Originating in the Caucasus Mountains dating back 2,000 years, kefir has remained resilient amid war, famine, disease, and even a botched princess kidnapping. The history – and culture – has survived through generations, with the bravery of families such as Julie Smolyansky’s. Uncover the fascinating history of kefir – a fermented milk drink – as told through the family story and origin of Lifeway Foods.
At 27, Julie Smolyansky became the youngest female CEO of a publicly traded company in 2002. Since she began, annual revenues have increased tenfold, Fortune Business has recognized Julie on its ’40 under 40′ list, and Lifeway Foods has expanded distribution throughout the United States, Mexico, France, and Ireland, as well as others. Listening to this episode encourages you to find your inner grit, apply that to your business strategy, and beat out challenges within the food and beverage industry.
The night that my dad died, his best friend said to me there’s no way a 27-year-old girl can run this company. That moment changed everything for me. My flight or flight instincts stepped in, and I said failure is not an option.
– Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway Foods CEO