Team – Starling Brands

Executive Team

Sales Team

MIKE REYNOLDS


Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Mike Reynolds has spent the last 10 years building political and business alliances in the cities of Ceres and Modesto, California. His involvement in cannabis began after his son Kase was diagnosed with epilepsy at four months old. Mike then formed a partnership with Jason David and gave a new impetus to the Jayden's Juice product line up.

Mike directed the planning, design, construction, licensing, and staffing of Kase Manufacturing, one of the first cannabis manufacturing labs approved for operations in the state of California. His hands-on experience as a pioneering maker of medicinal cannabis products gives him the foresight that lets Starling adapt quickly to changes in the marketplace.

His relationship with the city of Ceres and experience as a parent of a child whose life was transformed by medicinal cannabis are invaluable to Starling's success.



JOHN DI GIROLAMO


Co-Founder, Executive Director, and President

John is an experienced investor and entrepreneur with over 20 years of global experience building businesses and creating shareholder value in both private and public companies.

His extensive experience includes operational management, investment banking, public offerings, strategic acquisitions and investments and international business development across many sectors.

John has been involved in many transactions in the legal cannabis sector, including financing of over $200 million, advising clients in the sector, and structuring mergers and acquisitions.

ERIC SHEVIN ESQ


Co-Founder, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer

Eric has spent over 27 years exclusively focusing his legal practice in the area of cannabis law, defending clients in state and federal courts nationwide and handling licensing and regulatory compliance for cannabis manufacturers, cultivators, distributors, and retail operators.

Eric's client list boasts the top tier brands in California's cannabis industry. His peers have recognized him as a "Super Lawyer" in California since 2004 (a recognition bestowed to the top 5% of all attorneys), and Entrepreneur magazine has named him one of the top 10 cannabis attorneys in the country.

Eric provides counsel and guidance to cannabis manufacturers, cultivators, distributors, and retail operators on topics that include legal structure, formation, tax requirements, brand development and overall regulatory compliance in cannabis business operations.



MAURIZIO SILVESTRI, CPA


Chief Financial Officer

Maurizio Silvestri is an established CPA with over 12 years of extensive knowledge and understanding of complex accounting principles. His experience encompasses both public accounting and industry knowledge with expertise in assessing risk and internal controls by implementing automated processes to streamline operations. 

He obtained his designation with KPMG, where he specialized in owner-managed companies across the manufacturing and distribution industry. He served as a Corporate Controller and Director at a large distributor throughout North America where he assisted in tripling the revenue of the company within 6 years. 

In addition, Maurizio started a promotional marketing distribution company in 2010 that has become a complete e-commerce solution, continuing to grow each year while servicing several industries. His drive for bottom-line results and internal processes and controls, combined with his passion for the medicinal benefits of cannabis, brought him to Starling Brands.



DREW FORD


Chief Science Officer

Drew Ford heads the research and product division at Kase Manufacturing with a particular focus on formulation, extraction, and quality control. He previously worked as a chemical engineer in the reverse osmosis desalination industry, working in research and development and chemical purification before making the switch to the cannabis space. 

His patent was one of the driving factors that caused LG Chemical to purchase the desalination company after being installed in one of the top 10 largest desalination plants in the world at Palmachim, Israel, producing up to 10,000,000 gallons of freshwater per day.

Drew's experience and passion for chemical purification and refinement brought him to the cannabis market and Starling Brands. He was the driving force behind the first vacuum distillation processes for cannabis oil and has redefined the standard of potency.

ANABEL LEAL-GUTIERREZ


Accounting Manager

Anabel is an accounting professional, bringing with her a wealth of experience in accounting, cost accounting, finance, business systems, and external and internal audit procedures.

She was previously Senior Auditor in the Internal Audit Department with the world's largest family-owned winery. She also spent time with PricewaterhouseCoopers, focusing on external audit procedures related to U.S. G.A.A.P. and Sarbanes-Oxley.

Throughout her career, she has excelled working cross-functionally with operations and finance business partners, focusing on improving transparency and timelines of business discussions to drive efficiencies.

Tara Murphy


Manager of Corporate Affairs

Tara holds the title of Manager of Corporate Affairs with Starling Brands. Within her role, Tara leads Starling’s Investor Relations, managing communications between the company and its investors. Tara also handles corporate marketing initiatives, providing direction and oversight of social media channels and corporate communications.

Tara works with the Starling Executive team, legal counsel, and compliance department, always ensuring regulatory standards are maintained within the business. With a background in finance and capital markets, Tara is very passionate about the start-up process, opportunity, and growth.



Justin Xavier


Director of Marketing

An accomplished client service and strategy professional with more than 14 years in advertising and marketing, Justin is committed to developing award-winning creative, while building lasting relationships with clients and amongst team members. His experience crosses every major business segment from cannabis to financial services, automotive to consumer packaged goods. He has led teams internally, across agencies and amongst clients. Justin has a passion for business, building brands, sparking creativity and fostering collaboration, while keeping a keen eye on results and relationships.

He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing & International Business from Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada), and attended Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland where he studied trade relations, global markets and European history.

In addition, Justin attained his CAAP designation from the ICA (Institute of Communication Agencies) and was 1 of 50 employees selected by Havas' Global network to represent Canada among CEO's and Presidents alike at their executive leadership program, held at Wharton University.



Justin Brenner


Sales Consultant

Justin has been in the cannabis industry since 2016, joining the Starling sales team in 2019. Prior to entering the cannabis space, Justin worked predominantly in hospitality and customer service, where he developed a strong skillset, building and maintaining strategic B2B relationships. Justin was able to utilize those skills in his transition to cannabis, starting as a budtender then moving further into dispensary management, where he oversaw the procurement team. Justin's passion for the plant, its medicinal benefits, and love for the industry, makes him a perfect fit for the Starling team.



Danni Fathman


Sales Consultant

Danni Fathman has found her home at Starling Brands as the Southern Sales Consultant. Danni is committed to connecting with individuals to genuinely understand their wants and needs through all stages of the buying process. She began her roots in the industry back in 2008, starting as a budtender with fresh eyes to eventually managing one of the busiest medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego.

In more recent years, Danni has expanded into the wellness industry by receiving 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification. With over 14 years of combined experience in the cannabis and wellness industries, and a passion for wellness and longevity, Danni is dedicated to spreading knowledge of the endless possibilities that Starling's cannabis and hemp products provides.



Sylvia Shamesaldin


Sales Consultant

Sylvia has been involved in the cannabis space since 2016. She started as a dispensary budtender, moving into the role of General Manager, now working on the Starling Brands sales team. Sylvia's experience as a buyer gives her an inside look at various B2B sales strategies, consumer behaviour and buying decisions. She utilizes this knowledge to further her value within her sales role at Starling.

Sylvia also takes great pride in her customer service, which is a pivotal part of her continued success in the industry. Within the Starling team, Sylvia is determined to constantly grow, learn and positively influence her community. She is motivated by her family and the overall enjoyment of the consumer, and continues to be a passionate advocate for cannabis.



Wes Pagano


Sales Consultant

Wes has over 12 years experience in the cannabis industry. Wes began as a wholesale broker, where his natural ability for sales and marketing launched him into his now successful career with Starling Brands. In his role as Chairman for the S.C.C.C. (Southern California Cannabis Council), Wes enjoys educating people who are unfamiliar with the health benefits of cannabis, broadening the understanding of cannabis and its use within the community and industry. Wes has a deep rooted appreciation and personal connection to the plant, which heightens his passion and commitment to his role at Starling.



Cesar Marin


Director Of Sales

Cesar brings over 10 years of managing experience specializing in CPG companies, most recently assisting in the development of multiple sales teams for the cannabis industry. His extensive experience of people management, operational excellence, and strategic selling has made him successful in his roles.

Cesar graduated from Cal State Fullerton, where he double majored in Communications and Kinesiology. He then wanted to further his education by attending the University of Redlands, where he received his MBA. He utilizes his previous sales experience along with the tools he learned during his extensive MBA program to bring best in class execution. He is passionate about the needs and goals of his employees and strives to watch others develop and grow to their best potential.

His passion for growing and developing a successful sales organization is what brought him to Starling Brands. He values the success of a strong sales and operations team.