Advisory Board

Danny Rubenstein

Danny is a strategic leader and systems thinker who brings a unique, multidimensional approach to business that he has developed through over 30 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, innovator and strategic advisor in the food and beverage industry. Beginning with an early career as a consultant at Arthur Andersen & Co., followed by his role as one of the original partners at Naked Juice where he helped to build, lead and eventually take the company to a successful exit, Danny has continued to bring extremely valuable strategic insights, guidance and leadership to dozens of startup companies. In addition, he has worked with many multinational CPG companies helping them to innovate and improve their competitive positions in the very fast and changing marketplace.

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.


Pam Henderson, Ph.D.

Pam Henderson, Ph.D., 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. Organizations are adopting Opportunity Thinking™ as their corporate innovation strategy for long term growth.

Formerly on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, Pam later worked with the national laboratory system and Washington State University to commercialize early stage technologies.

Pam speaks internationally and has published widely on market insight, business and innovation strategy, and design and has received recognition in the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, and NPR.


Ali Bouzari

Ali Bouzari 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. As a chef with a Ph.D. in food biochemistry, Ali has helped to lead the charge in changing the way we think about cooking by teaching and developing curriculum at top universities, from ivy league schools to the Culinary Institute of America, and collaborating with the country’s most innovative restaurants including State Bird Provisions, Benu, Eleven Madison Park, The Restaurant at Meadowood, and the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group.

Ali has been featured on Forbes’ and Zagat’s 30 Under 30 lists, as a contributor to Popular Science, Eater, and WIRED, and as a guest expert on NPR, The Splendid Table, TEDx, and Iron Chef America. His book, Ingredient: Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food, won the 2017 IACP award for Best Reference Book. Ali also writes a monthly column, Housemade, for the San Francisco Chronicle, diving into the behind-the-scenes brilliance of restaurant dishes.


Harold Schmitz, Ph.D.

A 20-year veteran at Mars, Visiting Professor Harold Schmitz has been chief science officer since 2005. His responsibilities include strategy development, program alignment and quality control of the company’s multidisciplinary scientific research programs. He has previously held various positions within Mars in scientific and regulatory affairs, fundamental research, analytical and applied sciences and corporate functions.

Schmitz joined the Graduate School of Management community in August 2013 to focus on business innovation in food and agriculture as a Senior Scholar in Management, which recognizes both his success in his career and his scholarly work, having published more than 50 peer-reviewed academic publications. He spoke about the “Business of Chocolate” as a Dean’s Distinguished Speaker in October 2013.

Schmitz served as the 2015 Arthur and CarlyseCioccaVisiting 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.

Before joining Mars, Schmitz was a USDA National Needs Research Fellow at North Carolina State University’s Department of Food Science. Schmitz has a keen interest in enhancing the contributions that science can make to society, and is active in the Executive Committee of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) at The National Academies.

Schmitz received his Ph.D. in food science with a minor in organic chemistry from North Carolina State University, and his M.S. in food science from the University of Illinois.


Lisa May

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.

Lisa gained valuable experience in the medical device arena with Johnson & Johnson and Urologix. Over the course of 20 years, she held diverse commercial roles from surgical representative to EVP of sales and marketing, driving results while maintaining consistent focus on her true passion for people and culture.

Lisa holds multiple certifications in neuroscience of change, behavior & communication and holistic health. She is committed to positively impacting the world by helping leaders reach Fülle = Abundance + Fulfillment.


Manuel E. Gonzalez

Manuel Gonzalez was born in Mexico and is currently Founder and Managing Partner of Global RIFF, the Revolution in Food Fund, based in San Francisco. Global RIFF isan integrated innovation and investment platform that seeks to discover, invest and develop those founders leading the revolution in food.

Previously, Manuel was Managing Director and Global Head of Startup Innovation, for Rabobank. He founded the FoodBytes! and Terra franchises and built an amazing team to bring those franchises around the globe.

Earlier within Rabobank, he was Head of Corporate Clients Western Region for Rabobank North America, based in San Francisco, and Country Head of Rabobank Mexico.

Prior to Rabobank, Manuel was the founder and CEO of Gonzalez Guzman Alimentos, a yoghurt production and food distribution company.

Manuel holds an MBA from Georgetown University.


Rob Trice

Rob Trice is the Founder of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl. He is leveraging his fifteen years in mobile, internet and telecom venture capital to pursue the application of information technology to food and agriculture challenges. Better Food Ventures makes seed stage investments into startups that are harnessing the power of information technology to make positive impact now. The Mixing Bowl is a forum to connect food, agriculture and IT innovators.

Rob previously worked at international VC funds, including Swisscom Ventures, SK Telecom Ventures and what are now NGP Capital and BlueRun Ventures. Prior to his days in venture capital, he worked at DIRECTV in LA & Tokyo and at a DC-based think-tank, The Center for Strategic & International Studies.

He also founded the non-profit Corporate Innovators Huddle; serves on the board of San Francisco-based engaged philanthropy organization, Full Circle Fund; 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. Rob splits his time between Menlo Park and Pescadero, CA.


Elliot Begoun

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.