Meet Our Team
Based in one of the healthiest counties in the Unites States, the Manna Tree Team pursues a deep culture based on 3W’s: Wilderness, Wellness, and Well-Fed. This commitment resonates with our portfolio company leaders and investors alike, as Manna Tree looks to advance human performance and longevity through these foundational components.
Co-Founder & CIO
Co-Founder & CIO
With a degree in finance from University of Colorado Boulder, and as an Executive Scholar at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, Ross has built his career around balancing finance, market expansion, and leadership within organizations. At 23, Ross took on the challenge of transitioning a family enterprise. After taking the helm as President, was able to grow the firm 400% in 4 years and positioned it for an exit to an outside buyer in 2008.
Ross then launched Strategic Architect to help owners with revenue between 5M-100M optimize the performance of their firms and set up the proper transition plan for exit. Through this work, Ross has trained over 5,000 leaders on implementing cash flow, debt structures, sales strategies, and marketing plans in order to unlock value in their firms. He has worked closely with over 40 companies to help the owners plan for exit, merger, or transfer their business holdings.
The technical experience of transactions and his time in the boardroom developing strategic plans has positioned Ross well for private equity transactions and portfolio company growth. As Chief Investment Officer, Ross works closely with investors, structures co-investment opportunities, and is active in deal structuring as part of the Manna Tree investment committee.
Ross has donated his time and resources to help build the first ever leadership certificate for the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado. He has developed the first ever co-working spaces to promote start-up activity in the Vail Valley and has supported the training of over 2,000 government leaders to enhance community effectiveness. He has also been a committed supporter of Trout Unlimited and US Fish and Wildlife through conversation efforts in his ranch developments in Montana.
Ross’s love for food investing has been a lifetime in the making. He grew up stocking shelves at his grandfather’s local grocery store and learned about crops from his father who was a farmer. He became increasingly focused on health when he moved to Vail, CO in 2012, and began to observe the intersection of nutrition and physical performance. He then supported his wife in the launch of her cookbook publishing company and followed her around the country to top culinary events to gain a better understanding of food in hospitality. Food has become a centering part of Ross’s family, and he works hard to educate, promote, and now invest in healthy food that will help his 3 boys grow strong!
Co-Founder & CEO
Co‐Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Ellie is an avid hunter, fisher and spends much of her free time on the shores or in the woods pursuing her own food sources. Ellie enjoys nothing more than sharing the nutritious food she has harvested with family and friends, and educating them on the 3W’s of longevity; wilderness, wellness, and well-fed.
Gabrielle Rubenstein was born in Washington DC. and moved to Vail, CO at a young age to pursue ski racing where she was a member of Ski Club Vail and graduated from Vail Mountain School. Ellie has a MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Ellie completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard University where she received a BA in Sociology with an honors thesis on Philanthropy and was a Varsity Ski Racer. She additionally 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 has a varied experience in asset management that includes being a Partner with the Joe Sanberg family office in Los Angeles, the Co-Founder of Pt Holdings, an arctic asset manager headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. Ellie’s role as CEO of Manna Tree Partners includes driving a strong culture toward the firm’s long-term vision to revolutionize the food supply chain and improve human health. She leads the firms fundraising efforts and is a member of the investment committee. Her expertise of global food systems and her family’s international network has brought together a renowned group of investors that she loves to support their unique multi-generation family investment strategies.
As an active philanthropist, Ellie was awarded a Presidential Volunteerism Medal, currently serves on the American Red Cross at the national headquarters as Lead Volunteer Advisor for Service to Armed Forces. Ellie’s passion for philanthropy led to the creation of “Mission Ingredients,” where she is focused on 3 areas resonating with her background to give back: Integrative Medicine, Outdoors, and Military. With Vail Health and Howard Head, Ellie created TOPS, the “tactical optimization program” for Special Forces. Alongside the National Park Service Foundation, launching Summer 2020, Ellie has funded the National Junior Angler Program to teach young kids across the U.S. how to fish inside National Park locations.
Co-Founder & COO
Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer
Brent is a foremost leading authority in Operational Excellence. With 20 years of experience as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, he has developed a unique and diverse set of skills throughout his remarkable career that make him one of the most highly-regarded Operational Excellence experts. Brent has vast experience with all sizes of companies across a diverse range of industries and has served in various management roles at GE Capital and Newmont Mining. At Newmont, he was the executive leader responsible for building the company’s Operational Excellence program across five continents which yielded hundreds of millions of dollars in value-added benefits to the organization.
In addition to GE Capital and Newmont Mining, Brent has served many years as a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and a boutique consulting firm he founded. Brent has worked with and trained thousands of business leaders across many industries and organizational disciplines to achieve superior results. A few of his notable clients include Fidelity Investments, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Arrow Electronics, and Level 3 Communications (now CenturyLink).
At Manna Tree Partners, Brent leverages his extensive experience in working with businesses by leading the deals team. Taking an engineering approach, he applies systems, analytics, and rigor to the deal due diligence process and portfolio management execution.
Outside of the office, Brent co-founded a non-profit middle school for grades 6-8 in Eagle, Colorado. Zealous Schools integrates the latest in education theory seeking to harness the passions and strengths of kids while delivering dynamic learning experiences that extend beyond the walls of the classroom. The goal of Zealous Schools is to develop healthy citizens, critical thinkers, and zealous learners.
Brent has a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two sons. When not with his family or working with others, he can be found on a river fly fishing, trail running, or searching for fresh snow at a local ski area.
Ally Patterson brings over 15 year of experience in investor relations and operations in the financial services and telecommunications industries to Manna Tree Partners. As a member of the investor team, Ally manages Fund communications and relationship management with current and prospective Limited Partners, as well as the fundraising process for coinvestment opportunities. After graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BA in Economics, Ally joined Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management in Chicago where she helped manage over $750M in assets and lead sales operations and trading for ultra-high net worth individuals, family offices, foundations, and institutions.
Ally was a Director of Investor Relations at Zayo Group, a fast-growing, international Communications Infrastructure company, where she was responsible for buy-side and sell-side investor education and events, Board & private equity relations, and was a member of the team that organized and executed the company’s 2014 Initial Public Offering. While at Zayo, Ally had the opportunity to wear cross-functional hats including Director of Employee Programs, Community Development, Market & Partnership Development, and Chief of Staff for External Relations, where she oversaw large CEO-led initiatives.
Most recently, Ally was the Managing Director and President of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, a not-for-profit organization funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation that connects Colorado’s secondstage, high-growth companies with Advisors and other resources to solve key strategic challenges to growth. While with BEN, she professionalized operations and optimized the organization for success beyond the catalyzing gift. Throughout her involvement in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Colorado, Ally has built a network of successful operators, investors and community leaders that can be leveraged to support Manna Tree Partners, our partners, and our portfolio companies.
Ally is an active supporter of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and the University of Colorado Boulder. She is a member and the former events chair of the Leeds Women’s Council and member of the Professional Mentorship Program at Leeds, where she mentors female students at the Leeds School of Business. Ally lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and young daughter, and loves running, cycling, snowboarding, the great “foodie” culture, and 300+ days of sunshine.
Dr. Joshua Smith
Dr. Joshua Smith
Director, Innovation and Research
Josh specializes on leveraging research to support corporate performance by developing a clear strategy as well as deriving and measuring key metrics. His international collaboration across companies, governments and academia has resulted in numerous patents and peer-reviewed journal publications.
Josh joins Manna Tree Partners from the electric vehicle industry, where he spent the previous 8 years leading international advanced research and development teams at both Audi AG (Germany) and NIO (China). In parallel, he led the development of auxiliary vehicle and powertrain systems to enable autonomous driving. Having capitalized on the significant disruption that the automotive industry has undergone with the emergence of both autonomous and electric vehicles, Josh is thrilled to enter the food space in its current state of upheaval and opportunity.
At Manna Tree Partners, Josh uses his research background to support the team in developing robust reporting and monitoring metrics, including Environmental Sustainability Goals (ESG). Josh leverages Manna Tree Partners’ proprietary network to scientifically analyze the food space, enabling the value creation in companies that truly enhance human performance and longevity.
Josh holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder, as well as a Doctorate of Engineering (Dr.-Ing.) from the Institute of Thermodynamics at the Technical University of Braunschweig (Germany).
As a native of Vail, Josh has always been passionate about the outdoors and endurance sports. He was an NCAA cross-country ski racer at the University of Colorado, where he also served as team captain. He enjoys spending as much time as possible ski touring, running and cycling through the mountains with his wife and daughter.
Director of Finance and Administration
Sarah brings a wealth of financial and operations management experience to Manna Tree Partners. Her 20+ year career in telecommunications and technology included positions in accounting, management, operations, and sales and business-development support.
Sarah comes to Manna Tree Partners from Cisco Systems where she was most recently Chief of Staff of Operations for Cisco Managed Services. While with Cisco, Sarah developed and implemented an automated process to allocate shared-delivery costs among clients, enabling the production of customer-level P&L results.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business. She has also passed the examination to become a Certified Public Accountant.
Sarah gives back to the community by sharing her accounting and finance skills. These efforts have included volunteer positions as Treasurer for dozens of her children’s school groups and other non-profit organizations.
Sarah and her husband enjoy the Rocky Mountain lifestyle from their home in Eagle, Colorado. She has two children. Her son is a recent University of Colorado graduate and her daughter is following the same path, keeping a CU education all in the family.
Sarah is a Colorado native and appreciates the natural beauty and outdoor activities the state has to offer. She enjoys road and mountain biking, snow skiing, river rafting, and paddle boarding.
The mission of Manna Tree Partners aligns closely with Sarah’s personal belief that what we eat has a profound impact on our mental and physical health. She is delighted to be working with a company that is focused on improving the future of food for everyone.
Carley joined Manna Tree in 2019 with over 4 years of accounting and finance experience. She will assist the team in identifying, executing and managing investment opportunities, as well as working with current portfolio companies.
After achieving a BBA in Finance and Accounting from Texas Christian University, Carley earned her Master of Accounting at TCU, with a concentration in financial reporting and valuation. Carley began her career in Dallas, Texas in the Assurance practice at EY. Thereafter and most recently, Carley worked in the Financial Due Diligence practice within Deal Advisory services at KPMG, where she focused on evaluating financial and operational results for private equity and strategic buyers and sellers primarily in the healthcare industry.
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. Carley is energized by the mission of Manna Tree and believes that the source and quality of our food contributes greatly to one's overall health and wellbeing. Carley resides in Colorado and is excited to bring her love of the natural world and outdoor activities to the mountains.
Elliot Eisen brings over 2 years of finance experience to Manna Tree Partners and will focus on evaluating, executing, and monitoring investment opportunities for the fund.
Before Manna Tree, Elliot began his career in Charlotte as an investment banking analyst with Fidus Partners. Prior to Fidus Partners, Elliot interned with Piper Jaffray.
Elliot graduated Magna Cum Laude from Elon University with a B.S.B.A. in Finance and a B.S. in Accounting. As a 5th generation Colorado native, Elliot appreciates all of the outdoor activities the state has to offer, including skiing, hiking, and running.
Elliot is passionate about philanthropy having traveled to Bolivia with Students Shoulder to Shoulder, based in Vail, to build and install water filters in a rural Bolivian village located along the Amazon river. Additionally, Elliot traveled to Zambia his senior year of college with a cohort to implement women’s health and financial literacy programs in a small community located outside Ndola, Zambia.