Board of Directors

Amanda Shafton, Board President

Amanda is the Senior Manager, Commercial Product Management for Q2 Banking Solutions. She is a proven leader in the payments industry with a strong focus on product development, program management, vendor relations, and team building. She relocated to Colorado to work for Elevations, having spent most of her career in financial services product development for both start-ups and larger companies globally. She was previously part of a team who formed a charitable community garden and loved seeing how kids and families could work together to learn about growing healthy food. She is excited that her own kids get to participate in GTT’s Lafayette’s school gardens.

Jessica Schmitt, Board Vice President

An educator at heart and researcher by nature, Jessica currently works as a freelance writer, including all manner of copy editing as well as writing marketing materials for companies striving to do good in the world. Jessica is a National Board Certified Teacher with over a decade of teaching experience nationally and internationally. In 2007, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in Germany. Since returning to Boulder, she has taught middle school English, served as the department head, served on the accountability committee, and co-developed the English content standards to meet or exceed Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and BVSD standards. She holds a B.A. in humanities with a minor in German, and a M.A. in Education. As a Colorado native who grew up spending as much time outdoors as possible, Jessica believes gardening is one of the best activities to do with young people (her children included). She is honored to work with so many talented and passionate people at Garden To Table.

Jessica Benjamin, Board Secretary

Jessica began event planning for Garden To Table in 2008 and then joined the board in 2015. She began her experience in the restaurant & food industry where Jessica realized her passion for bringing people together over a delicious meal. Here she worked for two years on venue side of event planning with The Kitchen. Moving to the corporate meeting world, Jessica spent over seven years managing multiple clients to execute conferences and meetings all over the world. Jessica loves spending time with her family gardening, cooking, traveling and being outdoors.

Amos Barclay, Member At Large

Amos is a corporate attorney with the law firm of Holland & Hart LLP. In his law practice, Amos helps large and small businesses achieve their goals, be it through venture capital financing, bank investments, mergers, joint ventures and sales of assets. Prior to his service on the Garden To Table Board, Amos served for nine years on the board of trustees of an outdoor school and summer camp focused on experiential education and sustainability. Amos is a North Carolina native who loves the outdoors, particularly Colorado’s many offerings for mountain biking and backcountry skiing. Amos looks forward to when his daughter is old enough to attend a Garden To Table school.

Jessica Newman, Member at Large

Jessica spent over 10 years working in Denver Public Schools as a teacher, district leader, and high school Principal.   It was through engagement tools like gardening and wilderness exploration that she was able to entice older students who had dropped out of school to come back to the classroom so they could earn their diplomas.  After her 2nd son was born 4 years ago, she and her wife decided to move out of the inner city and into wider expanses where their two boys could frolic in the dirt, grow food, and live a much more quiet life in rural north Boulder.  Having served communities who live mostly in food deserts, where access to locally grown organic food was not a reality, she’s most passionate about food from an equity and public health perspective and is really excited to discover how her new role working in big tech can help propel local efforts. 

Elizabeth O’Connell, Member at Large

Elizabeth O’Connell is a professional fundraiser, currently working as a Donor Relations Officer for Western Resource Advocates. Elizabeth has dedicated her career to the outdoors, working as the Publisher for a free Colorado publication, Elevation Outdoors, for five years and then stepping into work on climate change and conservation issues in the West with WRA. Her main interests are sharing the natural world, and protecting this gorgeous place that we call home here in Colorado. Elizabeth is thrilled to serve as a board member for Garden to Table, and accepted the role in Fall 2021. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys being outside with her family, including hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and learning to garden with her 2 year old. 

Sowmya Surapur, Member at Large

Sowmya is currently a healthcare project manager with a focus on digital health and is passionate about increasing interoperability in healthcare data. After growing up in the midwest, she moved to Denver in 2016 and settled in Erie in 2021 after falling in love with sunny Colorado. Prior to, Sowmya worked at the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University throughout college, served as an AmeriCorps Garden Educator and completed a BS in Nutrition & MS in Crop and Soil Science. More recently Sowmya taught Soil Ecology at a community college. Sowmya is looking forward to making an impact on school garden education, and hopefully getting her hands a little dirty in the process.

Stephen Brown, Member at Large

Steve has lived in Boulder over 35 years and has been part of multiple community organizations including board positions with Boulder Parks & Recreation advisory board, North Boulder Little League and the Boulder Rugby Football Club.  He has been in executive leadership in multiple technology companies and currently works with SAP Concur  as a VP in global technical sales.  He has lived and worked in China and New Zealand and has traveled in more than 40 countries enjoying food and experiences in all of them. He currently spends his spare time with his family, mountain biking, snowboarding, gardening, and attending international rugby matches.