Our Team

JEN PELKA

Co-Founder & CEO

Jen Pelka is the Co-Founder & CEO of Une Femme Wines. Prior to launching Une Femme, she launched The Riddler, the popular all-women funded champagne bar with locations in San Francisco and New York. Jen’s career in restaurants began at Chef Daniel Boulud’s iconic New York Restaurant DANIEL, where she served for 5 years across a broad range of roles - kitchen stagier, Boulud’s Research Assistant, and eventually as the US Competition Director for the Bocuse d’Or under Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. She went on to lead influencer marketing, content strategy, and media relations in-house at OpenTable, Gilt Taste, and Tumblr. Jen has been named Forbes “30 Under 30” for Food & Wine, Details “Digital Maverick”, and a Cherry Bombe “It Girl.” She was a recurring guest as a secret diner on Season 1 of Bravo TV’s “Best New Restaurant”, and a guest on Season 6 of “Top Chef.” Jen won an IACP Award Winner for Best Culinary or Brand Site in 2012, and was a James Beard Award nominee for Best Food Coverage in a Food Publication. She is an alumna of Stanford University and the London School of Economics, where she studied the Philosophy of Science.

Zach Pelka

Co-Founder and COO

As a four-time founder, Zach is a passionate entrepreneur who has led international teams through early start-up and growth stages. At age 23, Zach sold his first company, Paytronage, a financial technology start-up that provided an equity-based alternative to student loans backed my major fintech players and investors. Following the exit to Lumni, he managed all finances and fundraising for the 70 person company across 5 countries as Head of Capital Markets and Investor Relations. Zach additionally consulted as an outsourced Chief Financial Officer for Old Friend's Hospitality Group (including The Riddler SF and The Riddler NY), Magnum PR, and additional clients. Previously, Zach helped launch a number of companies, including Merchants of Beverage, a high-end wine and spirits digital start-up. Zach has been featured in Fortune, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, SeekingAlpha, CBS, NPR and many more. Zach is an alumnus of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied finance and operations.

Valerie Toothman

CMO

In addition to advising Une Femme, Val is passionate innovator and value creator who recently founded Skeleton Key Labs, a consulting firm focused on helping accelerate the momentum of mission-based, growth-stage companies within highly regulated industries. This venture allows promising companies to leverage her 18 years of innovation and go-to-market expertise to sharpen their core product offering and create an efficient, effective commercial plan that increases their speed to scale. Val began her career as a Biomedical Design Engineer, but after earning her MBA at Washington University in St. Louis, she spent the last 15 years as a Manager / Director / VP / EVP/ CMO / CXO within the Marketing organization at Anheuser-Busch. Her most recent three years were spent as the Chief Consumer Experience Officer of Drinkworks, an entrepreneurial joint venture between Anheuser-Busch and Keurig that launched a pod-based home bar system in less than 18 months that has outperformed all initial expectations.  There she led a 49-person team focused on the true end-to-end consumer experience: technical development of appliances, accessories, and 30 cocktails (including ones created in partnership with Jack Daniels, Gentleman Jack, Herradura, Elijah Craig and many more), engaging customers through marketing and public relations, and overseeing customer support and retention. Prior to Drinkworks, Val spent 11 years in the core Anheuser-Busch US business. She quickly progressed through the organization and for the three years prior to Drinkworks was Vice President (Head) of US Innovation – a role where she and her team of 26 people were responsible for the innovation and renovation pipelines for every brand in the core Anheuser-Busch portfolio.  Some of her and her team’s most notable successes were the creation and national rollout of billion-dollar brands like Bud Light Platinum, Lime-a-Rita, and Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, and the 50+ innovations they launched during her time at the company have delivered well over $6BN. 

Thomas Hartman

Director of Operations

Thomas is a operations specialist, covering innovation, manufacturing and quality, supply chain and logistics, and purchasing for alcoholic and non-alcoholic brands. He is certified Master Brewer, completing coursework from The Siebel Institute in Chicago and Dömens Baruakademie in Munich. He has held most positions in the brewery, from drain scrubber to VP, and has brewed commercial beer on every continent except Antarctica (only because there are no breweries). Thomas was the Global Innovation Brewer at ZX Ventures (AB-InBev), where he focused on innovation and capabilities for global craft brands, and global cross brewing for specialty brands. He then moved to India, serving as VP of Brewing and Innovation at Bira 91, India's 4th largest brewing company. During his tenure, Bira 91 built state-of-the-art breweries in India, produced globally in Vietnam, Belgium, the UK, and US, and created an innovation platform to bring beers imagined in India to life. Many of Bira 91's core and innovation brands from this period have gone on to win awards in Europe, the first Indian beer brand to do so. Thomas then returned to the US and co-founded 1884 Brands, a consumer brands consultancy helping brands unlock pathways to profitability. There, Thomas has consulted a diverse portfolio of brands, including beer, hard seltzer, wine, RTD cocktails, cannabis, water, tea, coffee, dairy, and functional energy. Thomas is an alumnus of Miami University, with BAs in Economics and Comparative Religion, and is a Master Brewer graduate from the Siebel Institute of Technology. 

KAITY CASH

Public Relations

Kaity Cash is the Founder & CEO of K. Cash Public Relations. She has led strategy and media relations as the Vice President of Magnum PR, along with managing public relations campaigns for some of the world’s most renowned hospitality and food & wine brands. She has extensive bicoastal experience with stints in Las Vegas and San Francisco, and has become a trusted resource for media and her clients alike, helping brands tell their stories on an international scale. She speardheads all communications efforts for Une Femme Wines, including media relations and strategy. 

KAIT SKYE

Executive Assistant & Strategic Projects

Kait serves as an executive assistant to the Une Femme team, working directly with Jen and Zach. With over ten cumulative years of administrative experience across various industries: from travel and retail to networking and the arts, Kait is eager to help expand the Une Femme legacy. Aside from her administrative duties, Kait is also a professional dancer in both the teaching and performance arenas. She is an instructor to children of all ages as well as a dancer on the award-winning professional company, Hip Hop ConnXion HQ, of which she has been a member for the past ten years.

SAMANTHA SHEEHAN

Winemaker - The Callie

Samantha Sheehan is our California winemaker, responsible for The Callie and The Piquette. Samantha founded POE in 2009 after being inspired by the wines she tasted in Burgundy and Champagne. Her goal is create wines revealing the beautiful terroir of California, using minimal intervention, judicious use of sulfur, and never any additives. POE produces traditional Champagne method sparkling wines, rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a nouveau from Pinot Noir. Each wine is made in very limited quantities, and sold directly from the winery and to high-end restaurants around the country. In the spring of 2017, POE teamed up with Farella Vineyard and Forlorn Hope to open a collective tasting room in the heart of downtown Napa.

JULIE MÉDEVILLE

Winemaker - The Juliette

Julie Médeville is the woman behind The Juliette, our premier cru Champagne. The Médeville family has been in the heart of the Sauternes region since the marriage of Numa, great-grandfather of Christian Médeville (Julie’s father) to a certain Miss Marie Despujols. An attractive, wealthy orphan, she brought to the Médevilles the beautiful family mansion in the centre of Preignac village (the house had been bought by one of her Despujols ancestors in 1710), as well as the surrounding vineyards, Gilette and Les Justices. Today, Julie and Xavier Gonet, her husband, perpetuate this family tradition through their wines, including their Champagnes (Xavier comes from a long lineage of Champagne-makers). Julie is an extraordinary host, a world traveler, and a lover of life. You can taste that spirit in the Champagnes made by Gonet-Médeville.

BELINDA CHANG

Champagne Educator

Belinda’s over twenty-year career has earned her myriad accolades like “The Everlasting Influence of OG Sommelier Belinda Chang” and “How Sommelier Belinda Chang is Setting a New Standard for Wine Events”. She has made a name for herself as a sought-after lifestyle expert, business mentor, and innovator. Belinda managed the legendary 26,000 bottle cellar at Charlie Trotter’s, the wine lists at Laurent Gras' The Fifth Floor, and Danny Meyer's The Modern. While at The Modern, she was honored with James Beard Awards' "Outstanding Wine Service" in 2011 - the first and only time this award has been given to a bipoc woman. Belinda previously was the Champagne Educator for Moet Hennessy USA, running luxury Champagne experiences for a multitude of corporate clients. After moving back to Chicago, Belinda created the memorable and approachable wine and beverage program at modern, splashy steakhouse Maple and Ash before setting off on her own. When she's not planning some of the food world's buzziest irl and virtual events — the who's who annual Pre-Prom, which is dedicated to empowering and pampering women in the restaurant industry; the down-to-earth Aspen Classic Pool Party; or any number of intimate Chef's Collab dinners — Belinda can be found educating passionate wine and food lovers about enjoying wine, brunch and living elegantly and luxuriously for less. She is a regular fixture in local and national outlets like The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Food and Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, Fox, ABC and more.

Matt ALLDIAN

Advisor

From Startups to the Super Bowl - Matt has a proven track record of growth and innovation for brands of all sizes. With almost ten years of experience in CPG and DTC environments, he has experience leading e-commerce, marketing, product, and CX teams from pre-product stages through hyper-growth. He has demonstrated the ability to operate successfully in an agile/scrum organization as a CPO - blending creative and communications expertise with experience adopting cutting edge AI/ML/data science tools to drive CAC reduction and CLTV improvement. With experience in leading paid acquisition programs totaling over 50MM throughout his career, he has been at the forefront of digital adoption/transformation for some of the world’s largest brands. He has Product Owner experience in e-commerce websites (front and back end), iOS & Android apps, and Salesforce. From concept, brand identity, and packing design through integrated marketing strategies, he has launched over thirty products/brands at a local, national, and global scale. He is passionate about early-stage products at the intersection of community, design, and technology and for innovation-focused organizations looking to accelerate their next chapter of growth.










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