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Progress and innovation have become necessities within the food space and at Lunchbox, we celebrate the key players that push boundaries to create real-life change.
As we’re amidst Women’s Month, we find no better time to highlight our annual Top 30 Women in Food. These Women are building out every segment of the industry, pushing the needle forward to create everlasting change in the food space. From founders and operators of the largest food brands to the national journalists that motivate impact within the space, we’re shining light on the women that are leading the food industry to a stronger tomorrow. Here are our 2022 trailblazers.
COO + PRESIDENT, ATHLETIC GREENS
From COO and President of FOCUS Brands and a leading board member to top brands, to COO + President at Athletic Greens, Kat Cole has made way for many women in boardrooms and tech spaces. Leading the charge in all things operation for many of the top private equity brands worldwide, Kat Cole brings impact and innovation into every space she touches. Among an insane list of accomplishments, she pushes the charge in teaching all women the power of possibility, promoting this message on many platforms to widen the scope of accessibility to all. From being the 2021 Clubhouse champion speaker for entrepreneur spaces, to actively leading discussion across all major platforms: Kat Cole is a Top 30 Women in Food alumni, strongly leading the way to a better tomorrow.
"Success is mostly driven by how badly you want something and how well you partner with other great people. It has to do with how hungry you are." — Kat Cole, COO + President at Athletic Greens
VP OF OPERATIONS, SWEETGREEN + SR. VICE PRESIDENT, REEF
From Director of Catering at California Pizza Kitchen to Vice President of Operations at Sweetgreen and Sr. Vice President at REEF, Amy Jones-Hom is leading the food space to a stronger tomorrow with tech playing a huge role in implementation. Dominating the tech space, Amy led the operations in growth and labor management at tech-heavy food chain, Sweetgreen, and now has widened the lens to ghost kitchens and cloud spaces, leading REEF and their team to a stronger future within the tech world. With a strong hand in both spaces, Amy Jones-Hom is a Top 30 Women in Food alumni, leading future innovation in both, ghost and cloud concepts.
CCO, REVEL SYSTEMS
From Director of Business Operations at Oracle to leading as Vice President of Customer Support to now Chief Customer Officer at Revel, Leslie Leaf has played a monumental role in leading the pace in the POS solutions world. Spearheading all things customer relations, Leslie is a Top 30 Women in Food alumni, reducing churn and increasing customer satisfaction in the food tech industry.
FOUNDER + CPO, SEVENROOMS
Stepping into the food and tech space in 2011, Allison Page has built a company that empowers operators as, both, Founder and Chief Product Officer at SevenRooms. Since inception, the company has been the guest management solution for creating and cultivating direct relationships between operators and customers. Allison champions all things product innovation for the future of restaurant tech and leads the charge in conversations surrounding guest experience and retention importance to empower restaurants directly. With a stride for the future of restaurant tech, Allison Page is a Top 30 Women in Food alumni, leading product innovation to sit at the forefront of the new-age food tech industry.
SVP OF CUSTOMER SUCCESS, TOAST
From Vice President of Global Sales at Sophos and advisory board member for a number of startups, to Sr. Vice President of Customer Success at Toast, Emmanuelle Skala has been at the forefront of promoting the power of customers within tech spaces. Leading with vigor through the fintech startup space, Emmanuelle has successfully scaled sales and customer retention across various startups within the industry. With campaigning the discussion on our industry’s tomorrow, Emmanuelle Skala is a Top 30 Women in Food alumni, continually educating the space on the future of food tech.
FOUNDER + CEO, SLUTTY VEGAN
Starting off in the producing world, Pinky Cole built her career as a public figure and tapped into the food space as Founder and CEO of plant-based burger chain, Slutty Vegan. Between navigating the industry as an operator and entrepreneur, Pinky built a cult following for the restaurant brand, sensationalizing vegan fast food. Alongside Slutty Vegan, Pinky Cole is on her way to building an empire with a new, re-imagined bar, Bar Vegan — adding a modern twist to the bar scene in Atlanta. With a focus on redefining the vegan food space and stepping into the future of the restaurant industry, Pinky Cole is a Top 30 Women in Food alumni, leading the charge on women operators dominating the space.
"It’s about how you pay it forward, how you give back and uplift the people around you." — Pinky Cole, Founder + CEO at Slutty Vegan
COFOUNDER, RESTAURANT TECHNOLOGY NETWORK
Stepping into the restaurant space in 2018, Angela Diffly operates as Cofounder at Restaurant Technology Network and contributes on Forbes Business Council as a thought leader for all things entrepreneurial. As a polished c-suite communications professional, Angela is a big advocate for starting conversations around omni-channel retail, SMB marketplaces and all things restaurant tech. Through Restaurant Technology Network, Angela leads the charge in tackling the most important issues that are actively impacting the food space, while building communities and accessibility for all-things problem solving for the industry. Leading the food tech space towards its future, Angela rightfully earned a spot as Top 30 Women in Food.
Entering the space as the first to cover restaurant tech with regularity, Kristen Hawley now operates as Founder of restaurant industry newsletter, Expedite. The newsletter covers everything from restaurant technology and operations, to the future of hospitality. An industry leader in all-things restaurant news, Kristen publishes the latest and the greatest to keep all segments of the industry informed on new technology, new faces, and new protocols. Being the lead driver in all food tech updates, Kristen is a Top 30 Women in Food, leading the charge on the importance of industry news.
SENIOR EDITOR, NATION'S RESTAURANT NEWS
As the restaurant industry’s loyal journalist in all-things new to the food tech space for over 8 years, Senior Editor for Nation’s Restaurant News, Joanna Fantozzi has led the charge on interviewing the best-of-the-best. From chefs and operators, to huge industry leaders, Joanna has led the conversation in food tech news, trends and insights. Leading as the digital storyteller for pieces like NRN’s annual Power List to coverage on NFTs, Joanna is a Top 30 Women in Food, pushing strides in the space for all-things restaurant news.
Wendy Wang + Andrea Xu
Cofounders of Umamicart, Andrea Xu and Wendy Wang, built the delivery platform to diversify the current lineup in traditional grocery stores. The online grocery store offers same-day delivery on over hundreds of Asian foods and ingredients, opening up access to Asian products that are otherwise unavailable and/or poorly marketed within stores. Andrea Xu, Cofounder + CEO, and Wendy Wang, Cofounder + Head of Business Development, both daughters to Chinese immigrants, are aiming to create a digital space for immigrant-founded businesses. With huge strides towards the future of specialized delivery platforms, Andrea Xu and Wendy Wang are Top 30 Women in Food, leading the charge in mission-driven food spaces.
Trinity Mouzon Wofford
Building and launching the cult favorite wellness and superfood brand, Golde, Trinity Mouzon Wofford entered the food space at 23 years old with limited resources and funding. The entrepreneur built a brand that grew not only profitable, but also largely partnership based, launching in new-age consumer spaces from Urban Outfitters to Goop. From building a brand founded upon inclusivity and breaking barriers, Trinity is a Top 30 Women in Food, leading the health and food industry to a tomorrow that speaks to all.
“I was hearing again and again from other young people of color that they didn't think that wellness was for them, because the industry as it stood didn’t speak to them.” — Trinity Mouzon Woodford, Cofounder at Golde
COO + CPO, YUM BRANDS
Currently reigning as Chief Operating Officer and Chief People Officer at globally-led restaurant operating company, Yum Brands, Tracy Skeans is responsible for leading cross-brand collaboration on all-things operation and customer experience, fueling brand success. With over a decade of experience as Chief People Officer and President for International at Pizza Hut, Tracy has built an extensive repertoire in building successful systems that are imperative for brand success. With a strong pulse on building the perfect restaurant brand, Tracy Skeans is a Top 30 Women in Food, blazing food brands towards success.
Monica is a powerhouse when it comes to building human resource functions and culture transformations for large organizations. Her experience recently brought her to become Bonjangle's first Chief People Officer and is also the first African American to serve on the company's senior leadership team. With over two decades of experience leading HR teams for Duke's Energy's Fossil and executive leadership development strategies at the Boeing Company, Monica brings a wealth of knowledge to the restaurant industry. Monica is a Top 30 Women in Food, leading Bojangles and their culture towards a strong future within the restaurant industry.
Marguerite Zabar Mariscal
Dubbed by the New York Times as Momofuku's "secret sauce," Marguerite's career trajectory continues to inspire up-and-coming chefs from around the world. In 2011, she joined Momofuku as an intern and later took up design and communications for the group and was named Brand Director in 2016. She was then promoted to two different c-suite level roles, Chief of Staff and Creative Director in 2018. Fast forward a year later, Marguerite was promoted to CEO. Her experience with food doesn’t stop there: as a Manhattan native, Marguerite’s family has also continued to run Manhattan’s famous gourmet store, Zabar’s. As a powerhouse within the restaurant industry, Marguerite is a Top 30 Women in Food, inspiring chefs and restaurateurs in a new-age food space.
“I think a lot of my job is actually just helping other people achieve [...] if you have that impression from your team, you’re capable of getting so much more done.” — Marguerite Mariscal, CEO at Momofuku
Alex Sadhu + Viveka Hulyalkar
As Cofounders of Beam, an app-based rewards program that allows users to donate 1% of their purchases at no extra cost, Alex and Viveka have built a brand that creates impact towards tangible goals. Brands on Beam let their customers make an impact by donating to a nonprofit of the brands’ choice. The restaurant industry is all about giving back and providing resources and value to underrepresented populations, and Beam helps restaurants do that every day. Placing importance on impact, Alex and Viveka are Top 30 Women in Food, building a stronger tomorrow for not only the restaurant industry, but the world around us.
GROUP VP, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION, BLOOMIN BRANDS
Sheilina is Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Off-Premises Dining at Bloomin’ Brands, one of the world’s largest casual dining companies. As leader of the DEI team, Sheilina is responsible for the strategic direction, growth, and performance for Bloomin’ Brands off-premises business across the board. Prior to Bloomin’ Brands, she was at Yum! Brands for 12 years, gaining a wealth of knowledge in the food space. Bringing in 20+ years of industry experience, she is a restaurant executive, a board member, and an equity champion. A true restaurant industry powerhouse, Sheilina is a Top 30 Women in Food, building out the future of big restaurant brands.
COFOUNDER + COO, SNACKPASS
Jamie oversees all business functions including operations, strategy, sales and growth for Snackpass, a food app that focuses on takeout rather than delivery. Jamie always believed the future of food ordering was online and one day dreamed of developing a platform for customers to save time, order ahead and skip the line. She started at Yale as a neuroscience major but left to continue to build Snackpass with her Cofounder, Kevin Tan. Jamie is a recipient of the Startup Yale Miller Prize, which awards $25,000 to a promising student-led venture working on innovative tech or tech-enabled solutions. Jamie has been featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 List in 2020, and now our Top 30 Women in Food 2022 list.
SR. PRODUCT MANAGER, BENTOBOX
Betsy is on the founding team at BentoBox, a marketing and commerce platform dedicated to accelerating restaurant growth. She has built out and scaled BentoBox’s Onboarding team, played a key role in building out their Support teams, and ultimately moved to Product to inform monumental changes for the business. With a strong background in scaling teams, Betsy is a Top 30 Women in Food, taking true pride and joy in watching her team grow and blossom into team leads.
AUTHOR, DELIVERING THE DIGITAL RESTAURANT
Beginning her long tenure in the restaurant industry as an executive at Taco Bell / Yum Brands and moving onto becoming the COO of Kitchen United, Meredith Sandland has the unique experience as both a participant in well-known restaurant best-practices, as well as up-and-coming innovation. She co-penned Delivering the Digital Restaurant, the widely-received deep-dive on digital, ghost, and cloud restaurant concepts. Meredith is a Top 30 Women in Food, leading industry knowledge within the ghost and cloud space.
A true community-builder in the food and CPG industry, Andrea is the leader of Snaxshot, a one-of-a-kind publication and community surrounding CPG and beverage trends. Andrea is often the first to report on new products, partnerships, and trends. While Andrea organizes in-person coast-to-coast meetups and activations for her loyal followers, she’s also built an insanely active digital community on both Twitter and Discord. Her reporting is practical, informative, and cutting-edge, all served up with a side of punchy aesthetic. She’s certainly one to watch – or join, claiming a spot on our list as Top 30 Women in Food.
MARKETING SYSTEMS MANAGER, CLEAN JUICE
Shelby is the Marketing Systems Manager at Clean Juice, the nation's first and only USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise. Shelby is a leader in her space, spearheading the Menu Innovation Team at Clean Juice. The team is constantly evaluating feedback from thousands of guests about menu offerings, analyzing data and trends of menu items, and working closely with the Operations department to plan and roll out nation-wide menu innovations to the system. Educating guests on Clean Juice’s offerings, Shelby is a Top 30 Women in Food, marketing the restaurant brand that leads with love.
VP OF OPERATIONS, SUSHI MAKI
With a professional background spanning the full spectrum of the hospitality industry, VP of Operations and Business Integration, Shannon Achilarre, is exceptionally equipped with a history of insider knowledge and hands-on, bottom-up experience to successfully lead Sushi Maki into the next phase of growth. Shannon previously held the position of Vice President of Training and Development and Operations Services at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, guiding 27 restaurants through positive, consistent growth. Shannon makes it her personal mission to mentor and inspires professional growth in her staff. She is an example of the growth that passion and dedicated leadership can bring to the industry as a whole. Her exceptional pedigree in restaurant leadership not only makes her a Top 30 Women in Food, but one of the most formidable female executives in food.
Bridget serves at the COO at pizza chain &pizza, where she builds culinary-focused core business initiatives, drives technology-focused innovation projects and expands product lines. The team behind &pizza is known to pilot fair wage programs for employees and underrepresented groups in the restaurant industry. Working towards a more ethical tomorrow, Bridget is a Top 30 Women in Food.
HEAD OF PEOPLE, LUNCHBOX
Entering the people and culture space in 2012, Chelsea Kingsbury sits as Head of People at Lunchbox Tech, building culture through multiple segments of the company. Chelsea’s day-to-day responsibilities breed an energized and hungry team of 225+ to push strides forward for the industry. With a David vs. Goliath mentality, Chelsea build’s towards the company mission of standing against 3rd-Party businesses. Being a magnet for strong culture, Chelsea is a Top 30 Women in Food, carrying the Lunchbox team to a stronger tomorrow.
“At Lunchbox, our people are our biggest asset and our biggest investment. In order for us to win as a team, our team requires a clear picture of the current landscape that we are operating within and an understanding in our values, and the behavioral DNA that is required to help us accomplish our goals as individuals and as a team.” — Chelsea Kingsbury, Head of People at Lunchbox
PRESIDENT + CEO, NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION
The National Restaurant Association has named Michelle Korsmo President and CEO effective May 1, 2022. Michelle is also serving as CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). Michelle’s role is an important one: every restaurant – from fast food eateries, fine-dining establishments, and all the foodservice locations in between — depend on the National Restaurant Association to serve as the leading advocate on their behalf at each level of government. Michelle is truly a force to be reckoned with in the restaurant industry, now taking a spot on our Top 30 Women in Food 2022 list.
As Chief People Officer at ThinkFoodGroup and SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer at HarperCollins Publishers, Zandra Magarino is an expert at building out strategic functions with diverse experience in multiple sectors of the industry. At ThinkFoodGroup, Zandra widely assists the company with their mission of changing the world through the power of food. The company holds 30+ restaurants under their wing with a span over multiple cuisines and cultures. With a hand in multiple segments of the industry, Zandra is a Top 30 Women in Food, building strong teams and functions in the food tech space.
JOURNALIST, BON APPETIT
Bettina first began writing back in 2015 where she was working at an ice cream shop and writing about food. Since then, Bettina has picked up all sorts of jobs around the food industry including working for a cheese magazine, decorating ice cream cakes, and even writing for VICE Munchies. Today, you can find her most recent work covering food through the lens of pop culture, history, and cultural criticism on Bon Appetit. If that isn't enough, you can also check out her aesthetically pleasing and calming cooking videos on TikTok. Bettina's pure love for food and passion for uncovering America's oversimplification of global cuisines earns her a spot as Top 30 Women in Food.
CMO, PAPA GINO'S + CMO, D'ANGELO GRILLED SANDWICHES
Deena has over 20 years of experience working with various technology and restaurant brands. Today, you can find her planning and executing creative marketing initiatives as Chief Marketing Officer for two iconic New England eateries, Papa Gino’s Pizzeria and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches. Prior to joining her newest venture, Deena served as Chief Experience Officer at Mobivity, providing restaurants a digital marketing platform, allowing them to engage with guests to increase their retention, engagement, visits and spend. Deena brings a fresh perspective to emerging technologies in restaurants, claiming a spot as Top 30 Women in Food as an impactful thought leader in the food industry.
PARTNER, PRIMARY VC
With a hand in multiple networks and companies, Rebecca Price is a Partner at Primary Ventures — a seed-stage venture capital fund based in NYC. The VC fund are investors in startups like Jet, Chief, Slice, and Lunchbox. Working closely with founders, Rebecca helps build out businesses and teams within the startup space. With a pulse on the industry, Rebecca is a Top 30 Women in Food, scaling out food tech startups towards a profitable tomorrow.
RESTAURANT CORRESPONDENT, INSIDER
As a former Sr. Editor at Nation’s Restaurant News and now Restaurant Correspondent at Insider, Nancy Luna has a pulse on all-things restaurant industry news. As a veteran journalist with 25+ years of experience, Nancy has touched all segments of the industry, from reporting on major restaurant brands to highlighting disruptive technologies impacting the industry. Specializing in topics like QSR updates and restaurant technology and innovation, Nancy is a Top 30 Women in Food alumni, updating the world on all major food tech news.
MARKETING DIRECTOR, CHOWLY
As the Director of Marketing at Chowly, a restaurant technology company that integrates online ordering platforms with restaurants’ POS systems, Stacey Arenson leads all marketing initiatives. With 8+ years of industry experience, Stacey brings a wealth of restaurant industry knowledge and startup experience to the integration space, modernizing and enabling all-things content across the company’s channels and communications. Adding a refresh to the food tech space, Stacey is a Top 30 Women in Food, building out exposure for the POS integration space.
Amidst a pandemic that led massive disruption in the food industry, our Top 30 Women in Food defied the odds and pushed the industry forward. From CEOs and operators, to c-suite executives and food tech journalists, the space is in strong hands that breed innovation at its core. These women have pushed the industry forward with everything from technological advancements, to building out cult-like followings for new-age startup brands. With resilience at play, our Top 30 Women in Food push strides towards a stronger tomorrow.