Team

Alexis Abraham

CEO

Alexis has worked for two decades in strategic branding, communications, and internet-enabled businesses. He founded a pair of consumer-tech solutions: a specialist stationery platform in the UK, and theatre ticketing SaaS in South Africa. Prior to this at design agency Pentagram he worked with the Savoy Hotel, Dorchester Collection, Mothercare, and software pioneer Thoughtworks amongst other global clients.

At ICM in London he led a new team in their ‘talent branding’ programme working with international icons like Claudia Schiffer, Natalia Vodianova, and Daniel Craig to explore and leverage their potential beyond the screen and stage.

Eric Chang

COO

Eric is an experienced pharmaceutical and healthcare executive with over a decade of operational management and business development experience. Beginning his career at Vancouver Coastal Health, he then went on to manage health services for Internationally Protected Persons at Health Canada.

Most recently, Eric led the Clinical Services and business development teams in Western Canada for Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network and AmerisourceBergen- the second largest pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor in the United States.

Alexia Blake

Head of Research & Product Development

Alexia Blake is a pioneer in the North American cannabis industry with a proven track record of developing efficacious products based on science and clinical evidence. Leveraging her food industry experience, she began her career in the cannabis space at MedReleaf Corp., one of the first Canadian producers of medical cannabis to receive a license from Health Canada. While at MedReleaf, the company became one of the largest global producers of legal cannabis and was eventually acquired in 2018 by Aurora for $2.5 billion.

Alexia led the development of Aurora’s global CBD portfolio for the health and wellness market before joining LAVVAN Inc., a leading company focused on commercializing high-quality cannabinoid ingredients produced using biosynthesis for the health, beauty, food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets.

Simon Walters

FD

Simon qualified as a chartered accountant and worked in corporate finance at Stoy Hayward (now BDO). He then joined Fuller Peiser as Finance Partner, before becoming FD of the Molyneux property group with its controlling interest in a listed PLC. Simon was then FD at Shani, a manufacturing company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s main market, and subsequently FD at privately-held investment fund Wood Hall Securities.

Simon has also been a director of AIM-quoted Bilston & Battersea Enamels plc; FD of the Fish! chain of restaurants bought out of receivership; a director of NetFM, an internet radio station; FD of AIM-quoted AFC Energy plc and Neville Porter plc; FD of main market-listed OTAQ plc; and provided FD services to a portfolio of companies through Headline FD.

Istok Nahtigal

Head of Process and Applied Sciences

Istok is a Chartered Chemist and cannabis industry expert in the field of fermentation and bio-extractions. Holding a graduate degree from Queen’s University in Physical Chemistry, Istok was a key scientific member of LAVVAN and MedReleaf Corp, where he developed a distinctive cannabinoid extraction process technology using purpose-built extractors. His work has led to multiple inventions and patents in the field of cannabinoid purification.

Prior to this, he held the role of Process Scientist at Bioniche Life Sciences, leading the group in evolving novel fermentation and downstream purification schemes for the production of a recombinant, bovine administered E.coli O157:H7 vaccine, in addition to a novel biologic for treating equine pneumonia.

Peter Wall

Non-Executive Chairman

Peter is an entrepreneur based in Ottawa, Canada. Peter is the CEO of Argo Blockchain plc, the LSE’s first crypto asset company listing. At Argo, he has overseen the company’s rapid growth from a £20M market cap to exceed £1billion at one stage.

Peter has a history of ‘firsts’ across various industries, including founding Weave Technologies, an infrastructure company focused on high-quality genetics and seeds, co-founding Hubud, Bali’s first co-working space, and launching Wildflowers, one of the first meditation apps in the Apple app store. He has been featured in Virgin Entrepreneur and appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg.

Sara Hemming

Creative Director

Sara's previous employment includes Global Visual Director of Stella McCartney and Creative Director and partner of DJA, working with clients such as Prada, Dior, Rag & Bone, and Another Magazine.

In 2016 she started her own studio, with ongoing brand collaborations in the luxury and lifestyle realms including Joseph, Jimmy Choo, Barbara Sturm and David Beckham.

Myles Palmer

Digital Lead

Myles is a Digital Director that has worked with a number of leading brands in the luxury, fashion and cultural sectors. During his time at various design studios, he has worked with clients such as David Beckham, IVY PARK, SPACE10, Manolo Blahnik, LOVE Magazine, Magnum Photos and more.

He founded the digital product design studio Companion in 2020, where he works with start-ups and established brands to create digital products, services and tools that create a better future for people and planet.

Amanda Pape

Senior Quality Assurance Manager

Amanda is a healthcare professional with more than 15 years’ experience working in hospital diagnostic laboratory where she led process improvement strategies. She is passionate about quality and has transferred her knowledge and experience in the healthcare space to the cannabis industry.

In 2020 she started her own quality assurance consulting company where she worked collaboratively with cannabis licensed providers to implement ISO and GMP requirements, and Quality Management Systems. Previously, Amanda was the Quality Assurance Manager at LAVVAN.

Melissa Santolini

Lead Project Manager

Melissa has diverse experience from the cannabis, pharmaceutical, and agrochemical industries. With a background in cannabis regulation and quality assurance, Melissa was most recently at LAVVAN where she focused on driving regulatory, product development and quality initiatives.

Prior to joining LAVVAN, Melissa led product chemistry projects as a chemist at UPL Ltd., a global provider of crop protection chemicals, and held an analytical R&D role at Apotex Pharmachem Inc., a division of the Apotex group of companies focused on API R&D and manufacturing.

Board

Darcy Taylor

Non-Executive Director

Darcy has over 20 years of senior experience building companies and brands in Asia, Europe and North America. He has a proven track record in C-suite and senior leadership roles at IMG Canada (now Endeavor LLC), Logic Technologies Inc, JT International S.A. and MASEV Communications Inc. His experience spans corporate, agency, and entrepreneurial environments.

David Gardner

Non-Executive Director

David Gardner is Managing Director of DB Ventures, overseeing David Beckham’s commercial businesses, partnerships and global brand management. He is a director of businesses in David Beckham’s portfolio including the Seven Global joint venture with Global Brands Group and Studio 99, the content studio and production company. He helps to grow Inter Miami CF, the MLS franchise in which Beckham is a co-owner.

Ross Connolly

Non-Executive Director

Ross has worked in sports and entertainment for over ten years. At CAA he joined their sports talent and property sales group, tasked with building the talent offering. Key client signings included Harry Kane, Philippe Coutinho and Nico Rosberg. After three years at CAA, Ross joined KIN to run their commercial partnerships team, managing high- profile clients Neymar Jr, Chelsea FC and Inter Miami CF. His work with David Beckham’s management team led to his move to DB Ventures as Commercial Director.

Advisors

Etan Bendheim

Etan is President of LAVVAN, a pioneering cannabinoid biosynthesis company. Etan has a diversified background with experience in corporate strategy, manufacturing and finance. Before joining LAVVAN, he spent a decade working in various roles at Phibro Animal Health Corporation (PAHC), a global diversified animal health and mineral nutrition company.

Daniel Weil

Daniel studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires in 1977 and later became a professor of Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art. He joined Pentagram’s London office in 1992 where his clients included United Airlines, for whom he designed cabin interiors, tableware, seating, amenities, staff uniforms and the lounges for First, Business and Economy classes. Weil has also worked with Grupo Assa and most recently worked on the rebranding of World Chess. Former clients include Swatch, Mont Blanc, Lego, Coca-Cola, Boots and The Dorchester in London.