Meet the Nutiva Team
John Roulac, Founder & CEO
John founded Nutiva in 1999 to create a better food system that nourishes people, communities and our planet. As a vocal challenger of the industrial food system, he is a strong advocate for hemp agriculture, GMO labeling, organic farming and healthy food for all. Through his leadership, Nutiva has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing food companies in America for five consecutive years.
John is a keynote speaker on sustainability, trends in the organic food industry, purpose-driven companies and the impact of genetically engineered food. He has founded four nonprofit groups including GMO Inside and the Nutiva Nourish Foundation, which donates 1% of Nutiva’s sales to support sustainable agriculture and other environmental programs.
Neil Blomquist, Senior Advisor
Neil is a leading expert in the national products industry with over 37 years of success building iconic brands for top companies. His expertise has been focused in retailing, distribution, brand marketing, product sourcing, product development and organizational management.
Neil was the CEO of Spectrum Organic Products, the leading producer of natural and organic culinary and nutraceutical oils, condiments, and essential fatty acid supplement oils in North America. Neil oversaw the daily operation of the company and led its double-digit annual growth in sales and profits. He also served as the driving force behind strategic supply-side management and new product development, launching an average of six new products per year.
Neil also served as the COO for Numi Tea, a leading organic and fair tea company, where he oversaw Finance, Operations, IT and Customer Service.
Neil is currently on the Board of Directors for the American Botanical Council and the Rudolf Steiner Foundation, Social Finance, and has served as Chair of the Organic Standards Subcommittee for Oils in the development of the Organic Foods Act of 1990.
Neil was born in South Dakota and received his B.A. in business management and economics from the University of South Dakota. He currently resides in Sebastopol, California.
Michelle Montakhab, VP of People & Culture
Michelle joins Nutiva with over 20 years of progressive experience and leadership in Human Resources within premium brand retail, service operating environments, manufacturing, and non-profits ranging in size from 150 to 25,000+ employees. She is most passionate about building human capital capability and organizational structure to support high growth and business strategies. She’s known for creating and developing teams, providing leadership and motivation to engage employees to achieve their career aspirations and building organization bench strength.
Most recently, she served as Director of Human Resources for Williams-Sonoma, Inc. where she spent 12 years developing the foundation for the stores and corporate organizations, assembling teams for new brands and integrating acquired businesses into the company’s culture.
Michelle is thrilled to join Nutiva and to work for a company that truly cares, has a purpose, and is making a difference in the world. On weekends you’ll find Michelle attending her daughter’s sports activities, practicing yoga, gardening and simply enjoying the beauty of Marin County with her husband and daughter.
Chris’ finance career has covered the CPG, technology and services sectors where he has a solid record of increasing growth, efficiency and profitability in growth-centric organizations. Prior to Nutiva, Chris held senior finance positions with Muscle Milk, Annie’s, Agilent Technologies, Oracle, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He graduated from California State University, Hayward, Magna Cum Laude, with an emphasis in Business Administration and Accounting. Chris’ affinity for health and wellness align well with Nutiva’s vision and values.
Jeremy brings twelve plus years experience working in the Specialty and Natural food Industry. Prior to Nutiva he held various key positions with two National Brokers including Sales Management, Key Account Exec, National Brand Manager and Distributor Account Exec. During that time he has worked with and helped grow some of the leading Natural/Organic brands including but not limited to; Suja, Organic Valley, Annie’s Home Grown, Justin’s, Honest Tea. Jeremy brings a proven track record managing sales teams, brokers, and distribution in high volume regions across multiple classes of trade.
He earned a BA from Roosevelt University Chicago Il, in Organizational Communications and lived and worked in Chicago for 9 years prior to moving back East. Jeremy is native Northeastern’er and currently resides in Massachusetts just south of Boston with his Wife and two daughters. He is passionate about organic food, sustainability and education around healthy living. Hobbies include, hiking, skiing with his kids, and cooking organic meals at home.
Gretchen Grani, Director of Corporate Giving and Sustainability at Nutiva
Gretchen has 20 years experience working in the corporate and non-profit sectors, focusing on socially responsible and green companies. Her broad background in environmental planning and non-profit management and finance gives her the tools to lead Nutiva’s sustainability, corporate giving, and community outreach programs.
Gretchen serves as Nutiva’s goodwill ambassador, promoting the company’s core values of Innovation, Purity, Community, and Well-being. She has a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in environmental planning from University of Pennsylvania. On the weekends she enjoys spinning, reading, and experimenting with Nutiva’s superfoods to create new healthy recipes.