Event Details

Does there have to be a tradeoff between sustainability and profitability? Do consumers really care about sustainability? Come learn the answer to these questions and more as we hear from leaders who have built multi-million dollar brands with sustainability at their core. Our panelists will share tips and tricks on how to build and scale a sustainable business.


  • Kayalin Akens-Irby

    Kayalin Akens-Irby


    Kayalin Akens-Irby is an impact-oriented strategist who has spent her career working with investors and companies to improve business operations and capitalize on new opportunities within an evolving market which increasingly values transparency, sustainability, and business ethics. Kayalin is currently Chief of Staff at Planet FWD, the leading carbon management platform for consumer brands to tackle climate change. She also serves as a Board Member for the Upcycled Food Association and a Climate Fellow for Amasia VC.

    Previously, Kayalin was an early employee and helped build Malk Partners into the leading environmental, social, governance (ESG) investment advisory firm for private markets, advising on over $500B in AUM. At Malk, Kayalin led due diligence assessments on over 100 investments typically ranging from $25 million to $2 billion in enterprise value and worked directly with portfolio companies to identify and capitalize on ESG opportunities to create value as they scale. Kayalin was selected to lead a new business vertical at Malk as Head of VC and Growth Equity and started Malk’s climate initiatives including building the climate strategies for leading funds such as Vista Equity Partners and Hellman & Friedman.

    Kayalin frequently lends her voice as a thought-leader in climate tech. During the pandemic, Kayalin built an online community of over 25,000 investors, founders, and individuals focused on Climate Tech on Clubhouse. The success of the club was largely due to Kayalin’s focus on equity, inclusivity, and solutions, wanting everyone who left her club to feel empowered and inspired to find their role in tackling the climate crisis.

    Kayalin graduated from Claremont McKenna College where she majored in Environment, Economics, and Politics as a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Interdisciplinary Science Scholar.

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  • Lisa Curtis (Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli)

    Lisa Curtis

    Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli


    Lisa began working on Kuli Kuli while in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. As a volunteer in her village’s health center, she gained an understanding of nutritional challenges faced in West African villages and how moringa can help address those challenges. Prior to Kuli Kuli, Lisa served as the Communications Director at Mosaic, wrote political briefings for President Obama in the White House and worked at an impact investment firm in India. Lisa has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 leader, a Udall Scholar and a “dedicated humanitarian” by the Muhammad Ali Center.

    Lisa’s favorite way to eat moringa is by mixing Kuli Kuli’s Pure Organic Moringa Powder in her morning oatmeal with almond butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and fruit.

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  • Mike Forbes (Safely)

    Mike Forbes



    I am an entrepreneurial senior executive who drives extraordinary growth and brand recognition for consumer-packaged goods / food companies. I lead sales, marketing, and operations teams and draw on a solid foundation in consulting, marketing, and branding, as well as a breadth of leadership experience in general management, to scale companies through periods of hypergrowth. I am a very energetic executive with a deep commitment to building impassioned teams solving complex problems.

     People Leadership – Natural leader with a keen eye for talent who grows inspired, high-performing teams. Expert facilitator who scales teams to support tremendous growth while cultivating a culture of innovation. Articulate, diplomatic communicator and company spokesperson who persuasively rallies support around common goals.

     Strategic Planning – Big picture thinker who employs strong analytical and decision-making skills to maximize revenue, scale capacity, and optimize profitability. Quick study who rapidly synthesizes information, draws sound conclusions, and acts decisively. Serves as lead company architect, constructing a shared vision that builds shareholder value.

     Brand Marketing – Classically trained brand builder with a strong consumer lens. Innovative marketer who spots trends and leverages them to achieve outsized growth and award-winning results.

     General Management – Creative problem-solver who takes a hands-on approach to all aspects of the business, from logistics to production, planning, resource allocation, and sales. Practical leader who notices opportunities for improvement and develops systems and metrics to support high growth trajectories and product / service quality.

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  • Laura McCord (Executive Director of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at KeHE Distributors)

    Laura McCord

    Executive Director of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at KeHE Distributors

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  • Ahmed Rahim (Cofounder, CVO and Chief Alchemist of Numi Tea)

    Ahmed Rahim

    Cofounder, CVO and Chief Alchemist of Numi Tea


    Ahmed Rahim is the Co-Founder, CVO and Chief Alchemist behind Numi Organic Tea, the largest premium, organic, Fair Trade Certified tea company in North America. Ahmed is responsible for all of the unique Numi blends and products the company introduces to the marketplace. He started the company in 1999 in Oakland, California with his sister, Reem Rahim Hassani.

    At Numi, Ahmed travels to remote regions of the world seeking unique herbs and teas unknown in the United States, building partnerships with farmers and their communities.

    Ahmed chairs the Numi Foundation, focusing on the Together for H2OPE initiative, bringing clean water to Numi Inc's farming community.

    At home in the Bay Area, he co-founded OSC2, One Step Closer to an Organic Sustainable Community, a national community of sustainable natural products CEO’s and business leaders driving positive change and building sustainable awareness in the food industry.

    Ahmed sits on various for profit and non-profit boards enhancing their growth strategy and sustainability goals. Ahmed’s core goal is to be in service to those focused on caring for their community and creating positive change for our environment.

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