Help Us Give a Warm VNL Welcome to Our Newest Senior Project Manager, Marissa Baron!

Please help us in welcoming our newest Senior Project Manager, Marissa Baron, to Visible Network Labs!

Marissa joins our Data Science team, working with our platforms to coordinate opportunities and collaborate with the communities we work with across the United States, and around the globe.

We’re excited for Marissa to help our teams and products reach new heights as we grow! Check out more information on her below.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised on the east coast–with a few years in Colorado. I became really active in community organizing in college, ultimately organizing for an environmental justice law firm. Through that experience, I came into the world of food systems–from farm to fork and everything in between.

I have worked in farming for several seasons, led institutional procurement efforts for local schools and governments, created economic development programming for farmers and food businesses, and led campaigns and coalitions for local and state-level policy change. Most recently, I worked for a local public health department, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic changes to improve the regional food system in Colorado.

I recently completed my Master’s in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, where I had the privilege of serving as a Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellow and working with the Global Food Ethics and Policy Project. Prior to that, I obtained my Master’s in bioethics, as well as my Bachelor’s in psychology and environmental studies from New York University.

What is your new position and what do you hope to accomplish in it?

My role at VNL is as Senior Project Manager, coordinating a diverse group of network leaders across VNL’s PARTNER platform. I am so excited to work across communities to identify collaborative opportunities to leverage social supports and health systems. I see so many interconnections across systems I have worked in and studied to those that I will be supporting at VNL. I am also eager to bring my expertise across food systems to bridge opportunities for network-informed change.

Who is a significant mentor in your life?

I have been so fortunate to benefit from truly incredible individuals and communities across my own networks throughout my life. On a professional level, I have had amazing leaders and team members support me in following my passions, leading with equity to work toward long-term, systemic change, and to ensure I am both advocating for others as I advocate for myself.

On a core values level, I have long valued the words and guidance of both Dr. Jane Goodall and Dr. Peter Singer. As a child, Dr. Goodall’s nontraditional path and unwavering drive to work with animals inspired my own passion and deep connection to animals. Dr. Singer’s novel Animal Liberation opened up a world of understanding for me, coming from a bit of an isolated place growing up in my values toward non-human animals. His work in effective altruism further solidified my strong desire to “do the most good,” so to speak throughout my personal and professional life. And I was fortunate enough to cross paths with each of them during my time at NYU.

Lastly, my three-year old nephew inspires me each and every day to stay curious and to continue to work toward a healthier, more equitable world for the next generation.

Where is your favorite place to visit on vacation?

During college I had the utmost privilege of living in Australia for several months. I primarily stayed in Sydney but was able to travel across the country and explore so many incredible natural landscapes. Granted I have not been there since, any place with ocean access is easily at the top of my list.

Sydney's famed Opera House
Sydney's famed Opera House.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?

There is probably a superhuman out there already in possession of such capacity and power, but I would love to be able to communicate with all humans across language barriers (and nonhumans would be nice too). It is continually mind blowing to me how many challenges are solely due to language barriers or lack of infrastructure or capacity to implement language justice.

What do you enjoy doing away from work?

I can be a bit of a homebody, particularly just loving to hangout with my cat and dog, but I do love being outside. During the agricultural season I am most often out working at a local farm or gardening myself. I also volunteer with several farm animal sanctuaries. And otherwise can be found at some form of live music event.
Be sure to stay tuned to our Visible Us Blog for more product updates and VNL Team content!

About the Author: Will Jacobson

Will Jacobson is the Business Development Representative on VNL’s Marketing and Communications Team. Originally from New York City, Will loves living in Colorado and all the outdoor life it has to offer. He’s also a pretty big foodie!

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