Event Details

Join us for the Women in CPG Fall Step-Up Happy Hour, a happy hour for woman-founded, woman-led brands and CPG professionals.

Come to mingle, hear from inspiring women, enjoy sampling from local natural products brands, and your first drink is free! Plus, you'll have the opportunity to help fellow women founders in a quick-fire support-a-thon.

What is a quick-fire support-a-thon? Imagine a wedding registry, but for a business, plus a 2-minute business presentation. Women-founders will take the spotlight, share what they do, and ask the audience for help. They will request anything they need - from a mentor to a new piece of equipment - and everyone in the audience has the chance to support her - or connect her to someone else who can. Let's Step-Up for women-owned businesses in our community!


  • Karin Samelson Alison Smith (Cofounders of Umai Marketing)

    Karin Samelson Alison Smith

    Cofounders of Umai Marketing


    UMAI Marketing gives consumer goods founders and marketers the digital tools and support to grow better brands.

    We’re a boutique, Austin-based agency with a strong dedication to our clients’ goals. The Japanese word Umai means skillful, good, and delicious, or tasty, in Japanese and it embodies our mission to create marketing that’s irresistibly inspiring and drives results.

    ***For CPG founders and marketers who want to do the work in-house, we also offer the Consumer Goods Growth Course.

    The Growth Course gives you a digital blueprint to grow CPG brands online using our tried-and-true digital growth strategies we use time and time again to grow CPG brands tenfold.

    Brands we've helped grow: Serenity Kids, Natural Stacks, Mother-In-Law's Kimchi, Purely Pecans, CANTEEN Spirits, Puffworks, Wondercide, Waterloo Gin

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  • Minal Bhakta (Founder & President of Pirq)

    Minal Bhakta

    Founder & President of Pirq


    Minal Bhakta is the founder and president of Pirq, a natural food company on a mission to make plant-based nutrition convenient, delicious, and accessible for everyone. Minal was inspired by her mom’s love for turmeric and developed a line of indulgent plant protein shakes with superfoods curcumin from turmeric, maca, and almonds. Since launch, Pirq has become one of the best-selling protein drinks on Amazon, followed by a strong and growing retail distribution, with the most recent launch being Publix.

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  • Kelly Ferris (Senior Director of Sales, Small Business at BigCommerce)

    Kelly Ferris

    Senior Director of Sales, Small Business at BigCommerce


    Kelly Ferris has been with BigCommerce for 5 years and is the Senior Director of Sales for the Small Business Team. In her role, she leads a large team of sellers and engineers who connect with thousands of small businesses across the US and Latin America. From garage start-ups to investor-backed Emerging brands, her team specializes in helping companies identify the right tech stack to support their goal of launching or growing an online business.

    Prior to joining BigCommerce, she spent 11 years in sales at IBM in a variety of sales and management roles. In her free time, you can find Kelly chancing around her two kids, Riley (9) and Olivia (6).

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  • Leah Lopez (Founder & CEO of Better Bites Bakery)

    Leah Lopez

    Founder & CEO of Better Bites Bakery


    Leah's story behind the brand Better Bites Bakery starts with her son, Gabriel.
    When Gabriel was 2.5 years old he was non-verbal, tired all the time, and was not playing with toys. After seeing several specialists he was diagnosed with life threatening food allergies to Dairy, Eggs, and Gluten. The neurologist told Leah that Gabe would be speaking in full sentences and playing with toys in a matter of three days if he did not eat those allergens. Sure enough, 72 hours later a light switch turned on in Gabriel and he was bright eyed, talking, and playing on the playground for the first time; simply thriving! This was Leah's turning point where she saw how important food truly is for the body. She thought it would be quite easy now that she knew the root of the problem. With that being said, she had no idea just how hard it would be to keep Gabe safe as well as keep him included in life events that are celebrated with food. Twelve years ago it was impossible to find desserts that were free from all of Gabe's allergies. So, she did what every other mom would do...she got in the kitchen and started creating!
    Many people with similar circumstances reached out to her and requested her bring a bakery to life. With all the support she felt compelled to do just that. Better Bites Bakery manufacturing facility was built in 2013 in Austin, Texas. . To date you can find Better Bites sold in natural, conventional, mass, club, and e-commerce. Better Bites Bakery's mission is to bring people together by providing delicious, plant based-treats that are free of the top 9 allergens, because she believes that celebrations and special occasions are always a little sweeter when everyone can enjoy what's on the table:)

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  • Raeka Morar (Founder & CEO of Raeka Beauty)

    Raeka Morar

    Founder & CEO of Raeka Beauty


    Law student turned beautypreneur, Raeka Morar is the founder of Raeka Beauty, an Indian Inspired skincare brand that reintroduces ayurvedic ingredients through contemporary textures. She is experienced in building e-commerce brands, product development, branding, and utilization of niche marketing.

    Instagram: @raekabeauty

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  • Connie Shih (CEO & Founder of Heralogie)

    Connie Shih

    CEO & Founder of Heralogie


    Connie Shih, Founder & CEO: Previously, I spent 5 years at Merrill Lynch, cold calling to build a book of $30 million AUM, which I sold to Amerprise to found Heralogie. Heralogie was founded to empower women and menstruators while taking care of the environment at the same time.

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  • Anna Taranova (Vice President - Tech & Disruptive Commerce Banking at JP Morgan)

    Anna Taranova

    Vice President - Tech & Disruptive Commerce Banking at JP Morgan


    Anna is currently Vice President of Tech & Disruptive Commerce commercial banking at JPMorgan Chase. With a strong passion for the better-for-you food and beverage space, she has combined career background and experience both in banking/finance as well as CPG. Most recently, Anna spent 2 years running business development for Austin-based, CPG consulting agency, Cartograph, where she developed a skillset in e-commerce, Amazon, and growing CPG brands. In her new role at JPMorgan, Anna provides commercial banking and strategic advisory with a focus on start-ups in the natural CPG space.

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