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Behind the Expo: Ashley Pagenstecher, community and conference manager

Natural Products Expo West often feels like a well-oiled machine. Find out how Ashley Pagenstecher works to support early-stage CPG brands through her role on New Hope Network's conference team.

3 Min Read
Meet the team at New Hope

With more than 3,000 exhibitor booths, 510,000 square feet of show floor and tens of thousands of attendees, it takes a dedicated team of professionals with diverse skills to ensure that Natural Products Expo West is an all-around success. Representing education to operations, client services, sales, marketing, design, standards, content and more, these and other New Hopers work behind-the-scenes—for months and sometimes even years in advance of a show—to make sure each expo runs smoothly, and to support New Hope’s mission statement to cultivate a prosperous, high-integrity CPG and retail ecosystem that creates health, joy and justice for all people while regenerating the planet.

This Expo West Show Scoop series highlights some of the many people at New Hope Network who make it all possible.

Here, Community and Conference Manager Ashley Pagenstecher shares her boundless energy and enthusiasm for helping brands flourish. 

In one sentence, tell me about your job at New Hope. I work on the conference and content team with a focus on entrepreneur and early-stage CPG programming.

How long have you been doing this? Since July 2022

What do you love about yAshley Pagenstecher

our job? EVERYTHING!? How can I even find an answer! I love learning about new brands, innovation in the industry and new ways of doing business. I also love watching speakers and panelists flourish—speaking about what they love or their passions. It is really cool to see!  

What do you wish people knew about your role? The amount of fun and dedication each team gives to these shows. I can see how rewarding it is for everyone involved, and once we all get to be onsite and working on it together—it’s an incredible feeling!

What's the most challenging part of your job? I have a hard time saying no. We want to be able to do everything for speakers and brands but need to remember what we are capable of in terms of time and resources. And although that is a lot, it doesn’t mean we can do everything! There is a balance between helping brands achieve success and doing so in a sustainable manner for the team!

What are you looking forward to at Expo West? This will be my first Expo West! I look forward to taking a minute to just look around and soak it all in!   

What are you concerned about at Expo West? That there will never be enough time in a day to do it all! Between conference sessions, networking, concerts, yoga in the morning… I just really want to do it all.

What is the one thing you absolutely must pack to have with you at Expo West? NUUN Hydration Tablets. The absolute key to success!

Favorite Expo shoes? I love a good shoe change and always have a spare in my backpack! Business one minute, then comfy toes the next!

Which education sessions are you most excited for at Expo West? I am really excited to see the (included) Access Brand Spotlight on Wednesday, the State of Natural Beauty and Empowering Women in Lead(Her)Ship for the Future of Food on Friday.

What are you most proud of about the work you do on Expo West? Seeing the impact Expo has on the attendees and speakers. It is amazing to watch the brands at Pitch Slam, or to be on the Nutrition Capital Network events and see first hand the impact these sessions can have.

What does the natural products industry mean to you? I want to say, in the simplest form: "better for you." There are so many ways that natural products can help you, your body or your mind without compromising on anything else. I am also a quite loyal and a passionate consumer of many of the products and brands that are exhibiting at the show. 

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