Sam Polk (Executive Director)

Sam Polk is Founder and Executive Director of Groceryships. He is a graduate of Columbia University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, which he earned during his eight years as a bond and derivative trader for Bank of America, and King Street Capital Management. After leaving Wall Street in 2010, Sam spent the next few years writing a book and doing volunteer work in Los Angeles through organizations like My Friend’s Place and Aviva, before founding Groceryships. He is on the Board of Directors for Honor Kids International, and is passionate about helping children. 

Dr. Kirsten Thompson (UCLA Psychiatry)

Kirsten Thompson is a psychiatry resident at UCLA. Prior to UCLA, Kirsten spent two years as a resident in General Surgery at USC. She is a graduate of Cornell University and SUNY Downstate, where she earned her M.D. She is interested in the psycho-social and emotional issues surrounding obesity.  

Ben Polk (Attorney, LAFLA)

Benjamin Polk is Staff Attorney and Skadden Fellow at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles where he provides transactional legal support to South Los Angeles community-based organizations and non-profits that are launching social enterprises in low-income communities. Mr. Polk is a recent graduate of Harvard Law School, where he earned his J.D. and served low-income Boston residents as a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he earned his M.P.P. and was elected President of the student government. Prior to graduate school, Mr. Polk was a Senior Associate Consultant at the management consulting company Bain & Co., where he provided research, analysis, and project management to clients in London, Johannesburg, and Los Angeles. Mr. Polk was raised in Glendale and La Cañada by his mother, a nurse practitioner and midwife, and his father, who owned a small public relations business.

Michael Meyer (Head of Sales & Trading, The Seaport Group)

Michael Meyer is the Head of Sales and Trading at The Seaport Group. Before Seaport, Michael was Head of Global Investment Grade Trading and Sales for Bank of America. Prior to BofA Michael managed the US Corporate Bond Trading Desk for UBS Securities. Before UBS, Michael held various senior level positions for Merrill Lynch and CSFB. Michael holds an A.B. from Duke University.

 Jerry Cudzil (Head of US Credit Trading, TCW)

Mr. Cudzil is head of U.S. Credit Trading at TCW, overseeing the U.S. Fixed Income group’s trading of corporate and high-yield securities and derivatives. Prior to joining TCW in 2012, Mr. Cudzil was a high yield bond trader for Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, specializing in project finance, aviation, and energy securities. He was previously a portfolio manager for Dimaio Ahmad Capital, managing the multi-strategy credit fund and aviation fund and leading the firm’s risk management team. Mr. Cudzil began his career as a corporate bond trader for Prudential Securities and has also traded investment and high yield debt for Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs. Mr. Cudzil earned a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kurt Halvorson (Portfolio Manager, WAMCO)

Kurt Halvorson is a Portfolio Manager at Western Asset Management in Pasadena, CA.  He has been with the company since 2010.  Prior to joining Western, Mr. Halvorson worked as a Corporate Bond Trader at AEGON Investments, Conseco Capital Management, and Bank of America.  He has a B.A. in Business from Covenant College and also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst(CFA) designation.  Mr. Halvorson is a former Board member of the Covenant College Foundation and has also served on the Investment Committee for the Endowment at his alma mater.  He has three children:  Karsten(9), Katelyn(7) and Maren(5).  Kurt has a passion for helping people, especially around issues with food, which has been a lifelong struggle for him.

Joe Spiccia (Attorney)

Joe Spiccia is an associate litigation attorney at a statewide insurance defense law firm in El Segundo, CA. Joe became a member of the California Bar in 2008. Prior to his current position, Joe advocated for injured employees and represented workers suffering discrimination, harassment, and wrongful terminations at work. He was also a legal clerk and advocate at the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and the City of Cleveland Department of Law, Criminal Division. Joe earned his law degree at Case Western Reserve University, where he was the student director of a joint program between the school and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, providing mentorship to children within the community. He earned his B.A. in sociology and history at Ohio State University. Joe brings lifelong interest in the emotional and physical affects of the food to our organization.

Jeff Taraday (Nutrition Advisor)

Jeff Taraday is a reformed junk food addict and barbecue junkie who discovered the healing and transformative power of a whole foods, plant-based diet in in 2010.  Jeff is now a certified Nutritional Education Trainer through the Nutritional Education Institute and has completed a certification in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation.  He is currently completing a certification program through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school.  He is the author of the blog and coaches individuals and families around the country to smoothly transition to plant-based diets and achieve optimal health.  He received his BA in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis.