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Natural Products Expo

Justice Award winner (included) offers support to founders, CEOs of color

Being a CEO is difficult, but being a CEO and a person of color is twice as difficult, says Ryan Pintado-Vertner. The aim is to help everyone be successful.

This year, New Hope Network replaced its Hall of Legends Awards with the first Community Purpose and Impact Awards, which recognize people and organizations working to move the natural products industry forward.

New Hope Network's Content Marketing Director Fran Schoenwetter presented the awards on March 10 at Natural Products Expo West. This year, the Justice Award was presented to two organizations for significant accomplishments in the areas of food justice, climate justice or healthy food access.

(included), a membership collective for top BIPOC executives in consumer packaged goods companies, is dedicated to supporting members' success, advocating for diverse representation, and amplifying BIPOC voices and brands in CPG and naturals. Ryan Pintado-Vertner, founder and principal at Smoketown, a consultancy, spoke with Schoenwetter after the awards ceremony.

"The impact we're trying to have is creating a space where CEOs and founders of color can support one another to increase the odds of their being successful," says Pintado-Vertner, who is one of the founder of the organization.

The other organization honored with the Justice Award was Project Potluck is to help people of color build successful companies and career in the consumer packaged goods industry. Watch Ibraheem Basir's video here.

In addition to the Justice Award, individuals, activists, businesses and organizations are eligible for these honors:

  • Ecosystem Award—For meaningful action to improve, connect or align the purpose-driven natural products industry ecosystem.
  • Health Award—Received by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog for meaningful accomplishments in the areas of human health or nutrition.
  • Justice Award—Two organizations, Project Potluck and (included) received this award for their significant accomplishments in the areas of food justice, climate justice or healthy food access.
  • Joy Award—For purposeful efforts to bring more joy to the natural products ecosystem or to consumers.
  • Regeneration and Sustainability Award—For consequential activity related to regenerative agriculture, stewardship, sustainability or regenerative business.
  • Prosperity Award—Presented to Mid-Day Squares for achieving success while not losing sight of integrity or while being accomplished in the areas of health, joy, justice, sustainability or purpose.
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