Knowledge is power. We’ve recruited top professionals in a diverse number of fields to provide Local Leaf Farms with the vision, passion, expertise and energy needed to revolutionize the future of food.
Meet Our Team:
Steve Jones,Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board
Richard Baran-Chong, CPA, CA,Chief Financial Officer
Greg Yuristy,Chief Agronomy Officer
Stephen Rodrigues,Sales Director
Steve Jones, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board
Steve has a diverse career that has spanned currency trading for Scotia Capital Markets to becoming a Naturopathic Doctor and founding Millennium Health Centres. After 7 years at BDO Canada, where he was a National Director, Marketplace, he joined the Business Development Bank of Canada as a Senior Partner in the management consulting practice before leaving to start Local Leaf Farms, a model he had been developing for five years.
Richard Baran-Chong, CPA, CA, Chief Financial Officer
Richard’s career path combines a strong financial background and love for numbers with strategic brand management. He obtained his CPA designation while working at Ernst & Young before making the leap into management consulting with Level5 Strategy Group. As a Director at Level5, Richard worked alongside leading Canadian and U.S. companies to develop and implement their corporate and brand strategies while also helping build Level5’s Implementation service offering. As a dreamer of everything related to food (and with a backyard garden that's had mixed success), Richard is excited to be part of Local Leaf Farms.
Greg Yuristy, Chief Agronomy Officer
Greg comes from a diverse background encompassing controlled environment plant production, genetics, production facility operations, and construction. After generating multiple patents as a graduate student at the University of Guelph’s Controlled Environment Research Facility, Greg founded Smart Green Technologies, an urban greening company with a focus on vegetated roofs and urban agriculture. More recently, Greg has served as a Director of Production and Operations within the highly regulated Canadian Cannabis industry. As Local LeafFarms new Chief Agronomy Officer, Greg will lead the company’s production operations and innovation strategies through combining his passion for both locally grown food, and the technologies which produce it.
Stephen Rodrigues, Sales Director
Stephen has been working in food related organizations for over 35 years in both South Africa and Canada. He has worked ‘both sides’ of the table and experienced all aspects of the food industry from back door receiving to senior-level management for large retail chains. Stephen has collaborated and consulted both locally and internationally with growers, feeding schemes, importers, exporters and distributors.
Stephen has a passion for produce and sustainable food systems and is excited to be working in the innovative vertical farming sector and part of addressing Canada’s growing demand for healthy food sources.
Stephen lives in Huntsville and is part of the northern co-operative food movement.
Our Board of Directors:
Azadeh Sabour,Executive Director, Client Relations Enablement, Sustainalytics
Claude Ricks,Managing Partner, Level5 Strategy
Mary F. Parniak, CPA, CA,CFO, Longo's (retired)
Bruce McKean,Vice Chair, Cuso International
Azadeh Sabour, Executive Director, Client Relations Enablement, Sustainalytics
Azadeh has worked at Sustainalytics for over twelve years in pursuit of educating public companies on how to be more sustainable and of supporting institutional and retail investors in integrating ESG research and data into their responsible investment strategies. She currently heads operational and strategic oversight of Sustainalytics’ global Client Relations team. Azadeh has a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Business from Ryerson University. She also holds a master’s degree in Business Administration and a Certificate in the Emerging Leaders Program for Women in Leadership from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. She is also an Arbor Award Recipient.
Claude Ricks, Managing Partner, Level5 Strategy
Currently Managing Partner at Level5 Strategy, leading the transformational practice, Claude was co-founder and CEO of SQI Diagnostics bringing the innovative startup to market. Prior to that he was the co-founder of A.T. Kearney's Global Change Management practice and an entrepreneur, co-founding Siamons International. Claude received his BSc with Honours from Western University and is also a devoted believer in volunteering time to causes that build healthy communities.
Mary F. Parniak, CPA, CA, CFO, Longo's (retired)
Mary Parniak is a retired (May 2019) senior finance executive, with over thirty years of experience leading finance, IT, operations and risk management teams, primarily in the food products (CPG) and grocer retailing industries. Mary has also served in a volunteer capacity on the Board of Directors for Outward Bound Canada and has been actively involved with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO). Ms. Parniak is a Chartered Accountant and has a Bachelor of Business Management degree from Ryerson University.
Bruce McKean, Vice Chair, Cuso International
Bruce McKean has a long history with sustainability and social responsibility. He is currently Vice Chair of Cuso International and is also a board member of Great Quest Fertilizers and Emmetros, a Waterloo, Ontario, start-up assisting people with the management of early onset dementia. He is also involved with Mitigokaa Development Corp that will bring low-cost, non-diesel off-grid energy to remote (mainly First Nations) communities. Bruce is a member of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldier Initiative and is a former board member of The Natural Step Canada, whose mission is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society. His personal focus is on mental health basic research with CAMH (Toronto) and the Royal Hospital (Ottawa). Bruce is from Victoria and is a passionate gardener.
David Segal,Founder, DAVIDsTEA and Mad Radish
Frank O’Dea,Chair, Cuso International & Co-Founder of The Second Cup
David Segal, Founder, DAVIDsTEA & Mad Radish
David Segal is the founder of Mad Radish and DAVIDsTEA, David grew his tea company from a single store on Toronto's Queen St. W. to a $200 million retail giant. Forbes named DAVIDsTEA one of the 25 most innovative consumer and retail brands in the world - but he attributes the success of the brand to his passion for building a team of dedicated, smart and passionate people. Today, Segal is carrying that passion forward to his latest venture, Mad Radish, a new quick service restaurant offering mind-blowing warm bowls & salads. At Mad Radish, Segal is out to inspire Canadians to consume more consciously, and prove that good-for-you can also taste amazing. In 2017, David was named one of Canada's Top 40 under 40.
Frank O’Dea, Chair, Cuso International & Co-Founder of The Second Cup
From "Street Kid to Biz Wiz," Frank O'Dea's career is a reminder for people to never give up. As co-founder of The Second Cup, he then went on to co-found ProShred Security, and to lead a variety of businesses as CEO and Chairman. He soon learned that his real calling was in giving back to his community and co-founded several not-for-profit organizations including The Canadian Landmine Foundation. His avocational work was recognized when Frank became an Officer in the Order of Canada. Frank was awarded Rotary International's prestigious Paul Harris award four times. In his third chapter, Frank is excited to be joining his wife Nancy O'Dea to put his skills to use in the world of real estate.