Irene is a graduate of The Mountain School, Milton Academy, and Cornell University. Her life experiences range from organic farming to prison education and many things in between. She’s passionate about carefully sourced ingredients and high-quality jobs. Under her leadership, Mei Mei implemented open-book management with Rethink Restaurants in order to improve the business while providing team members with valuable hospitality skills and financial know-how.
Irene is involved with a number of community organizations and serves on the boards of Haley House, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, and Project Bread.
In the weeks that followed the COVID-19 emergency, Irene launched Unsung Restaurants, a campaign to raise money for under-the-radar, mom and pop, and immigrant-owned businesses, partnered with Off Their Plate to lead a grocery program for hospital workers, and co-founded Project Restore Us whose mission is to serve working immigrant families by raising funds and paying restaurants to package and deliver culturally relevant grocery staples — including rice, beans, maseca, and produce — straight to their doors in the neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic.
Today, Irene’s focus is on transforming the restaurant world into an industry in which worker’’ needs and potential are taken seriously. In late 2021, she joined Visible Hands’ inaugural cohort of underrepresented tech founders with this goal in mind. Inspired by her peers, team members, and experiences in the industry, she is building Prepshift, a tech tool and consulting firm that supports businesses of all sizes to thrive sustainably and equitably.
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award