Posted on Thursday, February 20th 2014, by Erwin Penland
Former Founder / General Manager of Nike Livestrong
After graduating from Michigan State University, Scott MacEachern migrated west to ski and run rivers, eventually landing in Oregon working for the world’s largest sports and fitness company. Early in his Nike career, there were two personal experiences that shaped the course of his life and that of the global cancer community – the death of his mother and the diagnosis of one of the first athletes he signed to an endorsement deal.
At Nike for 17 years, Scott is recognized as the one who signed and stuck by Lance Armstrong when others fled upon hearing of his cancer diagnosis in 1996. Eight years later, his work led to the creation of the iconic yellow wristbands and the now defunct Nike LiveStrong product collection, that resulted in catapulting both Nike and the LiveStrong Foundation into philanthropic history.
Scott currently lives in Portland Oregon with his three teenage sons and works at Nemo Design. From time to time, he reflects on the now controversial Armstrong legacy and whether his previous work was all worth it.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta called Scott’s experience “a great untold American story.”
Posted on Wednesday, February 19th 2014, by Erwin Penland
Founder and CEO
As the leader of the world’s leading skills-based volunteer platform, Rachael has been named one of Fast Company’s Most 100 Creative People in Business, received the NYC Venture Fellowship, the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award and has presented at two TEDx events. Catchafire has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Mashable, NPR, FOX Business, CNN Money, Forbes, Fast Company, TechCrunch, and facilitated two series in partnership with Fast Company on The Future of Service in America and The Most Generous People in Business.
Prior to Catchafire, Rachael helped to start up BRAC USA, the US affiliate of the BRAC, a poverty alleviation organization and the largest nonprofit in the world. To build her business chops, Rachael worked at UBS Investment Bank after graduating from Barnard College at Columbia University. She also has a Masters of Public Policy from Duke University.
Posted on Thursday, January 30th 2014, by Erwin Penland
The seventh annual Food For Thought conference will be held in Greenville, South Carolina from April 29 to May 1, 2014. This conference is limited in size, and puts attendees in a much more personal and up-close context with some of the world’s most innovative and unusual thinkers. Food For Thought is for creative thinkers and leaders looking to be inspired by some of the most accomplished trail blazers of our time. Indeed, the 2014 conference promises to be even more stimulating, exciting and informative than the hugely successful events of the previous six years.
Unlike many conferences, the cost for this event is all inclusive. Your registration fee includes:
- A three-night stay at the historic Westin Poinsett Hotel
- Three days of exquisite meals
- Attendance at all special events, including transportation to/from these events
- And much, much more…
Most importantly, you will be one of a relatively small group of creative entrepreneurial thinkers from across the country that will have the opportunity to engage and inspire, as well as be inspired by, our exceptional speakers and fellow attendees.
$1,375 before February 21, 2014
$1,575 after February 22, 2014
Posted on Friday, January 10th 2014, by Erwin Penland
Writer and cookbook author Paula Disbrowe is the editor-in-chief of TRIBEZA, Austin’s premiere arts and culture publication, and a contributing editor at Southern Living. Most of her career has been devoted to writing about food and travel. Her stories have taken her to vanilla plantations in French Polynesia, single malt distilleries in Scotland, olive groves in Spain, and salmon boats in Alaska. Her work has appeared in The New York Times (Dining Section and Sunday Magazine), Food & Wine, Health, Delta Sky, and Cooking Light, among other major publications, and she previously served as the food editor of Restaurant Business magazine.
Disbrowe has written five cookbooks. Her first book, “Cowgirl Cuisine,” chronicles the adventure of leaving New York City to cook on a ranch in The Texas Hill Country. She has co-written three other cookbooks, “Crescent City Cooking” with Susan Spicer, the chef at Bayona restaurant in New Orleans; The New York Times bestseller “Down Home with the Neelys” with Food Network stars Pat and Gina Neely; and “Real Cajun” with Donald Link, the acclaimed chef of Herbsaint and Cochon restaurants in New Orleans, which won the prestigious 2010 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook. Her latest collaboration with Donald Link, “Down South,” was released in February.
She also served as the General Manager of Feather Down Farm Days, and launched the Europe-based farm stay concept to the U.S. market, and worked at Cowgirl Chef at Hart & Hind Fitness Ranch. She lives in Austin, Texas.
Posted on Thursday, January 9th 2014, by Erwin Penland
CEO & Co-founder
Adam Garone co-founded and continues to lead Movember, the annual worldwide charity movement dedicated to changing the face of men’s health - all through the power of the moustache (Aussie slang term is “mo”). Surprised by the amount of fun he had with his friends when the idea was born in 2003, a small group made their Mo-growing an annual, official charitable endeavor by adding an important cause - prostate cancer. Inspired by what the women in their lives were doing for breast cancer, Adam and the other founders felt that the moustache was a perfect hairy ribbon for men’s health.
Movember has grown into the world’s largest non-government funder of prostate cancer research, raising more than $440 million with official campaigns in 21 countries. In 2008, Adam won the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in Australia, the world’s most prestigious entrepreneurial award. In 2009, Melbourne Business School awarded Adam with the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award. Prior to his role at Movember, Adam spent ten years working in a corporate environment, developing, managing and marketing emerging web and mobile technologies for companies such as Vodafone. Adam’s career began with the Australian Army and Special Forces where he served as an officer for nine years.
Posted on Tuesday, January 7th 2014, by Erwin Penland
THOUGHT LEADER SCHOLARSHIP
Food For Thought seeks to bring together revolutionary and evolutionary thinkers, doers and leaders from a vast array of disciplines, all with a mission to knock you out of your comfort zone just a bit. That doesn’t happen unless each year’s participants represent a broad range of talents, experiences, geographies, stages in life, ethnicities, professions and income levels.
So if you’re a creative thinker with an excitement for learning, trying new things and experiencing amazing food…and for whatever reason the conference fee is out of your reach right now, we welcome you to apply for a Thought Leader Scholarship.
Application process for 2014 conference has been completed.
Posted on Friday, December 20th 2013, by Erwin Penland
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
Raised in Memphis and based in Nashville, singer-guitarist Drew Holcomb is, on one level, the sum of those musically iconic cities – a songwriter/performer able to balance feel and craft in a way that can only come from someone informed at once by the likes of Al Green and Steve Earle.
But the main catalyst behind Holcomb’s musical voice has been the road. In the past four years, he has logged more than 650 concert dates across the country. He has also opened for The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Sister Hazel, and the North Mississippi Allstars, to name but a few.
That Holcomb has sold over 15,000 CDs in the process is equally impressive given he has done it all without any major label or music industry support. Not bad for someone who laughingly calls himself a “recovering singer-songwriter.”
His original songs found their way onto two records, a 2004 EP, Lost & Found, and the acclaimed follow-up, Washed in Blue. A concert album, Live in Memphis, came next. In 2006, Holcomb married his longtime friend and singing partner, Ellie.
Holcomb’s backing band, the Neighbors (guitarist Nathan Dugger, bassist Rich Brinsfield, and drummer Jon Radford) live in the same East Nashville area, hence the group name. The band’s music has been featured on a variety of TV shows including House, Parenthood, Justified, How I Met Your Mother and Nashville.
The fruition of Holcomb’s many travels and life changes can be heard in his new studio album, Passenger Seat, a record of big songs, big gestures, and big heart that asks “How are you going to make it if you go alone?” For Holcomb the answer is, “You can’t. We’re all looking for somebody, and sometimes you find that in music.”
Posted on Tuesday, December 17th 2013, by Erwin Penland
American Grocery, one of the taste of Greenville locations for FFT ‘14.
Posted on Saturday, December 14th 2013, by Erwin Penland
Dutch Kills Bar, Painkillers, Weather Up Tribeca
Richard Boccato was born in Florence, Italy and raised in Brooklyn, New York. From 2005-2009 he was employed as a bartender at Little Branch and Milk & Honey, respectively. In May of 2009 Boccato and Sasha Petraske swung the doors of Dutch Kills; a cocktail saloon in Long Island City, Queens where block ice has been hand-cut down to size for cocktails directly behind the bar since day one. In the Spring of 2010, Boccato opened PKNY aka “Painkiller”, a New York City Tiki Bar. In December 2010, Boccato teamed up with Brooklyn’s finest cocktail crew to open Weather Up Tribeca in downtown Manhattan; which is the first bar in the world to feature in-house block ice production with its own Clinebell CB300X2D carving block ice making machine, yielding 600 pounds of crystal-clear ice every two-to-three day cycle.
In the Spring of 2011, Boccato and his Dutch Kills colleagues chose to further their Clinebell fascination when they brought forth Hundredweight, a block ice production and delivery service for cocktail bars and beyond. In May of 2012, Boccato and his Weather Up partners expanded their horizons to Austin, Texas to include a new cocktail bar and block ice production facility.
Executive Chef and Owner
Link Restaurant Group
Inspired by the Cajun and Southern cooking of his grandparents, Louisiana native Chef Donald Link began his professional cooking career at 15 years old. Recognized as one of New Orleans’ preeminent chefs, Chef Link has peppered the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans with several restaurants over the course of the past thirteen years. Herbsaint, a contemporary take on the French-American “bistro,” was Link’s first restaurant. Cochon, opened with chef-partner Stephen Stryjewski, is where Link offers true Cajun and Southern cooking, featuring the foods and cooking techniques he grew up preparing and eating. Cochon Butcher is a tribute to Old World butcher and charcuterie shops which also serves a bar menu, sandwiches, wine and creative cocktails.
Calcasieu is Chef Link’s private event facility that takes its name from one of the parishes in the Acadiana region of southwest Louisiana. In the spring of 2013, Chef Link celebrated the opening of Pêche Seafood Grill in New Orleans. Link’s flagship restaurant Herbsaint earned him a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South. The same year, Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant. The James Beard Foundation also honored Link’s first cookbook—Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana—with their top award for Best American Cookbook.
Link was also nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef in 2012 and 2013. Herbsaint was listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in America by Gourmet Magazine, and was inducted into the Nation’s Restaurant News Hall of Fame. Cochon was listed in The New York Times as “one of the top 3 restaurants that count” and named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appètit. For his commitment to the industry, the Louisiana Restaurant Association honored Link by naming him Restaurateur of the Year in 2012.
Founder & CEO
Have you ever defied the odds to achieve success in your life and career? Do you have a passion for helping others do the same? Defy Ventures is an NYC-based entrepreneurship program and incubator that recognizes that many former drug dealers and gang leaders can become successful, legal entrepreneurs.
Catherine Hoke started Defy Ventures after founding and leading the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, a nonprofit organization that serves men throughout the Texas prison system. Under Catherine’s leadership, PEP was nationally recognized for its groundbreaking results, including 600 graduates, a return-to-‐prison rate of less than 5% (compared to the national average of 50%), and an employment rate of 98%.
Defy harnesses the natural talents of formerly incarcerated individuals and redirects them toward the creation of profitable and legal business ventures. Defy offers a suite of services that includes: intensive personal and leadership development; competition-based entrepreneurship training; executive mentoring; financial investment; and business incubation. Since its founding in 2010, Defy has raised $2.5 million and engaged 1,500+ executive volunteers who contributed 8,500 hours as business plan competition judges, mentors and business coaches.
Defy has been showcased in The New York Times, Richard Branson’s blog, Inc. Magazine, Forbes.com, The Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post.
Catherine graduated with a degree in Business Administration from University of California, Berkeley. In her six-year career in private equity and venture capital, Catherine sourced $32 million in investments and worked with thousands of entrepreneurs.
Marketers need to work hard to stay close to their consumers and employees. Just ask Verizon Wireless’ CMO Tami Erwin, Gap’s Global CMO Seth Farbman and Southwest’s Senior VP-Business Development Dave Ridley. The trio spoke at Erwin Penland’s recent Food for Thought Conference.