August Recap 2022

by Kaylee Franklin 

Well, the months keep passing and it appears that August has slipped away into a moment in time. And as another month has come and gone, we can’t believe we’ve entered the ninth month of the year. Today we’ll be taking a look back at the amazing episodes of August, covering our wonderful guests and highlighting the key points from each episode! We’ll also be taking a sneak peek into September, where we have an incredible lineup of CEOs. So stay tuned, and let’s dive in!

1. Persistence and Patience

To begin the month, we launched an episode with Paul Voge, Co-Founder and CEO of Aura Bora.

Aura Bora makes sparkling water from herbs, fruits, and flowers using unique ingredients, like basil, cactus, and lavender for a better tasting experience all while donating 1% of annual revenue to environmental causes.

Paul shares his story from growing up as the youngest of five, to selling vintage t-shirts in college, to quitting his job to focus full time on building Aura Bora in 2019. He talks about how he dropped off some cans to a buyer of Whole Foods at their corporate office desk, the differences between selling to different grocers, how he's had to change his pitch, and how they came up with the name Aura Bora.

He also talked about his experience going on Shark Tank, what it’s like having Robert as an investor, advice he has for inspiring entrepreneurs, and what’s next for Aura Bora, with new flavors launching every other month.

Best piece of advice:

“It's really tempting to your point, quit your job, start selling the product, etc, but you’re really well served by learning way more than you might need.”

To hear more of Paul’s great advice tune in to Episode 117, and be sure to check out our product review on Aura Bora!

2. Reflections and Resets

In the second week of August, we got to hear from Lisa Odenweller, Founder and CEO of Kroma Wellness, for a beautiful and honest interview. 

Kroma Wellness is a premium functional health and superfood company on a mission to simplify nutritional well-being.  With a nutrient-rich delicious product, and effortless programs such as the one and five-day resets Kroma helps you form healthier habits, generating real results from the inside.

Lisa shares with us her journey from growing up in Colorado, to working at Nestle right out of college, to working in the software industry, to starting an interior design business, which led to some soul searching and discovering her true passion for health and wellness. We talk about her struggle to allow others to support and show up for her, overcoming negative self-talk, and how she raised over $5.5 million from investors like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Seinfeld, and Amy Schumer.

Best piece of advice:

“You have to be willing to risk it all, and you have to be willing to have the confidence in yourself that you are the person to bring your idea to life and have a conviction so strong that nothing's gonna stop you.”

If you haven’t listened to Lisa’s episode yet, you can tune in HERE, and check out our product review on Kroma!

3. From Scare to Scale

On the third Tuesday of August, we had the incredible Denise Woodard, Founder and CEO of Partake Foods.

Launched in 2016 and backed by celebrities, including Rihanna and Jay-Z, Partake is a food company that specializes in selling delicious cookies that are gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and free of the top 9 allergens.

In this episode, Denise shares her journey from growing up in North Carolina, to working at Coca-Cola, to experiencing an allergy scare with her daughter, which motivated her to create an allergy-friendly food brand. We talk about the three stages of the CEO role, how important a supportive founder network is, and the mental shifts she's had to make as an entrepreneur.

Denise also talks about the challenges she faced in fundraising, what she does on the really hard days, and some of the really unique partnerships they have with Sesame Street, and American Airlines, with more to come.

Best piece of advice:

“I would also suggest that people don't wish away the journey, which I'm very guilty of. When I was selling cookies out of my car, I couldn’t wait to get into Whole Foods, and then I couldn’t wait till we get into Target, and I didn't savor those moments. When they're gone, they're gone. You get to experience that national launch once, you get to experience the first launch once. So savor those moments because that's the whole journey is the destination.”

To listen to more of Denise’s story, tune in to Episode 119. If you want to know more about Partake, go read our product review on the delicious cookies!

4. Redefining Fine Jewelry

Continuing the month strong, we had Sophie Kahn, Co-Founder and CEO of one of our new favorite jewelry brands,  Aurate!

Founded in 2015, Aurate is a  premier direct-to-consumer jewelry brand that seeks to democratize the fine jewelry industry through its online-driven model, accessible price points, and social impact strategy.

Sophie shares with us her journey from growing up in Amsterdam, to working at Boston Consulting, to Marc Jacobs, and how having lunch with a friend led to the idea for Aurate. We talk about why she believes you can learn anything with the right framework, the differences between lab-grown and natural jewelry, and how she validated the concept for Aurate with a pop-up store.

She also shares what she’s learned from hiring a team and how to keep them motivated, how to deal with conflict with employees, how to handle situations, and more!

Best piece of advice:

“I had to build confidence by proving myself in a way and getting some external validation that I could do it.”

Be sure to tune in to Sophie’s episode, number 120!

5. Mushroom Moments

And ending the month with our fifth episode we had Shane Heath, Co-Founder and CEO of MUD\WTR. 

MUD\WTR is a coffee alternative company on a mission to heal the mind through their daytime and evening beverages designed to provide natural energy and relaxation.

In this episode, Shane shares with us his journey from experiencing a psychedelic trip as a 14-year-old, to starting his first company ishBowl, to moving to Silicon Valley, to taking a leave of absence to Bombay, where he was able to reconnect with his creativity and began questioning his caffeine addiction to coffee. He talks about the difference between lantern versus spotlight consciousness, how the business grew in revenue since 2018, and why he allows microdosing at work.

Best piece of advice:

“To get a company off the ground, you have to go all in for it to even have a chance.”

If you missed it, tune in to Shane’s episode, number 121!

Have the Confidence in Yourself

This month we got to hear from five different Founder’s and CEOs about their entrepreneurship journey and each one told a different story of having confidence in themselves. Without that confidence, they wouldn’t have been able to move forward. 

This Month: September 

Stay tuned throughout September to hear from amazing CEOs such as:

  • Erin Moennich, CEO of Draper James
  • Matt Feldman, Co-Founder and CEO of Moku Foods
  • Steven Borrelli, Founder and CEO of CUTS Clothing
  • Amy Errett, Founder and CEO of Madison Reed

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, follow us on Spotify, or tune in wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Have any guest suggestions, comments, or questions about Stairway to CEO? Drop us a line here!

Kaylee Franklin


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