food industry.
Joanna Stern is an award-winning journalist who has been at the forefront of the tech movement, spending the better part of the 21st century covering gadgets and apps, helping people make smarter tech decisions. Before joining the Wall Street Journal in 2013, she was the technology editor at ABC News and before that a reviewer and editor at The Verge. Her video work at the WSJ has made her a pioneer in the tech media world, constantly shaping the way we react to new tech.
Nancy Luna is a veteran journalist and a leader in covering the restaurant industry with more than 25 years of experience, Throughout her career, she’s covered the nation’s top restaurant brands, and also covers menu trends, operations innovations, emerging brands, third party delivery, automation, ghost kitchens, virtual brands and digital solutions. Nancy created the Tech Tracker column so she could highlight disruptive technologies impacting the industry. That expert knowledge made her well positioned to cover the acceleration of technology during the pandemic. When she’s not generating the industry’s top news you can find Nancy regaling her fans about her latest dining adventures on her Fast Food Maven social media channels.
Jenn Harris is an inimitable force in Food Journalism. As a senior writer for the LA Times, Harris brings her young, and unique voice to the Food Editor world, and effectively draws in new audiences with impactful video content. She has created video series for the Times such as “What We’re Into,” “I Can Make That. and “The Bucket List” Fried Chicken Show, calling attention to some of the best places in LA to get Fried Chicken. Harris is undoubtedly here to stay, as one of the leaders in Food Journalism and bringing her audience beyond the formulaic food review, going the extra mile always (She once visited 22 bars and restaurants in a single day for a story.)
Laureen Moyal’s has had extensive experience in developing integrated branding solutions and web experiences in the food and hospitality industry. She studied design at Atelier de Sevres and ESAG Penninghen in Paris and the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received her BFA. Through this experience, she would go on to become the Founder and Creative Director of Paperwhite Studios, a multi-disciplinary design consultancy with global reach. Moyal uses her experience and expertise to give her clients to true identities, and grow them into engaging experiences, and digital spaces in today’s ever changing food and hospitality landscape.. Her clients include Hospitality House, Dig Inn, and BY Chloe, among others, each of whom she had elevated their identity and branding to give them a formidable and instagrammable impact.
Taja used the foundation of her business experience, coupled with her degrees in both Industrial and Graphic Design, and drive for creating impressive branding, and creative for consumer products, to create Pulp + Wire. Pulp + Wire is a brand strategy and launch firm that specializes in helping natural and organic foods, cannabis, hemp and lifestyle brands discover their unique identity and developing their cross channel digital strategy to resonate with the booming audience for their products. Taja and her work have garnered numerous awards and accolades having been featured in publications such as Graphic Design USA, Food Manufacturing Magazine, Packaging Magazine, and programs like the Today Show, Good Morning America and Fox Business Morning. A driven entrepreneur Taja is also a contributing editor for Forbes online and an investor in emerging brands, and technologies. She has her formidable grip on the industry, and moving with innovation.
Happy International Women’s Day 2021
Checkout the Lunchbox Corner Store to grab International Women’s Month swag!