Meet Our Team

Rebecca Self

Rebecca Self

Founder & Executive Director

Becca is a native Lexingtonian, a graduate of the MSTC program at Dunbar, with a Bachelors of Science from MIT. She was a classroom science teacher for 7 years before moving into the nonprofit sector. She worked as the Education Director at Seedleaf before Founding FoodChain in 2011. She is married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of twins.

 

 

 

rebecca@foodchainlex.org

 

Leandra Forman

Leandra Forman

Operations Manager

Leandra Forman has been at FoodChain since May of 2015. For the first two years she worked as the farm manager, however she transitioned to overseeing the Processing Kitchen and Food Sector Job Training Program in 2017. Since the pandemic shut down began in March of 2020, she has coordinated with restaurant partners, farmers, food pantries, and meal recipients.  As the daughter of a chef, she grew up speaking the language of food and is so excited to share that with others! She is a graduate of Berea College and a Kentucky native, who can usually be seen cycling every street of downtown Lexington. 

 

 

 

 

 

leandra@foodchainlex.org

Kristin Hughes

Kristin Hughes

Education & Outreach Director

Kristin Hughes is a Lexington, Kentucky native who spent 4 years living in Spain before returning to her roots. She graduated from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor’s in Spanish and earned her Master’s of Education from Georgetown College. A product of Maxwell’s Spanish Immersion Program, she worked as a Spanish teacher for 7 years before realizing her passion for teaching food education and joining FoodChain. She enjoys exploring different cultures through their cuisine and can often be found playing volleyball in the Liga Hispana de Volleyball.

kristin@foodchainlex.org

Alex Ball

Alex Ball

Farm Operations Manager

Alex has lived in several areas of the U.S, but came to Lexington to study Sustainable Agriculture and Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Before joining the FoodChain team, she worked in the roles of production manager and grower for organic CSA farms, as well as an instructor for a sustainable vegetable farm in Hawaii! She loves to be active and explore the outdoors, and can often be found cooking up a storm with delicious farm veggies!

alex@foodchainlex.org

Robin Emmons

Robin Emmons

Administrative Assistant

Robin moved to Lexington after graduating high school with her mom who is from Lexington. As a history major at the College of Wooster in Ohio, she wrote her senior thesis about the Lexington Public Library. A problem solver at heart, you can find her doing a little of a bunch of things here at FoodChain. Outside of work Robin enjoys crafting, following politics, listening to Princess Nokia, or planning her next adventure. She once spent 3 weeks camping and sailing in the Sea of Cortez with NOLS!

robin@foodchainlex.org

Jamisha Long

Jamisha Long

Master Processor

I have been working at foodchain for a year and half, and absolutely love it. I enjoy knowing that I am helping people and love learning new healthier ways of cooking. I am a proud mom of 3 beautiful children and also a full time student on the road to becoming an elementary school teacher.

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Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor

Duchess of Deliveries

Boston native cat mom, Sarah Taylor has worked in the food industry since she was 11. She coordinates and facilitates meal hand out and deliveries.

In her free time she likes to hang out with her cats, read and make great coffee.

Ivette Falcon

Ivette Falcon

Administrative Director of Fruit and Veggies

Ivette likes working at FoodChain because it feels good to give back to the community make healthy meals for kids.

In her free time, she likes to spend time with my family and make desserts.

Alex

Alex

Administrator of Chill

Alex is Florida native but has been living in Lexington since he was 16. He started volunteering at the beginning of the pandemic and decided to stay for the fun. In his off time he likes to be with his girlfriend, cats, and gecko.

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Annaliese McFarlane

Annaliese McFarlane

CEO of Snacks

Annaliese was born and raised in Lexington. She moved to North Carolina to get a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. She has only been at FoodChain for a short time but she loves feeling like she can contribute to the people and city she grew up in. She enjoys listening to feminist rap and hanging out with her dog Sage outside of work.

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Tem Burikhanov

Tem Burikhanov

Assistant Kitchen Manager

Tem is an Uzbek American who was born in Japan but raised in Lexington since the age of one. Tem started his cooking career in high school and has continued learning and growing in the food industry since. Outside of work he enjoys the great outdoors, food, and the arts.

tem@foodchainlex.org

Amber Lawrence

Amber Lawrence

Kitchen Auntie/Marketing Mom

A line cook at heart with a background in photography and writing, working at FoodChain is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done (besides being Kara’s partner and mom-ing our eight kids!) The passion here, for not just feeding people, but nourishing and educating them while advocating for justice in every way possible makes all the hard work more than worth it.

As mentioned above, my wife Kara and I have eight whole entire kids. We spend most of our free time attempting to keep up with them, and traveling to beaches every chance we get.

Miles

Miles

Cold Meal Coordinator

Miles is a prep cook at Foodchain. He was born and raised here in Lexington and has been in the food industry for 6 years now at various jobs. In his free time, he enjoy making music and collecting vinyl. He also enjoy being in nature and, of course, cooking food!

Laura Piper Cobb

Laura Piper Cobb

Meal Delivery Assistant

Laura is a lifelong resident of Lexington, with a degree in Individual and Family Studies from the University of Kentucky. She is married with three children and two grandchildren. Laura has been engaged in the community for years, volunteering with Gods Pantry, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Arbor Youth, and more. She also serves on the board with AVOL. Her work at Foodchain is very rewarding because not only do they help with food insecurity, but also nutritional insecurity.

Board of Directors

Ouita Michel

Ouita Michel

Board Member

Since 2001, when Ouita Michel and her husband, Chris, opened the Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Ky., she has made locally grown ingredients a priority in her world-class cuisine. Her restaurants (Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station, Windy Corner, Smithtown Seafood, and Midway Bakery) have purchased more than $2 million of Kentucky-grown meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables over the last 16 years. Ouita is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. She is a member of Slow Food USA; Les Dames d’Escoffier; deacon and free community supper programs coordinator for Midway Christian Church. She, Chris and their daughter, Willa, live in Midway. She has been a Board Member since FoodChain was founded in 2011.

 

Andrew Dieruf

Andrew Dieruf

Board Member

Andrew works primarily with businesses and non-profit organizations on their audit, review and compilation needs. Andrew also provides consultation and litigation support services. He also conducts peer reviews for other CPA firms. Andrew began his accounting career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Cincinnati, OH. Andrew is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a peer reviewer. Andrew was named partner of Enderle Besten Dieruf, PLLC in January, 2013, where he also serves as the Director of Audit and Attestation Services. Andrew’s experience covers many industries including: manufacturing, retail, pharmaceuticals, financial services, non-profit and natural resources. He joined FoodChain’s board in Fall of 2016.

Ryan Foster

Ryan Foster

Board Chair

Ryan D. Foster is a Vice President/Commercial Lending with Traditional Bank, Inc and a local real estate investor. A graduate of Tates Creek High School and The University of Kentucky, Ryan has spent his entire life in Lexington. Ryan’s passions include U.K sports, camping, kayaking, travel and drafting his first book, Always Pick up a Penny. He joined FoodChain’s board in Fall of 2015.

John Cadwell

John Cadwell

Board Member

John L. Cadwell is a Wealth Management Advisor and Financial Planner at WealthSouth. A Lexington native, John is a graduate of Lafayette High School and received his Bachelor’s in Business at Murray State University. John’s experience with cash flow planning, risk management, investments and banking helps contribute to FoodChain’s goals. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family which usually entails being outdoors, playing/watching sports and church activities at Porter Memorial, where they are members. John believes strongly that everyone should have access to affordable, healthy food and enjoys being able to contribute through FoodChain. He joined the board in the Spring of 2018.

 

Shawn Blades

Shawn Blades

Board Member

Shawn is a Pikeville, KY native that began a banking career in 1996. Shawn has been with BB&T since 2005 and is currently serving as a Market Leader and Small Business Development Officer. Shawn lives in Lexington with her husband – Henry, her son – John, and their four dogs.

Shawn Burns

Shawn Burns

Board Member

Shawn believes all people in the Lexington community should have access to nutritious, delicious food, employment opportunities. Most importantly we need to gather as a ‘Community’ over this bounty of wonderful Central KY food. He brings his skills in large volume food purchasing and operations to the FoodChain board. His work on the board includes generating capital on the Fundraising Committee and providing cash flow and profitability insights to the Financial Committee.

Jonathon Nunley

Board Member

 

Ka'Sondra L. Brown

Ka'Sondra L. Brown

Board Member

KaSondra L. Brown is a native of Stanford KY. She graduated from Lincoln County High School and attended Kentucky State University where she earned her Bachelor of Art degree in Child Development and Family Relations. KaSondra is very proud of the fact that she is the eighth woman in her family to both attend and graduate from KSU.

As a Certified Target Case Manager throughout the state of Kentucky and a Credential Early Childhood Education Tainer, KaSondra is very much dedicated to her work with Community Action Council and very passionate about the many insecurities and disparities that often affect children, seniors and families.

Currently the Council’s Coordinator for Food Pantry and Volunteer Services under the Office of Community Service, she is intentional about advocating, not only for her community, but for the entire city of Lexington.
KaSondra is very excited to be a part of Food Chain Inc.’s board, and currently serves on several boards as well as committees. She is the Governor-elected Commissioner for Serve Kentucky. Besides tending to her commissioner duties, KaSondra is a parent representative for the Site-Based Decision-Making Council at Julius Marks Elementary School, as well as an active member of the advisory council at The Lexington Traditional Magnet School.
In addition to all of that she is the proud mother of two amazing and energetic boys. Robert, age 10, and Jase, age 6. She prides herself on leading by example when it comes to humanitarianism. Where you see KaSondra volunteering, you will definitely see her boys serving alongside her. Whether it be The Gathering Place in Georgetown,  Kentucky serving food to those in need, or collecting donations for local animal shelters, this is who she truly is.
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