Our People

The Abound Food Care staff is comprised of innovative problem solvers with diverse backgrounds, providing valuable insights into the world of food waste reduction and food insecurity. The Abound staff collaborates with not only other team members, but also with members of the community and our partners within the food care ecosystem. 
At Abound, we strive for a culture that is open, creative, and dedicated to our mission. Our team runs on passion and the drive to achieve Abound’s goals and provide unique solutions to decades-old issues. We encourage our employees to push themselves and grow — not only professionally, but also personally, through stewardship and authenticity. We celebrate diversity, passion, and a desire to improve our world — for people and planet.

Abound Food Care Staff

MIKE LEARAKOS – Executive Director

Mike is a food service professional with over 30 years of industry experience. In addition to his role as the President & co-founder of TJM, Inc. — a broad-spectrum food service company formed in 1993 which operates Katella Grill & Catering in Orange, CA — Mike has a long history as a sales and marketing manager representing food service manufacturers, processors, facility designers, and distributors. 

In 2014, Mike volunteered to head the Abound Pilot Program, and became the full-time Executive Director of Abound in September of 2016. In this role, Mike directs this public/private effort to end hunger and reduce food waste by working with healthcare providers, the food service industry, municipalities, and waste haulers. Together, they identify and assist people suffering from food insecurity, and recover excess edible food destined for landfills and direct it to area food pantries serving those in need.

RACHEL OTAIR – Director of Operations

Rachel graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She understands the value of personal interactions and connecting people from all walks of life to create solutions, and has a passion for the betterment of the community, making a difference, and building a career out of helping others.

Previously, Rachel worked in the food service industry for five years, where she learned how to quickly create relationships, stay organized and on task to accomplish goals, and handle food safely. She also worked for the Anaheim Family YMCA in the Human Resources Department. With this valuable experience, Rachel joined Abound in 2016 as Program Manager — and is thriving in her role. With her talents in overseeing each department and fostering partner relationships, she continuously enables Abound to make a positive and lasting impact in the community.

MINHCHAU CHAU – Logistics Coordinator

Minhchau graduated from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) with a double major in Supply Chain Management and Global Marketing. During her time and travels at UNI, she learned the importance of collaborative work and the acceptance of different cultures, thoughts, and ideals. Throughout her life, she has worked in different retail and office roles, but food has always been a common theme in her work. With experience in a range of kitchens and in delivery and catering services, she knows her way around the food service industry. 

During her weekends, she oversees 60+ scouts as a leader for both Girl Scouts of America and Boy Scouts of America. As an adult leader, Minhchau has honed the skills of dependability, flexibility, and adaptability that have become vital to her role as Logistics Coordinator at Abound. Combining her passion for food, a desire to make a difference in her community, and her supply chain management, Minhchau is a perfect fit on the Abound team. 

BRIAN PENNY – Senior Outreach Associate

Brian is a lifelong resident of Orange County with a passion for service and hospitality. He graduated from Fullerton College with a major in Communications, and for the past 20 years Brian has held leadership and management positions for restaurants, country clubs, and entertainment venues throughout California, building on the communication skills he developed in college. He began his career in the hospitality industry by working in numerous restaurants in various positions — from bus person, kitchen help, server, and bartender to General Manager. 

Brian began his work with nonprofits in 2011 by joining the Tustin Chamber of Commerce, where he served as Sponsorship Chair, Events Chair, and ultimately Chairman of the Board in 2016. With this varied and valuable experience, he joined Abound in 2019, where he has taken his passion for working with food and nonprofits to the next level. Brian’s goal is to utilize his relationships and resources he’s developed over the years to further fight the hunger and food waste that are still so prevalent in our communities. 

CAIT ALBRECHT – Program Manager

Cait was born and raised in Orange, California. After graduating from Rosary High School in 2012, she spent the next four years studying Nursing and Public Health Administration at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. With a passion to serve and help others, Cait spent most of her transformative years leading children’s and teens’ groups and volunteering. She also spent two years in the food service industry learning the vital skills of multitasking, customer service, and working collaboratively. Aligning herself with Abound was a natural move; she’s found a community that cared for public health matters just as much as she does.

As Program Manager, Cait wears many hats — from creating important data reports to working with Outreach Teams to further educate and spread awareness. Cait works closely with our Director of Operations and Executive Director, providing administrative and leadership support to the team in areas of data tracking, task management, content creation, and more.