Cari Sánchez-Potter is the owner and principal of VICARIOUS. She is a culinary entrepreneur, trained gastronomist, award-winning cookbook author and food writer currently based in Oregon.
In 2015, Cari was awarded the Arts Innovator honor by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville for breaking new ground and elevating Jacksonville's culinary culture through her company The Legend Series. She was recognized as a 40 Under 40 by the Jacksonville Business Journal and was described by the publication as a "leader looking to shape the city's image." The Local Palate, a Charleston-based magazine about the food culture of the South, hailed her as a "wunderkind" who "puts Jacksonville on the map."
Cari holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Boston College and a Master of Arts in Gastronomy from The University of Adelaide / Le Cordon Bleu in South Australia. Her experience living and traveling on five different continents has informed her approach to the local cultural initiatives she spearheads.
Melissa White has worked alongside Cari to execute various culinary and cultural events for Jacksonville-based businesses. She is the Executive Director of the Florida Brewers Guild, a professional association dedicated to the growth and protection of the state’s craft brewing industry.
Melissa enjoyed success and recognition in the private sector prior to switching gears to hold various leadership positions in nonprofit organizations ranging from affordable housing and health care to urban agriculture and performing arts. She excels at managing integrated marketing campaigns and has produced hundreds of events including luxury cruise ship launches, concerts featuring Grammy-nominated artists, million-dollar gala fundraisers, charity golf tournaments and large-scale beer festivals.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks & Tourism from the University of Florida as well as a certificate in Marketing Management and a Master of Nonprofit Management both from Florida Atlantic University. She is also a Cicerone Certified Beer Server, master gardener, international traveler and passionate supporter of local food.
A Florida native, Melissa moved to Jacksonville during the summer of 2012 and immediately fell in love with the urban core and its entrepreneurial spirit. As an active member of Slow Food First Coast and Jax Beer Society, she is motivated to connect key stakeholders to continue to showcase the region as a burgeoning craft beer and culinary destination.
Sabeen Perwaiz Syed
Sabeen Perwaiz Syed works with Cari to produce VICARIOUS Kitchen, a series of cooking workshops featuring immigrant chefs from different cultural backgrounds. She is the Executive Director of Florida Nonprofit Alliance and Executive Producer and Co-Organizer of TEDxJacksonville.
Sabeen is passionate about education, community development and gender equality. Her career has centered on nonprofits empowering individuals through education, including Vital Voices, Pace Center for Girls and Aide et Action. In 2013, she moved to Cambodia for six months to implement an Early Childhood Education program.
She is on the board of GlobalJax, is a Women’s Giving Alliance Fellow, is a graduate of the 2016 class of Leadership Jacksonville as well as a mentor with Take Stock in Children.
Sabeen was born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in Queens, New York. She has a Master’s in International Development and a Bachelor’s in Psychology. An avid traveler, she has lived on three continents, visited 34 countries, and hopes to visit at least 100 countries in her lifetime because, as Rick Steves said in his TED talk, “Travel wallops ethnocentricity.”