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Juff Church | Influential Leaders to Follow in 2022 | Exeleon Magazine

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Embracing Excellence
www.exeleonmagazine.com
Jeff
Church
Matthieu
Kohlmeyer:
Disrupting the
F&B Industry
IN - FOUCS
T R A ...
Copyright © Exeleon Media LLC. All rights reserved. The design, images, and content in this issue should not be reproduced...
C O N T E N T S
JEFF CHURCH
12
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Juff Church | Influential Leaders to Follow in 2022 | Exeleon Magazine

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An Influential leader is someone who is capable of leading different things simultaneously. A leader is also a creative person who can articulate the company's vision into an understandable and digestible way for all stakeholders.

An Influential leader is someone who is capable of leading different things simultaneously. A leader is also a creative person who can articulate the company's vision into an understandable and digestible way for all stakeholders.

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Juff Church | Influential Leaders to Follow in 2022 | Exeleon Magazine

  1. 1. Embracing Excellence www.exeleonmagazine.com Jeff Church Matthieu Kohlmeyer: Disrupting the F&B Industry IN - FOUCS T R A N S F O R M I N G T H E B E V E R A G E S I N D U S T R Y Entrepreneur Corner THE JOURNEY OF FRAN MAIER Influenti l a L E A D E R T O F O L L O W I N 2 0 2 2 Moustafa Hamwi: Where Passion Meets Leadership IN - FOUCS
  2. 2. Copyright © Exeleon Media LLC. All rights reserved. The design, images, and content in this issue should not be reproduced in any manner or by any means, i.e. mechanical, electronic, recording, photocopying, or otherwise, without any permission from Exeleon Media. For any advertising related information, please contact info@exeleonmagazine.com. Submissions as well as contributions to the magazine are welcome. Take a moment and let us know about our magazine; whether it be about the design or a possible mistake, we would appreciate any feedback from your end. You can reach out to daryl@exeleonmagazine.com. 600 N Broad St 5 Middletown, DE 19709, United States +1 (302) – 569 – 9387 Editor-in-Chief – Art Director – Managing Editor - Creative Director – Contributing Editors – Content Curator – Daryl Yeung (Story-Tailor) Naomi Lam (Design Ninja) Matt Reis (Wordster) Adam Waring (Grafista) Ian O'Shea, Matt Hale, & John Riggs (Three Musketeers) Cathy G. (Explorer) Sales Josh Wilder (Cultivator) Mike Jackson (Marketeer) Katherine Price (Sustainer) Richard Dann (Facilitator) Project Manager – Marketing Manager – Senior BDM – BDM – Embracing Excellence
  3. 3. C O N T E N T S JEFF CHURCH 12
  4. 4. C O N T E N T S SCOTT TRUEHL 22
  5. 5. C O N T E N T S FRAN MAIER 36
  6. 6. ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW ROWDYENERGYROW F E AT U R E D S T O R Y C E O & C n in luential leader is someone who is capable of leading different things simultaneously. A leader is also a creative person who can articulate the company's vision into an understandable and digestible way for all stakeholders. While they have their heads in the clouds, but their feet are placed irmly on the ground when it comes to the essential nuts and bolts of running a business. It's also important for them to gain consensus among peers, investors, and the board to support the ambition, motivations and goals of the organization. Interestingly, these are the characteristics of one such game-changing businessman in the beverages industry. Jeff Church is the man of the hour who has taken the reins to bring a revolution in the energy drink category. As the CEO and Founder at Rowdy Energy Drink, he aims to deliver smarter, cleaner and 100% natural energy drinks for sustained energy. For the past 21 years, he's been on his own— starting, buying, building or selling brands and it's been an incredible professional joy for him. “I've tried over the years, from time to time, to manage a portfolio of brands and yet I keep getting pulled into the action, where, I have to admit, I'm most engaged and inspired,” he shares. AN UNDERSTATED ENTREPRENEUR Growing up, Jeff never thought that he could be an entrepreneur because he believed that all entrepreneurs were born, not made. He had envisioned Ted Turner, who created Turner Broadcasting, and Richard Bronson of Virgin, that they were larger than life characters and unless someone had their same sizzle or chutzpah, no one could be a successful entrepreneur. But Jeff couldn't have been more wrong about this. While there are unique outliers like Steve Jobs, Ted Turners and Richard Branson, the vast majority of entrepreneurs are ordinary people who decided for their own reasons, at the most basic level of empowerment, that they want to be their own boss. He believes “As an entrepreneur some would want that primal independence but also leave their own stamp or mark as an amazing experiment of humanity.” A 12 Exeleon Magazine
  7. 7. WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY C O - F O U N D E R | R O W DY E N E R G Y www.exeleonmagazine.com 13
  8. 8. Infact when Jeff was young, he was more worried about failure than he was about mediocrity. He recalls, “I just didn't want to fail in front of my high school friends. But later at the age of 38, I started to get the entrepreneurial itch and began to think that I was now more afraid of mediocrity than I was of failure.” He recollects a late night special where an interviewer invited a few senior citizens to share the most regretful memory in their professional careers. While they had all been pretty successful in life, they all wished to have taken “the shot” at really trying to change their stars. Perhaps, a yearning for a certain degree of professional risk in their careers. This discussion caused a dramatic shift in Jeff's mindset and encouraged him to inally take the entrepreneurial plunge. As a President of twelve businesses, in both — North and South America – he then decided to drop his 6 months' notice period before going all in to pursue his entrepreneurial dream. A BUBBLING ENERGY REVOLUTION Jeff started his irst energy drink business with Suja Juice in different places. Sometimes, working from his co-founders James' nightclub closet, also called the ice chest room and the other times, in his very own garage. These humble beginnings eventually led to remarkable success as the company now generates nearly $250 million in annual revenue and $40 million in pro its. He shares, “I learned and validated a lot of what to do but even more important and unfortunately more costly was learning what not to do”. These were the really valuable lessons that Jeff brought to his next venture, Rowdy. “I feel that inally in my career, with Rowdy being my th 8 company, that I have my own playbook of what makes sense and what doesn't make sense,” he concludes. Rowdy is a unique and healthy energy drink with complete focus 14 Exeleon Magazine
  9. 9. on the wellness and longevity of the people. Jeff found that there is a widening gap in the total energy drink category that generates more than $17 billion in annual revenue. However, less than 1 percent of energy drinks are “better” and devoid of arti icial lavor, ingredients and chemical preservatives. To undo the notorious reputation that energy drinks have earned themselves, especially among women, Jeff based his new thesis at Rowdy — to bring clean, better, and functional energy drinks to consumers. An amusing story behind the name Rowdy is that his partner Kyle Busch, one of the top drivers in Nascar, is nicknamed Rowdy. The name was also in luenced by a 20- year old movie called Days of Thunder that starred Tom Cruise as the star of the movie and his cantankerous competitor was named Rowdy Burns. The name 'Rowdy' was loosely meant to be Dale Earnhart who was always known for his attitude to win — at all costs. Rowdy is Jeff's eighth company that he's either started or bought in the past 22 years. Of the seven excluding Rowdy that have been sold, using a baseball analogy, three have been what he would refer to as “home runs”, two would be “doubles” and the other two would be “blazing strikeouts.” About ten years ago, he researched and did a deep dive on the differences between the ive businesses that were successful versus the two that weren't. He realized that all the successful brands had an element of disruption whereas the ROWDY IS UNIQUE, IN A TOTAL ENERGY DRINK CATEGORY THAT GENERATES MORE THAN $17 BILLION IN ANNUAL REVENUE THAT LESS THAN 1% OF ENERGY DRINKS ARE BOTH BETTER FOR YOU AND “CLEAN” OF ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, INGREDIENTS AND CHEMICAL PRESERVATIVES. www.exeleonmagazine.com 15
  10. 10. WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY WDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGY Transformin theBeverage Industry. F E AT U R E D S T O R Y 16 Exeleon Magazine
  11. 11. YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER YROWDYENERGYROWDYENERGYROWDYENER ng es www.exeleonmagazine.com 17
  12. 12. unsuccessful brands were more commodity brands. The successful businesses had an “it” factor that protected the gross margin for a foreseeable future. These could be things like route to market, intellectual property, an amazing team of people among other things. He says, “if you had some amount of these competencies, you were putting yourself in a much higher probability of being successful.” INNER HARMONY AND BALANCE Being a serial entrepreneur, a beverage expert, business coach, investor, and a father among many things, Jeff focuses on three aspects, or buckets, in his life: family and marriage; work; and self-care. He ensures uninterrupted care and attention while focusing on one particular bucket at a point in time. Jeff adds, “When I've felt really good about one of them, it unfortunately has meant that I may not be doing well on the other two.” However, he's learned that if he's mediocre in each of them, he tends to be in a pretty balanced place. He also subscribes strongly to the theory of an emotional bank account— a paradoxical similarity between relationships and a bank account. He remains cautious of the fact that one can withdraw from the emotional bank account but it cannot, and should not, be overdrawn. HIS 3 BUSINESS TENETS Jeff's advice to emerging and aspiring business leaders is extraordinary and multi-faceted. He proposes to recognize the “law of two” that points towards being wary of your time and money. This can often result in running out of both and can cause you to be proverbially being held over a barrel and having to give up a lot to keep the business going. He also suggests learning on someone else's “nickel” rather than your own. Infact, Jeff encourages young people to not quit their day job to pursue their passion, until or unless you have the right experience and skill set to be successful. It would also help to approach your passion as a hobby and focus on it on nights and weekends while working your normal job. “When the timing is right you would have made limited mistakes on your own nickel thereby expanding your own cash runway,” he adds. Lastly, and most importantly, he advises to keep your heads in the clouds and your feet planted irmly on the ground. Jeff thinks that too many people are dreamers and a dream without a vetted and realistic plan is a pipe dream. “While it's fruitful and important to dream of an idea that you have, however, too many people don't build smart executable plans in order to be successful and their dreams don't become realities. I like to do both, dream but keep my feet on the ground planted in realism and humbleness,” he concludes. A HEALTHY & ENERGIZED FUTURE Jeff is hopeful of a bright future for himself and his venture, Rowdy Energy Drinks. As the energy drink category is a large one, about $17 billion in size, and less than 1% of the market is both Better For You (BFY) and without any arti icial sweeteners, ingredients and chemical preservatives. His mission is to help consumers understand that they can get great functional beverage energy drinks without having to sacri ice clean ingredients. Subsequently, there have been many ingredient breakthroughs over the past decade and today more than ever there are great choices of functional ingredients. In many cases they are supported by clinical studies and yet only a very few energy drink brands are embracing this. This is where the existence and expansion of Rowdy Energy and their new Power Burn line comes in. Jeff's company uses only ef icacious levels of ingredients, often times backed by clinical studies, and continuously seeks to provide consumers with a waterfall of several bene it platforms including natural energy, demonstrative levels of electrolytes, thermogenic, calorie burning ingredients, mȩntal focus and clarity and synergistic amino acids to help build lean muscle mass. Rowdy Energy seeks to support those that embody a spirit of quality and premium work life. It's not just for all-star athletes but also caters to other people — the weekend warrior, superhero mom, the ambitious college student, and the men and women in uniform. **** F E AT U R E D S T O R Y 18 Exeleon Magazine
  13. 13. I LEARNED AND VALIDATED A LOT OF WHAT TO DO BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANT AND UNFORTUNATELY MORE COSTLY WAS LEARNING WHAT NOT TO DO. 19
  14. 14. We Embrace Excellence! Exeleon Magazine features some of the leading players in business and shares their journey of excellence to inspire aspiring leaders across the globe. SUBSCRIBE
  15. 15. www.exeleonmagazine.com
  16. 16. 22 EXELEON MAGAZINE SCOTT TRUEHL Dominating the Change Quotient hange is constant in the Cworld of business, even when things are going well. As you progress with your company and expand into more areas, you'll ind that change becomes essential for continued growth. Even companies that are already successful will go through times when changes are needed to ensure that their business continues to grow at a healthy rate. This is especially true for small businesses and startups, as their growth can be much more rapid than an established company that has taken years to reach where it's at now. Scott Truehl, Executive Vice President and Partner at Friede & Associates, is an in luential leader who has recognized the power of change with irst-hand experiences. Scott has embraced change through a career that has included stops in government, real estate, and the utility industry. He embraces change now by leading a construction irm helping clients navigate the process of building or renovating a new facility effectively and ef iciently. DONNING MULTIPLE HATS Before helming the primary sales and marketing duties at Friede & Associates, Scott's professional career had seen several stops that ultimately led him to become a partner at the irm. He began his career as the Governmental Affairs Director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce, wherein he represented the membership for over six years with a wide variety of topics before the city committees, boards, and commissions. In his advocacy role, Scott got to see the irst-hand challenges faced by the small businesses due to government regulations. At the same time, Scott also worked on his sales skills and earned a Real Estate Broker license selling condominiums on the weekends. His career then transitioned into becoming a Development Specialist with Wisconsin Power & Light (WP&L), helping industries locate and grow across Wisconsin. And after serving for eight years at WP&L, where his stops included Local Operations Manager, Economic Development Specialist & Manager, and Director of State & Local Affairs, Scott got an invitation from his current business partner, Roger Friede, to join his nearly 100- year-old family construction irm, and to “put his knowledge and experience to work” for their construction clients. SPEARHEADING FRIEDE & ASSOCIATES CHANGING BUSINESS Roger offered Scott a chance to help him change the focus of his family business. His idea was to transform the irm “from a hard bid, governmental and industrial contractor, to a professional services company that would offer clients additional assistance with their construction projects. Further, they would do so primarily in a design-build manner where the contractor and customer work together to design and build their facility.” The ability to help transform a company was appealing to Scott, and he saw tremendous potential. As a result, he joined the irm at the start of 1998, with his primary focus on creating a sales and marketing program for the irm that would help the company grow geographically and also in the types of projects they would construct. I N - F O C U S
  17. 17. Executive Vice President & Partner Friede & Associates www.exeleonmagazine.com 23
  18. 18. REDEFINING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION Now, after nearly 25 years on the job, Scott looks after the outside connections to bring in new clients, helping them in the development of their project. He works with them to assess their needs, then offers his recommendations about the type, size, and potential costs of a facility. “I work with them in the selection of an architect or designer. We help develop preliminary site and loor plans, as well as initial building elevations & materials,” explains Scott. Afterwards, he helps to transfer that information to the estimators and project managers to create accurate budgets and project schedules for the projects. As part of helping the clients, Scott can also be seen working to ind potential building sites and assisting in the state & local approval process. And lastly, Scott also gets involved in negotiating state & local incentives and assisting the clients with their inancing process. And when it comes to customer satisfaction, Scott makes sure that he and his team leaves no stone unturned in delivering the best of services. He says, “We work to provide the best product that our clients can afford to meet their needs. Our ield staff is incredibly talented and experienced and builds each project as if they were building for themselves. Our crews make sure that safety & quality are always the driving force as they construct each project.” THE POWER OF CHANGE Scott has been incredibly blessed throughout his career to have worked in various jobs under great mentors and business coaches to grow through both successes and failures. Learning under multiple mentors and in different environments empowered Scott to have the con idence to try new things and form a perspective of improving things at hand. “This attitude had helped me ind solutions to challenges that may not have been visible when we started something, but certainly would have adversely impacted the outcome had we not identi ied them.” This is also something that Scott would like aspiring and upcoming business leaders to remember. In his dictionary, the biggest roadblock we face is the fear of change. “Most people want to ind that comfortable spot and stay Scott and his partner Roger Friede receiving one of 7 2021 ABC of Wisconsin Projects of Distinction awards 24 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  19. 19. www.exeleonmagazine.com 25 there. I am always looking to grow and to see if we can do it better or differently.” Hence, Scott wants newcomers to constantly look for ways to change, grow, and improve. He wants them to work on understanding the clients' evaluation criteria and offer them services where the advantages lie. Another essential aspect that emerging leaders must focus on is understanding the employees' point of view. “Your employees are the ones that are making your business successful, and they, not you, know what problems they are facing and holding them back. If you want to know how your company can improve…just ask,” says Scott. “But don't ask if you are not willing to change. If you want to destroy whatever good feelings your team has for you and your business, just go out and ask for their ideas and then do nothing with them. You will build up a sense of hope and then crush that hope if you do nothing.” TRUST IS THE KEY Scott perceives the company's future to be bright as long as they keep inding great people to join their team. He illustrates an example when the pandemic peaked, and many contractors downsized their marketing budgets and cut back on the business development. However, Scott and the irm went the other way to open a new of ice in Madison with additional business development staff. At present, Scott is reaping the same bene its by attracting people who were worried about their jobs with larger irms, or those that felt like just a number, and he has shown them how they can make a difference at Friede & Associates. “Together we can build the kind of company I always wanted to work for. One the values the team and their individual contributions. One that realizes that we're all in this together and that we all play a role in delivering our services. And hopefully, one that inds ways to let us have fun doing what we do and with the folks we work with”. Standing in front of the company's Award Winning Walnut Street Flats Housing project.
  20. 20. Matthieu Kohlmeyer Founder | La Tourangelle I N - F O C U S 28 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  21. 21. Disrupting the F&B Industry t is said that vision is not just a picture Iof what could be; rather it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more. When Matthieu Kohlmeyer set out from France to Northern California, he had a vision to build a company from scratch. That vision led to the formation of La Tourangelle, a company producing specialty artisan oils that are natural and organic. Two decades later, La Tourangelle stands out as a premier brand selling over 24 million bottles last year in the US with over 25,000 stores nationwide. Exeleon proudly interviews the Founder of this incredible brand on his journey and dives into how more F&B brands can follow suit and apply sustainable methods in their business operations. What according to you makes one an in luential leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? In luential leaders are driven by purpose. They decide to take action to make a difference and create solutions. The problems they are trying to solve can be small and local or large and global, no matter, their energy will create a movement. This positive lywheel is beautiful to witness and so inspiring. I thrive to lead my business with passion and storytelling. By clearly articulating the “why” of our action and by sharing how we help make a difference, my goal is to make what we do less about work and more about mission. Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader that you can remember? I grew up in Paris metro, France. Culture and travel were my main hobbies. Art exhibits, cultural events, and history is an endless source of inspiration and discovery in Paris. I feel that my youth was not spent leading but exploring through culture and arts but also travel. Travel included adventure- hitchhiking, train riding, meeting lots of folks, and learning. After I inished high school, it became clear that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The fact that I started my irst business 9,000 miles away from my hometown is rooted in my passion for discovery. What was the idea that led to the formation of La Tourangelle? How has the company changed the artisan oil market? It all started with my desire for www.exeleonmagazine.com 29
  22. 22. I N - F O C U S 30 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  23. 23. entrepreneurship and adventure. I was casually engaged in various projects but once in business school, I discovered the CPG space through an internship at Unilever. As I was getting ready to travel across North America ahead of a semester at the MBA of University Laval in Canada, my father mentioned to me that one of his California-based nut oil suppliers had expressed interest in making French-style nut oils locally. I spent the summer researching the opportunity and then followed on to write La Tourangelle's business plan while inishing my graduate degree. The supplier was convinced and offered to fund the venture. I ended up graduating and starting the business right out of school. Since then, La Tourangelle has grown to bottle and sell over 24 million bottles last year in the US alone. We have elevated the specialty oils category and made high-quality specialty oils available to most by gaining distribution in over 40% of supermarkets in America. How is the company helping make a big impact on tackling climate crisis? Why is it an important subject for you? La Tourangelle is making good food. We believe that good food has to be good for the table, the community, and the planet. Agriculture and food are both major sources of global warming emissions AND a potential solution to global warming. By promoting regenerative agriculture and healthy soil build-up at scale, our agri-food system has the potential to sequester huge amounts of CO2. Simply detailed, regenerative farming is a holistic practice of land management that employs techniques such as crop rotation, cover cropping, composting, animal pasturing, and a complete absence of tilling to combat climate change by capturing carbon in the soil while producing nutritionally dense crops. In essence, La Tourangelle could go from being a massive emitter to a massive sequester. This solution is not well understood by consumers. We believe that consumers want to make the right thing and that we can lean on their power to help farmers make the change. Oilseeds farming represents 100 million acres in the USA alone. This is a huge area of opportunity. Being the CEO and Founder, what role do you play in the day-to-day proceedings of the company? La Tourangelle has around 150 employees between California and France. I'm very involved in the day-to-day operations and actively lead our growth and initiatives. We have built a very strong team. I essentially split my time between supporting and coordinating our existing business, promoting innovation and internal entrepreneurship, and making a point to carve out time to meet new people and advise external projects to constantly enrich my vision and learn from others. What is the process followed by the company to ensure optimal quality and results in its production? Being a food business, quality is critical. We are IFS and BRC certi ied and a irm believer in lean manufacturing. Quality is also offering the best food products leaning on our commitment to table, community, and planet. This constant search for better opens lots of opportunities and forces us to rethink how we operate. What are the changes that F&B companies should be making to reduce www.exeleonmagazine.com 31
  24. 24. their environmental impact? F&B companies hold a lot of power. They have the power to promote attributes and should leverage their strengths to promote better farming, better nutrition, and better packaging. It is my belief that F&B companies have a huge responsibility to make better choices and support initiatives that will have a massive environmental impact. The winners of tomorrow will be the ones that embrace their power and responsibility. What is your vision with the brand? What does the future look like for La Tourangelle? La Tourangelle is 20 years old but still a quickly growing company. I believe that we will double the size of our business in the next few years by continuing to expand our leadership in the premium oil market, by expanding into adjacent categories (nut butters, condiments, and dressings) and all this by leaning on our commitment to make delicious, healthy & sustainable food products. The fact that I started my first business 9,000 miles away from my hometownis rooted in my passion for discovery. ‘ ‘ ‘‘ 32 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  25. 25. I N - F O C U S www.exeleonmagazine.com 33
  26. 26. F Entrepreneur Corner FRAN MAIER The Journey of rom co-founding Match. com Fto spearheading TRUSTe, from being a trailblazer in women entrepreneurship to advising some of the most promising startups, from building BabyQuip to pitching the brand on Shark Tank, the journey of Fran Maier has been nothing less than inspiring. A serial entrepreneur who has spent close to three decades of her life building companies and brands, Fran is rightfully considered a pioneering leader. In an exclusive conversation with Exeleon Magazine, Fran Maier discusses her journey, reveals how she evolved as an entrepreneur, and gives advice to women leaders on how they can pave their own pathway towards success. What according to you makes one an in luential leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? In my mind, leadership is about inspiration and follow-through. Setting the vision isn't enough. You have to work with the team on the more speci ic goals and strategies so that they are engaged and also can be held accountable. And follow-through means that you as the leader are also accountable, you need to make and meet your commitments. At BabyQuip, we have company and brand values. These were developed as a team and include being “Family First,” “Clean, Safe & Accountable,“ and “Going Above and Beyond.” These values serve as touchstones for dif icult decisions. Talk to us about the idea of BabyQuip. What were the pain points that you wanted to address through this brand? In early 2012, I left my last position (at the time President and Chair of TRUSTe, - now TrustArc) and bought a three-story home in the Potrero Hill area of San Francisco. As it happens, it was in Airbnb's neighborhood, and everyone was talking about it. Before long, I was renting two rooms on the third loor of my home on Airbnb. I quickly realized that this could be a great money-maker and give me the time to think about what I wanted to do next. I N - F O C U S 36 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  27. 27. www.exeleonmagazine.com 37
  28. 28. Because of my vacation rental side hustle, as well as the emerging ride- sharing businesses, I began to think about how travel and work (gig economy!) were changing. Change is always a great catalyst for new companies. What new companies could emerge and take advantage of these changes? I came across a baby gear rental business, and it clicked for me almost immediately. I remember how dif icult it was to travel with my sons when they were small. I've seen how dif icult it is for parents at airports. And as a vacation rental host, I didn't have the gear families needed (nor did I want to buy and store it). And with the emerging gig economy, I was con ident that we'd ind people who would be eager to rent gear and help families enjoy a better vacation. We launched in 2016 and found that we had tapped into a large untapped market! Having built multiple startups over the years, how different was the journey of BabyQuip since its formation in 2016? My irst start-up was Match.com, in the mid-90s, a very different time! Some big differences include: Ÿ There is much more support for founders, including female founders. Back then there were no accelerators. Very few founder-centric services. And very little support for female founders - now there are a range of accelerators, investment funds, coaching services and so much more. I wish I had had that then. Ÿ With Match, we tried to get press, with BabyQuip we try to get In luencers! (Press is good too). The whole in luencer economy is so powerful and took me by surprise. Ÿ Everything is a subscription now. Then there were no AWS, you had to buy servers! Now a big part of our operating budget is paying subscriptions for cloud services, email services, mapping services and more. Ÿ Advertising is much more concentrated. Back then, we used display ads and bought on a number of different media sites. For our irst years, we only spent ad money on Google search. Ÿ Community matters more. We said we had a community at Match, but I know we have a vibrant community at BabyQuip with our Quality Providers (the independent contractors, mostly moms, who rent and deliver the baby gear that they own). We have a private Facebook group where they share ideas, deals on baby gear, pics of how they pack their car and more. This factor is key to keeping our Quality Providers working on the BabyQuip platform. What hasn't changed is building a trusted brand and understanding what needs drive your marketplace. Both Match and BabyQuip are marketplaces, and trust is critical. At BabyQuip we work hard to deliver “Clean and Safe” to parents just like we delivered “Safe, Anonymous and Fun” to Match customers. What was the experience for you going to Shark Tank and pitching your product? Going on Shark Tank is on every consumer-focused entrepreneur's Bingo card because it drives so much brand awareness. What you don't see is that it is a rigorous process and it's never guaranteed that you will be selected, that you will be ilmed, or that even your ilmed segment will air! So, it's a big bet. What was especially fun for me was that I did this with my son, Joe Maier, BabyQuip's CTO. We worked together for months improving our pitch and making sure we were ready. He procured the Pack Mule (a live animal we had on stage) so we could say “You need a pack mule to carry all that bulky baby gear.” What an experience to share with your adult son! Good news is that we rejected a low-ball offer from “Mr. Wonderful,” Kevin O'Leary. Bad news is that our segment aired on March 6, 2020, and rather than getting tons of new orders, we got cancellations and few new orders due to the onset of the pandemic. Nonetheless, it helped our brand, and I wouldn't have passed on it for the world. What would be your advice for aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs to building a startup in today's changing environment? I N - F O C U S 38 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  29. 29. Harness the change! As noted earlier, change is the catalyst for new businesses. Early on, as you're forming the business I typically recommend: Ÿ Be Sure You're Solving a Real Problem with a Large Market. Ultimately, you need to be solving a big enough problem that will generate customers, payments and orders, and even pro its! Try to igure out your target market and the attributes of your target consumer/customer. Listen and understand their needs and make sure your solution uniquely solves their problem. Being hyper focused on this is critical! Ÿ Make a business plan and assess the need for funding. Not every business needs venture capital to scale. If you decide to go that route, develop a robust business plan that outlines when you need capital and how much you need. You may ultimately change the plan, but it's always good to have a clear plan and pitch. Ÿ Participate in an accelerator program to ine tune your idea and get helpful feedback from other entrepreneurs and advisors. Many accelerators will invest and connect you to others who can help. Where do you see the future to be for women entrepreneurs and women in business? I'm happy to share that BabyQuip's investors are mostly women or female-focused funds (such as How Women Invest). These funds were not around years ago and make such a big difference. However, they recognize that women often understand market needs more and that these companies, from marketplaces like BabyQuip to companies focused on women's health, are likely to succeed. AS SEEN ON I N - F O C U S www.exeleonmagazine.com 39
  30. 30. That said, women still only get just over 2% of venture capital and that metric has been way too obdurate. In addition, women's companies often get lower valuations despite that research has shown that women-led companies generate higher returns! So much has to change to help women entrepreneurs succeed including more successful female entrepreneurs with large exits (so they in turn can invest in other start-ups), more women venture capitalists writing large checks, and more female role models. I'm so tired of seeing that the primary visual of an entrepreneur is a youngish guy wearing a hoodie! Being a serial entrepreneur and advisor with multiple hats, how do you ensure work-life balance? Well, it's easier now that my children (two sons) are grown. Looking back, I know I chafed at the goal of work/life balance, it seemed to me, to be condescending to women. How often were men asked about it? In my view, you can't get it right all the time, each day or even each week. But if you're focused you can ind the time you need to take care of your children and family and yourself (which is often the person most neglected). My company is remote with mostly women. During the pandemic, almost all had children at home, from babies to teenagers, and it was super hard on everyone. I had to leave it up to them how best to manage their work and home responsibilities. There was no choice, I had to trust that we knew our goals and that we would work toward them together, the best we could. We emerged from the worst of the pandemic in early 2021 and have been growing rapidly since. The lexibility we extended to our team during the pandemic might be the future of work for everyone. What has the journey been like for Fran Maier over the years? Looking back, what would you have done differently when starting out? Despite being an entrepreneur since Match in the mid-90s, I didn't always have the con idence. For example, and this was a big mistake, we sold Match in 1998 way too Pack Light. Travel Happy. I N - F O C U S 40 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  31. 31. early for way too little money (less than $8M). Had I had more con idence, and more support (which women don't usually get), I know now that I could have raised the money, taken my fair share, and taken it to the next level (Match was sold a year later for more than $70M). Good news is that I got a do- over when I transitioned TRUSTe (now TrustArc) from non-pro it to for-pro it in 2008. So, it's all about Con idence. As I share with women founders, you know your market and you know your solution. Believe that you can do what you are setting out to do. That's more than half the battle. With con idence you are more likely to ask for help, persevere, and continue to take risks. That will ultimately lead to success. What does the future look like for BabyQuip? On a personal front, where do you see yourself standing in the coming years? BabyQuip is growing very rapidly. We had our irst month with over $1M in bookings in March and we recently added our 1000th Quality Provider. We just closed a funding round of $3.4M! We've already added some key players to our team, especially in business development, to form new partnerships with other hospitality brands. And we've opened a few cities in Mexico. So BabyQuip's now in its growth phase, which is very exciting, but also comes with new challenges. Biggest challenges are keeping the growth going more ef iciently, taking advantage of our position to expand into new markets and new services, and making sure the demand/supply lywheel is spinning. My role becomes more focused on building out the team and ensuring a positive working environment and looking outward to help form partnerships and alliances and building the BabyQuip brand. Personally, I'm getting ready for my irst international vacation since 2019. I'm going to Morocco! I need a break from the day-to-day, some time to just think, and great Instagram pictures of my own! I N - F O C U S www.exeleonmagazine.com 41
  32. 32. ASHLEY HAYWOOD Embrewing Success in Every Step What according to you makes one a transformational leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? A transformational leader is one that can transform lives and the Earth through their leadership. For me, this includes being impeccable with my diligence in sourcing ingredients and materials ethically and making products that truly bene it my customer's health and wellbeing. Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader that you can remember? I was certainly a bit bossy as a young girl, which served me in some ways but not others. I was proactive with my friends, did well in school, and loved asking questions. Good leaders are the ones that aren't afraid to ask the questions everyone else is thinking but are too afraid to ask. What started your love for Tea? How did this love go on to become the start of Embrew LLC? I've always loved tea, and just a little bit sweet. I found myself sweetening my cup the same way every single time and thought there should be a lightly sweetened tea bag that was already out on the market. After over 10 years of looking for one and coming up empty, I set out to create the irst high-end, lightly sweetened, tea bags and Embrew was born. What makes Embrew stand out from the crowd? Each Embrew tea bag has loose-leaf grade tea and natural sweeteners inside, so it simpli ies the tea experience for those looking for premium lavor, but cringe at the thought of a grocery store tea bag or messing with loose leaves, infusers, or sticky honey. This is a big upgrade that no one else in the tea space has. Being an entrepreneur, speaker, mother, and wife, how do you ensure work-life balance? I ensure I have balance and avoid burnout by setting boundaries for myself in all aspects of my life allows me space to be me and do things just for me. I decide upfront how I want to spend my day, and make sure I don't compromise what I want to do versus what I “should” do. What is the approach/process followed by you in order to ensure optimal quality in all your products? We source our teas from different farms all over the world. The world is a huge place, but by buying directly from growers who we know by name, we've brought the human connection back into the process. Buying Direct-Trade products allows us transparency into the supply chain and ensure the farmers are respecting the land, Founder | Embrew 44 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
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  34. 34. the plants and the people working hard to make a living. This means our customers have visibility as well so you can feel good about the farms you're supporting. How is this different from the other tea products? The majority of the growers who aren't part of a Fair-Trade Coop or selling directly to the manufacturer only receive about 10-15% of the money customers pay for the product, sometimes even less. This is because there are multiple hands buying and selling the raw materials through a long, cumbersome supply chain that drives up the prices and drives down the portion paid to the farmers. Most companies boast high- quality tea, but as we all know, it's certainly a matter of taste. Here's what we DON'T do: 1) We DON'T used overly processed, shredded, low-quality tea leaves. 2) We DON'T buy our products only knowing the country of origin where farming practices may be questionable for the environment or for human consumption. 3) We DON'T used bleached brew bags. Only unbleached bags with no tag, string or staple to reduce waste and allow for composting. We DO use high-quality tea leaves from growers with careful farming practices and use all compostable or biodegradable packaging. What has the journey been like for Ashley Haywood over the years? Every moment is full of different emotions, levels of motivation, and focus—but what's constant is looking for opportunities to give tea-loving people more me-time without having to clean up an infuser or mess with a sticky honey bear again. 46 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  35. 35. Looking back, what would you have done differently if you were to start again? If I could go back, I wouldn't change much, since I've learned a great deal from the journey. But I would tell me start-up entrepreneur self to have con idence in the building of something great. To love the process, not just focus on the end- goals. What has been the biggest roadblock during your journey? What has been your biggest learning? Time has been my biggest roadblock, along with my mental attitude. I never realized how much my own expectations of myself hurt my progress of building the business with joy. Having the right headspace and intrinsic motivation is critical in trusting and building a business when you have no idea what you're doing. I've learned time and time again that trying new things is good, even if they don't work, it's part of the process to get you to the thing that does inally work. Finally, what does the future look like for you, both personally and professionally? I'm working on an e-book about the dangers of caffeine, adding more speaking engagements this year, and focusing on PR opportunities for Embrew and my personal brand. This will allow me to grow the business in a sustainable way without continuing to waste money on digital marketing that doesn't offer a good ROI. Personally, I plan to learn more about the tea herbs I can grow in my own backyard, chase my new obsession with mushrooms, and learn to move my body in more luid and feminine ways with acrobatic dance. www.exeleonmagazine.com 47 I N - F O C U S
  36. 36. MOUSTAFA HAMWI Where Passion Meets Leadership What according to you makes one a passionate leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? To de ine a passionate leader, we have to de ine 2 things i) Passion ii) A leader To give you some context on how much depth the de inition I am about to give you has: I spent years of research on the topic of passion where I travelled the world to conduct in-person interviews of 160+ leaders, authors, speakers, coaches, celebrities, Olympians, and Nobel Prize laureates talking about one topic…PASSION So, the de inition that came out is: Passion is consistently doing what you love, what you are good at, and what is of value to the world So, if it doesn't tick all these boxes, I'm sorry but it's not passion. You can call it anything else that you want, but I promise you that it's not passion. The shortest de inition I can give you of a leader is “someone who takes ownership and demonstrates courage, humility and discipline to walk the talk” So put both de initions together and will be “a leader is a person who walks the talk to deliver on their true passion” Brief us into your journey of an inner search and your experiences traveling to India. My journey started by trying to answer a question: Do You Know What Makes You Tick? Without knowing the answer to this question, you will always feel like something is missing, no matter how successful you are, which is how I felt many years ago when I was running a multimillion-dollar business in Dubai while living a seemingly successful life. Although my life looked super successful on the outside, like the stuff you see in movies and rap videos, I was all empty on the inside. Sure enough, I had a nervous breakdown My business was great, and my lifestyle was enviable, but I wanted more out of life than this golden cage. I kept asking myself, “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?” It became increasingly apparent that having clarity about one's passion I N - F O C U S 50 EXELEON MAGAZINE
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  38. 38. and purpose affects one more than just direction; it impacts the quality of life and increases the probability of success! This question triggered me to start an inner search of true passion, purpose, and meaning. After years of courses, workshops, and books I'm still lost so I was at the stage now where I had to go deeper on my journey inwards before I looked for resources outwards. I remember waking up one day with a jolt of energy and a thought that got stuck in a loop in my head: “I'm going to India.” And so, I bought a one-way ticket to India. The story of my journey from Cavalli to Manali is a whole book in itself, but not the purpose of this interview. I will, however, share two key incidents that stand out for me and that were pivotal in my life. The irst of them could be described (for lack of a better word) as a coincidence—meeting Swami Yogananda who had been meditating in caves for over 13 years. He had just stepped out of a life of solitude and meditation and started teaching wisdom-seekers in his ashram in a small village outside the town of Manali in the Himalayas. On one of my many deep conversations with him, trying to get an answer about life and the purpose and meaning of everything, he said, playing with his long beard, in an Indian accent, “Do you know what you are thirsty for? If you do not know what you are thirsty for, you cannot quench your thirst.” His words made me realize that while I had bought this one-way ticket to India seeking an answer, I did not even have the most essential element right: the question! As my journey continued from one place to the next, across the span of this vast, beautiful landscape that is India, I experienced another coincidence (if you still believe in coincidences). One day, on my way to the meditation center, I decided to walk into a hospital to get myself checked up. When the results came in, I felt as if my life stopped and everything crumbled and collapsed around me; I was told that I had benign prostate enlargement that was, at that moment, labelled medically as an incurable disease! The summary of that healing journey is that I dedicated all my time and energy towards healing with the help of everything I had access to: Ayurveda, vegan diets, juicing, and all kinds of meditations (including laughter meditation and crying meditation). You name it, and I did it. And as you might have guessed, I eventually healed! however, this interview is not about physical healing and medical miracles. I am here to talk to you about the self-re lection I had to go through when I faced the reality of a serious “WHAT IF…?” What if these were the last days of my life? DID MY LIFE REALLY MATTER? I N - F O C U S 52 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  39. 39. Imagine you live your life, thinking you are on top of the world— you're ruling, you're the king, you're “it.” And then, you realize none of this is worth it. When it's time for you to die, you are going to re lect on your life in a totally different manner That is what triggered me to make a 180-degree shift in my life and focus on spreading passion & purpose in the world. How are you helping leaders and entrepreneurs ind purpose and live passionately? I work with high-preforming entrepreneurs of passion & purpose “Passionpreneurs” to help them use passion to DOMINATE THEIR MARKET NICHE and leave their mark. That's what I call the Way of the Passionpreneur. I do this through either one-to-one coaching but that is very exclusive as I can only handle a handful of entrepreneurs, so they need to be dam serious and already having a serious level of success, so my job is to take them to new heights. Or by helping underdogs write & publish their books and then use it to spread their message to the world, build their personal brand and What does a day in the life look like for you? How do you ensure work-life balance? On the long term the work-life balance is a myth. I aim to have a life that I do not need much of a break from. That is a truly passionate life. The way to do it is to always ask before you do something: 1. Does it directly relate to my passion in life? 2. If not, does it bring me closer to the direction of my passion? If neither of the above, I avoid doing it. www.exeleonmagazine.com 53
  40. 40. With time you will not need a break from what you love. This takes some time and depends on what responsibilities in life you have. But remember the de inition of passion, the irst word is “consistently” so if it really matters to you, then you will not quit on it Looking back at your journey, what would you have done differently when starting out? Very good question, I would have started the pursuit of what my passion is at a much earlier age, and then would have stayed consistent with it till it paid off. Starting late has advantage of being more mature but it's much more challenging as you make a lot of sacri ices. It's like investing, the earlier you start the better it is on long run What would be your advice for aspiring and young business leaders? Find your real purpose as early as you can and dedicate the rest of your life to make it happen, you only have this life to make an impact. Regardless of you believe in reincarnation you cannot guarantee what format you will come back in as it might be less powerful. So why leave it to another life. It's all about this life to make an impact and leave your legacy. Finally, what does the future look like for you, both professionally and personally? I have achieved my goal of hitting a 100 authors at Passionpreneur Publishing (as of date of this interview) which is the seed for Passionpreneur Organization where we are building a community of Passionpreneurs who are on a journey of changing the world and having fun while doing it. As this becomes more in motion, I am redirecting my attention toward bring more healing to the world. Think about it, “Compassion” is the other side of “passion.” That will be through writing more books, speaking, doing retreats in nature that involve healthy food, yoga, therapy, etc. Everything that I used to heal myself in 2012 and then launch my passion into the world and connecting all of that into social impact be it for people or the planet now it's time to be less on the business side and more on the giving. We all need it, i want it for me and for the world remember, one life to leave a legacy I N - F O C U S 54 EXELEON MAGAZINE
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