Karen Trilevsky, guest innovator at the CIA Food Business School.

Karen Trilevsky

Founder, FullBloom Baking Company; Board Member, Smart Cookie Scholarship Fund and Food, Family and Farming

A successful entrepreneur with over 35 years of driving business growth through operational efficiency improvements within the food and beverage industry, Karen lends her expertise to entrepreneurial-led companies seeking to increase their production output in today’s strained labor markets. She has extensive experience scaling businesses, maximizing manufacturing capabilities with strategic automation investments, people operations strategy, and procuring industrial machinery and equipment. She is also a resource for operational due diligence assessments and risk analysis for PE-led acquisitions in food manufacturing.

Karen founded FullBloom Baking Company, a commercial artisan company that made wholesale and private-label natural baked foods, in 1989 and served as its CEO through 2013 when she successfully sold the business to a global baking conglomerate. Under her leadership, FullBloom gave rise to delicious pastries for consumers through strategic partnerships at Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Trader Joe’s, Costco’s, and Whole Foods across North America. The company rose to the top of the baking industry when it renovated its 95,000-square foot food manufacturing plant to be the first Platinum LEED-Certified Private-Label Bakery.

An ardent advocate for social responsibility, sustainability, and positive impact, Karen has been recognized as a Champion of Change by President Barack Obama for her work demonstrating that corporate environmental leadership makes sense, both for business and for American communities. People Magazine also named Karen a “Hero Among Us” for her decades-long innovative Smart Cookie Scholarship program, which prepares first-generation Latinx immigrants for educational, career, and personal success. To date, 124 students participated in the Scholarship and most have earned or are working toward their degrees through this vertically integrated program.