Lens on Leadership: with Andy Youniss

November 17, 2021 Updated: January 23, 2024

From our Board of Directors, to our Culinary Panel, to our Friends Advisory Board, we’re fortunate to count so many strong leaders among our lot! Every month, we introduce you to one of them.

This month, it’s Andy Youniss: Member of Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ Board of Directors and Executive Chairman of Rocket Software.

How did you first get introduced to Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

I first met Ashley when she was kind enough to be a guest speaker at our annual Rocket Software Leadership Summit in 2011. At our summit, she told her story and the story of Lovin’ Spoonfuls. She was engaging, her story was compelling, and all of us in attendance felt immediately connected to the mission. How could you not be? Instead of throwing perfectly good food away and adding to our already problematic landfills, why not re-direct that food supply to our neighbors who are food insecure? Good for the climate. Necessary to those who are food insecure. Great for humanity.

Why is it important to you to support Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

I’ll answer that question through the lens of what is happening today during the first global pandemic of our lifetime. What Lovin’ Spoonfuls does is more important today than ever before. This pandemic has been unkind to many people, but especially so to those who have less/little resources. Food insecurity has affected more people than ever before in our Commonwealth. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts experienced the greatest percentage increase of food insecurity in the nation. This is the time when Lovin’ Spoonfuls needs all of our support; this is the time when people facing homelessness and food insecurity need your support.

How have you involved Rocket in over the years?

I was lucky enough to co-found Rocket software 31+ years ago and lead its growth from “two guys in a garage” to a 2,500-person, global enterprise. I have been able to share my entrepreneurial experiences and guidance with the Lovin’ Spoonfuls team as they grow through various opportunities, challenges, and strategic decisions. I’ve also connected Ashley and her team with members of my Rocket team in the areas of technology and human resources. I believe strongly in maintaining connections between for-profit and nonprofit – sharing with each other, learning from each other, and strengthening our communities with each other.

What is it about this organization or the issue of wasted food that matters to you?

Everything about wasted food matters. The inefficiency of the food supply chain matters. The amount of perfectly good food that ends up in landfills matters. The number of food insecure people matters. The inhumanity of not bridging the gap between abundance and need matters. Everything about this organization matters. The employees who are committed to this mission matter. The Food Rescue Coordinators that wake up every day and drive our trucks, load our trucks, and deliver food to those in need matter. And our supporters and funders matter. All of that is what matters to me.

What are ways that you work to waste less food, either at home or in the workplace?

It starts with awareness. Once you attach yourself to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, you begin to recognize food waste wherever you go. Then you commit to making changes. Changes in the way you shop for groceries – what you buy, how much you buy. Changes in the way you prepare to shop and the way you prepare your meals. Changes in what you save and what you throw away. Every positive change, big or small, makes a difference. Each of us can waste less food.

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