Enterprising Women Leaders

In honor of Women's History Month, we are highlighting fellow women-founded/led/owned organizations in our circle. When we put out the call to our clients, vendors and suppliers, we had no idea the number of enterprising women with whom we work. The results reveal the value women bring to business and education today. They are truly inspiring!

We are featuring each of these women and their organizations on our Facebook and Instagram this month. Let's round them all up here anyway!

Of course, we must start with our own trailblazing CEO and owner, Nancy Close. She founded CKC Good Food in 1990, out of the restaurant she owned at the time, Caravan Serai. She has grown CKC Good Food into the largest women-owned school food catering company in the Twin Cities. Each school day, 120 employees help CKC Good Food provide a total of over 30,000 breakfast, lunch, snacks and out-of-school meals to more than 100 client sites.

Other women-owned/founded/led organization with which we work include:


  • Anna's Bananas Daycare and Preschool, founded in 1999 by Anna Achtenberg. Today, Anna's Bananas has over 100 employees and 7 locations in the Twin Cities!
  • Career Pathways, a Public Charter Secondary School founded in 2015, is led by Executive Director Liz Lonetti. Liz helped open the doors of the school as a board teacher member and now supports students, families and staff as the Executive Director. Liz wanted to create a small nurturing school environment that could help students build the skills and knowledge they needed for life beyond 12th grade. Her focus on student needs has brought a wide variety of experiences and opportunities to the school community. Liz is an inspiration to the students. School was never easy for her yet over her lifetime she kept trying new things and supported others along the way. She knows first hand that each learner’s path is unique.
  • Cross River Charter School, a K-5 charter school in Saint Paul Park, was founded in 2021 by Anne Vang-Lo, its Executive Director. The mission at Cross River Charter School is to provide a unique and successful elementary school experience in a talk-rich environment that gives voice to student self-expression and prepares them for upper-grade success. Through the practice of oracy, children learn to become effective communicators, while also learning the essential foundational skills for academic success.
  • Excell Academy for Higher Learning, a charter school in Brooklyn Park founded and led by Director Sabrina Williams. Williams started the school more than 14 years ago after extensive work, exp/erience and research in gifted education.

Vendors / Suppliers


  • Catallia Mexican Foods, founded in 2005 and built on the heritage and values of its founder, Cathy Cruz Gooch, a third-generation Mexican American. Partnering with her husband, Harold, and her parents, Cathy Cruz Gooch drew from a rich culinary background to create tortillas, burritos and tortilla chips for Minnesota retail stores, restaurants and eventually K-12 schools! Catallia tortillas are a staple on our menus and we're thrilled to support this amazing women-owned and led business.
  • Creative Ad Solutions, Inc. was created by Dawn Schaefer, owner and & CEO, in 1998 - over a cup of coffee. We turn to Dawn and her team for our advertising specialty products, including apparel for our employees, and always receive outstanding, reliable service.
  • Dering Pierson Group, a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Certified WBE, was founded by CEO & Chief Manager Joy Dering, her husband and VP Adam, and VP Mike Pierson in 2011. DPG was the commercial general contractor that led the build out of CKC's new facility in Eagan ... and did so with excellence!
  • Impact Management, founded and led by Cathy Sedacca, provides CKC with financial and accounts receivable consulting services. Prior to founding Impact Management, Cathy was a partner in the women-owned firm, Sage Business Credit.
  • Little Sparrow Consultants, owned by Tejaswini Adapa. Teja is a database and business analyst for CKC, helping us with data management and website maintenance, allowing us to use technology to make our work easier. Ultimately, she will help us automate as much of the meal production process as possible to reduce both manual entry and probability for error.
  • Renown Marketing Communications, founded in 2000 by Amy Nugent. Renown Marketing has been helping CKC with a variety of marketing projects for more than a decade. Copywriting for our blog, email marketing and social media are all done by Renown Marketing. Amy helped us "launch" our new facility in January with a series of videos, social media, publicity and email marketing.
  • Upper Lakes Foods, our mainline food distributor is a family-owned company led by President Sue Ryan, whose father Larry Sorenson founded the company in 1967 at age 32.


No topics.

Share This Post:


Submit Your RFP

Interested in having CKC submit a bid/proposal for your food service program? Submit your request now.

“If you are looking for variety in your school meals, meals that are fresh and flavorful that kids actually eat, then CKC has what you are looking for.”
Kim Hyvarinen : Nova Classical Academy