Caroline Cotto grew up in food, working for her family’s ice cream business in the town of Sandwich, MA (yes, really!) She is now the co-founder and COO of REnewal Mill, a venture-backed startup creating a new circular economy of food by upcycling the byproducts of food manufacturing into ingredients. As a food marketing and nutrition specialist, the Hall of Femme honoree also has experience working with the UN World Food Programme in Cambodia, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, and HubSpot, where she ran the women’s diversity program globally.
“Uplifting other women is one of the most important parts of being a female entrepreneur,” Caroline says. “I have not gotten where I am today without the help of many women, so I try to pay this forward by mentoring college women trying to break into the fields of food and entrepreneurship. I sit on a board and constantly advocate to increase the representation of women on boards and in positions of leadership.” Caroline also brings this philosophy to Renewal Mill, where she prioritizes female investors and founders: “We believe rising tides lift all boats.”
Caroline’s background in nutrition research and education gave her extensive knowledge in the effects food has on the environment — and the urge to turn things around. “I quickly learned that the food system is a massive lever for climate change,” she says. “I'm motivated to build a better food system where 40 percent of the food we produce is not wasted; where 1 in 7 children in the US no longer go hungry at night; and where our soil is full of nutrients, not dead, dry dirt.” She gets out of bed every morning to work on her piece of climate change reduction by helping fight food waste — one of its key drivers.
What does Caroline love most about her work? “Getting to learn from fellow food entrepreneurs and partner with them to bring new products into the world that celebrate the benefits of both brands, respect the planet, and educate others that doing good can be delicious!”Find Caroline on Instagram and Twitter.