Who We Are
Seleyn DeYarus is Founder and Executive Director of At the Epicenter. She is recognized for helping to galvanize the global regenerative movement by convening thought leaders from business, civic, academia and agriculture networks for shared solutions to extractive models in the food, fashion and beauty industries. Seleyn designs experiences to accelerate achieving broader commitments to social and environmental justice, climate action and building a regenerative economy. Seleyn was co-owner and CEO of a Certified B Corporation, Best Organics, Inc, an all-organic on-line gift basket and brand promotion company, which she sold in 2016. She was the Development Director for The Organic Center, a 501c3 scientific research organization dedicated to demonstrating human and ecological health benefits of organic agriculture. She was co-owner and Managing Partner for eleven years at Compass Natural Marketing, a boutique PR agency serving the Natural and Organic Products Industry. Seleyn served as a White House intern under the Reagan administration in the President’s Speech Writers Research office, where she was personally selected by President Ronald Reagan. She served for a decade on the Advisory Board of the Prairie Dog Coalition of the Humane Society of the United States. She has a B.A. degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she was elected President of the Student Government Association. Seleyn has lived in Colorado for twenty-seven years, enjoying the beauty and power of the Rocky Mountains and the majestic and endangered prairie ecosystems, which are home to the prairie dog and many other threatened species for which she works to ensure is conserved for generations to come. She loves tending her rose and vegetable gardens, bicycling, playing with her feline companions and enjoying deep conversations with her husband of twenty-six years.
David Hauser is Director of Strategic Initiatives of At The Epicenter, with a focus on helping to implement programs and projects that support the organization’s regenerative vision and short- and long-term plans. Past careers in environmental engineering, business development and entrepreneurship have combined with a resurgent sense of responsibility to help humanity foster an equitable working relationship with our home planet. David is a father to two, husband to one, friend to many and loves to bike, ski, play and see music, read and philosophize.
Tay Lotte is the Events and Communications Coordinator of At The Epicenter. She brings a unique combination of creative leadership and operations management into our work. After building a video marketing company in the tourism industry she was introduced to the power of regenerative impact through her previous work with Pachamama Alliance & The Achuar Indigenous Nation in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She is passionate about using her skills in content strategy, digital brand management and video marketing to strengthen the inspiring signal of regeneration within the distressing noise of climate change narratives. Her work with At The Epicenter ignites her purpose in designing a brighter future for all living beings on our planet.
Heather Elzinga is Director of Business Development of At The Epicenter, working to engage more stakeholders in the regenerative agriculture and regenerative economy movements. With over two decades of leadership roles in the health and wellness industry, Heather is well-connected with a diversity of peers. Her past accomplishments include high level project and program management, as well as, domestic and international retail trade show management and sales primarily within the natural products space. She joined At The Epicenter as the next step in deepening her goal of making our planet a healthier place for future generations. In her spare time, Heather enjoys photography, drawing, dancing, and discovering new music. She also loves traveling the world with her husband and two stepsons, as well as, exploring the Colorado great outdoors with her beloved Bernese Mountain Dog, Clementine.
Nancy serves as the Director of Content and Insight of At The Epicenter. Her expertise spans from developing content strategies and marketing and social media plans, to content creation, implementation and editing. Nancy has worked extensively in qualitative research from project conception to presentation, including conducting focus groups, gathering insights, writing and presenting to clients. For the past 20 years, Nancy's work has focused on the health and wellness space, with an emphasis on healthy living, fitness, outdoor sports and natural products industries. She has extensive management experience and has had the good fortune of overseeing amazing teams and individuals. She enjoys running, skiing and spending time with her family in beautiful Boulder, CO.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Katherine DiMatteo is managing partner at Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates, a consulting firm whose specialists deliver effective strategies to help organic products and businesses grow. She served as the Executive Director of the Sustainable Food Trade Association from 2013-2019. She has worked in a variety of capacities within the organic industry since 1990. Katherine was formerly the executive director of the Organic Trade Association from 1990 to 2006, where she was instrumental in shaping the outcome of the U.S. National Organic Program standards and the U.N. Codex guidelines for organically produced foods. Katherine recently served as the president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Board of Directors and is a founding member of The Organic Center’s Board of Directors. Katherine serves as President on At The Epicenter's Board of Directors.
KIM RIETHER COUPOUNAS
Kim Riether Coupounas is a visionary leader and entrepreneur who is a passionate advocate for responsible business and a firm believer in the power of the corporation to do good in the world. Kim serves as a Global Ambassador of B Lab, a nonprofit organization that certifies B Corporations and serves a global movement to redefine success in business so that all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world. Kim is also co-founder, former CEO and CSO of GoLite, a global mission-driven outdoor apparel and equipment company. She earned an A.B. Cum Laude in Philosophy from Princeton University, an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and an M.P.A. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Kim serves as Treasurer on At The Epicenter's Board of Directors. Among her deep passions are time with her family and time outdoors, trail running, hiking, singing, doing yoga and martial arts, drinking great wine, and climbing big mountains.
With over 25 years of experience in the natural products industry, Angela McElwee has had the opportunity to build structure, vision, and teams at many levels - as a retailer, board member, community member, and as the leader of a mission-driven vertically integrated manufacturer.
As the CEO and President of Gaia Herbs, she has stewarded growth, strategy, and the building of a world-class team for North America's top herbal supplement brand for over a decade, starting in May 2008 as Vice President of Sales. In 2013, she was promoted to VP of Sales Operations, and appointed to the Board of Directors, and began serving as President in August of 2016. These roots have enabled her to dig deeply what it means to be a business that measures success by means of a new set of standards, considering people and planet as valued stakeholders and using success indicators that go beyond profitability. In that spirit, Angela led work to certify Gaia Herbs as a Living Wage Employer in 2016, and as a B Corporation in 2018. Her tenure has seen the natural products legacy brand through tremendous growth, innovation, and industry change, all while remaining true to its mission of connecting plants and people. This is humble work - producing herbal supplements, and operating a certified organic farm - yet it has a profound meaning for Gaia's consumers, team members, and customers, as well as for the health of soil, water, and air.
She is a passionate advocate for using business as a vehicle to promote positive change, and brings that same ethos to her work as a Founding Board Member for Naturally Austin, a nonprofit working to nurture impact businesses in Central Texas, and to her volunteer work with other social impact focused organizations. Her love affair with the natural products industry, which began when she was 16 years old working in the supplement aisles of her local health food store, continues to this day. Angela serves as Vice President of At The Epicenter's Board of Directors. A vegetarian and organic gardener since birth, Angela has been writing poetry for 30 years, and considers herself a lifelong student of ethnobotany, mastering the art of kitchen fermentation (ideally in the form of a perfect loaf of sourdough bread), and conscious leadership practices. When not burying her nose in a book or her hands in the dirt, she can be found at home in the Austin Hill Country with her husband and their 4 daughters.
Gregory Adams is the president of CeresNexus LLC, and Planetary Harvest, companies which are transforming the global food chain through innovative structures, systems, technology, and tools. Local and global intent and collaboration is at the heart of this ecosystem that eliminates the need for pesticides and GMO seeds while improving health and sequestering maximum carbon. Gregory spent much of 2016/17 learning how biodynamic farms, conventional food processors, food banks, wholesale and retail markets in Southeast Asia, China, Middle East, North America and Europe could contribute to the emerging future of regenerative agriculture. Gregory is on a visionary’s quest to unify the global food system democratically and with heart resonance. He is committed to this viable economic opportunity through alchemic alignment of what’s best for people and the planet. In his spare time Greg can be found enjoying nature with family, or playing the piano on the world stage.
Marci coined the term and pioneered the market for ECOfashion, and is an internationally-recognized ECOlifestyle entrepreneur, educator and expert. Founder of Under the Canopy, Producer of THREAD|Driving Fashion Forward, and Co-Founder of Good Catch and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Marci has been instrumental in driving authenticity, environmental leadership & social justice worldwide for over two decades. Currently President of MetaWear, the first Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified and Cradle to Cradle certified turnkey factory in the United States, and Director/Advisor on numerous Boards: the Organic Trade Association, Textile Exchange, Fair Trade USA, Fashion Revolution Day, Cradle-to-Cradle’s Fashion Positive and Teens Turning Green. Marci is featured in Eco Amazons: 20 Women Who are Transforming the World and has received countless recognitions, including New York Moves Power Woman Award, The Natural Product Industry’s Socially Responsible Business Award, Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award and a prestigious Henry Crown Fellowship of The Aspen Institute.
Elizabeth Candelario has worked in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors and believes passionately in the role of business to drive social mission. She is an innovator and a social entrepreneur, and has broad experience in agriculture and climate change.
Most recently, Elizabeth served as President of Demeter USA, a member of Demeter International, the oldest ecological certification organization in the world. Demeter's vision is to heal the planet through Biodynamic agriculture, a holistic and regenerative farming system that represents the highest paradigm of sustainability. During her eleven years of service, Elizabeth built a nationally recognized non-profit and worked with leading natural food companies to bring Biodynamic products to Whole Foods Market and other national retailers. By successfully positioning Biodynamic as an emerging trend in natural food space, Elizabeth was able to leverage that momentum to encourage agriculture to move to a more regenerative model. Elizabeth also worked with the companies to authentically convey their agricultural commitment, strengthening their brand positioning in the eyes of their customers.
Prior to her eleven year service with Demeter, she served in sales and marketing leadership roles for various premier and award-winning wineries. Her brand marketing and sales strategies have included innovative campaigns that have environmental, cause marketing, and cultural components. In addition she helped conduct the successful turnaround of a winery by connecting the owners’ values to the brand. Elizabeth also has extensive experience working with non-profits in various roles including founder, president, vice-chair, development chair, and board member, as well as consultant.
After leaving Demeter, Elizabeth re-launched Studio Airstream, a strategic marketing practice specializing in organizational development, business development, and cause marketing projects designed to connect brands to consumers through their hearts. Elizabeth is an accomplished public speaker- appearing at national food and environmental conferences- and has written a number of articles on agriculture and climate change.
Tina Owens is the Senior Director of Food & Agriculture Impact for Danone North America, the largest public benefit corporation and the largest Certified B Corporation in the world. Tina leads the charge for embedding regenerative agriculture practices, farmer resiliency, regenerative financing and industry collaboration. Tina is passionate about creating communally beneficial agricultural systems that incentivize farmers to convert to practices that increase soil organic matter.
In the past year Tina has worked on inking a multi-year ag funding agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a collaboration which lead to the awarding of a $3M Conservation Innovation Grant from the NRCS for 2020-2022. This grant will enable farmer partners within Danone’s Soil Health Program to cover a myriad of costs in transitioning to regenerative agriculture practices, as well as track the impact to farmer profitability during the conversion.
Tina also spearheaded the Danone partnership with rePlant Capital, an impact investing fund, which is lending direct to farmers by providing low-cost loans to fuel conversions to regenerative and organic agriculture.
Prior to Danone, Tina spent 17 years at Kellogg Company, 10 of which were working on the natural and organic brand Kashi. Tina helped bring to life an industry-facing effort with QAI called the Certified Transitional protocol: a first of its kind certification that empowers consumers to incentivize farmer conversion to organic practices through their purchases. During her tenure at Kashi she instituted responsible sourcing programs related to honeybee health, cocoa, wheat and farmer profitability via incentivized organic conversion.
Tina resides with her family on 20 acres in Michigan, where they are transitioning previously farmed land to a food forest using regenerative practices.
Chris Bentley has a long history of successful entrepreneurship and relationship-building. He was a founding partner of Aspen Pet Products, which he and his partners built from the ground up to become the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of pet accessories. Since 1979, Chris has provided specialty sales, marketing, and strategic guidance for a diverse array of companies. Recently, his lifetime passion for the environment led Chris to set out on a journey to green up the pet industry. That venture evolved into what is now the Pet industry Sustainability Coalition. The Coalition now has over 150 members and has become a force for guiding an entire industry toward better management of its environmental and social impacts. He serves on the board of the University of Colorado School of Business Deming Center for Entrepreneurship. He is a proud dad of a teenage daughter and loves snowboarding, biking, camping, rollerblading, sailing, horseback riding, gardening and adventure traveling.
Gina Asoudegan is Vice President of Mission and Innovation Strategy at Applegate, a company dedicated to more sustainable and regenerative agriculture and business practices. Asoudegan oversees product innovations that are designed to create a consciously scaled supply chain. When she joined Applegate in 2006 as director of communications, Asoudegan worked closely with NGOs to raise awareness of food-system issues, including antibiotic resistance and GMOs. Asoudegan is a member of the advisory board at the Sustainable Food Lab, holds a position on the advisory council for The National Young Farmers Coalition and was instrumental in securing Applegate as a founding partner for the Savory Institute’s Land to Market™ Program, the world’s first regenerative sourcing solution for livestock-derived meat, dairy, wool and leather.
A former financial and food industry analyst, Robyn O’Brien has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by the New York Times and Bloomberg. She triggered an allergic reaction in the food industry when she asked: “Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it?” and helped trigger an awakening to the skyrocketing price of EpiPens when she coined the term #epigate.
The early years of her work are documented in her bestseller The Unhealthy Truth. She became recognized around the world after her TEDx talk in 2011 which was viewed by millions and translated into multiple languages. Today, she is the co-founder of rePlant Capital, a sought-after food industry advisor, and public speaker.