Denise Woodard is the Founder and CEO of Partake Foods, the allergy-friendly company that was inspired by her daughter’s experience with food allergies. Key moments this year include that Partake Foods announced it became a Certified B Corporation, and launched a collab with Ben & Jerry’s! Created in 2016, Denise started the business by self-distributing (selling cookies out of her car around NYC) and self-funding (depleting her 401K and selling her engagement ring). To date, the company has raised more than $20M from investors including HER, Rihanna, Circle Up Growth Partners, FF2032 and Marcy Venture Partners (Jay-Z’s venture capital firm). Partake was named #45 on the Inc 5000 list in 2022. Denise was the first Black woman to raise more than $1 Million publicly for a CPG food startup. As a Black woman, Denise is passionate about raising awareness of Black and female entrepreneurship and increasing opportunities for underrepresented people seeking careers in the food and beverage industry. In 2020, Denise founded Black Futures in Food & Beverage, an annual fellowship program that mentors HBCU students and helps them secure internships and jobs at the program’s end. Prior to launching Partake, Denise spent a decade in consumer-packaged goods at various Fortune 100 companies. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Jeremy, and daughter, Vivienne. She graduated with her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from Arizona State University.