Nona Yehia is the CEO and co-founder of Vertical Harvest. An architect by training, and already a partner in a successful design firm, Nona conceptualized Vertical Harvest in 2010 with co-founder Caroline Croft-Estay, to be North America’s first vertical hydroponic greenhouse and a pioneering enterprise focused on inclusive, customized employment for people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.
After 5 diligent years of raising money and partnering with the city of Jackson Hole and state of Wyoming, Vertical Harvest opened its doors in 2016 with Nona as CEO. She has since overseen the team’s path to profitability and innovated a unique business model at the intersection of climate, food security and equitable employment. Vertical Harvest’s emphasis on maximizing social impact has helped Nona and team become exemplars of conscious capitalism. In 2020 CNN named her a Champion for Change and in 2021 Vertical Harvest was included in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas in both their Food and Social Justice categories. Her experiences growing up with a brother with developmental disabilities, love of fresh and local food, obsession with great design, and long-standing community involvement, has turned her original passion project into a thriving business set to scale to 10 additional farms over the next 5 years. And it’s her organic connection to all aspects of the enterprise that continues to fuel Nona’s insight into the business and her dynamic leadership style.
She holds an M.A. in architecture from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, and a B.A. in architecture from the University of Michigan. But her most enduring credentials are her fierce optimism, ability to champion potential, and inspire people from wildly different walks of life to rally around a common cause. Her ability to connect people with ideas and move them to action is the engine behind Vertical Harvest’s success.