Team | Yellow Wood Partners

The Yellow Wood Team

The firm's background reflects a differentiated combination of skill-sets developed over multiple economic cycles at a number of leading investment firms, financial institutions, consumer product companies and consulting firms.

Our firm is differentiated by our dedicated team of both investment professionals and senior operating professionals who span all of the various functional areas including Marketing, Sales, Finance and Operations, International, and have spent their careers successfully leading these functions in consumer businesses. This experience enables Yellow Wood to develop strong partnerships with management teams that maximizes strategic value creation.

Team

Dana Schmaltz PARTNER
Tad Yanagi PARTNER
Joe Atencio PARTNER
Tracy Pizzi PARTNER
Jennifer Roach Pacini PRINCIPAL
Sarah Mascioli Ensslen PRINCIPAL
Payton McVey PRINCIPAL
Amrutha Mandalap VICE PRESIDENT
Jordan Friedlander Senior Associate
Karen Chi Senior Associate
Pradeepa Krish ASSOCIATE
Christian Koshgarian ASSOCIATE
Jessica Pascucci Consumer Sourcing Senior Analyst
Nicole Gray Consumer Sourcing Analyst

Operating Partners

David DeFilippo OPERATING PARTNER
Mike Fink OPERATING PARTNER
Rich Howard OPERATING PARTNER
Mark Malo OPERATING PARTNER
Eric Millar, Ph.D. OPERATING PARTNER
Cory Pulice OPERATING PARTNER
Mario Soussou OPERATING PARTNER

Dana Schmaltz

PARTNER

dschmaltz@yellowwoodpartners.com

Dana is a co-founding partner of Yellow Wood Partners and has been involved in all ten of the firm's acquisitions since its founding in 2011.  Currently Dana is a Director of PPI Beauty, Scholl's Wellness Company, and Walker & Dunlop, Inc. (NYSE:WD).  Prior to Yellow Wood, Dana co-founded Blacksmith Brands, Inc. where he was the CFO, EVP of Business Development and a Director.  In this role, he led the establishment of the company's financial, accounting, IT and personnel infrastructure to create a stand-alone company group of consumer brands (including Efferdent, Luden's and PediaCare) that were purchased from Johnson & Johnson.  Blacksmith Brands was later sold to Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc. in 2010. 

Previously, Dana was President of J.W. Childs Associates, which he joined in 1997 after working at DLJ Merchant Banking Partners.  At J.W. Childs, Dana was involved with investments in the consumer/speciality retail sector where he was responsible for numerous investments over his 10 years at the firm including Mattress Firm, W/S Packaging Group, Fitness Quest, Murray's Discount Auto Stores, Esselte, The Meow Mix Company, Bass Pro Shops and Dobson Communications.  Dana received an A.B. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.  Dana currently is a Trustee of St. George's School. 

CLOSE

Tad Yanagi

PARTNER

tyanagi@yellowwoodpartners.com

Tad joined Yellow Wood Partners at its founding in 2011 and has been involved in all ten of the firm's acquisitions since its founding.  Currently Tad is a Director of PPI Beauty and Scholl's Wellness Company.  Previously, Tad was at TA Associates, a private equity firm with $16 billion under management, where he focused on investments in the healthcare, consumer, and retail sectors. Prior to TA, Tad was the Treasurer of the Sunny Delight Beverages Co., where he was part of the initial management team that performed the carve out of the beverages brands from Procter & Gamble. Previously, Tad was an Associate at J.W. Childs Associates, where he was involved with investments in the consumer and specialty retail sectors. His previous J.W. Childs’ portfolio company involvement included Sunny Delight Beverages Co., Murray’s Discount Auto Stores, Pinnacle Foods, and Aurora Foods. 

Prior to J.W. Childs, he worked at Morgan Stanley in the real estate group within the investment banking division. Tad received an B.A. in Economics, cum laude, from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

CLOSE

Joe Atencio

PARTNER

jatencio@yellowwoodpartners.com

Joe joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2016 and is currently a Director of PPI Beauty and Scholl's Wellness Company.  Previously, Joe was Chief Executive Officer of ChemAid Laboratories, a premier formulator and manufacturer of high performance, premium hair care and skin/body care products for branded personal care customers.  Prior to joining ChemAid Labs, Joe was with Cosmetic Essence, Inc. in roles that included CFO and then Executive Vice President.  As EVP, Joe was responsible for the execution of the company’s globalization strategy and opened operations in Shanghai, China and Strykow, Poland.  Prior to CEI, Joe spent fifteen years as an investment banker with Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette most recently as Managing Director and Co-Head of the Consumer Products Group.  Joe earned a BS in Accounting, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  

CLOSE

David DeFilippo

OPERATING PARTNER

ddefilippo@yellowwoodpartners.com

David DeFilippo is a human capital executive who spent his 25-year corporate career focused on leadership development, executive coaching and talent management in multiple sectors. David’s work has been recognized with industry awards and he regularly presents and publishes on human capital topics. He is currently a columnist for Chief Learning Officer Magazine and serves on the magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board.

David received his Bachelor’s degree from Union College, his Master’s from New York University and his Doctorate with distinction from the University of Pennsylvania. David is also a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program, is an International Coach Federation Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and has served as an executive coach in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education programs.

CLOSE

Mike Fink

OPERATING PARTNER

mfink@yellowwoodpartners.com

Mike was the Chief Marketing Officer/OTC of Blacksmith Brands, Inc. He is the former Co-CEO of Nutrition 21. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President of Marketing at Prestige Brands, Inc., and previously served as a Senior Vice President of Marketing of Medtech (Prestige’s predecessor company.)

Mike is an executive with extensive experience in marketing over-the-counter personal care and nutraceutical products. Prior to joining Medtech, Mike served as Vice President & General Manager Business & Marketing Development for Block Drug from March 1998 to May 2001, where he reported directly to the president. Mike left Block Drug in May 2001 in connection with its sale to GlaxoSmithKline and worked as an independent consultant until joining Medtech in February 2002. In his 25-year career at Block Drug, Mike held various executive positions including Vice President-General Manager of the Household Products Division, where he oversaw such brands as 2000 Flushes, X-14, Carpet Fresh and Lava. Mr. Fink has a B.S. degree from American University and an M.S. from the Zicklin School of Business.

CLOSE

Rich Howard

OPERATING PARTNER

rhoward@yellowwoodpartners.com

Rich joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2013. He has been an independent consultant and most recently served as COO of Cosmetic Essence, a private equity sponsored company.

Rich has over 35 years of executive level responsibility in Consumer Products, having held the positions as President and CEO of Tristar Fragrances, Principal at KPMG/Supply Chain Consulting, Executive Vice President of Global Operations at Elizabeth Arden, and Sr. Vice President at Charles of the Ritz. His background also includes senior level responsibilities at Philips Van Heusen, and Chesebrough Ponds. Mr. Howard received a B.S. degree from Monmouth College.

CLOSE

Tracy Pizzi

PARTNER

tpizzi@yellowwoodpartners.com

Tracy joined Yellow Wood Partners in August 2016. As Chief Financial Officer, Tracy is responsible for oversight of the financial and accounting operations for the firm. She is responsible for the financial reporting and tax compliance for all of Yellow Wood’s limited partnerships. Tracy also oversees the financial reporting, tax compliance and human resource management of Yellow Wood Partners LLC. Additionally, she is the Chief Compliance Officer and is responsible for all aspects of the firm’s federal investment advisor requirements.

 

Prior to joining Yellow Wood, Tracy was the Controller for Battery Ventures, a global, technology-focused investment firm, where she had been for more than 6 years. Previously, Tracy also served as Hedge Fund Administration Analyst for Wellington Management, a Senior Accountant for Atlas Venture, and an Audit Senior for Deloitte. Tracy holds a BS in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from Bucknell University and a MS in Taxation from Bentley University. She is a Certified Public Accountant.

 

CLOSE

Mark Malo

OPERATING PARTNER

mmalo@yellowwoodpartners.com

Mark has over 25 years’ experience in the consumer packaged goods industry.  He started his career working in plant engineering and held jobs of increasing responsibility at both Frito-Lay and The Clorox Company.  He has experience working in and leading manufacturing, logistics, purchasing (raw materials and packaging), capital management and supply networks.  Mark transitioned into sales in 1998, where he gained experience working with all major retailers in North America.  Mark spent 5 years as President and General Manager of Clorox’s Canadian business before relocating to Northwest Arkansas in late 2012 where he served as Vice President and General Manager of Clorox’s Global Walmart business. Mark retired from Clorox in April 2020 and started a consulting business focused on building brand and customer strategies.  Mark has served as Board Chair of the Canadian Chemical Specialty Products Association, Board member of the Food and Consumer Products Council of Canada and Chaired the Human Resources Board Committee of Stewardship Ontario which manages Ontario’s recycling operations.  Mark currently serves as Board President of The Boys and Girls Club of Benton County.

CLOSE

Eric Millar, Ph.D.

OPERATING PARTNER

emillar@yellowwoodpartners.com

Eric was the Chief of Operations at Blacksmith Brands, Inc. He was formerly Senior Vice President for Operations at Prestige Brands Holdings and served as Senior Vice President for Operations for The Spic And Span Company, a predecessor of Prestige Brands.

Eric has more than 25 years of senior-level operations experience managing all aspects of R&D, new product development, production, sourcing, planning and logistics for companies in a variety of manufacturing industries. Prior to joining Prestige Brands, Eric served as COO and SVP Operations for the Aris-Isotoner and Champion divisions of Sara Lee Corporation. He has also managed operations and R&D at Fisher-Price / Mattel, Michelin Tire and Unilever. Eric earned B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

CLOSE

Jennifer Roach Pacini

PRINCIPAL

jroach@yellowwoodpartners.com

Jennifer joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2014. Previously, Jennifer was a Senior Analyst at Analysis Group, an economic consulting firm providing economic, financial, and strategy consulting to Fortune 500 companies and leading law firms in the context of complex litigation. At Analysis Group, Jennifer concentrated in the securities and financial instruments practice area, working on a variety of matters involving private equity firms, auction rate securities, and mortgage backed securities.

Prior to Analysis Group, Jennifer worked at JP Morgan Chase & Co. in the Commercial Banking Division. Jennifer received an B.A. in Economics, cum laude, from the University of Rochester.

CLOSE

Cory Pulice

OPERATING PARTNER

cpulice@yellowwoodpartners.com

Cory is a digital commerce and marketing executive, strategist, consultant and operator with two decades of first-hand experience and benchmarks from his work with more than 50 retail brands, from startup to Internet Retailer 500 to Fortune 50. An adaptable change agent, transformational leader and team member, Cory has a unique ability to find paths to growth and profits and align operating teams, management, boards and 3rd parties. His retail expertise includes P&L ownership and a proven process for activating marketing, merchandising, technology, and operations to drive business valuation and move the needle in today’s digitally-centric, customer-first environment.

With deep category expertise in Health and Beauty, Cory has led numerous digital commerce-driven startups, turnarounds and exits.  SkinStore.com, grew from $1M to $22M under his leadership, was acquired by drugstore.com, Walgreens and The Hut Group.  e.l.f. Cosmetics more than doubled ecommerce revenue, leading to an acquisition and now publicly traded as ELF Beauty.  A strategic plan, referred resources and mentorship lead to Swimsuitsforall.com transformation into a category powerhouse, teeing up its acquisition by FullBeauty Brands.  Additionally, Cory has also delivered actionable digital strategies for leading brands, such as: Bare Escentuals, Pier 1 Imports, Johnson and Johnson, Mars Retail Group, Hudson’s Bay Company, European Wax Center, Markwins Beauty Brands, Wolverine World Wide, Windsor Fashion, Vince and Corelle Brands among others.

CLOSE

Mario Soussou

OPERATING PARTNER

msoussou@yellowwoodpartners.com

Mario has been a Yellow Wood Operating Partner since 2017. He has over 40 years experience in the Consumer Products Industry and has worked in the Private Equity world for the last 30 years. Mario’s most recent executive position was as CEO of American Safety Razor co. He previously held a number of International executive positions starting at HP Hood, followed by CPC Int’l and Snapple. He also served on the boards of American Safety Razor co., PDC brands, Freshpet, Sunny-D and Ranir. 

CLOSE

Sarah Mascioli Ensslen

PRINCIPAL

smensslen@yellowwoodpartners.com

Sarah joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2019.  Previously, Sarah was an Investment Professional at Permira, a global, growth-oriented private equity firm, where she was involved with investments in the consumer retail and internet sectors. Prior to Permira, she was an associate at Spectrum Equity, a technology growth equity firm. Sarah began her career as an analyst in the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs.

Sarah received a B.A. from Princeton University and a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

CLOSE

Payton McVey

PRINCIPAL

pmcvey@yellowwoodpartners.com

Payton joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2017. Previously, Payton was an analyst in the Consumer & Retail investment banking group at William Blair & Co. While at William Blair, Payton worked on a variety of M&A transactions and capital raises across the consumer spectrum including Consumer Packaged Goods, Specialty Retail and Food/Restaurants. 

Prior to William Blair, Payton was a CPA with Deloitte & Touche. He received an Honors B.S. in Business Administration (Accounting), cum laude, from The Citadel. 

 

CLOSE

Amrutha Mandalap

VICE PRESIDENT

Ammu joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2019. Prior to joining Yellow Wood, Ammu was an associate in the Healthcare investment banking group at BMO Capital Markets, where she worked on various M&A and capital raising transactions. She received a B.A. in Business, Entrepreneurships, and Organizations, magna cum laude, from Brown University.

CLOSE

Jordan Friedlander

Senior Associate

Jordan joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2020. Prior to joining Yellow Wood, Jordan was an investment banking associate in the Leveraged Finance Origination & Restructuring group at Credit Suisse, where he worked on various mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, restructurings and refinancing transactions. He received a B.S. in Business Administration (Finance), University Honors, from Carnegie Mellon University.

CLOSE

Karen Chi

Senior Associate

kchi@yellowwoodpartners.com

Karen joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2020. Prior to joining Yellow Wood, Karen was an analyst in the Technology investment banking group at Citi in New York, where she worked on various M&A and capital raising transactions across the technology industry. She received a B.S. in Economics with Concentrations in Finance and Statistics from the University of Pennsylvania.

CLOSE

Pradeepa Krish

ASSOCIATE

pkrish@yellowwoodpartners.com

Pradeepa joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2022. Prior to joining Yellow Wood, Pradeepa was an Acquisitions Associate at an e-commerce startup, Thrasio, and started her career as an Investment Banking Analyst at J.P. Morgan where she worked on various capital raising transactions. She received a B.S. in Applied Economics & Management, summa cum laude, from Cornell University.

CLOSE

Christian Koshgarian

ASSOCIATE

Christian joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2022. Prior to joining Yellow Wood, Christian was an Analyst on the Private Equity Team at Liberty Mutual. He started his career as an Investment Banking Analyst at Oppenheimer where he worked on various M&A and capital raising transactions. He received a B.A. in Economics with minors in Finance and Entrepreneurial Leadership from Tufts University.

CLOSE

Jessica Pascucci

Consumer Sourcing Senior Analyst

jpascucci@yellowwoodpartners.com

Jessica joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2018 as a Consumer Sourcing Analyst.  In May 2018 she graduated from Lasell College in Newton, MA, with a BS in Business Marketing.  During her time at Lasell, Jessica was involved in a number of marketing and communications’ internships and worked at the Orr & Reno Law Firm. 

CLOSE

Nicole Gray

Consumer Sourcing Analyst

ngray@yellowwoodpartners.com

Nicole joined Yellow Wood Partners in 2021 as a Consumer Sourcing Analyst.  In 2021 she graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Master’s Degree in Arts in Communications, and she also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire.  Nicole has previously worked in administrative roles at several organizations.

CLOSE