UPSIDE Foods Bolsters Leadership Team with HR Veteran Michelle Kwait as Chief Human Resources Officer

February 22, 2023 - 4 min read

Upside Foods' Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center entryway Upside Foods’ Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center entryway
  • Kwait will oversee people operations and focus on scaling UPSIDE’s culture and team as the company enters its next phase of growth.
  • Kwait brings decades of experience building cultures of excellence across leading organizations in food, hospitality, retail, education, and financial services.

BERKELEY, Calif. February 22, 2023 — UPSIDE Foods, the leading cultivated meat, poultry and seafood company, has appointed Michelle Kwait as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). This news comes as the company enters its next phase of growth, and reinforces the emphasis UPSIDE Foods places on scaling its mission-driven culture alongside its business and technology.

Kwait joins UPSIDE Foods on the heels of the company receiving a historic “green light” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and as the company continues on its path toward commercialization. She will lead all aspects of people operations, including talent acquisition, learning and development, leadership training, reward and recognition, talent management and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) programming. 

“Our team has always been at the heart of UPSIDE. Their courage, creativity and grit have moved the field of cultivated meat from science fiction to reality,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, Founder and CEO of UPSIDE Foods. “Michelle will play a key role in fostering our team's growth, success and well-being as we move into the next phase. Her deep expertise in empowering people to bring out their best work and embrace an enterprise growth mindset is a must-have for us as we move towards our northstar of making our favorite food a force for good.”

Kwait will play an instrumental role in maintaining and building a culture of excellence across UPSIDE Foods’ growing teams and locations. She most recently served as CHRO at Tysers, a global private equity-backed insurance broker based in London, where she built the company's HR organization from the ground up, led the integration of several transformational acquisitions and assisted in the sale of the business. Prior to that, Kwait led HR for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and worked in both HR leadership and learning and development roles at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Kwait also spent more than eight years in higher education institutions, including Stanford University.

“I was particularly drawn to UPSIDE Foods because of its mission to change the world for the better. It's clear that the company has attracted a passionate and talented group of people, and I’m looking forward to helping grow this incredible team,” added Michelle Kwait. “UPSIDE cares deeply about its employees, and I’m excited to celebrate and enhance the culture as we take the company to the next level.”  

This announcement comes as UPSIDE Foods prepares to bring its first product, UPSIDE Chicken, to market, following USDA inspection and label approval. For UPSIDE Foods’ press kit, please see here

**About UPSIDE Foods **
Based in Berkeley, CA, UPSIDE Foods grows meat, poultry and seafood directly from animal cells. These products are not vegan or vegetarian—they are delicious meat, made without the need to raise and slaughter billions of animals. Founded as the world’s first cultivated meat company in 2015, UPSIDE Foods has achieved numerous industry-defining milestones, including being the first company to produce multiple species of meat (beef, chicken and duck), and to receive a greenlight from FDA for cultivated meat. The company believes that people shouldn’t have to choose between the foods they love and a thriving planet, and is working to build a better food system with access to delicious, humane, and sustainable meat, poultry, and seafood. UPSIDE Foods has won various industry awards, including New York Times' Good Tech Awards, FastCo’s Next Big Thing in Tech, and the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation by the National Association for Business Resources. UPSIDE Foods has raised a total of $608 million, including from the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund (ADG), Baillie Gifford, Bill Gates, Cargill, Future Ventures, John Doerr, John Mackey, Kimbal and Christiana Musk, Norwest, Richard Branson, Softbank, Temasek, Threshold, Tyson Foods, and others. For more information, please visit

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