With over 25 years of experience in the natural products industry, Angela McElwee has had the opportunity to build structure, vision, and teams at many levels – as a retailer, board member, community member, and as the leader of a mission-driven vertically integrated manufacturer.
As the former CEO and President of Gaia Herbs, she stewarded growth, strategy, and the building of a world-class team for North America’s top herbal supplement brand for over a decade, starting in May 2008 as Vice President of Sales. In 2013, she was promoted to VP of Sales Operations, and appointed to the Board of Directors, and began serving as President in August of 2016. These roots have enabled her to dig deeply what it means to be a business that measures success by means of a new set of standards, considering people and planet as valued stakeholders and using success indicators that go beyond profitability. In that spirit, Angela led work to certify Gaia Herbs as a Living Wage Employer in 2016, and as a B Corporation in 2018. Her tenure has seen the natural products legacy brand through tremendous growth, innovation, and industry change, all while remaining true to its mission of connecting plants and people. This is humble work – producing herbal supplements, and operating a certified organic farm – yet it has a profound meaning for Gaia’s consumers, team members, and customers, as well as for the health of soil, water, and air.
She is a passionate advocate for using business as a vehicle to promote positive change, and brings that same ethos to her work as a Founding Board Member for Naturally Austin, a nonprofit working to nurture impact businesses in Central Texas, and to her volunteer work with other social impact focused organizations. Her love affair with the natural products industry, which began when she was 16 years old working in the supplement aisles of her local health food store, continues to this day. Angela serves as Vice President of At The Epicenter’s Board of Directors. A vegetarian and organic gardener since birth, Angela has been writing poetry for 30 years, and considers herself a lifelong student of ethnobotany, mastering the art of kitchen fermentation (ideally in the form of a perfect loaf of sourdough bread), and conscious leadership practices. When not burying her nose in a book or her hands in the dirt, she can be found at home in the Austin Hill Country with her husband and their 4 daughters.