Responsible for management and culinary operations.
Natasha Poniatowski, Founder & CEO
With an undergraduate degree in international relations from Boston University and a master’s degree in business management from the Harvard School of Continuing Education, Natasha worked in the private-equity sector in New York and London before founding her first business—a fashion showroom and consultancy called LuxCartel. There, Natasha provided logistical, press, and sales support to fashion and lifestyle brands such as Anndra Neen, Kalmanovich, Marlo Laz, and Ralph Masri, among others, helping them achieve their unique business objectives. Natasha has always been passionate about connecting people to world cultures through consumer products, and has traveled the world extensively in her work at LuxCartel. As a second-time business founder with Laroot World, she brings leadership expertise, a strong business network, and operational acumen to the project.
Megan Brown, Co-founder & Culinary Director
An alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Megan has ten years of experience as a professional chef. They were previously the executive chef at the Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island, leading the kitchens of its Anything at All restaurant and Panorama Room bar and lounge. In addition to their formal education, Megan has worked with the renowned chefs Marcus Samuelsson, John Fraser, and Michael Cimarusti, who helped steer Megan’s culinary direction toward sustainable foods as well as recipes inspired by modern African diasporas and the Mediterranean. Having grown up on the South Side of Chicago, which is considered a food desert, Megan has made full utilization and access to healthy food a focal point of their vision, and is particularly keen on spaces where food and philanthropy intersect.
Jessica Sforza, Chief Operations Officer
Jessica, a Certified Project Manager (PMP) and business administration graduate with a decade of experience in small business and management, played a pivotal role in LuxCartel’s success during her five-year tenure, working closely with Natasha. Her responsibilities included overseeing critical functions in departments such as wholesale, press, e-commerce, and digital marketing. As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Laroot, Jessica brings her invaluable experience to the forefront. She utilizes her extensive expertise to shape the company’s operational strategy, streamline processes, and foster collaboration across functions. Throughout her journey with Laroot, she remains dedicated to maximizing the company’s growth potential while keeping a strong focus on inclusivity and discovery, which are fundamental to the company’s mission.
FOUNDING ADVISORY BOARD
Two sisters and one cousin, the originators of the idea. Although not involved in day-to-day operations, they are integral to the company's vision.
Yana Alcivar, Founding Member
Educated at Emerson College in Boston and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Yana is a creative operator with profound knowledge of the guiding principles of nutrition. Before joining Laroot World, Yana worked in the New York art world as a studio manager for the celebrated artist Francesco Clemente. She heads the creative and communications aspects of the company, running its content outlets and connecting with clientele. Also, as a Health Coach certified by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), Yana, in collaboration with our medical advisory board and executive chef, ensures that every Laroot dish provides an ideal nutritional profile.
Anya Goldansky, Founding Member
A graduate of the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Anya is a growth and product marketing professional with experience across a wide range of industries. At 27 years old, Anya is the youngest member of the team, and has already held positions at Verizon Media, Spotify, and, presently, Parsley Health. She is especially-well versed in the technology sector of today’s business operations. At Laroot World, Anya advises the team on the marketing strategy and tech sides of the company.
Noémie Delfassy, Advisor
Noémie Delfassy drives growth and efficiency in tech, hospitality, and food production companies. She guides early-stage founders on product-market fit, go-to-market strategies, and financial goals. Her achievements include opening new markets for healthier food ingredients, managing $800 million investments for global chocolate production expansion, and boosting top-line and EBITDA for Fortune 50 firms. Noémie began her career at Boston Consulting Group in Dallas, Texas, and holds an MBA with honors from Harvard Business School (2010) after studying business administration and international relations at Boston University.
FOUNDING WELLNESS BOARD
A team of medical advisors from both Eastern and Western traditions.
Alexandre Shehata MD, Egypt/U.S.
As Laroot's Western-medicine advisor, Dr. Shehata guides us on ingredient selection and recipe development to ensure that our menus provide optimal nutritional balance. Dr. Shehata is a board-certified internal-medicine physician with experience in primary care, urgent care, and hospital medicine, and is highly regarded among his patients for his holistic approach to treatment. He currently practices in affiliation with Hackensack Meridian Health, where he also serves as a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine. A seasoned researcher, Dr. Shehata has published articles in a host of esteemed medical journals, including the BMJ, JAMA, and the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Molly Knauer, U.S.A
Molly is a registered dietitian with her master's degree in clinical nutrition from NYU. She is the co-founder of The Motherhood Method app offering trimester specific workouts and recipes for prenatal and postpartum women. She also works as a nutrition consultant for several brands in the food, wellness and beauty space. @themotherhoodmethod @mollysbest themotherhoodmethod.com
Avilochan Singh, India
Dr. Avilochan Singh, the Wellness Director at VANA wellness retreat in Dehradun, India, promotes wellness through contemporary Ayurveda and sustainable living. He empowers individuals with knowledge of their unique bio-constitution and self-care for a healthy lifestyle. As a 5th-generation physician from a prestigious Ayurvedic lineage, he boasts over 20 years of expertise in Kerala Ayurveda Panchakarma, making him a highly sought-after expert in therapeutic interventions.
Naria Diaz Chi, South Korea
Naria is Laroot's Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) advisor, fine-tuning our dishes in accordance with TCM's emphasis on dietary planning based on flavors, temperatures, colors, and seasons. A diplomate in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine who is accredited by the National Commission on Certification for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), Naria has been practicing acupuncture and TCM in New York since 2008. She fervently supports the integration of Eastern healing systems with Western medicine and nutrition in order to prevent illness and maintain optimal health.