FORA.tv Speaker - Gary Hirshberg
Gary Hirshberg is the president and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, the world's largest manufacturer of organic yogurt. Hirshberg has overseen the company's growth from infancy as a 7-cow organic farming school in 1983 to its current $200 million in annual sales. This growth has been built with innovative marketing techniques that often combine the social, environmental, and financial missions of the company.
One of the company's five missions is "to serve as a model that environmentally and socially responsible businesses can also be profitable." In the early days of Stonyfield, Hirshberg wore many hats, from yogurt-maker to bookkeeper. He served as director of the Rural Education Center, the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned.
Before that, he was executive director of The New Alchemy Institute, an ecological institute devoted to organic agriculture, aquaculture, and renewable energy systems. Early in his career, he was a water-pumping windmill specialist, an author, environmental education specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and a manager of environmental tours to the People's Republic of China.
Hirshberg was one of the first graduates of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. He has received four honorary doctorates. He serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards including Homegrown Naturals, Honest Tea, and O'Naturals, a new chain of natural fast food restaurants he cofounded. He co-chaired The Social Venture Network for five years and is the founder of the Social Venture Institute, a "boot camp" for community-minded entrepreneurs.
Hirshberg has won numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including the 1999 Global Green USA's Green Cross Millennium Award (inspired by Mikhail S. Gorbachev) for Corporate Environmental Leadership. He was named "Business Leader of the Year" by Business NH Magazine and New Hampshire's 1998 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
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