Stephanie Allen is a recognized pioneer in the meal assembly industry. Combining an in-depth knowledge of the needs of busy families with personal and practical innovation, Stephanie leads the company's growth and strategic direction. In addition, she oversees menu and product development, franchise recruitment and general operations.
Stephanie brings an extensive background in the food industry including 18 years of recipe development and catering, as well as a broad range of business management expertise. Prior to launching Dream Dinners in 2002, Stephanie owned and operated a successful Seattle-area catering business for more than 12 years.
Stephanie first began making fix-and-freeze meals for her own family in 1986. By preparing and freezing dinners using fresh raw ingredients, she improved on traditional pre-cooked methods resulting in meals that simply tasted better. She honed the process for efficiency and began developing a collection of specialized "dream dinners" recipes. As a mother of two and through her long-time involvement with the international service organization MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Stephanie gained insight into the trials of busy family life which helped inspire her to create Dream Dinners as a solution to the dinnertime dilemma.
Having shared her 'secret recipe' with some friends, Stephanie soon became deluged with requests to expand her time-saving meal assembly solutions with others. When the demand became overwhelming, she enlisted the help of long-time friend and experienced business manager Tina Kuna. The partners hosted the first series of large-scale meal assembly sessions in 2002, which became the catalyst for opening the first Dream Dinners store.
Stephanie has a passion for helping families nationwide with more than eating healthy home cooked dinners and promoting family relationships. She participates in the CDC campaign, "Weight of the Nation" and attended the inaugural CDC Obesity Prevention and Control Conference. Since 2006, she has been an invited participant in Big Task. This group of 150 top global visionary leaders gather to address problematic societal issues. A popular speaker and educator, she spreads her vision to make people's lives easier and restore the tradition of family to reach an ever-expanding audience as the company continues to grow.
A recognized innovative leader in the meal assembly industry, Tina Kuna was instrumental in creating the innovative Dream Dinners business model, which has become the industry standard. Tina directs Dream Dinners' legal strategy while overseeing the company's financial, franchise and internal operations and staff.
Tina's 20 - years of professional experience includes financial and management expertise. Prior to launching Dream Dinners in April 2002, Kuna spent five years as the controller for Northport Fisheries and was the business manager for ITS (Inventory Technology Systems). She also owned and operated Port Gardner Bookkeeping for five years and has held a number of leadership positions across a variety of industries.
A working mother of three, Kuna adopted the assemble-and-freeze method for her family in 1996, as taught to her by eventual business partner Stephanie Allen. Under Tina's strategic direction, the company has expanded rapidly, and developed a leading-edge infrastructure that includes a central consumer website and a comprehensive intranet for franchise owners.
In 2006, Tina and Stephanie were awarded Ernst and Young's Entrepreneurs of the Year in the Pacific Northwest, having been selected from numerous nominees and over 20 finalists. Awards are given to entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
A strong advocate of families eating together, Tina plays a key role in bringing the Dream Dinners solution to communities across the nation as the company continues to grow. She also a co-author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, The Hour That Matters Most.
Darin Leonard joined Dream Dinners as its CEO in January of 2008. With 20 years of diversified experience incorporating enterprise wide leadership within Fortune 500, as well as a start-up and high growth entrepreneurial background, Darin is considered a visionary with the ability to simplify complex challenges within organizations. At Dream Dinners he has led a successful entrepreneurial start-up through the growth challenges such organizations face. Under his leadership the organization has created a solid foundation of success in which to build scalable and repeatable growth.
Darin came to Dream Dinners as a client from OneAccord LLC, an interim executive firm that provides seasoned C-level leadership to small and mid- market companies. During his tenure at OneAccord, he developed breakthrough revenue strategies and processes for consumer goods companies, manufacturers, retailers and professional services firms.
Prior to joining OneAccord, Darin was CEO/President of the Maytag Stores, a cutting edge appliance retailer. As CEO of the Maytag Stores, he embarked on an unprecedented market entry with multiple stores over a one-year span. His organization was widely considered an industry leader in the terms of market entry, sales methodologies, and local marketing strategies/negotiations and customer service. Prominent retailers adopted many of his practices nationally and he is still sought to contribute articles for retail magazines and publications.
Within the Maytag Corporation, Darin also held executive leadership positions in sales, marketing, and channel management & product development. During his tenure at Maytag, he led national sales organizations and some of the company's largest customers where he incorporated manufacturing, R&D, logistics, I.T. and finance into the customer relationship. Prior to his work with Maytag, Mr. Leonard held numerous sales & leadership roles with the Jenn-Air and Magic Chef companies.
Throughout his career Darin has consistently won awards as a top producer. A high point of his Maytag experience was when he was voted the corporations Employee of the Year in 1998 for negotiating the Sears/Maytag strategic partnership.
A deeply committed husband and father of three boys that share their fathers' passion for baseball, Darin currently sits on the Board of Directors for a retail company, two manufacturing organizations, a non-profit organization and a non-profit ministry.
Laura McMillan leads all marketing strategy, research, and advertising. She plans and oversees all internal communications for the national franchisee base as well as manages external communications. Laura directs product positioning, packaging, and pricing strategy to produce the highest possible long-term market share and boost annual same store sales amid franchisees nationwide.
Laura joined Dream Dinners in 2011 after being a founding partner and consultant in the DRTV marketing company, Proformance Marketing. In this role, she worked as a consultant with clients in product sourcing and viability in a direct to consumer business with companies such as QVC, Allstar Marketing and Cesari Direct. Additionally she acted as a direct consultant for Lenfest Media.
Prior to that, she served as a Senior Director of Research and Development, Product Management and Customer Relationship Management for NutriSystem, Inc., a $700 million weight loss company. She was a lead in the creation of The NutriSystem D, Flex 20 Day and Jumpstart Programs. She additionally managed the Electronic Retail division with NutriSystem and led the $84 million QVC business unit - growing revenue despite the direct business having trended downward.
Laura was the Founder/President of Trend Source, Inc., a manufacturer's representation firm for vendors at QVC in categories including skin care, tools, collectibles, home decor, personal care, fitness, jewelry, gift, garden, and cooking. In this position, she grew several skin care brands through product innovation and development over 400% and acted as an on air guest on QVC for the skin care brands she was representing. Before that, she was a QVC Buyer and was responsible for business lines including Thomas Kinkade, Valerie Parr Hill and Martha Stewart among others.
Laura received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Randolph Macon College and also attended the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science as well as The Sorbonne in Paris, France.