Nest Expert Network
Human capital is one of the most important resources for organizations to thrive. To meet the demand among artisan & maker businesses for talent that can offer targeted expertise and solutions, Nest is proud to announce the Nest Expert Network.
Members of the Nest Expert Network offer their time, talent and passion for advancing the creative artisan economy. Through pro-bono consultancies and mentorship projects, this diverse community of experts lends the support that artisan businesses need to thrive.
Meet the Nest Expert Network
Gabriela Alemán is a mission-driven leader, whose ventures have led her all over the world. Currently, Gabriela is working on the expansion of Too Good To Go, the #1 company fighting food waste globally, in the United States. As part of the founding US team, she is working on scaling new markets – empowering businesses and consumers to fight food waste. Previous to Too Good To Go, Gabriela worked as an impact investment fellow at Kiva, spending a year doing due diligence, evaluation and analysis with social enterprises and microfinance institutions in Central and South America. Gabriela began her career at J.P. Morgan, working on the Endowments and Foundations team in New York and London. Focusing on sustainable investing from an institutional level, catapulted her career into focusing on impact entrepreneurship. Gabriela graduated from Boston College in 2016, majoring in International Studies. Originally from New York, Gabriela is a polyglot who is based where the impact is needed.
Jeanne K. Allen is a veteran product designer and developer, Jeanne Allen graduated with honors from Syracuse University with a specialized 5-year degree in Industrial Design at a time when very few women entered the field. She then worked at major corporations such as the J.C.Penney Co., Clairol Inc., Playtex Inc., and the Singer Co., designing packaged consumer products. As Jeanne progressed in her career, she quickly moved into management positions and began to turn her interests to home furnishings and gifts. With her keen eye for design, color and trends, she conceived and produced exclusive products at the home and gift brand retailer, Dansk International Designs, Ltd., ultimately rising to Vice President of Product. Development and Merchandising. During her tenure, she teamed with internationally renowned artisans and designers and sourced production on three continents. She has also collaborated on programs with other retailers and brands such as Bloomingdales, Macy’s, the Metropolitan Museum, FIT, MoMA, Vera Bradley and Jonathan Adler. After a career collaborating and creating with world class artisans, designers and retailers, she continues to pursue her interests as a studio potter and in her current Artisan Shop and Gallery Manager for the Railyard Arts Studio. Her passion is further enriched through mentoring efforts with Nest, aiding and coaching others in developing sustainable products.
Jeanne K Allen
Giselle Bowyer was born and raised in London, before moving to New York City in 2006 to get her BFA in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Since then, she has honed her design skills by working in fashion houses such as Calvin Klein, Marchesa and Ralph Lauren. Giselle has experience with a variety of price points, target markets and categories in womenswear and look forward to sharing my knowledge.
Erin Brouillette is a branding and marketing expert with 15 years of professional experience, ranging from strategic merchandise planning in retail to brand management in food and beverage and digital marketing across a number of industries. Erin’s varied background has given her a deep understanding of consumer behavior that transcends industry. She has a high level of experience in strategic business growth through brand and marketing initiatives that have taken several businesses to the next level. In order to accomplish this, she knows where to focus the brand and how to build purposeful connections between partners and the target personas to generate brand loyalty and ultimately sales.
Ashna Chopra is a results-producing apparel professional with over 19 years of proven ability to collaborate cross-functionally with design, vendor, production and sales teams to achieve target margin goals. Adept at providing strategic direction to management on costing, resource planning,
Jen Daft is the Head of Apparel at Shopbop.
Ginger Fields is an idealist and a pragmatist, a left brain and right brain thinker, a worker and a leader. Ginger likes to avoid being put in a box!
Laine Hoke helps businesses grow their audiences on social media platforms with strategic content and partnerships. With a little creativity and a lot of research, she manages organic growth strategies that bring in more fans and more sales with social media.
Sonia Hylling works as a Strategy Consultant in the Fashion Industry, specializing in sustainability and innovation across the Supply Chain and helps brands transition to sustainability. Her most recent project has been with the F4D: the Fashion Conscious Campaign a virtual exhibition in partnership with the UN.
Hilary Kilpatric is a bilingual (Spanish and English) social entrepreneur with over ten years of experience working with artisans. She began working with artisans while serving in the Peace Corps in Guatemala. This experience sparked her love for handmade artisan products. Upon returning to the US, she created a hands-on education program focused on developing key business processes designed to build capacity for artisan enterprises for the International Folk Art Market. She also created an online store to complement the education program. In 2017 she moved to Laos to work first-hand with an artisan social enterprise, where she stayed for two years building capacity and increasing sales through marketing and business practices. In 2019 she relocated to Santa Fe and started a consulting company. Recent projects include creating a strategic plan for the Artisan Alliance and consulting with NEST to build e-commerce sites for international artisan groups as a response to decreases in sales due to the global pandemic, COVID-19. Hilary is passionate about using her business background to help artisan groups build sustainable practices to maximize their impact and sharing these beautiful products, traditions, and cultures with audiences around the world.
Stanley Kirshner-Breen is a Chicago-based digital marketer with seven years of experience working with tech startups, marketing agencies, e-commerce brands and nonprofits. His skill set is varied and encompasses both high-level marketing strategy development and technical campaign implementation. As an entrepreneur, he loves to connect with other people passionate about sustainability, social justice and business.
Jing Lin is a Senior Marketing Project Manager at The New York Times overseeing marketing campaigns across multiple lines of business, working with cross-functional and multidisciplinary teams of marketers, media leads, writers, art directors, photo editors and developers to build the New York Times subscription base.
Aaruti Mahajan has facilitated purposeful growth at brands by shaping and implementing business strategies that drive competitive advantage and promote stronger affinity with the customer for over 15 years. She has enabled management teams at Fortune 100 retailers, specialty apparel and artisan brands to achieve their goals by developing ideas into viable opportunities, forming trusted stakeholder partnerships and leading teams to deliver results. Aaruti is committed to driving meaningful change and has been collaborating with social impact ventures to aid sustainable development and artisan economy growth. She has been a Nest Fellow since 2018, leveraging her experience to mentor artisan brands on their strategic objectives.
Ellie McDonald is a strategy consultant and project manager at Target focused on alleviating global poverty and injustice through the power of the private sector. Ellie works with Fortune 40 companies to develop sustainable and ethical social impact solutions and with international organizations that empower women and entrepreneurs in developing countries. Ellie holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Spanish and Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Iowa.
Saira Misra started her career in Healthcare Management. After realizing that she was no longer passionate about her career, Saira made a change to the business side of fashion. After networking and a few classes at FIT, she started as an intern at M Missoni which was licensed by Valentino Fashion Group. From there, she moved to Derek Lam Collection managing their RTW Collection business. Saira then went on to Alexander Wang where she managed their domestic accessories and footwear business. Currently, she is managing Phillip Lim’s RTW, Handbag and footwear wholesale business for all domestic accounts.
Francesca Ormezzano’s international career in tech and creative industries has led her to develop key insights and knowledge in e-commerce, strategy development, growth marketing and new business development, and has a keen interest in demonstrating the economic and social impact that craft economies and creative businesses can drive.
Vincent (Vinnie) Peterson specializes in finance, accounting and budgeting. His financial experience includes positions in public accounting and investment banking in the New York City and Washington D.C. metro areas.
Vinnie earned degrees in accounting from Duquesne University (Bachelor of Science) and St. John’s University (Master of Science). He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and has passed CFA Level I. Vinnie is a certified PADI Open Water SCUBA diver and also enjoys rock climbing and wood carving.
Julia Price Baron has 12+ years of professional writing, production and promotions experience helping brands and companies find their voices and tell their stories. She’s worked with a range of collaborators, including: Etsy, A+E Networks, Discovery+, Spotify, Universal Studios, Topic, Elle Decor, IFC and Gretel. As an artisan enthusiast, Julia thrilled to take part in NEST’s Expert Network.
Julia Price Baron
Christina Rado helps small businesses convert leads into paying customers. By creating effective email marketing campaigns, optimizing website messaging and refining sales funnels, she helps small businesses increase conversion rates, revenue and customer satisfaction.
Jinal Shah is a digital-first leader, internationally recognized for driving both creative and commercial capital for her companies. Throughout her career, she has built purpose-driven consumer brands that inspire new behaviors. As the VP of Marketing at Feather— the company redefining furniture rental— Jinal leads all brand strategy, creative, growth and sustainability initiatives. Prior to Feather, she helped build S’well into a category-defining, status-building brand while taking on single-use plastic bottles. In previous roles, she built Newell’s internal e-commerce agency (driving $250M+ in revenue); founded a global content studio for WPP’s J. Walter Thompson; and crafted award-winning (Cannes Lions, ADC, Webby, Clip, etc.) campaigns and digital products for Nestle, Unilever, Estee Lauder, American Express, Rolex and more. Jinal was ranked by The Guardian as one of ten digital strategists to watch and served as a curator for TED. She is a Nest Fellow— where she advises global artisan businesses on growth — and sits on the Advisory Board of CFDA’s Elaine Gold Launch Pad program. In addition, as an immigrant and a woman of color, she has been vocally active in the DE&I space. For over a year now, she has opened up her calendar to mentor emerging black talent in marketing and was recently invited to be a mentor to a cohort of black entrepreneurs with Pharrell’s Black Ambition incubator.
Mansi Shah is a brand strategy consultant and a sustainability advocate in India. She is the founder of Keep It Sustainable Stupid (KISS), a community-focused social media brand simplifying sustainability for the Indian consumer. Prior to starting KISS in 2020, Mansi was the founding member at Hemp Fabric Lab, India’s first online fabric store selling hemp fabrics in small quantities where she led business development, branding and marketing. The brand is a division of Bombay Hemp Company, India’s first cannabis startup backed by Mr. Ratan Tata. In her spare time, Mansi has taught Masterclasses on sustainable fashion at design institutes like Istituto Marangoni and ISDI Parsons in Bombay. She gave a TED talk in 2019 called ‘Why we shouldn’t talk about sustainability’ highlighting the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
Nikita J. Shah is an enthusiast of textiles and crafts. Nikita is a textile design graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, India, and a fashion design major from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. She is an independent consultant, with nine years of experience at the grassroots, bridging the gap between artisanal textiles to a more global and relevant platform. She supports businesses and artisans with design development, understanding the market, needs and education on both ends of the process. Her stance is that of an insider-outsider; on the one hand, a practitioner, while on the other, an individual socialized since birth in the rituals and language of handmade clothes. She aims to preserve the cultural heritage of textiles through a modern relevance. Dedicated to her belief in the grassroots, she has been an advocate of its importance and inclusion on a day-to-day life creating a circular economy that is of a sustainable world.
Nikita J. Shah
Stephanie Shen is a sourcing and product development executive with over 20 years of experience in branded and private label apparel production. She has a deep understanding of fabric and garment construction, trims, printing, washing and finishing. Additionally, she has an extensive network of sources in Bangladesh, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Middle East and strong relationships with garment factories, trim and piece goods suppliers. Stephanie is a persistent negotiator and problem solver Proven leader with the ability to motivate and collaborate with both cross-functional, overseas and direct report teams.
Leigh Silver is the Founder of SilverSight Consulting, a New York-based marketing and digital strategy consultancy. Leigh founded SilverSight 4 years ago, and since then has served a variety of clients, from for-profit to non-profit, beauty to finance, tech startup to legacy brand. SilverSight offers a wide variety of services, including marketing strategy, advertising, media planning, communications strategy, social media strategy, email marketing, rebranding and creative services. Before founding SilverSight, Leigh worked at Complex Media, Huffington Post and a high-growth media startup, Odyssey. Leigh’s media background informs her audience-first approach to marketing. She also has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Gillian Tozer is the Executive Creative Director of Saint Art, a womenswear brand launching July 2021. Formerly founder of TRUSS, Creative Director of The Webster and Content Director of Opening Ceremony.
Tsui Yuen-Pappas is a creative executive with over 25 years of experience working in the fashion industry. Her career started in design and has since expanded to include sustainable global sourcing and manufacturing, of designer ready-to-wear, footwear and accessories. Tsui is an expert in startup business development, and a pioneer in sustainable sourcing practices. She has traveled extensively worldwide to partner with factories and suppliers pushing the boundaries to create innovative materials and practices in manufacturing. Tsui is currently the Director of Sustainability and Product Development Sourcing for JS Groupe International overseeing the initiatives and sourcing for brands such as Halston, Amur, ML Monique L’lhullier Kay Unger, Theia and JS Collections. She has successfully managed multi-million dollar businesses for brands such as 31.Phillip Lim, Theory, Tamara Mellon, Emanuel Ungaro and Alexander Wang by building ethically compliant partnerships with suppliers and manufacturers internationally creating transparency in supply chains. A staunch community volunteer, Tsui is an appointed member of the Diversity and Inclusion committee for the Village of Croton on Hudson She is also a mentor & guest lecturer at Parsons and LIM College.
John Peter Wheeler, Jr. is currently a Marketing Director of a social-impact company, as well as a serial entrepreneur and digital marketing consultant that has been in e-commerce since 1998. Platform agnostic, he’s built organizations with 7 figure arr, as well as opening physical retail boutiques with online merchandise sales.
John Peter Wheeler, Jr.
Join the Network
Industry professionals with a commitment to lending their time and talent to the artisan sector are welcome to join Nest’s fellowship network. Woven across Nest’s programming, fellowships pair professionals with artisan businesses that have demonstrated a clear need for their expertise. The topics and business challenges covered in Nest fellowships are broad in scope and can cover everything from brand marketing to product development to operations & finance.Learn More about Becoming a Fellow