Aria was born in Jacksonville, FL and raised in Hilton Head, SC. Always having a healthy love for food and music, he stumbled upon a VegNews flyer at a Vans Warped Tour event in 2004. When he read the flyer he realized that his actions as a consumer could affect greater change in the local community and the world, one purchase at a time. During an 'Ethics of Food' class, while pursuing a Bachelor’s in Philosophy at the University of South Carolina, Aria learned of the book Omnivore’s Dilemma as well as documentaries such as Fast Food Nation and The Future of Food. It was there he was able to gain a deeper understanding of his place in the food industry and how to begin living more of a natural lifestyle.
In early 2012 Aria moved to Santa Cruz, CA and joined the team at Food Bin/Herb Room. After moving up to Bulk Manager, Aria was offered a position at the sister-store, Aptos Natural Foods, to eventually fill the same position. In his seven years at ANF, Aria was promoted from Bulk to Grocery, Wellness and General Manager. He was then given the opportunity to co-own the independent store. It was in this time Aria was able to better understand the natural food industry as he made an effort to focus on intentional brands with a purpose.
Aria is excited to join the Yin Yang Naturals Team. It is a dream of his to represent mission-based natural brands that he can truly believe in alongside a passionate and supportive team with similar values.
Aria loves being outdoors with his fiancee, Nina, and their dog, Loba. His other interests are singing, playing guitar, disc golf, and gaming online with friends in his free time.
Territory Manager- Wellness
Alanna is originally from the East Coast, she grew up in rural Cooperstown NY with lots of time spent outdoors in a sprawling valley filled with streams and forests. As a child, she was integrated into focusing on wellness via her parents at the local Co-op and was not an early adopter of soy or almond milk (that has since changed). With an upbringing a bit alternative than some, she has always been drawn to exploring different ways of doing things in life. Being outside and feeling the space that comes from connecting with the natural world has led to an interest in foraging and learning about the plants and cultures wherever she calls home.
In 2007 after spending significant time in Guatemala and completing a MA in Cultural Anthropology, she moved to San Francisco and has been in NorCal ever since. A desire to work with many people, and being inspired by an ever-changing environment led to an interest in sales- it’s all about the people! She has worked with food and specialty product lines, and local and national brands focused on sustainability and ethical business practices. Bringing years of experience on the manufacturing side, relationships with regional and national distributors, contract negotiation, training, and multiple channels in foodservice and wellness she brings a broad perspective and depth of experience in the industry.
An advocate and firm believer in the importance of BCorps, Alanna brings delight and energy working for a company that knows business can and needs to be a force for good. Working with quality products that improve lives is a gift and incorporated in her personal interests in herbalism, mycology, physical and mental health and wellness.
Alanna loves engaging with a variety of people and learning from them. She currently lives in Sonoma County with her young family and tries to sneak in as much time on paths and beaches as the little ones allow.
Derek was born in Wichita, Kansas, and got his start in the natural foods industry in the mid ‘90s while attending Wichita State University. He worked at two small, local natural foods stores in Wichita before moving to Lawrence, KS, where he worked at the Community Merc Co+op for several years.
In late 2001, Derek migrated west and ended up in Sonoma County, where he’s been ever since. Not long after moving to Santa Rosa, he stumbled upon Community Market, a worker-run, not-for-profit natural foods store. He knew right away that he had found his next job. He spent the next 17 years there, quickly working his way up to grocery buyer and then manager. He spent six years on the board of directors, and helped design and build Community Market’s second store in Sebastopol, which opened in 2013.
Derek is very passionate about natural and organic foods and products, and genuinely loves working in the industry. When he’s not working with food, cooking, or eating, he’s usually out on his bike somewhere, hanging out at the beach, or home playing music.
Western Regional Director
Erin first fell in love with organic and natural foods while earning her Bachelors of Science in Animal Science & Management at UC Davis. She hopped on the Yin Yang Naturals bus to combine two of her greatest passions: food with a purpose, and the sharing of that food with others! After working at an independent grocery store in the East Bay (Diablo Foods) and hands on with locally raised, high quality eats at the UC Davis Meat Department, she learned that great food has integrity, and natural, wholesome foods are important not only as palate pleasers, but also for our well-being.
Erin enjoys diving deeper into her love for the outdoors, sustainability, and playing music. When she’s not out on the road with Yin Yang she’ll be out on road trips, hikes, her yoga mat, or playing saxophone in her jazz-funk band.
Gina was born and raised in Northern California. Her deep respect for nature started early on, coming from a family of avid campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Her first experience in the natural foods business was working in a small community market in the Lake Tahoe area. Inspired by the owner who wanted to make a difference and live sustainably, she discovered a passion for the same.
Studying everything from massage therapy and herbal healing, to better ways to grow and eat food, Gina’s love of nature and natural healing brought her to Nugget Markets. There she worked as a Healthy Living Specialist/Buyer for 6 years. Educating herself and others on Natural Living in an ever changing industry has been her focus and passion.
She brings this experience to Yin Yang Naturals as a territory manager covering the Sacramento, Davis, Chico and Fresno areas. In her personal life, Gina’s most rewarding endeavor is being a mom. She enjoys gardening, yoga and cooking with friends. She loves being outdoors, kayaking and disc golfing as well.
Associate Regional Manager
HY LONG MICHAEL NGUYEN
Hy Long was born in Vietnam and raised in the natural landscapes of Marin County, CA. At an early age, the connection to nature and its preservation sparked his curiosity to pursue a life of mindful well-being. Upon receiving his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of Pacific, Hy Long lived all across the United States as a Regional Consultant implementing Healthcare IT to non-profit community clinics. After 12 years in the Healthcare IT industry, he pivoted his life into a deeper commitment to mindful living by studying Yoga. Hy Long is a RYT500 Certified Yoga Teacher and a Level II South Bath Practitioner in San Francisco and Marin County. His classes are well-known for their energizing, detailed and thoughtful approach that speaks to the heart.
Hy Long embodies all his life experience into Yin Yang Naturals. With the pursuit to bring continuous improvement in representing our brands, developing relationships with our partners and leaving the world a better place.
Hy Long is a devoted father and lover of animals, nature, adventure, sports, arts, community service, and music.
Jen is a native Californian and was basically raised in a health food store! At age 9, her family opened "Richard's Natural Foods” which they ran for 17 years. During that time, she obtained much knowledge as a buyer, trainer, and manager, while attending college for nutrition and massage therapy.
She started her journey in the broker industry as South Bay Territory Representative at New Connections Brokerage, then spent 14 years at Natural Specialty Sales where she worked her way up to Senior Unit Manager, calling on New Leaf Markets HQ and numerous independent retailers in the South and East Bay. She has gained trust and wonderful relationships with her accounts.
In her free time, Jen enjoys hiking and kayaking with Charlie (her mini Labradoodle), mountain biking, healthy eating, wine tasting, and teaching spin classes.
Key Account Coordinator
After graduating with a degree in Writing from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Jen spent a few seasons in the NYC publishing scene before trekking back to California. She has spent the last 9 years leading and growing teams for Mother’s Market & Kitchen, Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres, all while continuing her education in Ayurvedic Medicine and Nutrition. Jen pursues a healthy lifestyle, viewing food as medicine and every experience as an opportunity for adventure.
Always needing a creative outlet, Jen's hobbies range from gardening to writing to metal fabrication and back around to cooking homegrown food with a good glass of wine in her hand. Native to California, Jen is committed to seeing the state thrive, starting with her new community in Sacramento where she shares a home with her husband and her cat, Professor Seamus.
Senior Merchandising Specialist
Kelly was born in Roseville, California and then moved around Northern California before being whisked away to Massachusetts for a few years to experience life on the East Coast. She technically got her start in the Natural Foods Industry through watching her father at his job, and learning about sustainability, GMOs and being a conscious consumer in the 80's. It made her really popular in school (just kidding). She has life long gratitude to her parents for not letting her have soda until she was 10. Growing up at the Natural Products Expos gave her a view on the living planet and life that has shaped her beliefs forever.
Her first real job in the industry was working at a natural food store, cementing her love of educating consumers and bringing brand awareness to local businesses. From there, she moved on to being a demo specialist, then a Merchandiser in Southern California, and then a Territory Sales Representative in Northern California. Having worked at the store level, then brokerage, demo team, and a direct manufacturer, she was given the insight to see all sides of the business, to try to bring harmony and compassion for all those invested.
When she isn't repping some of the best brands on the market, she likes to spend too much time on her planted aquarium, work on older cars, pretend she can carve usable things out of wood, and then make bonfires- usually out of partially carved non-usable items.
Senior Territory Manager
Marci was born and raised in Truckee, Ca. She grew up skiing and enjoying the fresh mountain air. She has
had a passion for the natural products industry since high school. She moved to San Diego and went to
school for massage therapy. She then continued her education at the University of Natural Medicine and she
is currently working on her Bachelors of Natural Health Science’s.
She started her journey at Henrys Farmer Market in San Diego as an Assistant Service Manager for three years. Then she Transferred to Whole Foods Market in Reno, NV. She started buying for the lifestyles sub team and was promoted to vitamin buyer shortly after.
She lives in Truckee, CA with her daughter, Larissa, who is seven years old. She enjoys spending time
with her family and friends. Her true passion lies with the beautiful mountains that she gets to spend most
of her time.
Senior Merchandising Specialist
Mike was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He moved to Southern California to earn his Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts from San Diego Mesa College. While attending school, Mike worked at Petsmart as a lead cashier. After graduating, he joined Petsmart full-time as a Merchandising Manager back in the Bay Area and eventually was promoted to Assistant Store Manager.
Mike's next stop on his professional journey took him into a role with new challenges, accepting a sales position with Verizon. He worked his way up to being promoted to General Manager and held various roles covering small business sales, operations, and customer experience.
During the pandemic, Mike decided that he wanted a career change that allowed him to focus more on health and wellness. He followed his passion for personal development, which led him to pursue and achieve certification as a life coach. While finding his new path, he joined Sprouts Farmers Market as a vitamin clerk in the Wellness department. This was where he got his start with wellness brands and natural foods. By joining YYN, Mike is fulfilling his desire to work with brands that care about the health and well-being of people and the planet.
In his free time, Mike likes to watch sports and he follows all the Bay Area teams. He also enjoys listening to podcasts, walking his dog, and being out in nature. A relaxing day for him includes working in the garden while listening to a baseball game.
Nanci is a third-generation Bay Area resident, which provided her with a great love for gardens year-round, a close-knit family with rooted traditions, and appreciation for nature. A perfect day includes a local road trip with the family (daughter Siena and son Brandon) and dogs Phil (husky) and Frosty (malamute) to some of their favorite places: the Redwoods, Monterey, or San Francisco. Whether hiking, chill’n or having a picnic, she enjoys being with family and nature.
Nanci considers herself quite lucky to have had a colorful career with many different experiences, incorporating her love for the environment, business, and food. From starting at Humboldt State to graduating from USF in Organizational Behavior, she worked for a large corporation in marketing, sales, and training. She then had the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of teaching culinary arts, and worked as a private chef. Most recently, she worked in CPG/Food Services in the coffee industry for Kicking Horse Coffee and Peerless Coffee.
The culture at Yin Yang embodies her appreciation for natural/organic products and retailers and allows her to work with people who share similar interests.