About Us | Wholesome Wave

About Us

Our Story

Making Produce More Affordable

We are a national non-profit addressing complex problems with simple, innovative, effective solutions. Founded by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michel Nischan, Wholesome Wave makes healthy produce affordable for the people who need it most. We played a key role in triggering the first national, federally funded nutrition incentive program in history (FINI), resulting in $100 Million in the 2014 Farm Bill for nutrition incentives nationally. We work in 49 states and counting, and our programs touch over 500,000 people annually.

Our Team

Building a Better Food System, Together

Our energetic and skilled team is working to make our vision a reality: that poverty should never be an obstacle to affording fruits & vegetables.

Michel Nischan

FOUNDER & CEO, BOARD MEMBER

Michel Nischan is a four-time James Beard Award winning chef with over 30 years of experience advocating for a more healthful, sustainable food system. He is Founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave, Co-Founder of the Chefs Action Network, as well as Founder and Partner with the late actor Paul Newman of the former Dressing Room Restaurant. Along with his team at Wholesome Wave, Nischan has successfully influenced legislative language for the recently passed Federal Farm Bill, supporting affordable access to healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables for low income consumers. He’s also the author of three cookbooks and a variety of articles focused on sustainable food systems and social equity through food. A lifetime Ashoka fellow, he serves as a director on the board of the Jacques Pepin Foundation; on the advisory board of Chef’s Collaborative, The Amazon Conservation Team, and The National Young Farmers Coalition. In Spring 2015, the James Beard Foundation honored Nischan with the Award for the 2015 Humanitarian of The Year.

Skye Cornell

CHIEF PROGRAMS OFFICER

As a member of Wholesome Wave’s executive team, Skye oversees national strategy and operations for the National Nutrition Incentive Network and Fruit & Vegetable Prescription health intervention. She has had a leadership role in scaling these programs at farmers markets, retail outlets, community health clinics, and hospitals nationwide in a way that honors unique communities.  

Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Skye worked on brand strategy and marketing for corporations including Unilever, Nestle, Meadwestvaco and Royal Bank of Scotland. She has an MBA from Sacred Heart University.

Bryan Hurlburt

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF PROGRAM OPERATIONS

As President Obama’s appointment to lead the USDA Farm Service Agency in Connecticut, Bryan was responsible for the management of a multi-million dollar budget and a staff of twenty. In this position Bryan gained great experience in project management, financial stewardship, and team development. Prior to the Farm Service Agency, Bryan served in the CT House of Representatives where he worked closely with advocates to expand the double coupon program, increase farm to school/institution/table opportunities, and enhance market opportunities for farms. 

Bryan’s passion is food access and affordability. He believes in implementing practical solutions and in delivering programs that have real value to farmers and the community. 

Bryan grew up and lives in Tolland, CT with his wife and two girls ages 4 and 2 years old. For fun Bryan loves to cook.

Bryan Hurlburt

Craig Lomma

CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

Craig is a seasoned finance and operations executive with over 25 years experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds.  During his 20-year career in the financial services industry, Craig worked at American Express, JP Morgan Chase and AIG.  He was also a founding partner and COO at a boutique management consulting company, GFR Consulting.

Craig’s not-for-profit sector work started as Board President for a social services agency called ACDS; he remains an Advisory Board member. Additionally, he was Deputy Director of Finance and Operations at the Paul J. Aicher Foundation. Craig also serves on the Board of Oak Hill (CT Institute for the Blind), the state’s largest, privately held social services agency.

Jacqueline Grace

CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER

Jacqueline brings to Wholesome Wave more than 20 years of experience in the corporate and non-profit worlds, most recently from Girl Scouts of the USA, where she served as the Chief of Partnerships, overseeing corporate, foundation, and government funding and project management; from Relationships First, where she served as the first Executive Director and focused on establishing the organizational foundation, program development, and major giving; and, from Save the Children, where she led cause marketing efforts, structured strategic corporate partnerships, and crafted comprehensive marketing platforms as part of a global fundraising strategy.

Prior to her work at Save the Children, Jacqueline served in senior roles at Scholastic Inc., the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and education materials. Jacqueline developed, negotiated, and marketed strategic in-school print and digital (sponsored) partnerships, and served as the Creative Director of Instructor and Administrator magazines and Scholastic’s National Partnerships production studio.

Jacqueline was also the founder and President of LifeTime Media, a brand-centric publishing company whose authors include Billie Jean King, Gary Kasparov, and Chaplain of the US Senate, Barry C. Black.  LifeTime also produced branded books with organizations including The American Lung Association, Kraft Foods, Wenner Media, The New-York Historical Society among many others. 

Jacqueline performed her undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she played varsity basketball and rowed varsity lightweight crew. 

Jacqueline Grace - head shot_opt

Andrew Hertzmark

BOARD CHAIR

PARTNER, GENERATION PARTNERS

Andrew Hertzmark is a Managing Partner at Generation Partners, a private investment firm that provides capital to growth companies through buyout and growth equity investments. Prior to joining Generation in 2004, Andrew was an Associate at Galen Partners, a private equity firm. Andrew also was an Analyst and Associate in the Investment Banking divisions of Dillon, Read & Co and UBS AG, where he worked on a variety of mergers, acquisitions and capital raising assignments for companies in the healthcare sector. Additionally, Andrew worked in the Business Development Group at Pfizer, Inc. as well as the National Economic Council within the Executive Office of the President. Andrew earned a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from its Wharton School of Business. 

Stephan Nygren

BOARD MEMBER

PRESIDENT & FOUNDER – SERENBE

In 1972 Steve opened the Pleasant Peasant, the beginning of a restaurant corporation that grew to 34 restaurants in eight states by the time he departed in 1994. Steve and his family retired to a farm just outside Atlanta and became concerned about urban sprawl invading their adopted paradise. In 2000, Steve led the effort to create the Chattahoochee Hill Country Alliance to bring together landowners, developers and conservationists to find a solution for balanced growth. Through two years of work, a land-use plan was adopted to preserve 70% of the 40,000 acres while providing 20% more housing than the traditional suburban sprawl yield.

In 2004 the Nygrens began development of Serenbe to demonstrate land preservation concepts which interlace agriculture with a mix of housing choices, shops, galleries, restaurants and an Inn in the historic farm compound. A model for water and energy conservation, the development is reminiscent of century-old communities. Steve’s involvement in many civic and charitable organizations provides a wide background in urban, rural and regional planning for sustainable communities. 

Karen Watson

BOARD MEMBER

CONSULTANT

Ms. Watson’s diverse background has served her as a journalist, a government executive, a policy advocate for a Fortune 100 company and chief communicator for Nielsen, the world’s largest market research firm. Watson started her career at The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and NPR’s Morning Edition. She managed Public Affairs for the FCC and advocated policy issues for EchoStar. As Managing Director of Nielsen Government and Public Sector, Watson applied Nielsen’s commercial research data to solve global public policy issues such as obesity, hunger, sustainability and the digital divide. A collaboration with the White House and the Partnership for a Healthier America encouraged Americans to drink more water and was hailed by Michelle Obama as “groundbreaking.” Savoy Magazine named Ms. Watson as one of the “100 Most Influential Black Executives of 2013.”

Watson consults on the use of big data, market research and commercial advertising to communicate a culture of wellness, centered around nutrition. Her other involvement in the food sector includes being a member of the leadership team of IHI’s 100 million healthier lives initiative, a member of the Newman’s Own Foundation Nutrition Advisory board, advisor to Good Food by the Numbers, and advisor to Farmer’s Fridge, the first “farm to vending machine” business, rated as a top “restaurant” in Chicago.

Kirk Posmantur

BOARD MEMBER

CHAIRMAN, CEO & FOUNDER – AXCESS WORLDWIDE

Widely recognized as the pioneer of the emerging field of “partnership development,” Kirk has conceived and executed scores of partnerships with many of the world’s most iconic brands. He has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in contracted revenue for companies such as Audemars Piguet, Beats by Dr. Dre, Cadillac, Coca-Cola, Dom Perignon, FENDI, Ferrari/Maserati, Fiji Water, Graff, JP Morgan Chase, Las Vegas Sands, and The Tony Awards. Kirk has also conceptualized and executed partnerships on behalf of unique “living brands” such as Frank Abagnale, Tiki Barber, N’SYNC, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jonathan Tisch.

He is an equity partner in a variety of high-growth companies, including WORTH Media; Forbes Travel Guide; Tequila Avión; Double Cross Vodka; Patagonia Sur; Radical Skincare; Thiel Audio; the Captivate Network; Bonotel Exclusive Trave; and ONEHOPE wine company. He serves on the Board of Directors for Forbes Travel Guide and the Captivate Network.

Ariane Batterberry

BOARD MEMBER

COFOUNDER – FOOD & WINE AND FOOD ARTS

Ariane Batterberry cofounded two milestone magazines of the 20th century: Food Arts and Food & Wine. She and her husband, Michael, authored 16 books on food, art and social history. For decades, Ariane wrote for national publications and appeared on radio and television to discuss food and drink in their many contexts. She was Harper’s Bazaar’s contributing editor and she and Michael contributed a food column to USA TODAY.

In 1994, they were named Editors of the Year by the James Beard Foundation; in 2010 they received the Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Savoring Gotham summed up their legacy: “Together [Ariane & Michael Batterberry] helped shape the way Americans think about cooking, chefs, and restaurants.”

Ellen Marram

BOARD MEMBER

PRESIDENT - BARNEGAT GROUP

Ellen Marram is President of her business advisory firm, the Barnegat Group. She is a director of Ford Motor Company (presiding director), Eli Lilly and Company (lead director) and the New York Times Company (former presiding director), and has served on the boards of Cadbury Schweppes and Kmart. She was named Outstanding Director by Board Alert Magazine and serves as a member of the NACD Nominating/Governance Committee Chair Advisory Council.

Marram is director of several companies, primarily in the food and consumer healthcare sectors. She is a trustee of Wellesley College and has served as a Trustee of the Conference Board and the Board of Associates of Harvard Business School. Marram is a former CEO of Tropicana and the Nabisco Biscuit Company. More recently, she was a Managing Director (2000-2005) and Operating Advisor (2006-2010) at North Castle Partners, a private equity firm focused on investments in healthy living and aging.

Debbie Shore

BOARD MEMBER

CO-FOUNDER - SHARE OUR STRENGTH

Debbie Shore is Co-Founder of Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit ending childhood hunger in America through the No Kid Hungry campaign. Together with her brother Bill Shore, CEO, Debbie founded Share Our Strength in 1984 with a $2,000 advance on a credit card. Since then, Share Our Strength has raised and invested more than $600 million in the fight against hunger, and has won support of national leaders in business, government, health, education, sports and entertainment. Debbie oversees the organization’s long-term planning and strategy.

Debbie Shore, Board Member

A Note on Our Board

 

Wholesome Wave has an active and engaged Board of Directors. The Board guides the strategic direction of the organization, manages the performance of the CEO and provides governance infrastructure; all this in addition to helping Wholesome Wave raise funds for its primary mission.

Our Experts

Our team offers a range of skills and backgrounds to help get your program off the ground, build efficiencies, innovate, scale, and increase impact.

Leah Hancock

Senior Program Manager

Joined Wholesome Wave in: 2011

Leah manages the day-to-day operations, planning and coordination of the National Nutrition Incentive Network of 265 member organizations. Prior to joining the National Nutrition Incentive Network team, she organized the implementation and evaluation of pilot projects in Wholesome Wave’s Innovations Lab, and led the development of a collaborative, citywide farmers market network in Bridgeport. Leah first came to Wholesome Wave while studying food policy at Connecticut College’s Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy.

 

CONTACT

 

Sandy Steigbigel

Sandy Steigbigel

Program Manager

Joined Wholesome Wave in: 2016

Sandy is a Program Manager reporting to the VP of Programs. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave Sandy spent 15+ years in direct-to-consumer marketing. She managed brands in the beauty, banking, healthcare, supplements and CPG sectors to name a few. She is now sharing her talents to focus on meaningful non-profit work. Sandy holds a B.A. from The College of Wooster.

Sandy has been educating her family for years about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle with food as fuel. She vehemently believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live their best and healthiest life, beginning with fruits and vegetables on their tables.

 

CONTACT

 

David Juros

David Juros

Senior Program Manager for Retail

Joined Wholesome Wave in: 2017

David Juros is responsible for the expansion of affordable, healthy food access within bricks-and-mortar retail locations for Wholesome Wave. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, David worked at American Express and 2 brand marketing manufacturers where he managed relationships with larger retailers, supermarket chains, financial service companies and institutional food service companies. David also created a non-profit organization, based on the vision of his son Devin, called the Pleasantville Community Garden, which in 3 years has grown, gathered and donated over 40,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to area food sharing organizations in Westchester County, NY. The work David has done with Devin creating their organization inspired David to change careers to the food justice non-profit world so he can have a deeper and wider impact in helping ensure nutritional food for all. David holds a BSBA from the University of Richmond in Virginia and is on the Board of Hillside Food Outreach and on the Bedford2020 Food & Agriculture Task Force. 

 CONTACT
Sarah Pandoursky

Sarah Pandoursky

Manager in Program Expansion and Growth

Joined Wholesome Wave in: 2017

Sarah is responsible for facilitating multi-state, multi-sector access and affordability projects with the goals of growing funds spent on healthy food and increasing partners and individuals participating in Wholesome Wave initiatives. Sarah spent a decade in nonprofit management building programs and partnership with various stakeholders. Most recently, Sarah launched Connecticut Food Bank's Community Engagement Department and implemented strategies to enhance outreach to volunteers and partners across the state. Over the course of her career, Sarah has remained committed to raising awareness about social justice issues. She is passionate about eliminating the health disparities for those facing poverty and food insecurity. Sarah has dual Bachelor's Degrees from UConn in Journalism and Anthropology, and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of New Haven. Sarah lives in New Haven with her husband, Tzvetomir and her rescue pit bull, Gifford.

 CONTACT

Culture & Values

Centered on Community, Focused on Change

 

At Wholesome Wave, our team is passionate and dedicated, working hard everyday to bring our mission to life and have some fun while doing so.

 

 
Innovation

 

 

 
Engaging Work Environment

 

 

 
Health & Wellness

 

 

 
Flexibility

 

 

 
Lunch & Learns

 

 

 
Potlucks

 

 

Join the Team

 

Want to help us transform the food system and ensure that all Americans, regardless of income, can afford fresh produce? Check out our job opportunities today.

 

JOB OPENINGS

Supporters

Wholesome Wave relies on a diverse portfolio of corporate, foundation, and government grants and individual gifts to make our work possible. Together, we are making produce more affordable so that public health, local economies, and our environments thrive. Thank you to the following partners for supporting our work this year.

 

BECOME A SUPPORTER

 

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