With an enthusiasm and love of local food, the Food & Beverage Manitoba staff bring commitment and support to our over 300 members.
Michael Mikulak, Ph. D.Executive Director
Michael is the former Vice President of Community Impact at United Way Halton and Hamilton where he led the transformation of the team from an umbrella funder to a strategic investor in solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing the most vulnerable members of the community.
He has a track record of raising millions of dollars, launching innovative new programs, and nurturing high performance teams during times of intense organizational change.
Michael holds a PhD from McMaster University where he was an adjunct professor in the Sustainable Futures Program at McMaster. Michael is also the author of the book “The Politics of the Pantry: Stories, Food and Social Change” and has previously worked as a municipal grant manager, urban agriculture consultant, and founder and owner of Common Ground Teaching Farm, an environmentally focused micro-farm that teaches people how to grow, cook, and sustain themselves and the planet through nourishing food.
He is passionate about the community and bringing together people to look at old problems in new ways. In his spare time Michael is an avid back-country camper, gardener, cook, triathlete and family man with two daughters and a labradoodle. He grew up in Winnipeg and is excited to be returning to the city that is home to his family and to refocus his efforts on promoting and enhancing the ability of his home province to support the food and beverage processing sector.
Sarah SchwendemannDirector of Operations and Strategic partnerships
Sarah is excited to bring an entirely fresh energy into the operations of Food & Beverage Manitoba with nearly a decade of experience in the food and beverage industry as well as over five years of non-profit management experience in the settlement sector of Manitoba.
With her education and professional background in grassroots community development, she can’t wait to connect people with supports to ensure their growth, success, and prosperity. Food and beverages are at the center of all cultures and communities making this industry a critical part of Manitoba’s infrastructure.
She has a passion for helping marginalized communities and continues to coach refugee girls playing soccer as they settle into their new home in Winnipeg.
She can’t wait to get to know the members and their needs more to begin advocating for progressive and innovative policy that will benefit everyone involved in this amazing industry. She personally lives the philosophy of supporting local and is excited to bring that into her professional life as well!
Ron NebreMarketing & Communications Manager
Ron has a history of telling people what he thinks. He brings well-honed communications skills to promote the industry and to showcase its members on social media, events and other platforms where he can engage with consumers, members, and stakeholders. His previous experience in non-profit membership associations and food marketing has prepared him for this very moment and he’s fired up to get started.
With extensive experience gained with the Winnipeg Real Estate Board as their Communications Manager and then with Richardson International in their Food and Ingredients business sector, Ron brings a combination of non-profit member-based focus and food and beverage industry expertise.
He is excited to use his flair for story-telling to promote Food and Beverage Manitoba and elevate its members and their business to new levels.
Zaenab SaeedEvent, Member & Engagement Coordinator
Zaenab loves meeting new people and making them feel like they’re part of the family. She has a natural talent for making you feel comfortable and welcome, qualities that she’s put to good use in both the food industry and the immigration sector.
As part of Food and Beverage Manitoba as the Member and Engagement Coordinator, she’s responsible for ensuring that our members are heard and all voices are treated equally. Equality, diversity and inclusion are incredibly important to Zaenab, and she looks forward to reaching out to all members, both old and new.
While Zaenab appreciates eating out, she truly loves the joy and comfort that comes from freshly made home cooking.
Jennifer TaylorTraining Coordinator
Jenn brings to the table not only a decade of experience within the non-profit sector in the areas of training and employment for youths and adults, but also a genuine passion for bringing communities together and helping newcomers attain their goals.
Her core values include community collaboration, integrity and optimism. She is excited about being a part of the food and beverage industry and helping our members receive important training and resources to help them achieve their full potential.
She has many favorite foods but her go-to is special turkey stir-fry. She loves getting out to local restaurants with family and friends, trying different menu items. In her spare time, she's happy being able to go to movie theatres again, baking, and spending time with family at the lake.