In 2007 Alexandra got her start in the natural foods community in Missoula, Montana while working at the Good Food Store and finishing up her degree from the University of Montana's School of Journalism. She instantly saw the connection the store had not only with its immediate surroundings, but also the state at large, bringing a wide variety of products sourced near and far to a very overlooked part of the country.
What began as a curiosity for where food comes from quickly became a passion, ultimately leading her to Whole Foods Market for three and half years. Her Whole Foods career started in Seattle, where she bought for all grocery sub teams, and then to San Francisco as Grocery Buyer.
Alexandra continues to explore every topic of the natural food world, including ingredient sourcing, food access, agricultural practices, nutrition, and sustainability.
When she isn't working, Alexandra is almost certainly on a mountain top but might also be found drinking locally roasted coffee or traveling with her partner. She's lived in every corner of the country and a large portion of Europe, but is elated to now call Washington home.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, a move to to Spokane in 2013 opened an opportunity for Aylia to start working in the Natural Foods industry. She joined Main Market Co-Op as their Front End Manager, later moving into the Dairy Buyer & Assistant Grocery Manager position. She gained a ton of experience, cultivated relationships with small farmers, helped create trainings and improved systems throughout the store.
Aylia relocated back to Seattle in 2015, where she took a position as a Grocery Clerk at Central Co-op and was promoted shortly after to Dairy/Frozen Buyer. Over the last 4 years, she has established relationships, not only with farmers, but with brokers and brand reps, as well. Her passion lies in giving smaller companies the opportunity to grow their businesses and gain exposure in the Seattle market.
Currently, Aylia resides on 5-acres on Camano Island, gardening and raising animals with her family. She enjoys hiking, cooking nutrient-dense meals, using the highest quality essential oils to keep her husband and toddler healthy (and smelling good!), and is pursuing certifications in the health & fitness world.
Courtney grew up in a military family but spent the majority of her upbringing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The mountains called her out west 2 years ago, and she has been living in Tacoma, Washington ever since. She is new to the natural foods industry, having worked mostly in the nonprofit education sphere for the last 7 years. Most of her previous experience has been in administrative support and she is excited to bring that same support to the Yin Yang Naturals Team as a Key Account Coordinator! She believes that it is important to know how your food is made and is excited to join a team that supports those who are responsibly caring for our food and our planet.
In her free time, she enjoys bouldering, hiking, exploring new places, and spending time with her 9 nieces and nephews. She is also an amateur photographer and loves to view the world through her Nikon 35 mm prime lens.
Danielle transitioned from a background in the arts to the natural food industry as her love of organic food, farming, and culture began to steadily increase over the years. She put her production and storytelling skills to use as a natural health event manager, demo coordinator, and brand ambassador to promote various organic brands throughout the greater Seattle area. Her focus in all her work is on communication, compassion, and community building. She spends every free moment running after her toddler or flying around on people's feet and hands (acroyoga!)
Debbie has strong roots in the Pacific Northwest, living in the Portland area her entire life. She has loved being involved in the natural foods industry for over twenty years and enjoys the products and the people! In her free time, Debbie enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and four-legged critters. She also enjoys traveling, hiking, and an occasional glass of pinot noir.
Emily credits her maternal grandfather for her lifelong love of organic, natural and ‘just really good’ food and cooking. She has strong memories of him taking her sisters and her to the local farmers’ market and teaching them to find the freshest food. Emily and her husband, Michael founded and ran a farmers’ market in Bridgehampton, NY, where they were also Slow Food leaders.
Emily’s varied experience includes a stint as a professional organizer helping people clear clutter from their home, work as an advertising proofreader and running the children’s department of a public library. She’s also a yoga teacher and wedding officiant.
She and her husband made a huge leap of faith in 2014 when they discovered and moved to Vashon Island, WA from the East End of Long Island (based on reading a book written by a dairy farmer from Vashon) and had a home built.
She loves great food, interior design, nature, travel, dogs and spending time with family and friends.
A West Coast native, Gina Renee hails from a family with deep roots in small scale agriculture of fruit and nut trees, beekeeping, and practicing preservation of the garden harvest. The granddaughter of a farmer and an arborist, she was graciously raised with respect for our earth and the recognition of where food comes from - from farm to table and honor for the people that are a part of that process.
Gina Renee has worked in the natural foods industry since 1998 and has seen the market grow and evolve. She has a strong understanding of the business as both a buyer and vendor and absolutely loves working with the folks in this industry.
She spends her free time exploring, making food, getting dirty in the garden, throwing clay, hanging out with her four legged critters, and laughing with her son, husband, family, and friends.
While earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Johns Hopkins University, Heather recognized the importance of a natural and holistic approach to health. She has been focused on educating and informing others of such options ever since.
Heather has been in the natural food industry since 2000. Her valuable perspective as a former Buyer allows her to understand how to meet the needs of retailers and their customers. Heather’s experience also includes Managing, Buying, and Merchandising for Wild Oats and Super Supplements as well as Independent stores specializing in nutritional supplements, herbs, body care and functional foods.
Heather is known for getting her hands dirty in the field, and throwing a load or two with the store guys at 4am!
With her passion for holistic health and strong focus on customer service, Heather brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for all things healthy. Heather enjoys spending time outdoors exploring the mountains and lakes of Washington.
Jamie was born and raised in Portland Oregon. She loves calling the northwest her home. She started climbing the corporate ladder at Target in 2003, eventually promoted to Market Department Team Lead, where she gained her experience with vendors, ordering, and food.
She got her start in the natural foods industry in 2008 at Food Front Coop as the Dairy/Perishable Grocery/Frozen buyer until 2014. Here, she excelled her natural foods knowledge and built strong relationships with local/regional/national food lines. She loves helping get small business off the ground. She also loves visiting the production kitchen, slapping on an apron and helping her vendors produce!
Jamie covers the Oregon Coast, Bend, and the Portland area.
She loves to run, hike, and watch movies with her cat. She also renewed her passport recently and plans to get some traveling done!
Lynda has been a Pacific Northwest resident since 1963, moving to Portland Oregon in 1979.
She started her career in retail sales in 1989 calling on small format stores and eventually moved over to larger chains in 2007. At Advantage Sales and Marketing, Lynda serviced the Natural Food channel, including Whole Foods Market, New Seasons Market and independently owned stores and co-ops.
In 2013, she started calling primarily on New Seasons Market, becoming part of the sales merchandising reset team.
Lynda enjoys reading and spending time with her three grandsons.
Soon after his move from Flint, Michigan to Portland, Oregon, Paul began his career in natural foods with Nature’s Fresh Northwest/Wild Oats in 1996. He quickly worked his way up to grocery manager and held this position until October 2000 when he accepted an opportunity with Mountain Peoples/ UNFI.
During his time with UNFI Paul worked with a wide variety of accounts including Wholefoods, NCGA, INFRA, supermarket and hundreds of independent retailers and vendors. He also developed his skills in sales, the development of Field Day and Blue Marble Brands, category management, store setting and layout.
In 2014 Paul moved to Yin Yang Naturals where he works with New Seasons Market, Market of Choice and numerous independent retailers continuing to increase his skills in sales and merchandising. He has also been a member of the Provender Alliance since 2000.
Paul enjoys travel, the outdoors, organic gardening, good food and music.
Born in Oregon and raised in Montana, Sam spent 11 years at Good Food Store, Montana’s largest independent natural foods retailer, working in several departments along the way, and finally landing as chill/frozen buyer. He jumped on the Yin Yang bus in the spring of 2014. His experiences as a buyer, hard work ethic, and attention to detail have earned him respect among his colleagues in the industry. He covers the wide open territory of Montana, Eastern Washington, and Northern/Eastern Idaho.
Sam enjoys hunting for food, playing guitar, gardening, cycling, and spending time with his wife Gena and two kids.
Chloe got her start in Natural Foods at the age of 21 stocking shelves at Good Earth Natural Foods and has been hooked ever since. She has worked in every capacity from retailer to buyer, broker to merchandiser and beyond. Having grown up in Fairfax, CA she has always been surrounded by and drawn to all things natural, from the food she loves to cook to the trails she loves to hike.
Chloe strives to do mission-based work, and is proud to represent what Yin Yang Naturals and the brands they work with stand for. Along with her passion for food and hiking, she also loves reading, playing guitar, swimming and listening to true crime podcasts.
JoHanna’s background in managing administrative and operational functions in the natural products industry began in 2017, where she worked as a Sales Administrative Coordinator for a natural foods brokerage.
Growing up, JoHanna would spend her summers grounded to the earth, running barefoot along the Yuba River and eating up all the wild blackberries and sweet honeysuckles she could find. She and her mother would picnic in the tranquil meadows of Grass Valley, California packing delicious garden veggies and wild rice salads.
Her upbringing later influenced her to continue incorporating the natural world into her life as she passes these traditions onto her daughter, Harlow Sage and spends all her free time hiking and enjoying the outdoors with her family.