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

Dr. Vanessa Coffman

Director of Alliance
to Stop Foodborne Illness

Maria Krysciak

Director of Operations

Stanley E Rutledge

Director of Constituent Services + Communications

Kelly Lombardo

Alliance Coordinator

Kiley Doherty

Dave Theno Fellow

Our Core Values

Compassion

STOP leads with compassion and insight to engage and support individuals and families affected by foodborne illness.

Collaboration

STOP works in partnership with other organizations to achieve its mission.

Environmental Responsibility

STOP supports sustainable
practices that reduce the
spread of foodborne pathogens
and promote a healthy environment.

integrity

STOP operates with honesty and openness by maintaining the
highest standards of accountability
and stewardship of its resources.

equity

STOP promotes fairness,
opportunity, diversity, and inclusion

learning

STOP uses science, data, and
discovery to guide its actions.

Board of Directors

Click Photo for Bio

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

CEO & President
Kelleher Consultants LLC

Taylor Sanders

Constituent Advocate

Lone Jespersen

Principal
Cultivate Food Safety

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kiley Doherty

Kiley Doherty received her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a minor in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona. Surviving a foodborne outbreak in 2013 (that occurred in her hometown of Phoenix, AZ) was the catalyst by which Kiley became interested in food safety and epidemiology.
After being infected with E. coli O157:H7, and subsequently developing HUS, Kiley almost died. Pursuing a career in public health seemed like the obvious career choice. Among other life goals, she hopes to raise awareness about the severity of foodborne illness and reduce the number of outbreaks.
In May 2022, Kiley graduated with her Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from University of California, Berkeley. She enjoyed her time as a golden bear and completed her capstone project: Evaluating Risk Factors Associated with the Development of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome in Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Infected Children: a Systematic Review. She is excited to continue to do research with STOP and Michigan State University.
When she’s not working like a dog, Kiley likes to surf and hike throughout the Bay Area, spend time with friends, and search for the best bowl of ramen.  

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. For 28 years she worked as a high school counselor, retiring in 2022. 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 American Veterinary Medical 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.”
Mike Taylor (fellow board member) 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 Health 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 has a BAE in Special Education and Elementary Education from Arizona State University and is currently  teaching Junior High Resource at Canyon Breeze Elementary School.
She has three beautiful children. The youngest, Noah, is a survivor of the Foster Farms Salmonella Outbreak (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 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 has spent a significant amount of her career building and sustaining food safety and quality programs. Originally from Ireland, she has lived and worked in Ireland, the UK, France, and the US. Gillian’s global perspective comes from driving change in multiple countries and sectors (manufacturing, food service, retail, distribution) with leading companies such as Häagen Dazs, Burger King, Express Foods, Pillsbury and Wegmans Food Markets. In addition, she has led development of food safety and quality programs for many large and small private label suppliers and distributors.
Gillian has a Bachelor of Food Science (Dairy) degree from University College Cork, Ireland. She has participated in extensive training and education programs at a practical, business, scientific and executive leadership level.
Gillian has long-standing relationships with the Food Marketing Institute’s Food Protection Committee, Board of Directors of the American National Standards Institute, and the Global Food Safety Initiative (a former co-vice chair and board member).
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Stop Foodborne Illness, Gillian also serves on the Educational Advisory Board for Food Safety Magazine and is a long-standing member of Harvard’s Private and Public Scientific, Academic and Consumer Food Policy Committee (PAPSAC). Gillian is also actively involved in the Leafy Greens Safety Coalition (LGSC).

Taylor Sanders

Taylor Sanders had a life-altering experience with E. coli O157 in 2019 that reshaped the way she approaches food. Whether buying, preparing or eating, Taylor now sees the world of food with a clearer understanding of how one’s life can change in a moment and why it’s important to help others understand that they are not alone, and that finding and creating good solutions is good for everyone.
Taylor is mother and food safety advocate from Illinois. She has a master’s in social work and is currently working as a mental health therapist assisting clients struggling with mental health concerns and helping them find the strength within themselves.
Taylor knows that because of her foodborne illness experience she is a better therapist, mother, family member and friend. Echoing the words of musician, Bob Marley, Taylor will tell anyone, “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” “While I am thankful that my eyes have been opened,” she says, “I don’t recommend this experience to anyone.”

Lone Jespersen, Ph.D

Lone Jespersen is a published author, speaker, and the principal and founder of Cultivate SA, a Swiss-based organization dedicated to help organizations in the global supply chain make safe, great tasting food through cultural effectiveness.
Lone has worked with improving food safety through organizational culture improvements for 18 years since she started at Maple Leaf Foods in 2004. Lone chaired the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) technical working group “A Culture of Food Safety”,  chaired, the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) professional development group “Food Safety Culture”, and currently the technical author on the BSI PAS320 “Practical Guide to Food Safety Culture.”
Lone holds a Ph.D. in Culture Enabled Food Safety from the University of Guelph, Canada and a Master in Mechanical Engineering from Syd Dansk University, Denmark. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Stop Foodborne Illness, Lone serves as vice-chair on the board of the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI).

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.