Our Story

Olli crafts premium cannabis-infused teas and edibles.

We work with best-in-class suppliers to offer quality ingredients and premium cannabis that is tested from seed to sale. Our exclusive tea blends are internationally sourced and chosen by our in-house, world-renowned tea sommelier, while our edibles are prepared by an award-winning chef who trained at Michelin-starred restaurants.

Our unique products are artisanal, low dose and quality focused. Think sips of wonderfully nuanced Mint Tea or nibbles of irresistible Strawberry Fruit Chews you’ll want to share with friends.

 

Photo of Co-Founders Sarah Gillin and John B. Aird in kitchen

Co-Founders Sarah Gillin & John B. Aird

Richard Guzauskas, Head of Tea Product Development

Photo of Executive Chef, Adrian Niman in kitchen with Olli tea

Adrian Niman, Executive Chef

Our Team

John B. Aird
Co-Founder, Executive Chairman & Chief Strategy Officer
Illustration of Co-Founder John B. Aird

After working in the cannabis industry since its infancy, John has solidified himself as a stalwart and trusted advisor in the medical cannabis space, now focusing his expertise on the recreational side to launch his new venture as Co-Founder of Olli. Over the course of his career, he has worked with top medical cannabis brands like Aphria and Nuuvera implementing their domestic and international strategies as well as being a key contributor to their increase in shareholder value with his strategic mindset. As a notable cannabis expert, John knows how best to develop products of a high standard and ensure all Olli product offerings are best in class.

Sarah Gillin
Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Co-founder Sarah Gillin

A Toronto native, Sarah Gillin brings over fifteen years of business management experience, with a focus on luxury goods marketing, to the Olli team as the Co-Founder. Prior to founding Olli with John, she gained considerable international expertise working with a number of luxury brands, most recently Toronto’s top bespoke jeweler. Sarah oversees all business operations and strategic partnerships, and acts as the brand architect for Olli – helping to promote, build and develop Olli’s branding and ethos. Sarah graduated with a BA from Dalhousie University, an AAS from Parsons School of Design and most recently earned an Executive MBA from the Rotman School of Management.  Sarah is passionate about the community she lives in and devotes her personal time to her family, as well as a variety of charitable initiatives.

Ranjit Vazhapilly
Chief Operating Officer

Ranjit’s experience over the past 20+ years includes CEO, COO and VP Operations roles with privately-owned, high-growth mid-market and Fortune 500 companies. He has extensive experience with food/bakery and gourmet chocolates in the consumer-packaged goods sector. Prior to joining Olli, Ranjit has had senior management roles with Ganache Brands, Nealanders Int. (Caldic Inc.), Dawn Food Products, KPMG Consulting and Wal*Mart Inc. in the U.S and Canada. He is an alumnus of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Northwestern University) and has an MBA and a B.Eng., under-graduate degree in Engineering.

Richard Guzauskas
Head of Tea Product Development
Director of Tea Product Development, Richard Guzauskas

World-renowned tea sommelier, Richard Guzauskas is the Director of Tea Product Development at Olli and one of the most sought-after tea specialists in the world. Richard curates Olli’s cannabis-infused teas creating unique and refreshing blends. Richard entered the specialty tea industry in 1988 by launching the Leaves Pure Tea brand and after selling that brand, Richard began working with DAVIDsTEA in its earliest stages and has remained Head of Blend Development since 2008.

Adrian Niman
Executive Chef
Executive Chef, Adrian Niman

Award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurant-trained chef Adrian Niman is the Executive Chef of Olli, creator of the premium, high-quality edibles in Olli’s product roster and brings his expertise and flair for the extraordinary to create its unique and healthy flavours. In addition to Olli, Adrian is the owner and Executive Chef of The Food Dudes, and studied at the Michelin-starred Reeds Hotel in Mallorca, Spain where he perfected his craft before moving back to Toronto to open and operate prominent restaurants Rasa, Pantry, Clay and Sara.

Tess A. Fox
Director of Business Operations & Finance
Director of Operations, Tess A. Fox

Tess has been immersed in the Canadian cannabis industry since early 2017. She has been working with the co-founders of Olli since the beginning, developing partnerships, managing cannabis licensing activities and working closely on the regulatory side for both food and cannabis. She is currently working through her MBA at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Prior to Olli, Tess spent three years in the hospitality industry, managing and operating one of the top restaurants in Toronto, Rasa, for three years, sitting in the seat next to the founders. Tess has worked in various industries over the years in addition to hospitality including media, marketing and operations. She has her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University and has also attended the Aarhus School of Business in Denmark.

Rafael Castellanos
Director of Facility Operations & Production

Rafael brings over ten years of experience as a plant manager, overseeing all of the organizations daily manufacturing operations, and production practices ensuring that the facility is running safely and efficiently. Rafael has worked in several industries across the board including baked goods, meat processing and ready-to-eat products, which has given him an extensive understanding of manufacturing processes and regulatory standards such as BRC, CFIA, FDA and SQF. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and a Post- Graduate Diploma in International Business, Rafael brings his knowledge and expertise to the Olli facility and ensures that all day-to-day operations are running smoothly.

Matt Wowk
Head of Logistics
Director of Production & Fulfillment, Matt Wowk

Matt is no stranger to the restaurant industry. He’s been an integral asset to Food Dudes restaurant and catering company best known for their award-winning restaurants Rasa and Pantry. In the past decade, Matt has honed his skills working alongside noteworthy chefs and restaurateurs to become a master in management, logistics, and customer relations. Not only is he seasoned when it comes to experience, but he also comes armed with a Business Commerce Degree from Dalhousie University, making Matt a natural fit for the role of Head of Logistics. Led by his passion and love for the cannabis industry, Matt is eager to introduce cannabis edibles to the restaurant world. His meticulous nature is in full force when it comes to food detail, and his high-standards are consistently met from kitchen conception to final plate presentation. Food and safety protocol are top priority. Neither taste nor safeties are sacrificed under his watch. Matt’s love for both cannabis and food are reflected in the Olli cuisine and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Klaudia Wawrzyniak
Product Development Manager

As the Product Development Manager for Olli, Klaudia combines her education and expertise from both the food and cannabis industries to create retail ready products. Working with R&D, production, and the culinary team, Klaudia ensures that products meet consumer needs especially when considering palatability, efficacy, and safety. Klaudia brings a range of perspectives from several roles including ingredient application, CPG commercialization, biotechnology innovation, and cannabis product development. Klaudia holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from The University of Guelph, as well as a Master of Science in Food Innovation Management from Maastricht University in The Netherlands.

Emerald Haighton
Research and Development Technologist

Emerald is a recent graduate from the University of Guelph and holds a B.Sc in Food Science. Emerald has worked in the food industry for over a year and has previous product development and sensory experience. Here at Olli, Emerald contributes to the research and development of edible formulations.

Patrick Atienza
Operations Supervisor

Patrick is an uprising self-starter, and is trained formally in the Fine Arts. After spending his early career as an art educator and artist, he then made a switch-over to the hospitality industry. He worked his way up through the Food Dudes front-of-house roster to become an Event Chef with time spent at Clay Restaurant. Patrick now works as the Production Assistant at Olli diligently working behind the scenes to ensure all facility productions run smoothly and efficiently.

Cory Philion
Regulatory & Compliance Manager, Quality Assurance Person

Here at Olli, Cory oversees the development and implementation of quality management systems in support of safe food manufacturing and cannabis processing. Prior to his involvement in Quality Assurance, Cory was responsible for facilitating regulatory compliance surrounding GMP site licensing and natural health product applications. His commitment to high-quality health & food products stems from an academic background in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences at the University of Guelph (B.Sc. Honours) alongside a master’s thesis (M.Sc.) with the department of Biochemistry & Chemistry at the University of Windsor. As a graduate student, Cory’s focus was the scientific validation of naturally occurring compounds derived from plants and their efficacy in treating various diseases such as cancer. His work specific to the treatment of Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas now appears in a multidisciplinary medical journal.

Iren Haxhi
Alternate Quality Assurance Person
Quality Assurance Person, Iren Haxhi

Iren has been working with Olli since 2018 in developing the Quality Manual, to be compliant with Health Canada’s requirements for the issuance of Olli’s Processing License. Iren has extensive experience as a chemistry analytical technician and Quality Assurance technician and has a B.SC in Analytical Chemistry from Carleton University.

Jenitta Shanmugaraj
Quality Assurance Associate

Jenitta recently obtained her MSc at the University of Guelph for Food Safety & Quality Assurance. Jenitta has been working in the sauce industry for the past 5 years as a QA Coordinator. With her past experience in working a manufacturing plant, she brings with her knowledge of implementing quality assurance programs, assisting with audits, and creating policies. Currently at Olli Brands, Jenitta will be assisting in developing and implementing of quality programs.

Sophia Sayah
Marketing Manager

Sophia brings over six years of experience in marketing as a brand owner to our team. Her passion for marketing began at Concordia University, where she was the marketing lead for a real estate association. She’s acquired strong brand management expertise by working for top-tier companies such as Coca-Cola & General Mills, holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from Concordia University, and is currently enrolled part-time in the University of Toronto’s MBA program. She works alongside Olli’s co-founder Sarah Gillin to implement and execute all of our marketing and sales initiatives as well as our public relations outreach.

Tina Chang
Director of Quality & Regulatory Affairs
Tina

Graduating from McMaster University with a B.Sc. in Medical and Health Physics, Tina has applied that expertise while working in the food industry over the past 15 years. She has experience in a wide range of food industry sectors, from ingredient manufacturing to consumer retail products, and has held a variety of key roles overseeing Regulatory, Quality Control & Assurance, Research & Development, and Operations departments. Tina started her career from the operation floor, leading her to develop a sharp understanding of the manufacturing process and an extensive knowledge of various regulatory requirements, including CFIA, FDA, SQF, Organic, Gluten-Free, and BRC qualifications. She’s also been an integral part of several startup companies, with her most recent role prior to joining us focused on launching 2.0 Cannabis products.

Kevin Fraser
Business Development Manager

Kevin brings over 10 years of sales and marketing experience to his role as Business Development Manager at Olli Brands Inc. With a background rooted in CPG and beverage alcohol sales, he later transitioned into nutraceuticals, where he co-founded a successful sports supplement company. Working closely with our marketing department, Kevin leverages his experience in sales and brand management to oversee and support all sales aspects of our business, from commercialization to our partner and agency relationships. A dedicated team member, he is passionate and enthusiastic about the cannabis industry and building the Olli brand.  He has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Guelph.

Charun Dudhara
Accounting Coordinator

With over seven years of experience in the finance industry, Charun brings an expertise in accounting and transaction advisory to the team, with additional experience in food manufacturing and investment, tax, and audit-planning. An integral part of the Finance team at OBi, Charun oversees the development and management of all our accounting processes, ensuring we report the most accurate numbers and adhere to the highest accounting standards.

Bassam Alshami
Production Shift Supervisor

Bassam credits the diverse field of production management for providing numerous learning opportunities throughout his career before joining Olli as a Production Shift Supervisor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology, majoring in Microbiology, and has over eight years of experience working in both the food and cosmetics industries, where he’s undertaken a variety of professional responsibilities to ensure the highest quality of production. Bassam’s professional training includes courses in allergen cleaning, HACCP system development and implementation, investigation of accidents & incidents, GMP, health & safety, and vendor operating standards. He holds professional certifications in OSG, supervisor health and safety awareness, and WHMIS2015 (AIX safety).