Our Team

Meet Our People

Stop Foodborne Illness is here to amplify voices that have experienced great trauma from something as base as eating. We are working for those that understand that public health and food safety are synonymous; and, for the courageous individuals that share their personal tragedy to prevent others from having the same experience.

You are not alone — whether you are in crisis, post-crisis or managing the life-long complications that can accompany surviving contaminated food. We, at Stop Foodborne Illness, are humbly dedicated to you. 

We will continue working to stop foodborne illness. 

Our Staff

Click Photo for Bio

Mitzi D Baum

Chief Executive Officer

Maria Krysciak

Director of Operations

Vanessa Coffman

Director of Alliance
to Stop Foodborne Illness

Stanley E Rutledge

Director of Constituent Services + Communications

Kelly Lombardo

Grant Specialist

Nidhi Joshi

Dave Theno Fellow

Board of Directors

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Ben Chapman

Board Co-Chair
professor + food safety extension specialist,
North Carolina State University

Mary McGonigle Martin

Board Co-Chair
Constituent Advocate

Mary Heersink

Constituent Advocate

Michael Taylor

Former Deputy Commissioner for Foods,
US Food and Drug Administration

Amanda Craten

Constituent Advocate

Rob Swenson

Treasurer
CPA + MST, Tax Leadership and Training,
Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams, Ltd.

Gillian Kelleher

Vice President,
Food Safety + Quality Assurance,
Wegmans Food Markets
Stop Foodborne Illness logo

Jorge Hernandez

Vice President,
Quality Assurance, the Wendy's Company

Craig Wilson

Vice President,
Quality Assurance + Food Safety,
Costco Wholesale

Joyce Williams

Chief Culture Officer, AEP Energy

Patricia M Griffin

Chief of Enteric Diseases Epidemiology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Our Mascot

Vicki Love

Supreme Diva

Mitzi Baum

Mitzi Baum joined the team at Stop Foodborne Illness as the Chief Executive Officer in May 2019.  She is motivated by the mission to create a new strategy for Stop and its constituency that will drive change through advocacy, collaboration and innovation.
Prior to beginning her tenure at Stop, Mitzi cultivated a 23-year career at Feeding America beginning as a network services representative rising to the senior level position of managing director of food safety. 
As managing director of food safety, Mitzi guided the continued development of food safety initiatives including development and execution of the food safety strategic plan; oversight of third-party food safety audit program; food safety educational summits; development of food safety resources; and coordination with donors and regulatory agencies to support food donations.  
Before Feeding America, Mitzi managed restaurants for the Peasant Restaurant Co. in Atlanta, Funky’s Restaurants in Cincinnati, and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago.
Mitzi holds a Master of Science in Food Safety and a certificate in Food Law from Michigan State University. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH.
She has earned certificates in Non-Profit Management from the University of Chicago, Quality Management from DePaul University and Food Safety Management from Cornell University. 
She is a certified seafood HACCP instructor and is a certified PCQI. Mitzi is a member of the International Association of Food Protection, the Conference for Food Protection and the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

Maria Krysciak

Maria Krysciak began working with Stop Foodborne Illness as a part-time book keeper in April 2010, which became a full-time position of Operations Manager in November. Within a year, her persistent diligence, strong work ethic and attention to detail in responsibilities ranging from Human Resources, Board Relations and Office Administration to Finance and Accounting were the catalyst for a promotion to Director of Operations.
Prior to joining our organization, Maria worked at the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB), a nonprofit organization. She has over twenty years of experience in accounting, administrative and member services, and has worked as a Grant Coordinator liaison between CCTB and the State of Illinois government grant administration.
Maria is a graduate of Northwestern Business College in Chicago.
Out of the office, Maria likes to garden, go for walks and spend time with her family. She is a wife, and a mother of two adult sons. 
With the same care and attention Maria gives to animals and her flower garden, she contributes to the growth and ongoing success of Stop Foodborne Illness.

Vanessa Coffman

With a diverse background in food safety and sustainability, Dr. Vanessa Coffman brings a strong focus on environmental exposures across the food system.
She received her PhD in Environmental Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a MS from The University of California, Berkeley in Global Public Health and the Environment.
Vanessa has previously worked at STOP as a policy analyst. Since then, she has conducted research for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Sierra Leone (West Africa) examining opportunities and roadblocks to farming in a post-war setting. Additionally, she has done extensive research on occupational and residential exposures from large pork production operations in rural North Carolina, and conducted research based in Denmark examining the association between nitrate in drinking water (largely from food animal operations) and fetal health outcomes.
Dr. Coffman has testified in front of U.S. government officials and has co-authored peer-reviewed papers and helped draft federal regulations.
In her spare time, Vanessa fosters dogs and enjoys travelling with her husband, and trying new foods. And, on slow days, bothering Stanley.

Stanley Rutledge

Stanley Rutledge was a volunteer with Stop Foodborne Illness before joining the staff in 2011. From the beginning, Stanley has been tasked with what he calls one of the best jobs at STOP — engaging our treasure trove of constituents!
The individuals and families that are survivors or loved ones of those who have fallen victim to the life-altering experiences of foodborne illness are absolutely the heart of Stop Foodborne Illness. Without them we could never do what we do.
From the great plains of Iowa and Nebraska to the great city of London (UK) to Illinois by way of California, Stanley’s education and work experience has given him opportunities to use his gifts of ideation and adaptability in such diverse fields as design, education, book procurement, farming, office administration, travel, and food service. And now, in the nonprofit sector, he gets to put all that good experience to use.
Using social media, phone and email contacts, snail mail, and word of mouth, Stanley seeks out individuals and families impacted by foodborne illness to offer such services as a place to be heard or a platform to share their foodborne illness story with the people who really need to hear them — basically, anyone who eats. From consumers, and the food industry, to government agents and other stakeholders Stanley has a message for you — wash your hands, and watch this.
Stanley helps the website stay current and viable, manages the e-Alerts and eNews, and is always looking for ways to engage and assist our staff and volunteers.
If he’s not at his desk, it’s probably best to look for Stanley at the nearest thrift store, estate, garage or yard sale. He avidly listens to music and podcasts, and likes taking long walks and reading short books. He loves a good board game and spending time with family and friends.

Kelly Lombardo

Kelly Lombardo started with Stop Foodborne Illness in 2013 as a Consultant tasked with diligently and thoroughly ensuring compliance with individual state registration requirements. With more than 20+ years of knowledge and experience, Kelly became full time with Stop Foodborne Illness in 2016.
Naturally, her role and responsibilities have expanded, from being lead contact and liaison for conferences in which we are exhibiting or participating, to administering and supervising correspondence with donors, board members, and partner organizations.
Kelly researches, preps, and executes contact for foundation grants, community-supporting associations, and corporate gifting entities. 
Additionally, Kelly provides all manner of executive support to Mitzi including making travel arrangements, maintaining calendar oversight, and generally (and specifically!) cultivating clarity and focus.
When she’s not up to her eyes in grants and foundation applications, Kelly loves spending time with daughter, Sammy, and with her family. Kelly reads voraciously, enjoys her neighbors and friends, and always has a good story to share.

Nidhi Joshi

Shrinidhi (Nidhi) Joshi attended Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Texas) where she graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry.
Under the mentorship of Dr. Kendra Nightingale, Nidhi began doing food safety research at Texas Tech’s International Center for Food Industry ExcellenceHer projects focused on probiotics, biosanitizer effectivity, serotype assay development, and antibiotic resistance surveillance. Through research, Nidhi’s interest in foodborne illness and food microbiology grew.
As the 2021 Dave Theno Food Safety Fellow, Nidhi will be developing her own research project, with STOP’s assistance, and completing coursework for the Michigan State University Online Food Safety Certificate. Nidhi’s future plans include pursuing infectious disease medicine with an eye towards improving public health, by reducing preventable illness.
A lifelong learner, Nidhi enjoys researching and learning about a diverse range of topics such as aviation, about which she has gained a great deal of knowledge through watching documentaries. Having recently picked up birdwatching, Nidhi loves identifying birds and sketching them. She also won’t turn down an opportunity to spend time in a thrift store.

Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health.
With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork.
Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food.
Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk contributes to @barfblog and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest.
Follow Ben on Twitter @benjaminchapman.

Mary McGonigle-Martin

Mary McGonigle-Martin is from Murrieta, California, where she has been a high school counselor for the past 27 years. In 2006, after her son contracted a foodborne illness from drinking contaminated raw milk (sold legally in California), McGonigle-Martin experienced first-hand the overall lack of knowledge regarding early detection and treatment of such sicknesses.
In the years since, she has testified as an expert witness against raw milk bills in multiple states. She’s also spoken before the National Environmental Health Association, the Nevada Food Safety Task Force, the Association of Food and Drug Officials, and the National Environmental Health Association.
“I learned about STOP and its work only after my son was ill and hospitalized for two months,” McGonigle-Martin said. “This organization, and the work they do is critical to individuals and families dealing with the aftermath of a foodborne illness. The emotional and psychological consequences for those affected needs to be addressed.  I look forward to helping to fill that gap.”
Board Co-Chair, Mike Taylor notes that families like McGonigle-Martin’s are a key factor in driving awareness. “Mary and her family have lived through the harrowing days and nights of watching their child suffer because of a foodborne illness. It is because of stories like hers that we continue our work,” Taylor said.

Mary Heersink

Mary Heersink is a food safety advocate, and the author of E. Coli O157: The True Story of a Mother’s Battle with a Killer Microbe. In it, she recounts the harrowing experience of her son Damion, who in 1992 at the age of 11 ate contaminated hamburger meat at a Boy Scout outing and spent six-and-a-half weeks near death in pediatric intensive care. 

Despite Damion’s ultimate victory over E. coli O157:H7, Mrs. Heersink found her confidence in our food safety systems shaken.  Her encounters with ineffective government agencies led her to co-found S.T.O.P. (Stop Foodborne Illness) in the aftermath of the Pacific Northwest E.coli epidemic in 1993.

Mrs. Heersink has served on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. She has also testified before the U.S. Congress and has presented at scientific meetings, both nationally and internationally.

Mrs. Heersink currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Masters of Global Heath Programme, a joint initiative between McMaster University in Canada, Maastricht University in the Netherlands, Manipal Academy of Higher Education in India, and Thammasat University in Thailand,  University College of Southeast Norway, and Universidad del Rosario in Colombia.

She also serves on the Board of Visitors for the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine.

She has served on Boards of Directors for numerous nonprofit and civic organizations in her community of Dothan, Alabama, including Boys and Girls Clubs of Dothan, Wiregrass Museum of Art, Houston Academy, and Landmark Park.

Mrs. Heersink has been married for 40 years to Dr. Marnix Heersink, an ophthalmologist.  Trained as a visual artist, she is currently illustrating a volume of ophthalmic muscle surgery.

Dr. and Mrs. Heersink have six children and seven grandchildren.  Mrs. Heersink splits her time between Alabama and the Netherlands, where the couple renovated a 16th-century national monument in collaboration with a historical preservation foundation.

Michael Taylor

Mike Taylor got his start in food safety at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a staff attorney (1976-80) and served as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy (1991-94) before moving to the USDA where he served as Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service and Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety (1994-96).
Before rejoining the FDA in 2009, Mike spent close to a decade conducting food safety, food security and public health policy research and serving as a Senior Fellow at the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, where he conducted research on U.S. policies affecting agricultural development and food security in Africa.
In his third stint at the FDA as the Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Mike led the comprehensive overhaul of FDA’s food safety program Congress mandated in the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 and oversaw all of FDA’s food-related activities, including its nutrition, labeling, food additive, dietary supplement, and animal drug programs. Mike Taylor is currently a senior fellow at the Meridian Institute, focusing on food safety globally and food security in Africa and other developing regions.
In the private sector, Mike founded the food and drug practice and was a partner in the law firm of King & Spalding, was Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto Company, and served on the boards of the Alliance to End Hunger and RESOLVE, Inc. He is currently a member of the board of Clear Labs, Inc.

Amanda Craten

Amanda Craten is a mother, an educator, and a food safety advocate from Arizona. She is currently a Special Education Assistant for Resource at Desert Palms Elementary School and is working towards her bachelors degree in Special Education and Elementary Education at Northern Arizona University.
She has three beautiful children. The youngest, Noah, was a victim of the Foster Farms Salmonella Outbreak in 2013. Their family has been fighting to make change in the industry since then and became the first to take a poultry producer through civil trial and win. Food safety has made huge strides in recent years but there is still but there is still much work to be done.
Amanda wants others to see families like hers, not as victims, but as architects of change. Amanda evokes the words of Heidi Wills, “You can choose to be affected by the world, or you can choose to affect the world.”

Rob Swenson

Rob Swenson has been with ORBA (Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams, Ltd.) since 1996 and is a member of the firm’s Tax Leadership and Training Committees. Over the course of his career, Rob has gained extensive experience serving individuals, trusts, partnerships and privately-held corporations.
His specialties include tax compliance, tax planning and consultations for owners and key executives. Rob works closely with many law firms, professional corporations, professional athletes, restaurants and also with a wide variety of other industries.
While Rob focuses on supporting the firm and clients while on the job, away from work, he spends time supporting his family. Whether it’s using his season tickets to Cubs games on a sunny summer day, coaching kids’ sports or cheering on the University of Michigan, Rob enjoys being there for his family and friends.

Gillian Kelleher

Gillian Kelleher started her career with Express Foods Group in England where she worked at various locations in manufacturing Quality Assurance.
From there, she moved to Burger King Europe in London to work as a Supplier Quality Assurance Auditor and in 1992, relocated to France to work as a plant Quality Assurance Manager at Häagen Dazs’ green field European manufacturing site.
Gillian’s next stop was with Grand Metropolitan Foods Europe where she served as Senior Quality Assurance Manager and was responsible for all aspects of Quality Assurance for eight manufacturing locations in four countries.
Currently, Gillian works for Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., a mid-Atlantic grocery chain, where she has been the VP of Food Safety & Quality Assurance since 1997.
For over three years, she has been central to cultivating Wegmans’

Jorge Hernandez

Jorge Hernandez graduated from Rockford University in Illinois with degrees in chemistry and biology. He also holds a degree in French culture from La Université de la Sorbonne in Paris, France, and a degree in microbiology from the Centro de Estudios Científicos y Tecnológicos Especialidades Medico-Biológicas in México City, México.

Craig Wilson

Craig Wilson is the Vice President, General Merchandising Manager of Quality Assurance/ Food Safety, Non-Foods Quality Assurance, Environmental Services/Hazmat and Merchandise Services for Costco Wholesale Corporation. Costco Wholesale Corporation operates membership warehouses world-wide, that offer a selection of branded and private label products in a range of merchandise categories.
Costco is a global leader when it comes to food safety, and all suppliers must meet their strict compliance requirements. Costco’s food safety audit systems, STEC testing of fresh foods, x-ray product inspection, and unique positions on the Global Food Safety Initiative and the global regulatory environment, is well known industry wide.
Prior to joining Costco Wholesale, Craig worked as a Special Projects Director for Frigoscandia Equipment Food Safety Systems for over 24 years.  During his time with Frigoscandia, Craig published numerous research papers in the areas of food safety and food processing and holds many patents, the most notable for steam pasteurization of food, and is the recipient of the Gia/Matek Global Excellence in Food Safety Award.
He currently serves on the boards of Stop Foodborne Illness, the Global Food Safety Initiative, the Center for Produce Safety , the Center for Food Integrity, and the Steering Committee for the National Food Safety Consortium.

Joyce Williams

Joyce Williams is the Chief Culture Officer at AEP Energy, leading their marketing, communications and cultural endeavors. As an accomplished communications and organizational development executive, she is responsible for the delivery of mission-driven communications that express the voice and values of AEP Energy to the customers, employees and communities they serve.
Joyce has extensive experience in a variety of industries and organizations including consumer products, technology software and consulting, marketing and advertising and retail energy supply. The breadth of her experience stretches across Fortune 500, venture capital-backed, privately-held and start-up organizations. In each organization, Joyce has championed transformative change through the strategic 360° alignment of culture, communications and organizational design.
Joyce holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Millikin University. She currently serves as a mentor at 1871, where she advises and consults with the entrepreneurial community in Chicago. Joyce and her husband, Jim, live in Chicago and have four children.

Patricia Griffin

Dr. Patricia M. Griffin is Chief of the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The branch conducts surveillance for cases of illness and for outbreaks, does studies of human illness due to bacterial agents such as Salmonella and E. coli O157, tracks trends in these illnesses, and analyzes data on the relationship of illnesses to particular foods.
Dr. Griffin has supervised epidemiologic investigations throughout the United States and overseas. She has authored or co-authored over 235 journal articles, book chapters, and other publications.
“Helping all parties understand the major sources of and trends in foodborne illness is one way that Stop Foodborne Illness can help foster informed decisions by industry and government on policies and strategies that result in safer food,” said Dr. Griffin.
Dr. Griffin holds an adjunct appointment in the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She received an MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, trained in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, trained in gastroenterology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in mucosal immunology at the University of Pennsylvania, and in epidemiology with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS).
She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, is a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and a member of the American Epidemiological Society.