Our Team

Kimbal Musk
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman

Kimbal Musk is an investor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a chef.

Kimbal Musk is restauranteur and philanthropist. His personal mission is to pursue an America where everyone has access to real food. Mr. Musk has been named a Global Social Entrepreneur by the World Economic Forum. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of three businesses - The Kitchen Restaurant Group, Big Green, and Square Roots - with real food missions that are rapidly scaling across the US. The Kitchen Restaurant Group -- with its three concepts Next Door, Hedge Row, and The Kitchen -- serves real food at every price point and has created over a thousand mission driven jobs. The restaurants source sustainably grown food from American farmers, stimulating the local farm economy to the tune of millions of dollars a year. Mr. Musk's non-profit organization, Big Green, builds permanent, outdoor Learning Garden classrooms in hundreds of underserved schools across America reaching over 250,000 students everyday. His urban farming company, Square Roots, brings local, real food to people in major cities by empowering next-gen farmers to grow food in indoor, modular, hydroponic farms.

Mr. Musk is on the board for Chipotle, Tesla, and SpaceX.

Hugo Matheson

Hugo Matheson is the Chef/Co-Founder of The Kitchen.

Born in England, Hugo grew up eating whatever food his mother picked up that day. Sometimes it was just “a bit of kale from our garden,” other times it was “a slowly simmered leg of lamb from the nearby butcher.” Either way, it was always fresh and represented the best of the area.

Robin Martin
Chief Operating Officer

Robin is originally from Philadelphia and spent most of her professional career working in mid-size and large organizations located in New York, Washington D.C. and Dallas.

At Big Green, Robin is responsible for leading our people activities and internal operations. Prior to joining Big Green Robin cultivated her passion for people and process as part of the leadership teams at Conservation International, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ernst & Young and the National Ecological Observatory Network. She’s earned dual professional certifications in compensation and benefits from World at Work and is also certified as an Organizational Development Practitioner. Robin and her family moved to Boulder several years ago and love spending time outdoors exploring all things Colorado. As a proud alum of the University of Virginia, when she’s not at work you’ll also find her cheering for her favorite sports teams.

Madeleine Nelson
Vice President of Advancement

Madeleine Nelson joined Big Green with five years of non-profit development experience.

Most recently, she was Donor Relations Manager at Western Resource Advocates (WRA), a non-profit environmental conservation organization in Boulder, where she focused on corporate and individual giving and special events. Prior to WRA, she worked in membership at the YMCA of Boulder Valley. Madeleine originally hails from Chicago. She earned a BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder and holds a Nutrition certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Dianna Zeegers
Interim Vice President of Program

Dianna joined Big Green after nearly two decades working in public education in Wisconsin. She served as a high school teacher, curriculum coordinator, and middle school principal during that time. Dianna's background includes graduate coursework leading to a Master's Degree in Alternative Education, and licensure in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction. Her passion has been and continues to be working toward ends that help children reach their full potential, often through creative or alternate programming options.

Nicole Alamo
Director of Marketing Campaigns

Nicole is a native to New York, with a passion for all things food. This passion has led to a wide variety of food marketing experiences including stints Gourmet magazine and SAVUER magazine where she developed and oversaw integrated marketing programs and partnerships for top brands, orchestrated high profile celeb chef events, led brand marketing projects, curated farm to table dinners and more. Prior to joining Big Green Nicole worked on marketing and event initiatives with a variety of chefs and restaurants in Boulder, including Blackbelly, Arugula, and Farm to Table chef Grant Buchanan. She received her BA from Emory University and a Digital Design Certificate from Parsons School of Design. When not working, you can find Nicole cooking with fresh, local seasonal ingredients; gardening; practicing yoga; and enjoying the amazing outdoor lifestyle that Boulder has to offer.

Melissa Chananie
Advancement & Events Manager

Melissa Chananie is a New York native excited to now call Colorado home!

Prior to joining Big Green team, Melissa served two AmeriCorps service years working on communications, fundraising, and outreach with Our City Forest, an urban forestry nonprofit in San Jose, CA and Assuring Better Child Health & Development, an early childhood organization in Denver. Between her two years she spent time traveling and organic farming in Nepal and Thailand. Melissa received her BA in English from Lehigh University in 2013 and currently volunteers on the board of Greenleaf, a local Denver youth leadership & food justice organization and urban farm.

Marie Dennan
National Education Manager

Marie is originally from New York City, but has lived in Memphis long enough to call it home.

Marie has Masters’ in Public and Nonprofit Administration and Anthropology from the University of Memphis, and a culinary certificate from the California Culinary Academy. She is most passionate about engaging youth through gardening, and networking with food system stakeholders in Memphis. Marie spends her free time backyard gardening, chicken keeping, volunteering at local farmers markets, and dancing with the local company Project: Motion Modern Dance Collective.

Sydney Futrell
Director of Grants and Foundation Relations

Sydney is originally from Chicago, but has lived in the Denver area since 2005. She holds an MBA from the University of Denver Daniels College of Business and is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Sydney has spent her career supporting the nonprofit community as an administrator and strategist, primarily in the affordable housing space. Her choice to join Big Green was made enthusiastically because of her love of urban agriculture, healthy food, and education. She spends her free time being active outdoors, engaging in arts and social justice movements, and trying to keep up with her husband and two kids.

Megan Hale
Marketing Manager

Megan is passionate about building healthier communities. Her background involves promoting and fostering health and wellbeing on college campuses. She first realized the power of gardening and how it can positively impact communities while helping with a community garden project in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In her free time, she enjoys running, cycling, and exploring with her dog (Yoda) and husband (Taylor). 

Ava Jackson
Assistant Director of Program

Ava has a strong passion for supporting youth!  Prior to Big Green, Ava spent the last 10 years working with large scale nonprofits to open new sites across multiple locations, support program curriculum and school district partnerships.  Ava received her MBA in Non-Profit Management from Cleary University. She’s a proud Graduate of Central State University a Historically Black College, where she received her Bachelor of Business Administration/ Marketing. Ava is excited to grow her own garden and teach her nieces and nephews. In Ava’s spare time she loves to travel, practice yoga and enjoy the simple things in life with family and friends.

Sam Koentopp
Assistant Director of Program

Sam Koentopp is a gardener and teacher from Chicago.

Sam Koentopp is the Chicago Program Manager. He has been with Big Green since 2013 and has helped build most of the organization's Learning Gardens currently installed in Chicago schools. Sam is a father of 2 girls and outside of his work with Big Green he enjoys being with his family, cooking, eating, and playing music. Sam is proud to be a part of the Chicago urban agriculture community and believes deeply that we can accomplish the most when we work in cooperation and collaboration with our communities.

Jonathan Pavley
National Garden and Product Manager

Jonathan aka JP is a native Michigander who has been an educator and small business owner since 2003. JP became hooked on locally produced food while residing in the Pacific Northwest and today proudly supports his local and national real food community through Learning Gardens.

Laura Thompson
Assistant Director of Strategic Alliances

Laura believes that food is a defining aspect of our lives, from our health, to the sustainability of the environment, our connection to the land, and is how we build community, place, and culture. She is passionate about fostering food systems change through education.

Laura has worked across diverse issue areas to build partnerships and empower communities with the resources and tools they need to create change. Most recently, Laura built and managed a network of local government leaders, funders, and thought leaders in communities across the country to develop and execute plans to scale national service programs as a community development tool. Laura holds an MA in International Education and a BA in Political Science and English. Outside of work she enjoys going on adventures in the great outdoors, practicing yoga, and preparing delicious food.

Board Members

Kimbal Musk, Board Chairman The Kitchen

Don Degnan, Director The Kitchen

Dorsey Hopson, Director Cigna

Wendy Lea, Director Strategic Advisor, Technology and Innovation

Hugo Matheson, Director The Kitchen

Cindy Mercer, Director Planet Heritage Foundation

Larry Mueller, Director Cuvée

Michael Tang, Director National Material LP

Letter from the Board: Big Green's Promise