Julie founded KLUTCHclub to solve a problem. While working a demanding 75hr +/ week with a heavy travel schedule, she was on a perpetual quest to find products that would make eating healthy, nutritious food and exercising on the go more convenient. Confused by all the options out there (hemp? chia? omegas?), not knowing which brands to trust – and unwilling to invest hundreds of dollars on products that she couldn’t distinguish from the latest gimmicks vs. something that was holistically good for her – Bashkin one day envisioned a box of curated, healthy products that would magically appear right at her door. Because that idealized option didn’t exist, she set out to create it.While Bashkin is a self-professed healthy living fanatic, she hasn’t always loved exercise. As a child, she suffered from the “picked last for the team” syndrome, and struggled with her weight in her teens and 20s – a problem compounded by scoliosis and back pain. It wasn’t until after college that she started working out regularly, and improved her self image and back problems through regular cardio, yoga, pilates and core strengthening. Last year, she taught herself to ride a bike, a skill she never mastered in childhood. She has a real empathy and ability to relate to her members, and feels that if she can stay healthy and manage to find balance in her life, anyone can. Bashkin explains. “What worked for me was a holistic change, an education about food content, and making the right choices with the aid of the right products.”
Prior to founding KLUTCHclub, Bashkin was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, where she helped large corporations grow their businesses in new markets in the consumer packaged goods, retail and hospitality sectors. The experience solidified her problem solving and leadership skills, principles and philosophy. It also taught her that her core leadership philosophy was to pursue only what she is personally passionate about, to figure out her own struggles and then help others figure out theirs, and to build a team of people who share the same passions and are inspired to work every day on something that challenges them.
And she’s seen – and helped – women entrepreneurs face and overcome much bigger odds than stepping out of corporate America. After college, Bashkin served as a Fulbright Scholar with the United States Department of State in Belarus, where she helped women entrepreneurs in Eastern Europe start and grow their businesses.
Bashkin holds a B.A. in Social Relations from Michigan State University and an M.A. from the University of Chicago in Russian History. She is an avid traveler, foodie, reader, and exerciser. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Matt, and their 6 lbs. Pomeranian, Cortez.
LISA FETTA, COO
Lisa joined KLUTCHclub because she believes wholeheartedly in Bashkin’s vision.
Growing up with the challenging combination of asthma and severe allergies, Fetta often found herself “caught” in emergency situations without the proper health solutions. She found herself needing to haul around an “S.O.S” bag of remedies to every occasion as a young adult and became intrigued in finding her own solutions to her health issues.
It was only through a long and ad-hoc experience of “trial and error” that Fetta was able to truly understand the trigger points of her asthma and allergies, as well as which products provided relief (or mitigated the triggering) most efficiently. In her mid-20s, she is still constantly experimenting with what works and what doesn’t and finds that many times the products that best fit her health profile are not readily available in local stores. Rather, she is often introduced to new brands at her local gym or through word of mouth.
KLUTCHclub seeks to address this problem by turning an “ad-hoc” experimentation into a more structured and beneficial relationship between emerging health brands and individuals like Fetta. By receiving 5-10 new products on a monthly basis, Fetta and others that suffer from asthma / allergies can stay on top of the newest innovations in the industry and ensure early access to solutions for their lifestyles.
As a former McKinsey & Company consultant working closely with Conumer Packaged Goods brands, Fetta is most excited to offer meaningful programs to emerging brands through the targeted KLUTCHclub channel. She is focused intently on connecting and cultivating new relationships between brand and consumer.
Fetta holds a B.A. in Economics & Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. She is an avid yogi of all sorts and has a keen passion for city walks, country music, wine, crossword puzzles, and college football. She lives in Chicago with her fiancée Casey.
EMILY O’GRADY, VP DEVELOPMENT
Emily is thrilled to be part of the team at KLUTCHclub.
A life-long competitive athlete, she’s jogged mile after mile, played game after game, as well as experimented with her food for over 20 years, as a temporary vegetarian, vegan, protein-only eater, and fad diet follower. Despite these efforts, she often found herself working hard on multiple fronts but still coming up short of feeling “well”. She blamed herself for eating the wrong things, inevitably getting older, and not exercising enough.
Over time, she learned her path to feeling “well” is about being open in body and mind and discovering the right activities and authentic products and services that work for her. She only wishes KLUTCHclub had always
been around as she began seriously embarking on her wellness journey.
Emily was most recently with McKinsey & Company where she led teams as
an Engagement Manager. Her work at KLUTCHclub is primarily centered
on developing unique and innovative partnerships with a range of
exciting companies – from niche to mass brands, across a range of
products and services.
She holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Southern Methodist University and
an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern
University. She is an enthusiastic yoga practitioner and runner, an
experienced high-altitude trekker, and an avid fiction reader. She
spends as much time as she can in the great outdoors with her husband,
Mick, and their beloved mutt, Porter.
KATIE CONSTANTINE, VP DEVELOPMENT
An avid adventure sport junkie with a focus on health and wellness, Katie is right at home with KLUTCHclub. She summited Mt Kilimanjaro in 2011 and is hoping to tackle Everest Base Camp in 2013. During the three months leading up to Kilimanjaro, Katie had the opportunity to live alongside the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire. She went on long hikes every single day and began to focus on incorporating more raw and local foods into her diet. The combination of fresh air and pure food made noticeable differences to her energy levels and overall happiness.
Since returning to Chicago, it is Katie’s mission to continue this healthy lifestyle despite city living. Now instead of hiking through a backyard filled with wilderness and dropping by the nearest farm stand, she jogs along the lakefront, swims at the beach and spends way too much time at Whole Foods. Katie loves that KLUTCHclub provides professionally curated health and fitness products direct to the doorstep, so that she can easily identify and test out brands that align with her mission.
Katie was most recently the VP of Sales for Noblivity, an online B2B marketplace for the specialty retail industry. Her primary responsibilities at KLUTCHclub are to provide meaningful partnerships for brands and to provide great products/ services for KLUTCHclub’s members. She is passionate about being able to help people make smarter decisions when it comes to their health.
Katie holds a BBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and is the Executive Vice President for the Ross Alumni Club of Chicago. Her interests include traveling, working out, reading, and Michigan football. In her spare time, she is usually outdoors with her husband and their tiger striped pit-bull mix, Bindi.
ERIN SREBINSKI, DIRECTOR OF BRAND PARTNERSHIPS
With her frantic, on the go personality – Erin is constantly running around. She is psyched to join the KLUTCHclub team as it perfectly augments her crazy lifestyle.
Erin grew up in an extremely active environment where family time revolved around swimming, hiking, and soccer practice and where family dinner was mandatory. She continues that lifestyle now by doing every exercise under the sun such as spinning, boxing, running and yoga and supplementing that with healthy home cooked meals whenever possible. She is always looking to experience new ways to push her body and is currently training for a half marathon.
Erin graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Advertising and attended Northwestern University afterwards to obtain pre-requisites for medical school. After going to medical school interviews and realizing it didn’t suit her creative style she joined PLNDR, a growing start up in Boston. She was most recently an Assistant Buyer and joined KLUTCHclub as the Director of Brand Partnerships which she feels merges her business and health interests.
She loves being back in the Midwest and spends her free time cooking, shoe shopping, taking a multitude of photographs and spending as much time as possible with her husband and their adorable dog Mose.
ALEXANDRA (ALLIE) LEFEVERE, HEALTHY LIVING EDITOR
Allie is delighted to be a part of the KLUTCHclub team and believes if you give people a healthier option, they’ll take it (almost) every time.
Raised by a frisky family whose motto was ‘eat until your pants need unbuttoning’, the concept of healthy eating was the inevitable unwanted dinner guest. In an effort to combat her upbringing, she spent the early part of her twenties choking down iceberg lettuce drenched in fat-free dressing and jumping on various fad-diet bandwagons , most notably, the self-created ‘beef jerky, cashews and Diet Coke’ diet.
In this state of food purgatory, she wasn’t looking to find the elusive ‘perfect’ diet, but instead to transform her relationship with food, and in turn, her life. She dove headfirst into the wellness waters, coming up for air once she realized that holistic living holds the blueprint for a healthy and happy life. As a Holistic Nutrition Practitioner, Wellness Lifestyle Expert and Coach, she believes that a nutrient-dense diet rules, exercise is imperative, and having fun must be taken very seriously.
Founder of [chick]agoan.com, Allie, who is also a certified Yoga Teacher, invests her time in helping those who want to live optimally and radiate wellness. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan and attended The Institute for Integrative Nutrition of Columbia University, NY, the largest and most prestigious nutrition school in the world, boasting nutrition superstar instructors like John Douillard, Dr. Neal Barnhard, David Wolfe and Deepak Chopra. Trained in over 100 different dietary theories, she addresses the fundamental concepts, issues, and ethics of eating and thriving in a modern world. Only second to wellness is her passion for travel and adventure. Therefore, she can be found wanderlusting via her trusty backpack in her free time; most recently, quad-riding through Cambodia.
LAURA PECHERSKI, DIRECTOR OF MARKETINGThe world is made up of two kinds of people: those who cling to the status quo and those who bravely embrace and try new experiences. Laura admittedly and proudly falls distinctly into the latter camp. Not content to stick with the same-old same-old, she constantly mixes it up. She’s obsessed with new experiences, new products, new services, new workouts, especially those ‘ﬁrst time’ ones. She constantly asks, ‘What’s new?’ ‘What’s fresh?’ and, as a result, has become completely addicted to the rush of trying new things that often helps her discover her new favorite brand or product.
The classic experimenter, believing niche is the new mass, her mantra is “try” (with gusto of course!). And that’s why she loves being part of the discovery process of KLUTCHclub and invites you to experiment alongside her.
Laura is known throughout the Michigan start-up scene and she has partnered with a range of budding companies to bring their products to market and help them to connect deeply with the consumer. Through her most recent role with an innovative logistics company, she developed the nuanced ability to anticipate and validate the wants and needs of sometimes complex, fickle, but savvy customers. Now at KLUTCHclub, Laura uses those same skills to make potential subscribers aware of and embrace the powerful KLUTCHclub membership experience.
She holds a B.A. in Organizational Communication from Western Michigan University. An an animal lover, she’s held positions as a morgan horse trainer and riding instructor, veterinary technician, and frequent pet sitter. Laura lives in Grand Rapids with her fiance, Ryan and her two cats, Spike & Willy (though she’ll swear she’s not a cat person).
KERRY SULLIVAN, CREATIVE DIRECTOR/EVENT MARKETING COORDINATOR
Kerry is excited to be a key part of KLUTCHclub creative team this summer.
As a former competitive swimmer, she knows the dedication and determination that go into leading a healthy lifestyle. Throughout her swimming career, she’s successfully competed in many state-wide and national competitions. However, her career has not been without its up’s and down’s. During a routine practice a few years ago, her asthma took over, causing her to pass out and nearly drown. After taking a year off after seeking medical counsel, Kerry was determined the pool had not seen the last of her and she successfully returned to the team. Although she still struggles with breathing issues, she understands the importance of smart training and came back to the pool stronger and faster than ever, ultimately garnering national attention for her performance.
Having now retired from regular competition, Kerry was unsure of how to remain fit and healthy without the regimented training schedule she once kept. But Kerry has tried a variety of new activities and now regularly runs, lifts, and practices yoga throughout the week.
She deeply appreciates that KLUTCHclub helps her navigate through the sometimes-confusing health and wellness marketplace, and that the products are so easy to find and incorporate into her daily life (and for a college student that’s constantly surrounded by unhealthy options, she means it!!).
Kerry is a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame and is double majoring in marketing and graphic design. She’sexcited to be working with KLUTCHclub in Chicago this summer and is looking forward to growing KLUTCHclub, infusing her creativity and graphic design talents to make a lasting impression on the brand.
MARQUES TORBERT, LEAD – KLUTCHmen
Marques is excited to have joined the KLUTCHclub team, providing innovative solutions to the complex problems that exist in the personal fitness, wellness and health market.
Having been involved in many sports and activities throughout his youth and adult life, Marques has consumed and experimented with dozens of energy bars, specialty drinks, and performance enhancing apparel with much confusion, uncertainty, and lack of trust. He often found himself unable to evaluate or understand the nutritional content or performance effectiveness of the many options on the market. For example, while preparing for a triathlon, and as a new athlete to the sport, Marques was faced with the daunting task of choosing from hundreds of diverse products, each of which claimed to provide health results and optimal effectiveness to cyclists, swimmers, and runners. This resulted in hours of research and weeks of testing before unfortunately finding out that the products were not for him. While reflecting on his many experiences as an athlete, Marques realized that KLUTCHclub was the perfect concept to help him complement and balance his physically active lifestyle with the rest of his life in an efficient, cost effective, and trust worthy way.
Prior to joining KLUTCHclub, Marques worked at Clarion Capital Partners, a growth equity and middle market private equity firm focused on investing in companies in the consumer, retail, and business services space. Prior to Clarion, Marques was an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions department at Lazard Frères.
Marques holds a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University and is currently pursuing his MBA at Harvard Business School. He enjoys cycling, playing basketball, and outdoor treks. In his spare time, he loves trying new restaurants, watching college football and traveling the world.
SHARI BROKOWSKI, MARKETING MANAGER
Growing up, Shari was usually found on the lacrosse field. Her passion for an active lifestyle followed her into college where she played lacrosse and majored in Kinesiology and Art History. Her choice of a major was an easy one – she wanted a deeper knowledge of how her body worked and an understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Shari is constantly trying to rediscover her workouts and a healthy eating plan. Whenever the “newest healthy” product comes out, Shari is sure to do her research and evaluate whether to jump on the bandwagon. At the moment, Shari is riding it with the other P90x junkies and eating tubs of Greek yogurt. With the help of KLUTCHclub she is sure to continue enjoying the ride.
Shari was most recently working in a managerial role at Nordstrom. She brings the same customer service mindset to KLUTCHclub and is excited to get to know the KLUTCHclub customer! She is now able to put her enjoyment of reading blogs and learning about other people’s healthy choices to good use at KLUTCHclub.
Shari holds a B.A. from Whittier College. She recently moved to Chicago from California and is excited to explore this wonderful city. In her free time she enjoys visiting her family, trying every restaurant in Chicago, visiting the Art Institute, and finding the perfect little something at an antique fair.
PEDRO SUAREZ, LEAD – KLUTCHdollars
Pedro is excited to join the KLUTCHclub team this summer and soak up all the wellness knowledge he can get his hands on.
Originally from Miami, Florida, he grew up globally; planting roots in both Switzerland and Brazil. Adapting to different cultures, cuisines and exercise regimes made healthy living a confusing topic, but he’s now learning that vitality is a broad source and to incorporate his worldly exposure into his new-found active lifestyle.
This summer, Pedro will focus on the development of the customer loyalty program; generating creative ways for members to engage with KLUTCHclub and reap its ample rewards. He is currently studying Business at The University of Notre Dame and enjoys running, tennis, traveling and music when he’s not nose-deep in a text book.
KAITLIN MOGENTALE, LEAD – AFFILIATES
Kaitlin Mogentale joined the KLUTCHclub team in June. She is thrilled for the opportunity to work with such an amazing, driven group.
Kaitlin is a competitive tennis player. She began working with a trainer to improve her tennis game, and became interested in the nutritional and fitness applications to the sport. After experimenting with nutrition, Kaitlin became a vegetarian for environmental reasons. She found that it was a challenge to find healthy, fulfilling alternatives to the meat dishes when someone else is cooking your food. In time, she became familiar with a variety of different brands offering nutrient rich products and protein supplements. Her involvement with KLUTCHclub continues to open her eyes to new brands and products with a mission for healthy living and wellness.
Kaitlin manages KLUTCHclub’s affiliate program and works with nutritionists, personal trainers, gyms, yoga instructors, and more. She also helps with social media development and plans activities to increase member involvement.
Kaitlin is currently enrolled at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She is an Environmental Studies major, with minors in Business and Urban Policy and Planning. She enjoys scuba diving and traveling in her free time. She is so thankful to be mentored by such an accomplished and intelligent group of people on the KLUTCHclub team, and the experience has led her to realize her strong interest in the business world.
REBECCA RITCHIE, LEAD – RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
Rebecca is very excited to be part of the KLUTCHclub team this summer. She is thankful for the opportunity to learn all she can about business while working with so many enthusiastic, fun, and dedicated people.
Rebecca has always been a very athletic person, primarily practicing competitive tennis. But after a bad back injury left her unable to play with the same frequency and intensity, she has had to try to find other effective ways of staying fit and healthy. Because of this, she truly believes in the KLUTCHclub initiative and is excited to be able to work with the company.
Rebecca spends her free time playing the trumpet, watching movies, reading, and enjoying the outdoors with her family. She is currently a student at Harvard University.