Meet the WGC Staff
It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a diverse group of people to make consumers aware of the health benefits and good taste of whole grains. Here are just some of the people who make it happen.
Program Management, Whole Grains Council
Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies
In her work at Oldways, Cynthia combines her diverse experience in nutrition, management, writing and intercultural exchange. An avid proponent of healthy eating, Cynthia developed and taught an interactive nutrition curriculum called Good Food Basics. She has worked as International Marketing Manager and later VP of New Product Development for a manufacturing company, and was founder and managing director of the Summer Computer Institute.
Cynthia is the author of scores of magazine articles and five books, including the well-known Take Your Kids to Europe, a family travel guide now in its eighth edition. She received her degree in French Culture and Language from Brown University. She joined Oldways in 2003.
Kelly Toups, MLA, RD, LDN
Program Director for the Whole Grains Council
Kelly joined Oldways in 2014 to promote whole grains and healthy cultural food traditions. A registered dietitian by training, Kelly graduated from the University of Texas with BS in nutrition, and completed her dietetic internship through the University of Texas coordinated program. Kelly also holds a Masters degree in Gastronomy from Boston University, with a concentration in food policy.
Kelly’s passion for delicious and nutritious food developed after studying the Mediterranean diet in Sicily, and interning at the global headquarters of Whole Foods Market. Before joining Oldways, Kelly helped research Frances Moore Lappé’s recently released book, World Hunger: Ten Myths (2015), and also managed an award winning healthy eating program for Boston College Dining Services.
Stamp Program Manager for the Whole Grains Council
Harley joined Oldways in the fall of 2014 and is now Stamp Program Manager for The Whole Grains Council. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Sociology and Psychology, ultimately focusing on health and wellness.
With a passion for fitness, nutrition, and overall holistic health, she followed those interests to a position in a children’s hospital. After realizing she spent most of her free time thinking about, reading about, and experimenting with nutrition, it was only logical to take the leap into the field full-time.
Having fallen in love with different cultures through trips near and far, she now uses those cultural influences from her explorations in her own kitchen. In her experience, preparing healthy home-cooked meals using fresh, local ingredients to share with friends and family is one of the best ways to show your love. She believes that food is powerful, both physically and emotionally - whether it is healing an illness, fueling a workout, or bringing people together - and she is determined to teach, inspire, and help people understand that “good for you” can also taste good!
Additional Key Personnel
Although the entire Oldways staff contributes to the success of the Whole Grains Council, certain key personnel are involved regularly in the WGC's work and are listed below.
Sara has been an instrumental figure at Oldways for two decades. She assumed the presidency of Oldways in May 2010, on the untimely death of founder K. Dun Gifford. She now develops company strategy, oversees all Oldways projects and programs, and works closely with all members of the Oldways staff.
Before joining Oldways in 1992, Sara served as Special Projects Editor for Inc. Magazine and directed a number of special events. As Special Projects Editor for seven years, she directed all special reports for the editorial department of the magazine and established the magazine's internship program.
Sara has worked as a research consultant for private firms, and in state and federal government positions in the fields of environmental resources, business, and education. She graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.A. in Economics and holds a Master's Degree in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Public Relations and Media Manager
Ashley joined the Oldways team in 2015. As the Public Relations and Media Manager, she brings national and global recognition to Oldways’ work and helps to spread our educational messages.
Ashley graduated from Syracuse University in 2010 with a dual major in magazine journalism and geography. Fresh out of school, she interned with the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., and since then has worked for numerous publications and organizations as a reporter, writer, editor, and communications manager. Most recently Ashley was the associate editor of culture and food for Moonshine Ink, a monthly newspaper in Truckee, Calif. She was also co-producer and PR manager for Elevate Tahoe, a solutions-based documentary organization. Ashley was instrumental in every stage of creation and promotion of the film, Food Innovations @ 6,000 Feet, which was accepted into last year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
Ashley has been passionate about food for most of her life. For years she enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen, but it wasn’t until she started farming that her appreciation for good food deepened. Her experiences volunteering on organic farms in Colorado, Oregon, and Cape Cod were transformative and highly educational. From there her passion has only grown into learning about nutritional benefits of eating whole foods (sometimes with the dirt still on them), exploring different culinary techniques, and studying issues surrounding food access and affordability.
Program and Financial Manager
Abby joined the Oldways team in mid-2011, delighted with the prospect of working within her passion. In her current role as Financial Manager, Abby supports the WGC by handling membership renewals and billing.
Abby graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in Psychology and minor in History. After graduation, she worked in the non-profit world for three years. Weight was a constant struggle for Abby for as long as she can remember, and she often put her desire for academic achievement over any focus on a healthy lifestyle. Facing the potential of health problems at too young an age, Abby decided that post-graduation was the perfect time to change her life. Adopting the foundations of the Mediterranean Diet as a basis for her weight loss, Abby shed nearly 90 pounds and gained an appreciation and passion for food and fitness.
"Changing the Way People Eat” has become Abby’s core goal, and she is elated to be part of Oldways and the Whole Grains Council.
To ensure the depth and quality of its work, the Whole Grains Council also relies its Scientific Advisory Committee and its Culinary Advisory Committee. Click on either one, to learn more about their diverse talents.