Maryam Henein/ Founder, CEO & Editor-In-Chief, HoneyColony
In 2010, Maryam’s 15-year career as an investigative journalist, professional researcher, and producer hit a milestone with the release of her award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees. It also marked her directorial debut. Maryam’s other credits include programs for the BBC, Discovery, Robert Greenwald, and Morgan Spurlock—plus, she co-wrote and hosted a program for TLC about the Ark of the Covenant. Her articles have appeared in several publications including the Los Angeles Times, Maxim, Science & Spirit Magazine, and Penthouse. The native Montrealer gained notoriety by breaking a story about Dodi Fayed’s imposter, a man who duped hundreds across North America, including Duran Duran and Jodie Foster. The trial set a precedent in Canadian legal history. Maryam’s immersion in nutrition science and alternative healing started about 10 years ago, on the heels of a near death experience. Maryam’s brush with death also raised her awareness of the environment, which inspired her to work on a piece on the Exxon Valdez Oil spill for Robert Greenwald and The Sierra Club. Shortly thereafter, the bees flew into Maryam’s life. Through HoneyColony, Maryam has fused her reporting skills with her love of nutrition and social media in a cooperative model that closely resembles the workings of a real hive. Maryam is dedicated to empowering folks to be their own best health advocate.
Loves: Dancing, keeping bees, and Moksha yoga
Turn-Offs: Wheat, gluten, dairy, hellavision
Inside Buzz: Used to go-go dance, sleeps with an eye-mask, enjoys blowing dandelions to the wind and prefers to be referred to as a QBIT (Queen Bee In Training) instead of a Queen Bee or Founder, because it’s more humble, of course
Jamie Weiss/Chief Operating Officer, HoneyColony
Currently, Jamie’s life is devoted to buckwheat groat, chia seeds, and sweaty yoga. But such was not the case 12 years ago when Jamie first met Maryam. At the time, both were working on an Amstel Light Commercial, and Jamie was still a full-fledged cigarette smoking New Yorker. Nonetheless, the women had an instant connection and the rest is history. As a Brooklyn youth, Jamie attended the renowned Performing Arts High School immortalized in the movie Fame. Later, she earned her B.F.A. from Emerson College in Boston—a natural extension of the acting career her mother compelled her to pursue at the tender age of seven. Indeed, Jamie spent the better part of her childhood performing in New York theaters and Catskill Hotels. Her natural gift of easy connection with others plus years of training proved a winning combination. But it was only while volunteering at a Flatbush nonprofit with at-risk teens that she discovered her deeper calling, community building. Within three months, Jamie was—at age 24—promoted to Program Coordinator for Youth Services. After years of dividing herself between performing arts and social work for organizations such as Aids Action, Chrysalis, and Children Of The Night, Jamie discovered the beautiful experience of writing and directing online content. This proved a deeply satisfying marriage of her two loves. For Jamie, HoneyColony is an extension of her wildest passions: health and wellness, social equity, and community building. Plus, HoneyColony reaches a global audience that includes every kind of person. With tremendous gratitude, Jamie welcomes you to HoneyColony. She hopes to inspire you on your own journey towards the happiest and healthiest life you can imagine!
Loves: 90’s Hip-Hop, dancing, chocolate chip cookies, camping, travelling, the greater good
Turn-Offs: Angry Prius drivers, discrimination of poor people, elitest white people stuff
Inside Buzz: My initials are J.E.W. and my mother is Protestant
Blake Buford/ Chief Innovation Officer and Managing Editor, HoneyColony
Blake’s fascination with the power of the written word began when he first discovered The Hardy Boys detective series as a kid. Years later in college, Blake spearheaded a few investigations of his own as a writer for UC Santa Barbara’s Daily Nexus and the local ABC television news station, KEY News. After graduating, Blake took over and transformed the station’s morning news show, earning the title of Senior Producer before moving on to work for NBC News in the Bay Area. As a Writer and Producer in the sixth largest television market in the country, Blake earned an Emmy Award nomination for breaking news coverage and developed a passion for the pressing issues of global health and climate change. He also developed a burning distaste for the way these issues are covered in the mainstream media. An investigative journalist at heart, Blake recently trekked South America to learn more about life, and wrote about his time helping disabled children in Peru. Blake is proud to work with a team of busy bees obsessed with exposing the truth about our world.
Loves: 90′s rap and 60′s rock, backpacking across foreign lands, playing basketball, playing with dogs and cats
Turn-Offs: Willful ignorance, olives
Inside Buzz: I drizzled rage dressing on the country next door. Rage dressing on a salad of evil!
Jeannine Ouellette/ Senior Editor, HoneyColony
Over the past 20 years, Jeannine has written and published hundreds of articles and essays on family, health and wellness, and education. Her work has appeared in an array of magazines and websites, such as Ladies Home Journal, Planet Green, Medscape, Utne Reader, and Annals of Internal Medicine. What she loves most about being a writer is the chance to indulge her curiosity about health and happiness and how to fuel it with everything from salt caves to Tibetan singing bowls. She’s written a few books, too, including several for the school library market and a children’s picture book, Mama Moon, for her daughter Sophie. Her most recent book project chronicles the work of Smile Network International, a nonprofit that provides free cleft lip and palate surgeries to poor children around the world. She was honored to volunteer with Smile on missions to Cusco, Peru and Puebla, Mexico. In 2005, Jeannine won a Page One award from the American Society of Professional Journalists for her Rake Magazine story on the decline of the honeybees and the extraordinary healing potential of propolis. It’s no wonder Jeannine’s path led her to HoneyColony and its thriving hive of similarly curious and health-loving eco-activists.
Loves: Green smoothies, Mary Karr, Lake Superior, falling leaves, hot yoga
Turn-Offs: Shopping malls, food coloring, freeways
Inside Buzz: Jeannine has an astonishing and woefully underutilized gift for Ms. Pac-Man
Zuri Allen/Social Media Maven, HoneyColony
Zuri’s flight path led her to HoneyColony after a meeting of food related leaders discussed the stinging loss of Prop 37 in California. Although Prop 37 did not pass, Zuri’s social media campaigns for Prop 37 were highly successful and shortly after, Zuri was brought into the hive. As a social media bee, Zuri spends copious amounts of time pollinating organizations, non-profits and businesses with social media strategies. In addition to her love of social media marketing, Zuri is an accomplished singer-songwriter with a growing social tribe called, “LOVERS.” A self proclaimed foodie and nature lover, Zuri runs her comb with a holistic lifestyle approach. She enjoys and supports local organic whole foods at farmer’s markets and regular trips to Eastern medicine practitioners. Because Zuri suffered the loss of two brothers to muscular dystrophy, she is attracted to help people seeking resources to gain and maintain optimal health. Zuri comes from three generations of farmers. Her father is an organic farmer, activist and author, so to say Zuri is a farmers’ daughter is both a compliment, and the truth. Zuri shares her father’s intense passion, yet is balanced with her mother’s loving, yoga instructor energy. Balancing the life of a socially inspired professional and an artistic outright redheaded diva, Zuri plans on creating quite a swarm around HoneyColony.
Loves: Music, dancing, laughing, art, travelling, the ocean, spicy food, cooking, sunsets, hot baths, positive people, being in love and sexy boots
Turn-Offs: Second hand cigarette smoke, bad food, egos, and venting
Inside Buzz: “Thinks” she’s super funny, constantly quotes comedic dialogue and wishes time travel were an option
Kelly Hamilton/ Healing Goods Executive Assistant, HoneyColony
In college, Kelly studied English, and more specifically, rhetoric. It was while studying Shakespeare’s famed villain, Iago, that she began to notice the true influence of a well-placed word. This spurred in her a desire to use her words to influence the world around her, and so she began contributing articles and blogs to sites like ForceChange and GreenAnswers—communities that value environmental awareness and social action. It was also during these college years that Kelly started to actively pursue a healthier lifestyle (healthier, at least, as college standards go). Kelly gave up meat, partly for environmental and health reasons and partly because she was broke. After some time she realized that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge to gain when taking a closer look at what we put in, on, and around our bodies. As part of the HoneyColony hive, Kelly hopes to spread the word about great products backed by great ethics and values. She and the rest of the hive are working hard to offer items that everyone can appreciate and of which they can be proud.
Loves: Hiking, travelling, exploring, adventures, doing everything and nothing at all, high-fives and trivia
Turn-Offs: Rudeness, paying extra for guacamole
Inside Buzz: Kelly is a trivia champ
Matt Ansoorian/ Visual Designer, HoneyColony
Matt has worked as an art director for several local and national magazines including LA CityBeat, GamePro magazine, Santa Barbara Independent, Malibu Times and New Angeles, while creating an online art community site at pxldust.com. Currently, Matt runs his own studio out of Los Angeles, and services the design needs of a few quality clients. Recognized by Communication Arts and Print Magazine, his work has been published and acknowledged as progressive forms of communication in the area of logo and cover design. In the hopes of staying ahead of the slippery curve, Matt works to maintain his understanding of new media while listening to the industry archetypes that came before him.
Loves: Slab serif typefaces, subtle gradients, Orangutans, Angel by Massive Attack, seeing my pup happy, the first days of summer, Daredevil, MLK’s “I’ve been to the mountain top” speech, Dolmades and Gemista, California’s central coast, the feeling of accomplishment, negative space, anything neon, the burp scene in Elf
Inside Buzz: 1 universe, 9 planets, 204 countries, 809 islands, 7 seas
Jessica Ary/ Assistant Photo Editor, HoneyColony
Since early childhood Jessica has loved to create and was rarely seen without a crayon or a paint brush in hand. At the age of 13, she received her first camera and began documenting the world around her. However, it wasn’t until her first photography class at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma that she began to consider this as a career path. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, she began traveling the country covering marathons, graduations, and other large events. She enjoyed the opportunity to travel the country doing what she loves, but after a few years she wanted more from her career—she wanted her images to have an impact. So after moving to Los Angeles and being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and taking a year and a half off from photography, she felt the creative pull of the camera and began shooting again with new vigor. Jessica published her work in GEEK Magazine. Shortly, after re-launching herself, Jessica connected with HoneyColony and felt that her creative fuel could finally have an impact. Jessica is committed to providing beautiful imagery to help spread the HoneyColony message.
Loves: Karaoke, cooking, being outdoors, running, the feeling of the first day of fall in SoCal (we really do have seasons)
Turn-Offs: Gluten, people who stand too close while in line
Inside Buzz: I once owned and operated a food truck that made the best pastrami sandwich in Los Angeles
Sky Kruse/ Chief Technology Officer, HoneyColony
Sky is Chairman of Lightning CD, content distribution co; former CTO and co-founder of LiveBid, internet auction broadcast company acquired by Amazon for $50M in 1999, then led Amazon Auctions engineering, Amazon/Sotheby’s JV and Amazon Anywhere programs; VP and GM of Lockstream, digital security firm acquired by Irdeto Mobile, subsidiary of Naspers (NASDAQ: NPSN). He holds patents in electronic commerce, digital media, and advanced networking technologies. An experienced entrepreneur, Mr. Kruse has been a key player with a series of successful firms in the technology and digital media space. Most prominently, he previously co-founded internet auction broadcast firm LiveBid in 1996, where he served as CTO until its $50M acquisition by Amazon in 1999. At LiveBid, Mr. Kruse led a team of engineers who developed the necessary technology to enable remote participation in traditional auction house environments, including the ability to watch, listen, and participate in an auction from the comfort of your home computer. Access to a larger audience benefited the auction house and the seller; access to a wider array of auctions and increased convenience benefited the bidders. Mr. Kruse also served as a member of the Board of Directors, shaping strategic direction for LiveBid.
Loves: Sushi, snorkeling, old bookstores, innovative entrepreneurs, and the crazy world of startups
Turn-Offs: Being photographed; lack of headroom or leg space in cars and planes
Inside Buzz: In his more adventurous days, Sky made a local name for himself with both auto racing and parkour
Matthew Ross Harris/ Chief Web Designer and Integration Specialist
Matthew is an alchemist, altruist, optimist and pragmatist. With an education and professional background in sculpture and cooking he was a welcome additional the ragamuffin cast of characters that made up the “new media” and design culture of the 1990’s in NYC—where he got his start. He’s been leading up his own firm ever since. He has never been a zoologist, an astronomer or a ceramic engineer but he was in a band for a while (long story… it ended, but to this day he still blames the drummer).
Loves: Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee 1998
Turn-Offs: Pencil erasers that are hard and don’t actually erase anything
Inside Buzz: Makes is own moonshine (shhh… don’t tell)
Jan Wellmann/ Chairman Of The Board and Co-Founder, HoneyColony
Jan is a producer/entrepreneur based out of Los Angeles, originally born in Helsinki, Finland. In 1991 after finishing his MBA, Jan co-founded Trainers’ House, a sales and marketing execution company that soon became a leader in its field. Jan subsequently founded and ran companies in film production, CGI, and game development, before he was approached by Nokia in the late 90′s to write a business plan for mobile entertainment. His plan raised $21 million from top-tier international investors, and the company, Riot Entertainment, quickly acquired a long list of Hollywood blockbusters (including Lord Of The Rings, X-Men, and Spiderman) to create the world’s first branded mobile games. The company launched services in 27 countries with a network of over 150 million users.
Since then, Jan has helped several startups with fund raising, strategy, and execution. For HoneyColony, he is in charge of developing a revolutionary social media platform. Jan has also produced and directed award-winning documentaries that have sold in several dozen countries. In between, he likes to run up hills, take pictures, and play Peter Pan.
Inside Buzz: Planning a rave in the mountains