Director, President & CEO, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Penny is Co-Founder, President and CEO of Better Plant, as well as Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of NeonMind Biosciences. A true trailblazer, Penny is a serial entrepreneur with over two decades of experience building successful companies. Her experience as an entrepreneur includes online music, international film distribution, mobile payments, blockchain technology, crowdsourcing, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, eCommerce, law and cannabis.
She has been recognized on PROFIT Magazine’s W100 list of top Canadian female entrepreneurs. Under her leadership as CEO, her law firm, Bacchus Law Corporation, was in the PROFIT 500 Fastest Growing companies in 2015 and 2016 based on revenues. Penny has extensive experience in capital markets and has been involved in over 100 private to public transactions. She was a co-founder and an initial director and officer of Merus Labs Inc., which had revenues of $111 million in fiscal 2016 and was acquired by Norgine B.V. in July 2017 for approximately $342 million.
Penny is recognized as a thought leader and regularly participates as an expert speaker for keynotes and panels on Cannabis, Capital-raising and Fintech, including CryptoHQ, alongside the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018. Penny has been featured in The National Post, The Globe and Mail, BNN, Chatelaine, Business in Vancouver, Breakfast Television and more. Penny White is also a published author for Forbes as a former member of the invite-only, Forbes Technology Council. In 2012, she was the western regional finalist for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Penny has a BA in English Literature from Trent University, a law degree (LLB) from the University of British Columbia and she has completed courses in history, international law, screenwriting, publicity and capital markets at UBC, Simon Fraser University, BCIT, the University of Granada, Spain and Jean Moulin II in Lyon, France. She is a member in good standing of the Law Society of British Columbia and the Washington State Bar Association.
Chief Creative Officer, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Perry Chua has been working with Better Plant for 2 years and was appointed Creative Director in December 2019. He is an internationally sought-after brand designer with over 25 years of experience working with clients including Nokia, McDonald's Restaurants, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Four Seasons Private Residences. Perry has shown an uncanny ability to apply his strategic thinking to clean, compelling, innovative designs. Perry has collected his share of awards from international entities including The One Show, Applied Arts, Lotus Awards, HOW International Design Awards, ADCC and Communication Arts, among others. In addition to being interviewed by Inc Magazine for his brand expertise, Perry's work was featured on CBS News, in a segment on Design Innovation. His work can be found in international journals from Canada, USA, Spain, China and the UK.
Perry has served as a part-time Branding Instructor at Vancouver Film School for three years, and is the co-author of Logo Savvy: Top Brand-design Firms Share their Naming and Identity Strategies. Perry has also authored The Best of Brochure Design 10. Both books are published by Rockport Publishers and are available in multiple languages on Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. Perry has been a guest speaker at Vancouver Film School and Vancouver Community College. In addition, Perry has been a Guest Design Judge for both the Salazar Awards and the GDC Certification Program.
Director of Research & Development, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Ashleen has 11 years of R&D experience and has been in the plant-based industry for over 9 years. In her most recent role at Daiya Foods Inc., she was responsible for overseeing the development and commercialization of new products, which contributed to Daiya Foods being the #1 fastest growing plant-based food company in North America in 2017. In her time at Daiya Foods, she was involved in the development and launch of over 26 products as well as managing large scale efficiency & continuous improvement projects. Ashleen thrives being part of high-growth companies that are always faced with new challenges and possibilities.
Ashleen has a BSc. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and is a certified Project Management Professional.
Vice President of Marketing, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Gabriel Villablanca has over 13 years of experience directing digital marketing efforts for B2B and B2C brands across North America, Europe and Australia. His passion for marketing and extensive experience and success have made him a recognized and sought after leader in his field.
Previously, Gabriel served as digital marketing director for O2E Brands for over 6 years. During his time there, he led digital efforts for a range of brands including 1-800-JUNK?, You Move Me, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and Shack Shine. He has also held similar positions with companies such as Rocky Mountaineer, Castleford Media PTY LTD., Brafton INC. and Adfero Group LTD. He has had a significant impact on the growth of companies and has delivered campaigns that have been responsible for attracting over 100 clients and increasing sales revenue by $2.5 million. He has also successfully grown a database of potential clients of over 300,000 across the U.S. and Canada by leveraging various marketing channels including offline and online marketing. As a direct result of his significant accomplishments, he has been selected to represent his previous employers as a guest speaker in several online marketing events and conferences globally.
Director of Corporate Finance and Corporate Secretary, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Heather Williamson joined Better Plant two years ago and is our Director of Corporate Finance. Heather led the completion of over $10 million in financing for Better Plant and spearheaded all aspects of an initial public offering and successful listing of common shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange for our related company, NeonMind Biosciences Inc.
She works closely with our stakeholders and brokers to ensure efficient finance closings, warrant re-registrations and warrant and option exercises. Heather has over 20 years experience in the legal industry working as a paralegal and built a strong skill set focused mainly in corporate and securities law.
Heather has also worked as an in-house paralegal for other publicly listed companies such as Boston Pizza International Inc. and Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc. where she gained experience in other areas of law such as franchising, contracts and trademarks. Heather also serves as our Corporate Secretary.
Director & CFO, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Rick Huang served as CFO of publicly traded companies for more than a decade, where he has managed all aspects of finance, banking, compliance, accounting, reporting, internal control, admin, and supporting the board of directors in financial oversight. He also has supervised all aspects of accounting for various subsidiary companies in Canada, China, Russia and Kazakhstan and consolidations under IFRS. His experience also included various finance and marketing roles with large international companies like the Pepsi Bottling Group (Canada), Schering Plough Canada, and Coca-Cola China.
He has worked on investor relations activities, roadshow AGM preparations, and licensing agreements and has led various public equity financing projects raising funds of up to $90 million and leading acquisitions of up to $80 million. Rick has negotiated for international joint ventures, including drafting shareholders’ agreements, establishing international legal entities, and assets transfers. Rick also serves as Chair of the Audit Committee for Datable Technology Corp. (TSXV: TTM) and previously Chair of the Governance Committee and member of the Audit Committee of Poydras Gaming Finance Corp. (TSXV: PYD)
Director of Investor Relations, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Alexandra has over 4 years experience in Communications, Marketing and Investor Relations for publicly traded companies. Having been with Better Plant as its first employee, she has gained a deep knowledge of departmental functions and has assisted with the launch of brands in beauty, cannabis, plant-based and functional mushrooms. Alexandra has overseen various stages of public transactions while maintaining positive relationships with key stakeholders. Her focus has largely been aimed at fortifying public relationships through developing and managing the deployment of various campaigns, press releases and presentations.
Her experience in Event Marketing has been utilized to organize and participate in successful investor roadshows, corporate events, and B2B/B2C tradeshows.
Alexandra has a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Psychology from The University of British Columbia and she has completed courses in Project Management at UBC.
Jeff B. Smith
Chairman of the Advisory Board, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Jeff Smith was the Global Chief Transformation Officer at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, the world’s largest and most diversified healthcare company with worldwide sales of US$76 billion in 2017.
In his most recent role as Johnson & Johnson Company Group Chairman for Consumer North America, Jeff delivered strong organic growth, new growth levers such as Beauty Special Ops and the OceanX partnership, and oversaw several important strategic acquisitions including Vogue International LLC, La Lumière, and Neostrata. His division represented more than 42% of global revenue, delivering over US$6.5 billion in annual revenue with mid-single digit growth rates; spent over US$1 billion in marketing investment; delivered consistent market share gains and doubled the regional profitability. Jeff was on the Johnson & Johnson’s Group Operating Committee Executive.
Prior to acting as Chairman of Johnson & Johnson, in 2011 Jeff was appointed President, U.S. Skincare in the newly formed North American region. Jeff had full P&L responsibility for the Baby (JOHNSON’S®, AVEENO®) and Beauty Care divisions (NEUTROGENA®, AVEENO®, CLEAN & CLEAR®, LUBRIDERM® and KORRES® Natural products) within the United States. As President of Johnson & Johnson’s largest business unit, Jeff grew it from the third-largest skincare company to #1 in the U.S. over 3.5 years.
Jeff began his career with Johnson & Johnson Inc. Canada, progressing through a number of sales assignments, becoming Vice President Sales in 1997. Jeff became President U.S. Wound Care, and Worldwide Franchise Vice President, in 1999. In 2003, he was appointed President, Johnson & Johnson Inc., Canada and led the successful integration of Johnson & Johnson Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare and Pfizer Consumer Healthcare in 2008. Prior to Johnson & Johnson, he worked for Procter & Gamble in Vancouver, B.C. in various sales management positions. He is deeply committed to the safety and health of consumers, and serves on numerous industry boards, including the Board of Directors of the Personal Care Products Council.
Born and raised in Canada, Jeff holds an MBA from Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan and a BA in Economics, University of Saskatchewan.
Director of Finance, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Liselle Law has expertise in financial reporting and disclosure requirements, complex accounting transactions, and tax compliance. Liselle previously specialized in audit and assurance services at Manning Elliott LLP, working with public and private company clients across Canada and the United States in various industries including manufacturing, financial investment, technology, mining & exploration, and oil & gas. Prior to that, Liselle was part of the tax team at Davidson & Company LLP, where she prepared personal and corporate tax returns and specialized tax filings for a variety of clients including publicly listed companies primarily in the resource exploration sector.
Liselle obtained her BA in Economics and Diploma in Accounting from the University of British Columbia, and is a designated Chartered Professional Accountant in British Columbia, Canada.
Director, Better Plant Sciences Inc.
Spiros Margaris, is a Venture Capitalist (founder of Margaris Ventures) and thought leader in the FinTech, InsurTech and AI industries. He holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Spiros is the the first international influencer to achieve ‘The Triple Crown’ ranking - he was ranked the international № 1 FinTech, Blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) influencer by Onalytica. He regularly appears in the top three positions of established global industry influencer rankings. He is a speaker at international FinTech, and InsurTech conferences and gave a TEDxAcademy Talk. Spiros published an AI white paper, “Machine learning in financial services: Changing the rules of the game,” for the enterprise software vendor SAP.