Provender Pathfinders 2021: Insights and Inspiration from Innovative Leaders

Time: Friday, Oct. 8th, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm (PST)

Location: Main Stage

Speaker(s): Shawn Donnille, Owner/CEO, Mountain Rose Herbs; Sue Kesey - Co-founder, Springfield Creamery/Nancy's Probiotic Foods; Gavin McComas - Owner, Sundance Natural Foods; Moderator Lisa Spicka, Director of Sustainability Consulting, NSF International

This workshop’s focus is for Provender membership leaders to share from their career lessons learned along the way, and bring their meaningful message to the conversation with their big-picture vision, practical perspective, and how the values they hold dear has shaped the businesses that they run.


Shawn DonnilleShawn is Mountain Rose Herbs’ owner and CEO. He first became involved with Mountain Rose Herbs as a passionate young idealist with a fervent desire to change the world. He was a notorious rabble-rouser, always petitioning for mandatory labeling on genetically modified food crops, encouraging people to support a strong conservation ethic, and more. When Mountain Rose Herbs came into his life, Shawn saw it as an opportunity to change the way business is conducted on this planet. To this day, the revolutionary business principles that Shawn initiated have been used as a successful model by countless other organizations. Since becoming a co-owner of the company in 2001, he has continued to initiate bold and daring changes, most notably the eradication of all conventionally grown products from our product line, introducing the first line of fair trade certified medicinal herbs in the United States.

Sue KeseyFresh out of college and newly wed, Chuck and Sue Kesey opened Springfield Creamery near their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The pair was a great match from the start—in marriage and business! Chuck majored in dairy science at Oregon State University and had always been a creamery kid (his father, Fred, was longtime manager of the Eugene Farmers Creamery). Sue’s degree in secretarial sciences meant she’d studied everything it took to handle the numbers, from accounting to planning to economics



Gavin McComas -Gavin’s work in the natural foods movement began in 1971 at the Willamette People’s Food Co-op in Eugene. In 1983 he became co-owner of Sundance Natural Foods and attended his first Provender Conference. It was so useful and inspiring that ever since he became sole proprietor in 1985 he brings along as many staff members as are able to attend.

Gavin encourages other businesses to join Sundance in helping keep Provender alive. Each of us can afford to give $5, $10 or $20 a day to help sustain this unique source of education, inspiration and networking. We can’t afford to lose it.

Moderator Lisa Spicka – As the Director of Sustainability Consulting at NSF, Lisa ensure clients receive excellent climate, strategy, and supply chain assurance consulting solutions from her team. Additional duties include working with peers to identify cross-departmental opportunities, and managing the operations and finances (P&L) of her division. She previously served as Associate Director & Interim Executive Director at the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA). Her work included sustainability reporting, new and proprietary analytic sustainability tools, B Corp certification, workshops, webinars, and service provider projects that provide exclusive access to tools and services.