Advisory Board & Board Of Directors

Kate Farms is strengthened by the heart and expertise of our Advisory Board.

Lucille Beseler
MS, RDN, LDN, CDE

Lucille Beseler, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE is president and owner of the Family Nutrition Center of South Florida. She is a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist and certified diabetes educator.

Lucille Beseler established the Family Nutrition Center of South Florida in 1991, as one of the first nutrition practices pioneering HMO coverage of nutrition services dedicated to pediatrics. FNC has developed into a comprehensive practice providing a variety of services in multiple locations, employing registered dietitian nutritionists who provide services to all age groups and many corporations. Lucille Beseler is a passionate advocate for the role of nutrition in improving health care outcomes. “We must prove that nutritional care can reduce health care costs by improving outcomes. We must increase consumers’ access to nutrition services, while protecting the public’s health.”

Beseler created two subsidiaries of Family Nutrition Center to focus on wellness and nutrition reimbursement: Family Nutrition Communications, a wellness and events staffing company creating unique nutrition screening programs utilizing registered dietitian nutritionists at more than 300 high-profile events including golf tournaments, tennis opens, street festivals and home and garden shows; and Bill it! MNT, a billing and practice management company created specifically to perform insurance billing for RDNs.

Beseler is a professional speaker and author of Nurturing with Nutrition: The Essential Guide for Feeding Infants and Toddlers (Bazarte and Beseler 2003), as well as many articles and publications. She received Florida International University’s 2009 Paths of Public Health Award in Nutrition and Dietetics for community work in the area of childhood obesity. Beseler is a consultant at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

A leader in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for many years, Beseler currently serves as the 2016-2017 President. She served for nine years as chair of the Florida Dietetics Nutrition Practice Council – the state licensing board for dietitians and nutritionists – and received a public service award from the Florida Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsA past president of the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Beseler received the organization’s Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award in 2007 and 2010. She served on the South Florida Health Care working group, appointed by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Beseler is a graduate of Queens College – City University of New York and earned a master’s degree from New York University.

klaus megener
Dr. Klaus Mergener
MD, PhD, MBA

Dr. Klaus Mergener, MD, PhD, MBA attended medical school in Frankfurt and Heidelberg, Germany, and at Duke University and Harvard University in the U.S. He completed his MD/PhD-thesis summa cum laude with 2008 Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Harald zur Hausen at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg before returning to Duke University for his residency in internal medicine and his fellowship training in gastroenterology and interventional endoscopy. He received his MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

A diplomat in several national medical organizations, Dr. Mergener is board-certified in Gastroenterology, Medical Management, and Healthcare Quality Management. He is a Partner at Digestive Health Specialists and currently serves as the Medical Director, Gastroenterology at MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, WA. He is an Affiliate Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.

Dr. Mergener is a recent member of the Governing Board of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the current Vice-Chair of the ASGE Foundation Board of Trustees. He served as Associate Editor for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy from 2009-2014.

Dr. Mergener’s areas of clinical expertise include cancer prevention, interventional endoscopy, biliary and pancreatic diseases. He has authored more than 100 articles and book chapters, and has presented invited lectures at regional, national, and international conferences. Becker’s ASC Review recently named him as one of the nation’s “Top Gastroenterologists”. He serves on several advisory boards for endoscopic equipment and accessory manufacturers and has made presentations to government agencies, business leadership and a variety of industry groups across the US and abroad.

Dr. Mergener is the founder and director of the GI Roundtable, a large network of GI practice leaders and administrators who come together annually to assess the implications of healthcare reform on gastroenterology and to jointly develop strategies to continuously optimize the care for patients with GI diseases. Dr. Mergener is also a co-founder and member of the board of CareLedger, a Y-Combinator-funded health benefits startup based in Mountain View, CA.

In addition to his clinical and administrative activities, Dr. Mergener enjoys volunteer medical service. He has worked for extended periods of time at hospitals in various developing countries including Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Dr. Mergener is fortunate to be supported by his wife, Dr. Sabine Endrigkeit, and their children Johanna and Philipp who share his passion for volunteerism and community service.

Klaus serves on the Kate Farms Clinical Advisory Board.

frank seagrave
Frank Seagrave

Frank is a pharmaceutical executive with over 25 years of leadership experience in pharmacy, sales, supply chain and logistics management, drug manufacturing, specialty drug distribution, purchasing, and managed care. Prior to starting Silvergate, Frank spent 19 years at Wal-Mart with responsibility for the pharmacy division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. In addition, Frank was the President of Global Generics and EVP of Pharmaceutical Sourcing at Cardinal Health with responsibility for all pharmaceutical purchasing.

Frank serves on the Kate Farms Clinical Advisory Board.

caroline yeh witherly
Caroline Yeh Witherly

Caroline has worked in the food industry for over 30 years as a food scientist and food consultant working on a wide variety of food and Nutraceutical products.

With a BS in Foods and Nutrition from Long Beach State University and an advanced graduate training from Chapman University in Food Science, Caroline has applied her skills in a number of positions in the food industry. Beginning as a lab tech testing oils at Bunge foods, she advanced to food scientist at Nutrilite (a division of Amway) in charge of bar manufacturing. Caroline moved onto a position of manufacturing Director at Herbalife International, in charge of the successful implementation of food products in over 70 countries. The position involved designing the tastes and ingredients specific for the unique regulatory requirements of each country. At present Caroline is part of a consulting team (with Steven Witherly, PhD) that specializes in designing foods and nutraceuticals from the ground up: from formulation design, scale-up, to final implementation and plant production.

Caroline is a part of the Kate Farms Operating Advisory Board

Steven Witherly
PhD, RD

Steven Witherly, PhD, RD, received his BS degree in Dietetics from the University of Calif., Davis, and his Masters in Food Science at UCD specializing in the sensory evaluation of food. Then at Michigan State University, Steve received his PhD in Human Nutrition. Steve spent 12 years at Carnation/Nestle foods as a food scientist then later served as Scientific Manager of Infant Nutrition. He also served as Director of R & D for Nutrilite, and later as VP of R&D for Herbalife, developing dozens of innovative products for over 70 countries. For the past 15 years, Steve has been a nutraceuticals consultant, through his company, Technical Products Inc. and has developed Nutraceutical food products for a variety of food companies. Steve was also a part-time professor of Food Science at Calif. State University at Northridge. He also authored Why Humans Like Junk Food, a treatise on why we like the foods we love from a physiological, biochemical and neurochemistry standpoint. Steve appears in print in many consumer magazines and such TV shows as National Geographic.

Steve is a part of the Kate Farms Operating Advisory Board.

Board of Directors

Richard Laver
Co-Founder, Kate’s dad
Michelle Laver
Co-Founder, Kate’s mom
Peter M. “Pete” Nicholas

Peter M.”Pete” Nicholas is co-founder and chairman of the board of Boston Scientific Corporation. He served as chairman and chief executive officer from the company’s founding in 1979 until 1999, when he turned over CEO responsibilities. Under Nicholas’ vision and leadership, Boston Scientific has grown from a start-up company with 38 employees to a global corporation with approximately 23,000 employees and revenue of $7.380 billion in 2014. Boston Scientific is one of the world’s largest medical device companies dedicated to less-invasive therapies.

Before co-founding Boston Scientific with John Abele, Nicholas served as general manager of the Medical Products Division of Millipore Corporation. From 1968 to 1978, he held a variety of positions both domestically and internationally at Eli Lilly in sales, marketing, and general management. Nicholas is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and vice chair of its Academy Trust, and he is a member of the American Academy of Achievement. He is a recipient of the Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award, signifying distinguished leadership and accomplishment in the medical device industry. He is also a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Nicholas has served on various for-profit and not-for-profit boards, and was formerly chairman of the board of trustees of Duke University. He is the founder of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Nicholas served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1966, resigning his commission as a lieutenant. He holds a BA from Duke University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

A smiling woman in blue dress with pearl earrings and pearl necklace
Carol A. Ammon

Carol A. Ammon is the founder and retired chief executive officer and chairman of Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company with market leadership in pain management. Based in Chadds Ford, PA when founded, Endo then engaged in the research, development and sales and marketing of branded and generic pharmaceuticals used primarily to treat and manage pain. Ms. Ammon retired in May 2005 after serving as CEO since the company’s founding in 1997.

In 1997, Ms. Ammon led a management buyout team and purchased 37 pharmaceutical products from the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company to form Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. In July 2000 Endo became a public company, known as Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENDP).

Prior to forming Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ms. Ammon spent 23 years in the pharmaceutical division of E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, beginning in 1973 as an associate scientist in the Research and Development group. During her career at DuPont, she served in positions of increasing responsibility across research and development, finance, manufacturing, and sales and marketing.

In 1993, Ms. Ammon was appointed president of the generic pharmaceutical business unit of the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company, the pharmaceutical joint venture of DuPont and Merck. In 1996, she was named president of the U.S. Pharmaceutical Division of DuPont Merck. As president, she was responsible for a significant share of DuPont Merck’s corporate revenue and earnings.

Ms. Ammon was named the CEO of the year in 2004 by the Eastern Technology Council, an organization of 800 technology and life sciences companies in the Philadelphia region. Under her leadership, Endo also was the Eastern Technology Council’s Company of the Year in 2003. Ms. Ammon also received the 2003 Greater Philadelphia Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Health Sciences category. Ms. Ammon was chosen as the winner of the 2005 Paradigm award, the Philadelphia region’s most prestigious award for business people.

She is a Trustee for the University of Delaware and a director and Vice President of the Hagley Museum. Ms. Ammon serves as the Chairman of the University of Arkansas Multiple Myeloma Advisory Board and as a director of Kate Farms. She is a former member of the Harvard Business School Healthcare Advisory Board and past Chairman of the Board, Christiana Care Healthcare System.

A native of New York, Ms. Ammon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Central Connecticut State University and an M.B.A. from Adelphi University. She completed the Advanced Management program at Harvard University in 1995. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws, from Adelphi University in May of 2010 and an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Delaware in 2011 And Central Connecticut State University in 2013 Ms. Ammon earned a BSN in nursing from The Thomas Jefferson College of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pa. and graduated with honors on May 22, 2017. She began a residency program at Christiana Care Healthcare System in July 2017 and began doing humanitarian missions in January of 2018.

Celeste A. Clark
Ph.D

Dr. Celeste A. Clark is a retired senior executive of Kellogg Company where she was a member of the Global Executive Management Team, and had an accomplished career spanning nearly 35 years in the food industry. She was responsible for leading the development and implementation of health, nutrition and regulatory science initiatives, and working globally to ensure consistency in approach and implementation within regulatory guidelines. One of the most noted examples of her career was the collaboration with the National Cancer Institute on the development of a ground-breaking educational campaign on diet and cancer prevention, which ultimately led to health claims regulations in the United States, and became the forerunner for the use of health claims internationally.

Dr. Clark was responsible for Kellogg’s Global Nutrition Team, and worked with the Research, Quality and Technology Group to strengthen the nutritional value of the company’s product offerings. This included a focus on both innovation and renovation, where efforts were directed to reduce the levels of nutrients of concern, and to add and/or increase the nutrients of need to meet the various demands of consumers globally. She has extensive experience in front-of-pack labeling, having worked to ensure a fact-based approach was adopted globally on Kellogg brands.

Dr. Clark also served as President, Kellogg Corporate Citizenship Fund, the company’s philanthropic entity. In this capacity, she was responsible for providing grants that aligned with business objectives in the communities served by Kellogg globally. The primary areas of focus were community engagement, economic development, arts and education, and health and wellness initiatives. Corporate reputation management and corporate social responsibility (CSR) were integral to the work performed. As Chief Sustainability Officer, she worked with the company’s operational team to help ensure that the sourcing, manufacture and distribution of food products were aligned with the efficient use of environmental resources. This was enabled by establishing environmental targets, developing programs to achieve targets, and monitoring progress. Under her leadership, the first CSR report was released.

She has also collaborated with governments, academic institutions, health professional organizations, and food industry representatives globally to develop consensus and/or collaborate on initiatives aimed to increase consumer understanding of nutrition. She has been involved in numerous public health symposia as a guest speaker in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Europe. She also served on the National Academies of Sciences’ Committee on Capitalizing on the Diversity of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention.

Dr. Clark has board governance experience in public and private companies and non-profit organizations. She is an independent director of the Mead Johnson Nutrition Company and AdvancePierre Foods, and AAA Michigan. She previously served as a director of Diamond Foods prior to its acquisition by Snyder’s-Lance Corporation in February 2016. She is a trustee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is engaged in non-profit work both domestically and internationally to improve the lives and outcomes for vulnerable children and their families. She is the principal of Abraham Clark Consulting, LLC and consults on nutrition and health policy, regulatory affairs, and leadership development.

Dr. Clark serves as adjunct professor at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. She is also an invited guest lecturer/speaker at other universities on food and health policy, leadership, and philanthropy. She has also established several “Future Leaders and Mentoring” Scholarships where she engages in coaching and mentoring first generation college students and works with them to secure extended learning opportunities, including internships and international experiences.

Dr. Clark is a member of the American Society of Nutrition, the Instituteof Food Technology, and various local and civic organizations. She is married, and has two adult children.

jeffrey d jacobs
Jeffrey D. Jacobs

Jeffrey D. Jacobs is best known as the architect behind the growth and development of one of the most powerful and valuable brand names in the world – Oprah/Harpo. From 1984 to 2002, Jeff partnered with Oprah Winfrey to build a global multi-media empire around Oprah-branded entertainment and content.

First as Oprah’s attorney/manager and then as co-founder, partner and president of Harpo Entertainment Group, it was Jacobs’ vision that first recognized Oprah’s multi-media potential which led them to create the infrastructure that would enable him and Winfrey to build “Oprah” into a global entertainment and cultural brand. In the process, Jacobs developed corporate partnerships with companies such as Disney, ABC, King World, and Hearst – important distribution relationships that dramatically extended the reach and influence of the Oprah brand on television, the internet, print media, and film, while creating record revenue and profits.

Before partnering with Winfrey, Jacobs worked as an attorney, first practicing law as a litigator and then evolving as an attorney/agent for professional athletes and media celebrities. As an adjunct Professor of Entertainment Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Jacobs has taught and lectured on the media and intellectual property.

Jacobs has been a member of YPO/WPO. He previously served on the boards of The Santa Barbara Children’s Museum Board, Prosper.com, television station group Granite Broadcasting, and is a former trustee of the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Jacobs earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1974 where he also founded the Civitas Childlaw Center.

Robert “Bob” Zollars

Robert “Bob” Zollars comes to Kate Farms with over 35 years of leadership experience in the healthcare industry as well as in the nutritional/food segments. Bob has led over eleven companies as CEO or President ranging in size from $100M to over $5B in annual revenue, has taken two companies public as CEO and been a board member in three other private to public transactions. Among the companies Bob has led includes Dietary Products, a provider of nutritional and food service products to health systems, which formed a joint venture with Kraft General Foods to create the leading healthcare focused food company in the US with over $1B in revenue. He also led the $500M IV Therapy business of Baxter International, which was the leading provider of parenteral solutions to health systems and hospitals. Bob was also the Chairman of Diamond Foods, which earlier in 2016 was sold to Snyder’s Lance in a $2B transaction. Bob graduated from Arizona State University Magna Cum Laude, where he is currently Co-Chair of the Trustee’s and received a MBA in Finance from John F. Kennedy University.

brett matthews
Brett Matthews
CEO