John Antonelli

CEO, Antonelli's Cheese Shop

John founded Antonelli’s Cheese, LLC with the mission to “Do Good. Eat Good.” Recently celebrating a decade of serving Central Texas, Antonelli’s has received numerous accolades, including Best Cheese Shops in America, Best Artisan Food Company, Charitable Champions, and Local Hero Food Shop 8 consecutive years. Antonelli’s operates a robust philanthropic program, partnering with a dozen nonprofit organizations yearly and using its reach to amplify their missions and raise funds, as well as donating to nearly 500 other charitable events since opening. In this role, John was named Best CEO by the Austin Business Journal and Antonelli’s Cheese was included on Inc5000 fastest growing companies.

John’s former career was as a Certified Public Accountant. While he keeps the license up-to-date (as a contingency plan!), John initially made a honeymoon decision to find and follow his passion with purpose, ultimately trading his CPA initials for those of CCP, Certified Cheese Professional. In only his 7th year in the industry, John was elected President of the Board of the American Cheese Society, an international nonprofit organization. Overall, John served 9 years of leadership and volunteerism to the ACS during which he was inducted into the respected Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. In that time, he was invited to speak and represent North America at Slow Food Cheese in Italy, the world’s largest cheese festival, as well as judge the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Contest. Today, John is honored to serve as Treasurer of The Thinkery; regularly supports American Gateways, Dell Children’s Trust, Local Business Institute, and Philanthropitch; and recently planned and led a humanitarian trip with the Servant Church racial justice team to the border delivering supplies and cooking and serving hot meals to refugees and asylum seekers in Matamoros.

After a challenging year professionally and personally in 2018, John experienced PTSD and depression and ultimately sought help with a professional therapist. Today, he is an outspoken advocate for mental health and self-care, using his platform to share his experience in the hopes of helping others and eliminating the stigma associated with mental health challenges. Highlighting topics of mental health, entrepreneurship, career pivots, prioritizing family, and more, John is a keynote speaker and event emcee, including a TedX talk with his wife and partner in life, Kendall. His most recent achievements include a quick pandemic pivot in his business; as a result, no team members have been laid off, hires have been made, 7000+ Central Texans have participated in virtual cheese tastings (where kids Everett and Elia have made many unplanned appearances), and John has found new ways to live his personal mission: Spread Joy.