July Recap 2022

by Kaylee Franklin 

Welcome to another monthly recap. I hope August has been treating you well in these first few days. I can’t believe we are more than halfway through the year, time has truly been flying by. Today we’ll be taking a look back at the incredible episodes that were published in July, covering our amazing guests, highlighting key points from each episode, and more! We’ll also be taking a peek into what’s coming next this month, let’s get to it!

1. Tiny Foods and Big Ambitions 

To begin the month of July, we launched an episode with Sofia Laurell, Co-Founder and CEO of Tiny Organics.

Tiny Organics is an early childhood nutrition and wellness company that introduces babies and toddlers to their first 100 flavors through organic plant-based fresh, frozen meals. 

Sofia shares her journey from growing up in Finland, to working at Deutsche Bank in New York and pursuing her master's degree at NYU, to becoming an entrepreneur in residence at Human Ventures Startup Studio. Sofia talks about how they validated the concept for Tiny Organics, her nontraditional path to becoming an entrepreneur, and the challenges she faced in scaling the business.

Best piece of advice:

“Talk about your idea, wear crazy costumes, believe in yourself, build your networks. A lot of people have openness to new ideas, have this kind of mindset of encouraging different people on their journeys.”

If you haven’t listened to Sofia’s episode yet, you can tune in HERE!

2. From Spark to Wildfire

In the second week of July, we got to hear from Joe Ens, the CEO of HighKey.

On a mission to drive sugar out of snacks and remove over 10 million pounds of sugar from the American diet by 2025, Highkey is the fastest-growing better-for-you cookie brand in the US.

In this episode, Joe shares his journey from growing up in Toronto, to working at General Mills for over 20 years, to meeting the founders of Highkey. He talks about his experiences leading a Fortune 200 company, how to build trust with your team, why he uses the big plus one hiring strategy, and the difference between a growth versus a fixed mindset.

He also talks about how he realized that the skill set to progress to the most senior ranks in a Fortune 200 business becomes less about running and building the business and more about managing and building it.

Best piece of advice:

“You have to be comfortable that you're not gonna get it right every day. In fact, you're gonna get it wrong a lot. One of our core values is to make mistakes, learn, and move on. And the ability to move on, I think is key.”

To hear more of Joe’s great advice tune in to Episode 114, and be sure to check out our product review on HighKey!

3. The Inside Scoop

On the third Tuesday of July, we had the incredible Kailey Donewald, the Founder and CEO of Sacred Serve.

Sacred Serve is a vegan, gluten-free, plant-powered line of gelato, bringing function into the frozen aisle by using a base of organic young coconut meat, combined with superfoods, adaptogens, and medicinal mushrooms.

Kailey shares with us her journey from growing up playing sports and the oboe, to working as a real estate consultant for Deloitte, to taking a sabbatical to India and Bali. We talk about the omnipresent pressure she feels as an entrepreneur, how she started the company with a broken soft serve machine, and the mental challenges she's had to overcome as a solo female founder.

Best piece of advice:

“When you're dedicating a lot to this, it can't just be for money, it can't just be for clout, you really have to be dedicated and want something big to happen and make a difference from this.”

 Don’t forget to hear more about Kailey’s story in Episode 115, and learn more about Sacred Serve in our product review!

4. Jobs, Joy, and Joining Forced 

Closing out the month strong, we had Jen Zeszut, Co-Founder and CEO of everyone’s new favorite, mac and cheese, GOODLES!

GOODLES is founded by an all-star team, including Jen Zeszut, the former CEO of Cerebelly, Deb Luster, the former Co-founder and President of Annie's, Paul Earle, a branding expert, and a former brand manager at Kraft, and Gal Gadot, an award-winning actress known for playing Wonder Woman. On a mission to reimagine everyone's beloved mac and cheese, GOODLES is reinventing the prepared pasta aisle, making macaroni nutrient-dense, protein-packed, and tasting as good as it feels to eat.

In this episode, Jen shares with us her journey from growing up in the Bay Area, to becoming a buyer at Cost Plus World Market, to being offered $3M to start her first company Scout Labs, to becoming CEO of Cerebelly, to starting GOODLES in November 2020. She talks about a few lucky breaks she's encountered throughout her career journey, her experience with a very shady investor, her views on leadership, and why the way you do work matters.

She also shares why she feels it's important for everyone to have joy when coming into work every day, and how if you don’t, maybe it's time to move on, how branding is all in the details, and the advice she has for those not sure where to start.

Best piece of advice: 

“You never know what is the ultimate thing you need, or if you're not sure what the big idea is, just go start doing some stuff and tune in to what parts you love and what parts bring you joy and the parts that you don't wanna replicate, you’ll find it.”

If you’d like to learn more about Jen and GOODLES, tune in to her episode, or check out our GOODLES product review!

Betting on You

Throughout the month of July, we heard a lot of good advice from our four amazing Founders and CEOs. One of the common themes was to bet on yourself. When things get tough, stick through it, be dedicated, help encourage others on their journey, and find joy throughout the process. 

This Month: August 

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

  • Paul Voge, Co-Founder and CEO of Aura Bora
  • Kisa Odenweller, Founder and CEO of Kroma Wellness
  • Denise Woodward, CEO of Partake Foods
  • Sophia Kahn, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Aurate
  • Shane Heath,  Co-Founder and CEO of MUD\WTR

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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