MISTA Leadership Team
Founder of MISTA and VP Innovation for Givaudan. Scott leverages his passion to explore new opportunities, making innovation a way of life and corporate success. Being a consummate futurist, combined with the strong ability to execute, enables Scott to create new ways of thinking, doing and being…. from product creation, to strategic partnerships, to new business models, culminating in the delivery of breakthrough change and results.
Having held every C-Suite role, as well having been a board member, investor and advisor with startup and early stage companies, multiple times over, coupled with his big company background and experience, Danny brings an unusual combination of skills, abilities and relationships to MISTA and its members.
Director of Flavor Innovation for Givaudan. He is a veteran in the flavor industry with 30+ years experience with multiple global players. He is passionate about entrepreneurial innovation, connecting the agility of small with the power of scale. His mission is the discovery, evaluation and integration of external science and technologies to deliver solutions for the Future of Food.
Jim has been successful business leader and brand builder for over 30 years. He has led growth at companies ranging from some of the largest in the world to his own start-up.
His experiences as both an intrapreneur and entrepreneur, coupled with his passion for driving change, make him ideally suited to help MISTA members shape the future of food.
Rahul, is a champion of Open Innovation practices and embraces the highest standards of collaboration and co-creation in the fast changing world of food. As the Global Director of Open Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, at Nautrex, which is now part of Givaudan, Rahul leads the efforts to collaborate effectively with emerging food technology companies, giving them a voice inside Naturex and Givaudan. Having been part of a start-up himself which was acquired by Naturex, he, understands their struggles and the passion that drives them. He also understands the unique needs and challenges when it comes to Innovation for a large corporation like Naturex/Givaudan. This unique combination helps him to effectively engage the two for long term success!
MISTA Membership Team
Takoua leads Research and Innovation for Danone North America, the largest B-Corp in the world. Since the acquisition of WhiteWave in 2017, Danone North America has a unique on-trend portfolio of plant-based and dairy products. Takoua is focusing on engaging with top line teams and external partners to test new innovation models to drive sustainable growth in a fast-paced and ever changing competitive market. A key element of her vision is to nurture a strong innovation culture to empower and inspire people to collaborate and be creative to serve consumer needs.
Merijn is a passionate, business orientated, R&D leader, a Circular Economy scholar and an activist for a world of abundance. Merijn is in charge of Open Innovation and Circular Economy for Danone North America. His mission: be a driving force in a revolution through innovation, a paradigm shift: ‘I want to leave a world, in which economic, social and ecological interests are aligned, a regenerative world, a circular world. I aim to inspire Danone, the food industry and the people around me to continuously challenge ourselves and to embrace change – through innovation, of our products, our organization and our business models’.
Career veteran at finding and developing innovative ingredients and solving complex food formulation problems. Leads global development function working across 5 regions and 28 Ingredion Idea Labs™ innovation centers. Built capabilities in CULINOLOGY®, sensory, and automated texture measurement with industry-wide recognition. Noted expert on texture (Food Texture Design and Optimization) and member of the IFT NEXT Think Tank.
Alexandre’s role as Director Adjacent Spaces for Givaudan’s Flavors Division is to explore emerging food technologies, business models and adjacent spaces and bring new opportunities by connecting with start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovation thought leaders that are disrupting the food and agriculture ecosystem. Alexandre is an active leader in the Givaudan journey to drive a more collaborative and inclusive working model to deliver innovation.
Jennifer serves as Business Development and External Innovation Manager for the Mars Advanced Research Institute (MARI). In this capacity, she serves as a critical point of connection between various Mars business units and a broad network of innovators, entrepreneurs and investors in the food, sustainable agriculture, beverage and confection spaces. She specializes in building mutually beneficial, sustainable business partnerships that bring cutting edge innovations to life in new products, services and commercial applications.
Evan has a unique view on the Food and Beverage industry, with over 20 years of experience working with ingredients to retail finished products. Currently, Evan is the Director, Emerging Business at Ingredion Incorporated where he is tasked with driving Ingredion’s engagement with the Emerging Business sector. Prior to this, Evan led Ingredion’s Sales Development function in North America where he led a team focused on driving sales of newer ingredients in the North American market. Prior to joining Ingredion, Evan served as General Manager, Marketing and Business Planning at Mitsui Foods, leading marketing, strategy and business development initiatives.
Matt has worked in R&D roles for Mars over 20 years, across a number of disciplines and regions. He is passionate about building product experiences that bring value to customers and consumers. He is the Innovation Director for Mars Food, based in the UK and is accountable for building product innovation pipelines across North America and Europe.
Strategic Advisory Board
Pam Henderson, Ph.D.
Pam is CEO of NewEdge, Inc., a growth, strategy and design firm that advises companies across every industry including over 75 Fortune 500 and 50 startups and non-profits. Pam pioneered Opportunity Thinking™ principles, a new approach to innovation that helps organizations create sustainable growth.
Ali is a culinary scientist, author, educator, and co-founder of Pilot R&D, a culinary research and development company, and Render, a new food company that collaborates with the best restaurant chefs in the country to reinvent the way food lovers eat. He is a chef with a Ph.D. in food biochemistry.
Harold Schmitz, Ph.D.
Harold is a 20-year veteran at Mars, has been chief science officer since 2005. He served as the 2015 Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the School and led an MBA course on Scientific Discovery and Innovation at Scale in the Food and Agriculture Sector.
Lisa is a compassionate leader and Founder of Fülle, a holistic leadership development practice serving multi-national and start-up clients, globally. Fülle’s mission is to unlock human potential, one leader, one team, and one organization at a time through proven neuroscience and advanced coaching techniques.
Manuel E. Gonzalez
Manuel Gonzalez is Founder and Managing Partner of Global RIFF, the Revolution in Food Fund, based in San Francisco. Global RIFF is an integrated innovation and investment platform that seeks to discover, invest and develop those founders leading the revolution in food. Previously, he was Managing Director and Global Head of Startup Innovation, for Rabobank. He founded the FoodBytes! and Terra franchises.
Rob is the Founder of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl. The Mixing Bowl is a forum to connect food, agriculture and IT innovators. He serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Food, Ag & Environmental Sciences at Cal Poly; and is a Founding Advisor to the Innovation Institute for Food & Health at UC Davis.
Elliot Begoun is the Founder of The Intertwine Group, a practice focused on helping emerging food and beverage brands grow, becoming scalable and investment-ready. He positions CPG brands to raise capital, build velocity, gain distribution, win share of stomach, and drive revenue. Catch him at FoodBytes in his role as a mentor and find his articles in publications such as the Huffington Post, SmartBrief, and New Hope.