In life and in business we’re all faced with “flip the switch” moments. For good or bad, these moments are transformational and course changing. My earliest such moment was as a teenager. Like most teenagers, there was nothing about me that was out of the ordinary. I had a normal life with the same lack of plans for the future as is typical among teenagers. I felt there was plenty of time to figure it all out.

But you can’t expect the unexpected. A revolution happened and then a war between my home country Iran and Iraq. Needless to say, my life was completely changed. I was forced to leave my family and my country and met a stressful immigration to Sweden. I had to restart everything.

This was the flip the switch moment for me.

I found myself with not just a new and different home but a new passion, drive and commitment to make an impact.  I felt I had something to offer and could not let myself and others down by being a bystander.

My career started in larger companies. I was struggling to fulfill my passion – large companies by their nature are generally more interested in incremental improvements than game-changing innovations. I forged on and joined the startup world. At this point I was among people who wanted to make a big impact, change the world. I found a new home.

This is our approach at Benson Hill. Our ambition is to build the leading food innovation engine of the future. Our current food production system is clearly unsustainable. Climate change is an enormous challenge that is here and now. We all have responsibility to rise to this challenge. I am proud to be a member of the Benson Hill team and take up Kaveh’s flag to contribute addressing significant challenges that our food production system is facing.

This is a flip the switch moment for the future of food.

In addition to climate challenge, we currently spend more on healthcare for diet-related illnesses than we do for food itself. This is also clearly not sustainable. We must change the paradigm of crop innovation to offer healthier food options for consumers.

The flip the switch moment in crop innovation is the ability to use data science and machine learning coupled with genomics and plant science to make better food choices.

We, at Benson Hill, aim to empower a fundamental change to our food system. A change that will require us to work and think differently from plant to plate. I strongly believe in the power of imagination. If we can imagine a different world, then we can see all the possibilities, and work together to realize a healthier world with more nutritious, great-tasting food options that are more accessible and sustainable.

This fundamental change is already underway. The plant-based food revolution is underway, and it will be transformational. We are already and will continue to play a major role in enabling this revolution. We must continue to bring technology to the broadest set of innovators possible and leverage their diverse experiences and ideas as a multiplier on our own. No single company by itself can solve the immense global challenges we are facing.

This week, at Benson Hill we celebrated the opening of our new headquarters in St. Louis. It is here that we will dream big and see possibilities for making major impacts. While having the opportunity to grow in startup environments, I have learned dreaming is not enough – we must also execute our plans with dedication and discipline to make our dreams a reality.

We have an ambitious vision, but I’ve witnessed what can happen when people come together with the freedom to think differently.

Looking forward from where I sit today, I see great opportunities ahead. I invite you to join us so we can move food forward through partnership and improve climate and health.