Details of the 2020 lineup have not been announced yet, but will roughly follow last year’s program, shown below.  In brief:

Thursday, January 2, 2020: registration, optional afternoon field trip, opening remarks and dinner
Friday, January 3, 2020: concurrent sessions throughout the day, sampling & job fair, keynote dinner
Saturday, January 4: morning sessions, keynote luncheon, closing sessions, wrap-up around 2:30pm


Here is the  schedule for MBArk2Boulder 2019.  For more information on the speakers, go to

Wednesday, January 2

1:00 – 6:00pm – registration open at University of Colorado’s SEEC building, 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder

2:00 – 5:00pm – optional behind-the-scenes guided tours of Colorado food retailers and food production facilities:

6:00pm – full group welcome and orientation meeting hosted by Joe Dobrow, MBArk Founder and former head of marketing for Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market

7:00pm – facilitated dinners at local restaurants, hosted by natural foods company CEOs:

  • Basta (hosted by natural foods legend Mark Retzloff)
  • Bru (hosted by Doug Radi of Good Karma Foods and Christopher Algea of Keen One)
  • Carelli’s (hosted by John Grubb of Summit Venture Management)
  • Centro Mexican Kitchen (hosted by Kyle Garner of Organic India)
  • The Med (hosted by Stephen Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine and Renee Junge of Sambazon)
  • Next Door (hosted by Sarah Bird of Bhakti Chai)
  • Sushi Zanmai (hosted by Alex Hanifin of Alpine Start Foods)
  • Vero Pizza (hosted by Kay Allison of Farm & Oven Snacks)

Thursday, January 3

8:00am – 9:15am – Breakfast and session 1 presentation by John Grubb, Managing Partner of Summit Venture Management, on “Disruption in the U.S. Consumer Ecosystem – Preparing for an Uncertain Future” – AUDITORIUM (C120)

9:15am – 9:30am – break

9:30am – 10:30am – session 2 presentations and group discussions:

Image result for good karma foods logo


  • The Plant-Based Food Movement – AUDITORIUM (C120)
    Vegetarianism and veganism have moved from the fringe to the mainstream, in part because of remarkable advances in product development by companies like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Kite Hill, Good Karma and Daiya. Learn how it happened, and where it is headed next.  Hosted by Doug Radi, CEO of Good Karma, and featuring Annie Ryu, CEO of The Jackfruit Company and Clint Mickel, Marketing Director of Plant-Based Foods at Boulder Brands.


  • Purpose and CSR in the Food Industry – SIEVERS (S228)
    Is marketing dead? Has it been replaced by purpose/authenticity/transparency and the triple bottom line?  How are companies in the food industry activating their Corporate Social Responsibility platforms and implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?   Hosted by Dr. Mark Meaney, Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility, CU Boulder Leeds School of Business, and featuring Carol Cone, Founder and CEO of Carol Cone On Purpose and The Purpose Collaborative and widely known as “the mother of cause marketing.”


10:30am – 10:45am – break

10:45am – 11:45am – session 3 presentations and group discussions:

  • Idealism vs. Realism: A Case Study from Sambazon – SIEVERS (S228)Image result for sambazon logo
    It’s no easy thing to articulate your corporate purpose and establish the ideals by which you guide your company; but it’s even harder to square all of those with the realities of running a business day to day, as the team at Sambazon will demonstrate.  Hosted by Renee Junge, Chief Marketing Officer of Sambazon.





  • Brand-Building in the Food Industry – AUDITORIUM (C120)
    At the elemental level, all food is fuel that is made of the same basic ingredients; what differentiates it is the brand, the “personality” we create for it.  That can be a reflection of the founding entrepreneurs themselves, or a creation of the recipes, packaging, and marketing.  Hear some war stories from a couple of hot brands.   Hosted by Heather Kennedy of University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business, and featuring Sarah Bird, CEO of Bhakti Chai and former CMO of Annie’s; Alex Hanifin, CEO of Alpine Start; and Matt LaCasse, Co-Founder and CEO of Birch Benders.


11:45am – lunch mix and mingle


12:45pm – 2:00pm – session 4 presentation and group discussion:

  • Image result for imperfect produce logoInnovations in Food Waste – AUDITORIUM (C120)
    We have all heard the discouraging statistics about how much food gets thrown out in this country – by producers, retailers, and consumers alike. But now there is a groundswell of social and technological innovations from companies around the world that is making strides in solving this vexing problem.   Hosted by Ben Chesler, Co-Founder of Imperfect Produce, and featuring Aubree Pierce, West Coast Regional Programs Specialist for the Campus Kitchens Project.





2:00pm – 3:15pm – session 5 presentation and workshop:

  • Food Entrepreneurship: Lessons in Starting and Growing a Food Company – AUDITORIUM (C120)

Food is this generation’s tech – it’s hot, it’s sexy, and it’s attracting a lot of students out of college and grad school who want to start their own companies.  Hear from one of the industry’s most famous and iconic entrepreneurs about his experiences as the original natural foods entrepreneur, and hear his advice about launching a business as seen from the vantage point of his work as a board member of Whole Foods and a prominent industry investor.  Hosted by Mo Siegel, Founder of Celestial Seasonings and Owner of Capital Peaks.


3:15pm – 3:30pm – break

3:30pm – 5:00pm – food sampling fair and career fair, including:

5:00pm – 5:15pm – break

5:15pmOpening Keynote Address by Gary Hirshberg, Co-Founder and Image result for stonyfield logo
Chief Organic Optimist of Stonyfield Farm.  
In addition to building Stonyfield Farm into one of the most iconic and successful of all organic brands, Hirshberg has been a passionate advocate for GMO labeling through his leadership of the Just Label It campaign, and a tireless supporter of entrepreneurs through personal mentorship and his Hirshberg Entrepreneurship Institute. – AUDITORIUM (C120)

6:30pm – catered dinner

7:30pm – optional Pearl Street Food Crawl

Friday, January 4

Breakfast on your own/at your hotel; beverages and light food available at the event

8:15am – 9:00am – session 6 presentation and group discussion:

  • Insider Tips for Landing Your Next Job – AUDITORIUM (C120)
    How do you go about finding and securing a job?  Use online job boards or not?  Send persuasive cover letters or not?  What to emphasize during an interview?  How to handle a phone screening versus an in-person interview?  Stick to a certain resume format or not?  Follow up if you haven’t heard anything?  Get the perspective of someone who spent most of her career on the other side of the interview table.  Hosted by Jill Bagley, VP of Human Resources at Fresca Foods.

9:00am – 9:15am – break

9:15am – 10:30am – session 7 presentations and group discussions:

  • Patient Capital in an Impatient Industry: How Impact Investing is Speeding up the Pace of Change in Food with Slow Money – AUDITORIUM (C120)
    From Kickstarter and angel investors on up to corporate strategic investment companies and giant venture capitalists, impact investing is now a major strategy – and food is often at the center of it all. Learn from some of the industry’s top investors about how investors are approaching this critical shift in thinking.  Hosted by Bill Capsalis, Partner at CoLab and featuring Steve Schueth, Managing Partner of Thrize and an expert in the Sustainable, Response, Impact (SRI) investing industry; Susan Graf, SVP/Regional Development Manager for New Resource Bank, Board Member of the Colorado Enterprise Fund, and former CEO of the Boulder Chamber; and Todd Woloson, Managing Director of Greenmont Capital and Co-Founder and former CEO of IZZE Beverage Company.


  • The Wonderful World of Eat-Commerce – SIEVERS (S228)
    The digital world and the food world have intersected, sometimes with fascinating results.  How is technology being used to fix the world’s broken and inefficient food systems?  Has Amazon disrupted the food industry, or has the food industry disrupted Amazon? Slowly but surely, the online marketplace is changing the way we eat, just as it has changed so many other aspects of our lives.  Hosted by Ashley Colpaart, Founder and CEO of The Food Corridor, and featuring Jen Krupey, CEO of NatchCom.

10:30am – 10:45am – break

10:45am – 11:45am – session 8 presentations and group discussions:

  • Sustainability Initiatives in the Food Industry – AUDITORIUM (C120)
    What does sustainability really mean to a business – waste reduction, energy efficiency, supply chain management, CSR?  How are natural products companies redefining sustainability? Are there opportunities for innovation from new employees?  Hosted by Dr. Jeffrey York, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business, and featuring Kyle Garner, CEO of Organic India and Darcy Shiber-Knowles, Senior Quality, Innovation and Sustainability Manager of Dr. Bronner’s.



  • Solutions to Food Insecurity – SIEVERS (S228)
    Metro Caring is a Denver-based anti-hunger organization that builds equity by nourishing neighbors, providing tools to thrive and fostering community. Learn about Metro Caring’s holistic approach to meet people’s immediate need for nutritious food while also sustainably addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty.  Hosted by Teva Sienicki, CEO of Metro Caring, Denver.




11:45am – 12:45pm – lunch mix and mingle

12:45pm – 1:45pm – session 9 presentations and group discussions:

  • Image result for lucky's market logoThe Present and Future of Food Retail – SIEVERS (S228)
    The supermarket is a fascinating laboratory of consumer behavior, and a proving ground for products. But the supermarket itself has been undergoing tremendous change in recent years, with new formats, new concepts in product curation, new technologies, new and unusual partnerships, and new ways of battling for customer attention and dollars. Hear about this and more from the founders of one of the hottest and fastest growing supermarkets in the country.  Hosted by Trish and Bo Sharon, Co-Founders of Lucky’s Markets.



  • Reinventing Agriculture and Food Systems – AUDITORIUM (C120)
    With 1.5 billion cows on the planet all producing methane, human population growth creating a growing demand for food, innovations in biofortification of crops and yes, even genetic modification of organisms, our agricultural and food systems are a major focus of science, policy, and marketing. What is the current thinking about how best to produce food for a growing population and still preserve our topsoil and agricultural resources?  Hosted by Annie Brown, Development Director of the Rodale Institute, and featuring Mark Retzloff, Co-Founder of Horizon Organic, Aurora Organic Dairy and Alfalfa’s Market; and Phil Taylor, Founder of Mad Agriculture.


1:45pm – 2:00pm – break


2:00pm – 3:00pm – Closing Keynote Address by Stephen Ritz, Founder of the Green Bronx Machine. Brilliant, visionary, energetic, irrepressible – the globally acclaimed educator Stephen Ritz has motivated generations of students in the South Bronx to “grow” above and beyond their roots.  Stephen’s students have achieved personal and academic successes which they had never imagined — while reclaiming and rebuilding their neighborhood.  His extended student and community family have grown more than 65,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance – and his Green Bronx Machine model, including vertical and urban farming, is now being adopted by communities around the country and the globe.  – AUDITORIUM (C120)

3:00pm – closing remarks  – AUDITORIUM (C120)

Saturday, January 5

Optional half-day ski trip to Eldora Mountain Resort, 45 minutes from Boulder:

Park for free at RTD Downtown Boulder Station, 14th & Walnut; Route N bus leaves at:

  • 8:10am, arrives 8:58am ($9 roundtrip)
  • 10:10am, arrives 10:58am ($9 roundtrip)
  • 12:10pm, arrives 12:58pm ($9 roundtrip)
  • return bus schedules

Full-day lift ticket is $119; half-day lift ticket (valid after 1pm) is $89.