MEET OUR INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Developing a game plan is all well and good. But when it comes to putting it into action, we have the industry experts who can help you get the job done. Our team becomes your extended team with one goal in mind, we want you to succeed.
AL CANALE – CO-FOUNDER
Al is a financial services industry veteran with over 25 years experience working as a business development strategist, financier and operator. He successfully executed on numerous transactions and deal flow primarily in publicly traded structured financial products and financings. Most recently his focus has been on the Nutrition, Health and Wellness industry.
A true entrepreneur and Angel Investor, his career includes senior positions at Stratum Capital Partners, Sentry Select Capital Corp, Capvest Income Corp, Mario’s Brand Inc, NCE Resources Group and Nutrivest Capital Corp.
ANDREA GRAY-GRANT – CO-FOUNDER
Andrea is a sales and marketing expert with 23 years in the food industry. Her career has been exclusively in food manufacturing with extensive experience at the senior management level working for iconic natural and organic food brands such as Yves Veggie Cuisine, Nature’s Path, Imagine Foods (Rice Dream) and Happy Planet Foods.
Andrea launched her own successful brand Tarragon Foods, compiled a 2,000 sq. ft. facility where she manufactured her own products and contract manufactured many local brands. She has worked for the past 5 years coaching, mentoring and teaching more than 150+ BC food companies.
YAN-YAN LEE – CONSULTANT
Yan-Yan is a designated CPA with over 20 years of experience in financial management. Her corporate experience include lead finance positions in the manufacturing, distribution, IT, and retail industries. Yan-Yan’s finance career lends her hands-on skills in managing accounting and finance functions, development of annual operating budgets, analysis of financial and management reports, as well as cash-flow management.
Yan-Yan also brings experience in project management. Over the past two years, she has closely worked with local BC food producers and processors, coaching and providing financial strategies.
LAURA HANSON – CONSULTANT – US MARKET
Laura is an extremely accomplished sales professional with a 26 year background in the food and wellness industry. She has worked regionally as well as nationally with natural, organic and specialty brands in manufacturing and distribution.
Her proven market strategies along with her network of retailers, distributors and brokers is unparalleled. She has launched hundreds of new products, increased distribution and driven sales growth with many recognizable and significant brands.
TOBY DAVIDSON – CONSULTANT – EASTERN CANADA
Toby Davidson has 25+ years of product and business development experience within the grocery retail and food service channels of the food industry. Toby’s focus and Center of Expertise (CoE) focuses on product innovation, business development and marketing along with specialization in Canadian and US Food Advertising and Labeling Regulatory Standards.
Toby Davidson’s most recent success as Founder of the “Toby Brand” Cookin’ Greens http://cookingreens.com/ which she distributed to over 2000 stores nationally was later sold to Zast Foods in August 2016. Toby has worked with Industry Leaders, Concept to Shelf, Loblaw, Starbucks, Target and Aqua Star.
ANDREA BLENDL – CONSULTANT
Andrea is a communications and marketing consultant with a successful track record in enhancing some of BC’s most recognized brand, including CBC British Columbia, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, CTV Vancouver, 103.5 QM/FM, 94.5 Virgin Radio and TSN Radio Vancouver. She also has experience in producing radio, television and current affairs with notable media such as CBC Radio, Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet and the Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver. Over the past two years, she has used her experience to pursue her passion of working with processors, producers and organizations in the local food industry.
CHRISTOPHER RICHARDS – CONSULTANT – FOOD SERVICE & GROCERY
Christopher is a food service and grocery sales specialist with 20+ years experience in business development, key account management and entrepreneurship. He has worked with established brands and manufacturers such as: Canterbury Coffee, Happy Planet Foods and Grace Foods.
While in distribution he joined multi-national Sysco Vancouver and following his tenure, he was a broker for Costco’s exclusive Anderson Daymon Worldwide. His work within the food and beverage industry encompasses both SME’s as well as Multi-National companies. Christopher has also owned and operated a successful special event beverage company for 8 years.
DANA LU – GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Dana Lu is a graphic designer with over 11 years of experience working at both large and small design studios. Her love for designing food packaging began when she worked for a snack food manufacturer and she has since worked on retail food packaging for companies in Canada, USA, Mexico, the UK and Hong Kong. She was part of the inception of the Riceworks brand and product, and was heavily involved in all the brand’s creative.
Along with food packaging, Dana designs all associated pieces including printed marketing materials, sell sheets, boxes and displays, press kits and more.
MIKE RICHARDSON – CONSULTANT – OPERATIONS
Mike is an operations expert with 20+ years of experience in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. He has played an instrumental role in the success of many local food, beverage and beauty manufacturers, including: Lush Cosmetics, Hippie Foods, Raincoast Crisps, Happy Planet Foods, and Shaftebury Brewing Company.
Mike’s expertise is in: production facility design, new build project management, product design and process development, production management, quality assurance, operations and facilities management, and equipment maintenance.
DIGITAL SERVICES CONSULTANTS
CARSON MCKEE – CONSULTANT – SALES + MARKETING
10+ years of both big brand and small company experience in agency freelance and independent consultant roles. Carson’s talents range from digital strategy to social marketing, guidance to influencer marketing and online branding. He is frequently called on to do speaking engagements and has spoken as the iMedia 2016 keynote presenter, the Retail Advertisers of Canada Conference, among a string of other presentations. Carson’s background as a sales trainer and has him well positioned as an outside the box thinker with demonstrated cliche worthy, “provide value” capabilities.
LYNETTE SAWYER – PROJECT MANAGEMENT + MARKETING
Lynette has worked in the media industry for over 13 years – as a business and marketing consultant. A designer, marketers, strategist and PM all in one, she is a full house agency all in one. She freelances for agencies providing strategy, business operations, project management, social media and marketing, and event planning.
LESLIE JAVORSKI – WRITER
Leslie has worked in food for 35 years. She’s worked as a personal chef, a story producer for television, and now writes for the food industry. She also freelances for magazines and has been featured in Saveur, Northwest Travel and Life, Western Living, among many other publications focusing on food.
JODY WALL – PHOTOGRAPHER
Jody Wall is an award winning Google Trusted Photographer who specializes in digitally capturing businesses and company products for online branding. As a trusted photographer Jody has helped over 1000 businesses tell their stories with photos online. His attention to detail, enthusiasm for photography and extensive background in customer service ensures that your imagery matches your companies brand.
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