Christina M. Ford, MD (Psychiatrist, private practice) Board Chair
Christina Ford, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist who incorporates traditional and integrative techniques to help her patients realize their fullest potential. She combines a background in general psychiatry and women’s mental health with a nuanced understanding of nutrition, herbs, mind-body techniques and the efficacy of lifestyle changes to provide a holistic approach to mental and emotional well-being. Dr. Ford is passionate about the power of dietary changes to reduce and prevent chronic disease and improve overall health and wellness. A native Angeleno, she previously worked at the non-profit Step Up On Second, providing mental health care to homeless individuals in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Joining Groceryships allows her to combine her passions for social justice, nutrition and self-empowerment.
Dr. Ford earned her BA in English from Barnard College/Columbia University and her MD from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She completed both her Adult Psychiatry Residency and a Fellowship in Women’s Mental Health at Harvard Medical School (Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program/Brigham & Women’s Hospital).
Ana Guzman (Groceryships Graduate, Community Manager, Groceryships)
Ana Guzman is a graduate of Groceryships' second ever group, in 2015. Since her graduation, Ana has single-handedly forged new partnerships, recruited group members, launched and led several Groceryships Groups. In addition to her work with Groceryships, Ana has been an active leader in her children’s school community working for ten years as a volunteer at Normandie Elementary. Leadership roles included chairperson for the English Learners Advisory Committee, and chairperson for the School Site Council. Additionally, she has served as a translator, LAUSD district meetings representative, and parent board member for the Alliance Board of Directors.
Kurt Halvorson (Portfolio Manager, WAMCO) Board Vice Chair
Kurt Halvorson is a Portfolio Manager at Western Asset Management in Pasadena, CA. He has been with the company since 2010. Prior to joining Western, Mr. Halvorson worked as a Corporate Bond Trader at AEGON Investments, Conseco Capital Management, and Bank of America. He has a B.A. in Business from Covenant College and also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst(CFA) designation. Mr. Halvorson is a former Board member of the Covenant College Foundation and has also served on the Investment Committee for the Endowment at his alma mater. He has three children: Karsten(9), Katelyn(7) and Maren(5). Kurt has a passion for helping people, especially around issues with food, which has been a lifelong struggle for him.
Sky Meltzer (CEO, Manduka Yoga) - Bio coming soon.
Michael Meyer (Head of Sales & Trading, The Seaport Group)
Michael Meyer is the Head of Sales and Trading at The Seaport Group. Before Seaport, Michael was Head of Global Investment Grade Trading and Sales for Bank of America. Prior to BofA Michael managed the US Corporate Bond Trading Desk for UBS Securities. Before UBS, Michael held various senior level positions for Merrill Lynch and CSFB. Michael holds an A.B. from Duke University.
Sarah Penna (Head of Awestruck Network, AwesomenessTV)
Sarah Penna is the Head of Awestruck, a new network and lifestyle brand launching in summer 2015 from AwesomenessTV targeting millennial moms. In this role, Penna is responsible for identifying talent and new creators to sign to the Awestruck multi-channel network. Penna is also the Co-Founder of Big Frame, one of the top talent management firms in the digital space.
Recognizing the importance of talent, Penna helped to establish Big Frame as an industry leading media company and talent management firm with 300 talent signed, who have a combined 70+ million YouTube subscribers and have a total social media reach of 200+ million followers. Dubbed “CAA for the digital set,” Big Frame was acquired by AwesomenessTV in April 2014.
Penna's expertise in digital content creation and talent management has made her a sought- after speaker with engagements at VidCon, BlogHer Pro, ComicCon, CES, Digital Hollywood, Social Media Week and more.
When she is not scouting new talent and nurturing digital influencers, Penna spends time with the biggest stars in her life, ten-month-old son Jonah and husband Joe Penna a.k.a. MysteryGuitarMan.
Sam Polk (Founder, Groceryships, Co-Founder, Everytable)
Sam Polk is Founder and Executive Director of Groceryships. He is a graduate of Columbia University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, which he earned during his eight years as a bond and derivative trader for Bank of America, and King Street Capital Management. After leaving Wall Street in 2010, Sam spent the next few years writing a book and doing volunteer work in Los Angeles through organizations like My Friend’s Place and Aviva, before founding Groceryships. He is on the Board of Directors for Honor Kids International, and is passionate about helping children.
Amanda Railla Bio Coming Soon.
Joe Spiccia (Attorney, Grancell, Stander, Reubens, Thomas, Kinsey, APC) Secretary
Joe Spiccia is an associate litigation attorney at a statewide insurance defense law firm in El Segundo, CA. Joe became a member of the California Bar in 2008. Prior to his current position, Joe advocated for injured employees and represented workers suffering discrimination, harassment, and wrongful terminations at work. He was also a legal clerk and advocate at the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and the City of Cleveland Department of Law, Criminal Division. Joe earned his law degree at Case Western Reserve University, where he was the student director of a joint program between the school and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, providing mentorship to children within the community. He earned his B.A. in sociology and history at Ohio State University. Joe has a lifelong interest in the emotional and physical affects of food.
Jeff Taraday (Wellness Coach, Plus One Health Management, Inc.)
Jeff Taraday is a reformed junk food addict and barbecue junkie who discovered the healing and transformative power of a whole foods, plant-based diet in in 2010. Jeff is now a certified Nutritional Education Trainer through the Nutritional Education Institute, has completed a certification in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school. He is the author of the blog ThePlantEater.com and coaches individuals and families around the country to smoothly transition to plant-based diets and achieve optimal health. He received his BA in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis.
Kirsten Thompson (Doctor of Psychiatry)
Kirsten Thompson is a Doctor of Psychiatry from UCLA. Prior to UCLA, Kirsten spent two years as a resident in General Surgery at USC. She is a graduate of Cornell University and SUNY Downstate, where she earned her M.D. She is interested in the psycho-social and emotional issues surrounding obesity.
Jim Williamson, (CEO, Sage Street Management) Treasurer
Jim Williamson is the President of Sage Street Management, a services company he founded in 2003. Sage Street operates two business divisions, the largest of which is in Food Service. Their largest food services customer is the Los Angeles Job Corps in downtown Los Angeles serving up to 1000 healthy meals per day. The second business unit provides financial and management consulting services to corporate customers. Mr. Williamson is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who has twenty years of experience in operations and financial management. Mr. Williamson holds an undergraduate degree in Business/Economics from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is passionate about health and wellness and also serves as a Board Member of the Westside Family YMCA.
Dorcia White-Brake, (Groceryships Graduate, Everytable Ambassador, Teacher's Aide)
Dorice White-Brake is a native Angelino, and a mother of three fabulous and creative children ranging from ages 11 - 26. She works as a full-time teacher's assistant in a 1st grade classroom, works evenings and weekends at Everytable as a store lead, and is an entrepreneur, running a small business specialized in event cleaning and maintenance. In addition to her many roles, she is pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts, and intends to transfer to Cal State Dominguez in the Fall of 2018 in order to become a teacher. A graduate of Groceryships' second group, Dorcia says, "Being part of Groceryships gave me the courage to believe I could achieve my goals...Groceryships has changed my life in so many ways. My food journey has gotten a lot easier with all the knowledge I gained while in the group. It also taught me to continue to expect food justice for myself and my family. As we ladies from he class always say, 'Groceryships for life!'"