The nonprofit American Botanical Council recently welcomed longtime, ardent environmentalist Thomas Newmark to its Board of Trustees. Newmark is best known for his past role at New Chapter Inc., where he helped the dietary supplements company become the first to have its entire line of vitamins certified as made with organic ingredients, as well as verified by the Non-GMO Project.
Newmark brings a deep devotion to environmentalism, conservation, and organic herb production to the ABC Board of Trustees, along with more than a decade of experience within the regulatory environments of the natural products industry.
“Tom Newmark is an extraordinarily talented individual,” said New York Botanical Garden ethnobotanist, noted author and fellow ABC Board member Michael Balick, PhD. “In addition to his experience with supplements, particularly botanicals, he is an organic spice farmer, conservationist and author, with an international perspective shaped by his devotion to protecting nature, public health, and the well-being of generations that someday will inhabit Planet Earth. It is also just plain fun to walk through a tropical forest with Tom and see his overwhelming excitement about the plants, animals, and even the less-obvious microbes that are to be found. I am thankful that Tom enthusiastically accepted this new assignment as a colleague on the ABC Board of Trustees, and know that in the years to come, he will contribute significantly to the Board’s vital work in governing and expanding this important organization.”
After graduating from Washington University in 1973, Newmark studied political science at Yale for one semester and then left to study Transcendental Meditation, which had a profound and lasting impact on his life and career. He then returned to Washington University for a law degree and worked as an attorney for many years, including the representation of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Natural Law Party and Ross Perot’s Reform Party bid to be included in the 1996 presidential debates.
A self-described “recovering attorney,” Newmark came to New Chapter in 1999 after serving as a legal consultant to his college friend and New Chapter cofounder Paul Schulick. Newmark started off at the company as president, and, over the next 13 years, held several additional titles including co-CEO, CEO, and chairman. Newmark describes Schulick as his “first and most important teacher with respect to herbal medicine.” Together they coauthored Beyond Aspirin (Holm Press, 2000) and The Life Bridge (Herbal Free Press, 2002), and created the current top-selling combination dietary supplement in the United States, Zyflamend®, a multi-herbal extract formulation to promote healthy inflammation response that has been researched in laboratory studies and a Phase I clinical trial.
“Tommy was responsible for many, many roles,” said Schulick. “He is a visionary. He’s able to look a little toward the future and see what trends might be most beneficial. And he also is very, very bright so he is able to wear many different hats at one time. He was able to communicate with scientists and regulators and staff in stores. He just has many skill sets.”
Photographer, author, and Chairman of the ABC Board of Trustees, Steven Foster, said, “The Board of Trustees of the American Botanical Council was deeply honored when Tom Newmark accepted our invitation to serve on our Board. Tom brings a combination of exceptional nonprofit and for-profit board experience to ABC, along with a deep personal and professional understanding of the natural products industry and the herb consumer.”
Newmark remains a tireless activist for organic and non-GMO causes, authoring editorial articles and participating in public-speaking events. He is coowner of Finca Luna Nueva, a biodynamic and organic herb farm in Costa Rica that provides tropical-grown botanicals for some of New Chapter’s products, and he also cofounded Semillas Sagradas, a botanical sanctuary that preserves traditional and medicinal plants and the knowledge surrounding their important uses. Semillas Sagradas, which is on the Luna Nueva farm, was the first installment in what has grown into a worldwide network of approximately 16 similar projects under the nonprofit organization Sacred Seeds, of which Newmark is president and chair of the board.
In addition to his new position on ABC’s Board of Trustees, Newmark recently joined the natural products merchant banker 6Pacific as chairman, a position in which he hopes to assist natural products companies in achieving greater commercial success. He also serves on the boards of Greenpeace, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s William L. Brown Center and Friends of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
“The American Botanical Council,” said Newmark, “is an extraordinary organization populated by some of the most wonderful scholars, ethnobotanists, scientists, thinkers. I am exceptionally proud to be on the Board. To me, it is a career achievement.”