Talent

Who We Are

At Manna Tree we are focused on improving human vitality because it is our shared passion. Get to know us and how human health plays a role in our everyday lives.

Gabrielle Rubenstein

CEO, Co-Founder

Gabrielle “Ellie” Rubenstein is Co-founder and CEO of the private equity firm Manna Tree. Manna Tree makes growth equity investments in companies that improve human health through nutrition. Ellie works with global family offices and research partners to connect Manna Tree’s mission of improving human health to capital while ensuring the firm is an innovator in a rapidly evolving investment category.

As a member of Manna Tree’s investment committee, Ellie co-leads fundraising. Ellie ensures the firm’s investments meet the criteria of improving human health through advancements in scientific research. Manna Tree’s five investee companies range from producers of eggs, beef, and plant-based food tech ingredients to indoor farming.

In addition to her role at Manna Tree, Ellie is a philanthropist through her family office, Mission Ingredients. With a focus on improving population health, Ellie supports organizations and initiatives that create positive change. This includes local food production, ingredient research, outdoor wilderness youth education, and military health and recovery programs. The combination of Ellie’s investment and philanthropy activity has attracted other families and institutions to impact investing that creates health and wealth.

Ellie earned her MS in Agriculture Economics from Purdue University, her MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business where she was a Tobias Fellow, and her BA in Sociology from Harvard University where she was a Varsity ski racer. Ellie earned a graduate certificate in Mind-Body Wellness from UCLA’s Center for East-West Medicine and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

Ellie is an avid hunter and angler and spends her free time on the shores or in the woods of Alaska and Colorado.

Gabrielle Rubenstein

CEO, Co-Founder
Ross Iverson

Ross Iverson

CIO, Co-Founder

As Chief Investment Officer, Ross co-chairs Manna Tree’s investment committee and drives the firm’s investment strategy through his leadership of Manna Tree’s Global Investment Solutions team.

Ross has built his career around balancing investment decisions, market expansion, and leadership within organizations to reach optimal scale. This mindset landed Ross on the Worthy 100 list in 2021 as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the country building firms that are making a difference.

His experience growing investments came originally as an operating President where he scaled his firm 400%, and exited to a private equity investor in 2009. His industry leading efforts placed him on the Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing firms in his category due to an innovative mortgage program he co-developed with two of the nation’s leading publicly traded homebuilders.

In 2009, Ross founded an advisory firm Strategic Architect, where he worked closely with over 20 companies annually, each with between $5M and $500M in revenue. He counseled the C-Suite and family offices on investment decisions, market expansion strategies, and how to scale teams and operations.

Ross has trained 5,000+ leaders on implementing strategies linked to cash flow, debt structures, sales strategies, and marketing plans to unlock growth. Clients have included: the PGA Tour, Vail Resorts, DOW, and the University of Colorado.

Ross earned his finance degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an Executive Leadership Scholar at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and a Financial Management Certificate from Cornell University. He has volunteered at the University of Colorado to help launch the first-ever leadership certificate program, and has been active in supporting the school through experiential leadership retreats in Vail, serving as an advisor for the Natural and Organic MBA program, and supporting students to develop a values-based approach in business.

Outside the office, Ross loves to share nature and longevity hacks with his friends and family; he is an avid hiker, skier, biker, and fly-fisherman.

Ross Iverson

CIO, Co-Founder

Brent Drever

President, Co-Founder

As President of Manna Tree, Brent is responsible for building and managing the firm’s day-to-day operations. He also sources and executes new deals and monitors and grows Manna Tree’s portfolio of investments.

Across his 25+ year career, Brent has become a leading authority in Operational Excellence, centered on strategy development and business execution through the optimization of processes, technology, and organizational design. He has vast experience with companies across a diverse range of industries and has served in various management roles at GE Capital, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Newmont Mining, and a boutique consulting firm.

Brent earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. He serves on the boards of Manna Tree portfolio companies Vital Farms, Nutriati, Verde Farms, and Gotham Greens. In 2017 Brent established a non-profit school, Zealous Schools, and served as board President for the first three years.

Home is in Colorado’s mountains, where he enjoys fly-fishing, mountain biking, and skiing with his family.

Brent Drever

President, Co-Founder

Allyson Patterson

Managing Director

Allyson believes that how people choose to nourish their minds, bodies, and souls is reflected in their ability to discover their best selves. She supports her life by eating nutritious and straightforward food, building strength and stamina through exercise, doing challenging and meaningful work, creating good vibes by spending time outdoors with the sun on her face, and playing in the snow. Most importantly, she wants to spend time with family and close friends. These are the factors that lead to a fully healthy life.

Ally graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BA in Economics and worked for Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management in Chicago, Zayo Group, and Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network. Ally brings over 15 years of experience in investor relations and operations in the financial services and telecommunications industries to Manna Tree. As a member of the investor team, she manages Fund communications and relationship management with current and prospective Limited Partners and the fundraising process for co-investment opportunities.

Throughout her involvement in Colorado’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Ally has built a network of successful operators, investors, and community leaders that can be leveraged to support Manna Tree, our partners, and our portfolio companies. Ally lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and young children, and loves running, cycling, snowboarding, the great “foodie” culture, and 300+ days of sunshine. She also loves to hike and run in the mountains, especially around Telluride and Leadville.

Allyson Patterson

Managing Director

Pamela Shepherd

Managing Director

Pam believes that health is created by the interdependence between land, animal health, and human health. This belief is predicated on respecting the land through regenerative, organic, and sustainable agricultural practices, feeding animals what they are intended to eat, and feeding people what we are designed to eat – whole, nutrient-dense foods.

Pam holds a Master of Science in Finance from the University of Denver and a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology from the University of Colorado. After college, she was able to combine finance with health-driven missions. She spent eight years in investment finance, on the buy-side as a Vice President at Greenmont Capital Partners, working with healthy living companies like Eco-Products, Madhava, and EcoSmart. She also worked on the sell-side at St. Charles Capital, where she closed over $300 million in total transaction value. Most recently, Pam served as the COO and CFO of The Boppy Company for six years, a global consumer products company supporting mothers.

Along with a strong foundation in nutrition and health, Pam brings 18 years of financial, transactional, and operational expertise to Manna Tree. As a former operator, Pam has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by growth-stage companies, and as a former investor, she understands how to best drive and support shareholder value creation for Manna Tree investors.

She lives in Vail with her husband and two sons and considers herself fortunate to have the opportunity to live and work in an outdoor wonderland. Her favorite camping destination is the National Forest near Bowmen’s shortcut on Vail Pass, which is also a great place to hike. She is passionate about wellness and nutrition and has an avid love for the outdoors.

Pamela Shepherd

Managing Director
Adriana Tullman

Adriana Tullman

Managing Director

Adriana’s global background has taught her that the world is deeply interconnected. She believes impacting one person’s health has an exponential effect – on the individual, family, community, and world.

Adriana fosters a life-long love of learning and curiosity about almost any topic — from Cleopatra to quantitative investing models. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science, Public Policy, and History. She is fluent in Spanish and French.

Previously, Adriana served as President of DSG Advisors, a fast-growing multi-family office with $400 million in assets under management. She worked closely with international business owners and entrepreneurs, focused primarily on serving women leaders.

Before joining DSG Advisors, Adriana was Executive Director of Hightower, an industry-leading investment advisory firm with $90 billion in assets under management. She led the firm’s strategy division and worked nationally with financial advisory practices to optimize their growth, marketing, and business management. She also served as an Executive Director of the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, where her research focused on US–Mexico relations. She was a consultant to the United States Department of Justice Criminal Division.

As a Director at Manna Tree, Adriana brings expertise in strategic partnerships and building meaningful relationships with private and institutional investors. She is recognized for her strengths in synthesizing complex data into a clear strategy, driving business growth, and creating diverse, high-performing teams.

Adriana lives in Vail, Colorado, with her husband and two sons. She loves spending time in Colorado’s beautiful mountains, skiing, hiking, running, and doing yoga.

Adriana Tullman

Managing Director

Sylvio Petto Neto

Director

Sylvio has more than 25 years of international experience in the food and agriculture sectors. Prior to joining Manna Tree, he held operations and business development roles with Cargill and Syngenta and was a Managing Director at Wheatsheaf Group (Grosvenor), where he oversaw the North America Food and AgTech portfolio. Sylvio founded his own consulting company, Green Prairie Consulting, to advise investors and start-ups in the food and agriculture sectors. He was also a member of the Kirchner Group, where he advised global, innovative food companies.

Sylvio serves as a mentor for innovative start-up companies such as TechStars “Farm to Fork” Accelerator and Plug and Play Agriculture Technology.

Sylvio has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomic Engineering from the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

As part of a third generation of family farmers in Brazil, Sylvio was fortunate to have grown up with the freshest possible food. He believes that everyone should have convenient access to healthy food that is produced through sustainable and regenerative practices. As a member of Manna Tree’s Investments Team, Sylvio works very close to the portfolio companies to support portfolio value creation. He serves on the board of Manna Tree portfolio company Good Culture.

Sylvio lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two teenage boys. He and his family enjoy exploring the outdoors together, either fishing and kayaking on the lakes, or out on the golf course.

Sylvio Petto Neto

Director

Ben Tabah

Vice President

Ben’s determination to curb the planet’s most pressing challenges stemmed from his love for the outdoors. Early on, he developed a fascination with meteorology, an interest in markets, and a knack for problem solving. This combination set the foundation for his belief that capitalism can be an effective tool to catalyze sustained and critical shifts in patterns of production and consumption. An outdoor enthusiast and committed locavore, Ben’s dedication to driving a healthier planet extends beyond his professional pursuits and into his personal life, where he serves as a champion of health amongst friends and peers.

Ben graduated from Middlebury College with a BA in Economics and began his career in New York City doing sell-side M&A advisory with Macquarie Capital. He quickly developed an interest in investing and transitioned to Wellspring Capital, a middle-market private equity firm. As a member of the investment team, Ben engaged in the evaluation, execution, and oversight of leveraged buyout transactions totaling over $1bn in enterprise value.

While Ben grew up on the East Coast, he is a Coloradan at heart with two sisters residing in the state and a mother who grew up in Denver. He is an avid surfer, skier, and golfer, and enjoys exploring the mountains. Ben is most at home with family and friends atop the Highlands Bowl in Aspen, Colorado.

Ben Tabah

Vice President
Katie Collins

Katie Collins

VP Finance & Accounting

As Manna Tree’s vice president of finance, Katie provides strategic direction to help maximize the firm’s growth and enhance its financial position.

Katie is a firm believer that health and wellness begin at the most elemental level. By making more conscientious choices when selecting foods, choosing to walk or bike instead of drive, and serving as a healthy role model for the next generation, she strives to make meaningful improvements to her own health and the health of others.

Prior to joining Manna Tree, Katie helped grow the private equity team at MG Stover, a leading fund administrator. It was there that she discovered her passion for helping emerging fund managers launch products and solve problems. Katie’s past experience also includes working at Equity Group Investments, a private investment firm. She began her career at Deloitte in Chicago.

Katie has an undergraduate degree in accounting as well as her Master of Business Administration from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Katie lives in Denver with her husband, two daughters and dog. She enjoys backpacking, traveling, hiking, skiing, cooking and sharing a drink with friends. Because she believes the best days are those that leave her both mentally and physically challenged, she can often be found in pursuit of endorphins, whether from skydiving or hiking the Highlands Bowl.

Katie Collins

VP Finance & Accounting
Carley Nelson

Carley Nelson

Associate

Carley spent her formative years in Kansas, where she learned to appreciate being outdoors while hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and exploring the Flint Hills region. She found that her experiences outdoors fostered a respect for the resources nature provides and recognized how it created deeper relationships–not just with the outdoors, but also with individuals, the community, and her spirituality.

After earning her BBA in Finance and Accounting from Texas Christian University, Carley earned her Master of Accounting at TCU, with a concentration in valuation and financial reporting. Before joining Manna Tree, Carley was a senior associate with KPMG in their Dallas, Texas Deal Advisory practice. She has also been a Certified Public Accountant for four years.

Energized by the mission of Manna Tree, Carley joined the team in 2019. She believes that the source and quality of food contribute significantly to a person’s overall health and well being and that investing in a high-quality life creates an opportunity for the highest quality output. She finds her love of nature and her education and expertise in finance truly intersecting with her work at Manna Tree, where she collaborates with the team to identify, execute, and manage investment opportunities and work with current portfolio companies.

Carley currently lives in Colorado and is excited to bring her love of the natural world and outdoor activities to the mountains. So far, her favorite location to hike in Colorado is the Pitkin Lake Trail, but she is always exploring for more adventures.

Carley Nelson

Associate

Lindsay Nistler

Associate

An active lifestyle fueled by nutritious food and time outdoors is not a choice for Lindsay, it is in her DNA. She attributes her acute awareness of food source and quality to her early years spent gardening and raising cattle. Her love for winter and snow sports is rooted in her native state of Minnesota but ultimately led her to Colorado. With over ten years of operational, strategic, and investor relations experience, she has paired her pursuits of mountain life, clean nutrition, and investments on the Manna Tree team as Associate, Operations.

Ms. Nistler has a BS from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and an MBA from the University of Colorado. She has honed her finance, private equity, and relationship management orientation working at Fast Enterprises, MG Stover & Co and Baceline Group. Lindsay’s go-to approach is building authentic relationships and anticipating investor’s needs.

In her free time, Lindsay enjoys time spent outdoors with friends and family. Living her fullest life in Colorado also includes cooking with friends, training her bird dog (a black lab named Lou), and of course, skiing as much as possible.

Lindsay Nistler

Associate

Elliot Eisen

Associate

Elliot is an Associate at Manna Tree, where his responsibilities include evaluating, executing, and monitoring investment opportunities for the fund. As part of the Manna Tree team, Elliot has the opportunity to combine his financial experience with his passion for helping others live better, healthier lives. Prior to joining the firm, Elliot was an investment banking analyst at Fidus Partners.

Elliot graduated magna cum laude from Elon University with bachelors’ degrees in finance and accounting.While in college, he was nominated to be a Periclean Scholar and selected to participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

Elliot believes serving others is the key to a meaningful life and has been passionate about philanthropy since he was young. Elliot most recently served as a board member at Roots & Branches through Rose Foundation, a philanthropic cohort committed to granting $50,000 to non-profits in the Greater Denver community. He has also traveled and lived in a community in Zambia, where Elliot implemented women’s health and financial literacy programs, and Bolivia, where he built and installed water filters in a rural village community along the Amazon river.

As a fifth-generation Colorado native, Elliot appreciates all of the state’s outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, and running. He especially loves the Maroon Bells and the peak of any other 14er.

Elliot Eisen

Associate

Charlotte Forfang

Analyst

Charlotte spent her formative years in London and has always been a global citizen, enjoying travel and culture. She is half-Norwegian and found her love for the outdoors, hiking and skiing with her extended family in the mountains and fjords of Norway.

Charlotte graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in International Studies, French, and Political Science. She studied abroad in Paris, where she was a research assistant at Sciences Po. After her internship in Washington DC with the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, she pursued a political consultant and fundraiser career. As a result, she developed professional relationships with major Texas donors and political candidates, members of U.S. Congress, Governors, and other leading figures across the United States.

Charlotte joined Manna Tree in June 2021 and was attracted to its vision of improving health through nutrition. She has always been passionate about eating well and living a healthy lifestyle.

She looks forward to exploring the ski slopes across Colorado and hiking with her beloved Golden Retriever, Stevie.

Charlotte Forfang

Analyst
Allison Yazel

Allison Yazel

Marketing Manager

As Manna Tree’s marketing manager, Allison is committed to breathing new life into the firm’s events and marketing initiatives. She joined the firm in 2021, drawn to the team’s energy and mission to improve human health.

Before joining Manna Tree, Allison founded and managed her own marketing and events consultancy firm, supporting small business owners in the Vail Valley. Prior to trading skyscrapers for mountains in 2018, she worked at a marketing agency in Chicago.

Allison graduated from Columbia College Chicago with degrees in photojournalism and advertising. She studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, where she explored the world of international business and brand identity.

Originally hailing from the hearty Midwest, Allison dreamed of expanding her world beyond the cornfields, seeking adventure and skipping the butter. At a young age, she discovered her passion for photography and set her sights on art school in the bustling streets of Chicago. Allison has always been drawn to an active lifestyle, playing soccer and coaching swim. Outside of the office, she loves to hit the slopes, hike 14ers, mountain bike and river surf.

Allison Yazel

Marketing Manager

Emily Novinskie

Executive Assistant

Emily believes a life well lived starts with the community and how well individuals can work together. She has a unique background in the dairy and beef industries and loves to show a cow as much as she likes a hike. Her love of agriculture started with her experiences growing up on a farm in southwest Wisconsin.

Emily has been very focused on a career in agriculture since her college years when she pursued a double major in Dairy Science and Agribusiness at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She received her Masters of Science in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and an MBA from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University.

Before Manna Tree, she joined ABS Global Inc. as a Genetic Management Systems (GMS) Processing Manager for the Dairy Genetic Services department. During her time at ABS, Emily had the opportunity to travel the world to work with ABS sales representatives, distributors, and customers, training them on the GMS program’s technical aspects. She was also the Business Lead for the $700K Genetic Services software rewrite project to update, improve, and expand upon genetic improvement tools.

Emily Novinskie

Executive Assistant

Makayla Brown

Executive Assistant

As an Executive Assistant at Manna Tree, Makayla supports the firm’s CIO and President, and also assists the Managing Director of Operations with external vendor oversight and internal employee development initiatives. 

Prior to joining Manna Tree, Makayla managed the custom sales department at SYNC Performance, a snow sports apparel provider. There, she provided personalized account management and customer service to over one hundred clients. Before SYNC, Makayla worked as an Executive Assistant at IDEXX Laboratories, where she helped support the Chairman and CEO.

Makayla holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Colby College.

Growing up, Makayla spent the majority of her time competitively alpine ski racing in the mountains of Maine. As a trained ski racer, she gained a love for the outdoors, and learned the importance of nutrition and fitness at an early age. These priorities have carried over into her adult life, as she remains active and committed to fueling herself with whole-food, plant-based nutrition.

In her free time, Makayla continues to enjoy skiing, as well as running, mountain biking, cooking and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

Makayla Brown

Executive Assistant

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