The Food Future is Here

Podcast Series

Episode 4: Central Valley Investment in the Food System

Coming soon. 

In this episode we interview Isabella Guzman, Director, Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development and Esperanza Pallana, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Community Vision and Administrator of California FreshWorks. We discuss practical steps to investing in equitable and sustainable food systems and the importance of supporting entrepreneurs of color and BIPOC-owned small businesses in California’s Central Valley.

This podcast is hosted by Leticia Corona and Ome Quetzal Lopez.

To learn more about California Freshworks, visit cafreshworks.com.

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About the Speakers

Esperanza Pallana, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Community Vision & Administrator, California FreshWorks

Esperanza Pallana is a strategic leader whose passions are in community centered economic development, equitable and sustainable food systems, and racial justice. She has worked with nonprofits for 20 years with an emphasis in leadership, systemic change, and policy advocacy. She has led several successful change campaigns that have resulted in institutional change and policy and program innovations. As Director of Strategic Initiatives at Community Vision and Administrator of California FreshWorks, Esperanza leads organization-wide strategic activities that advance economic equity in California’s communities.

Isabel Guzman, Director, Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development

Isabel Casillas Guzman brings over 20 years of experience advising entrepreneurs, launching ventures, helping small businesses navigate the federal government, and creating policies and programs to help advance entrepreneurship and innovation. In her work with growth-minded firms, she brings expertise in public and private supply chains, capital markets, international trade, and strategic growth and operations. Isabel is the former Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Small Business Administration where she was part of the senior leadership team responsible for advancing the nation’s small businesses through capital, contracting and advisory services. Prior to the SBA, Isabel developed strategic initiatives at ProAmerica Bank, a commercial bank serving small and mid-sized businesses and offering consultative services along with growth capital. She has served in leadership roles in state government, as a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies, co-founded two businesses, and managed a Fortune 100’s divisional supply chain. Isabel is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania where she received her Bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of Business.