Stairway to CEO is a new podcast, hosted by Lee Greene, highlighting untold stories and inspiring content from innovative founders plus expert advice for starting and growing a business.
Pure Innovation with Ric Kostick, Co-Founder and CEO of 100% Pure
Ric Kostick is the Co-Founder and CEO of 100% Pure. Founded in 2004, 100% Pure has been a pioneer and innovation leader in the natural beauty industry. With a commitment to producing the purest and healthiest products 100% Pure is on a mission to improve the lives of six billion people and animals, while also being charitable and giving back to our global community. In this episode, Ric talks with us about his entrepreneurial journey from being born and raised in San Francisco with dreams of becoming a fighter pilot, to starting a hair care company for teens with an innovative bottle that now sits in a museum, to meeting his Co-Founders and starting 100% Pure from their garage. Ric talks with us about the many challenges he's experienced along the way in building his business, including why they lost Sephora and QVC as partners, the strategy behind opening 14 stores in the US, and how he expanded the business into China.
Slow Up for Fast Growth with Leland Whitehouse, Co-Founder and CEO of Slow Up
Leland Whitehouse is the Co-Founder and CEO of Slow Up. Based in Brooklyn, Slow Up is the first chef-crafted fresh food bar made with healthy whole food ingredients and delicious spices. In this episode, Leland shares with us his journey from growing up as a kid being able to identify spices by their scent at just three years old, to studying at Yale, to working as a buyer for Fresh Direct, to moving to Alaska, where he worked at a salmon fishery, to working at a food startup where he got the entrepreneur bug to venture off and start his own company. Leland talks with us about how he debated getting an MBA, how the pandemic changed the direction of his business, and how he's creating a new category in the refrigerated food bar space.
Rolling in the DEUX with Sabeena Ladha, Founder and CEO of DEUX
Sabeena Ladha is the Founder and CEO of DEUX, a functional foods brand that believes good-for-you products should taste good. Made with high quality ingredients and enhanced with added boosts of supplements, their products are all vegan, gluten free, and taste delicious. In this episode, Sabeena shares with us her journey from growing up in Texas as a first generation American, to building the venture studio known as Launch Pad at M13 in Los Angeles, to starting her own company DEUX on Instagram by taking orders via direct message and accepting payments over Venmo. If you're interested in trying out some of the amazing DEUX products you will hear about here on the show, we have a very special promo code for you. Just go to eatDEUX.com, and use the code CEO20 to get 20% off.
From Farm Life to GEM Bites with Sara Cullen, Founder and CEO of GEM
Sara Cullen is the Founder and CEO of GEM, a consumer science company offering plant-based innovations to deliver more efficient and sustainable nutrient solutions to consumers. Starting with a line of nutrient dense bites, GEM is a natural alternative to the supplement aisle. In this episode, Sara shares with us her entrepreneurial journey from growing up on a farm in Oregon, to studying at Cornell University, to joining Venture for America where she worked for a startup for two years, to starting her first company, a functional beverage brand called Plant Water, to building and launching GEM in 2018. She talks with us about what it takes to create a brand, why it's important to build community first, how she raised over ten million dollars and maintains relationships with investors, and why it's essential to ask "Why?" throughout a rebranding process.
Formula for Change with Laura Modi, Co-Founder and CEO of Bobbie
Laura Modi is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bobbie, the only female-founded and mom-led infant formula company in the US. With 83 percent of parents turning to formula within the first year of their infant's life, Bobbie is the first European-style organic formula that meets FDA standards. In this episode, Laura shares with us her journey from growing up in Ireland as the oldest of five with dreams of becoming a dietician, to moving to San Francisco and landing a job at Google, to working for Airbnb, where she also became a mother for the first time and found herself struggling to breastfeed and find a great formula. She talks with us about what it was like to raise a $15M Series A from investors and over 200 moms using the crowdfunding platform Republic, how she spent four years on product development to create the perfect baby formula, and the challenges she faced with obtaining FDA approval.
Secret Sauce with Andrew Suzuka, Founder and CEO of Otamot.
Andrew Suzuka is the Founder and CEO of Otamot. Based in Brooklyn and sold in over 2000 stores including Whole Foods, Sprout's, and Wegmans, Otamot is a delicious veggie-filled tomato sauce brand made with over nine organic vegetables and healthy oil. In this episode, Andrew shares with us his entrepreneurial journey from growing up in Westchester, New York, with four sisters and dreams of becoming a stockbroker, to attending NYU where he launched a marketing and promotions company called Key Factors, where he made a 10,000 dollar mistake, to climbing the ladder at NOISE, which led to becoming an expert CFO for agencies including Bayard Advertising. He talks with us about his aha moment in creating Otamot, how they launched nationally in Whole Foods within their first six months of launching, and why attending trade shows as an early-stage food company has played an important role in their success as a brand.
Lee does such a good job covering a variety of topics. The guests offer valuable insight as well. I would recommend this podcast to anyone looking to be inspired and informed!
Inspiring and entertaining!
Such inspiring and real stories, enhanced by thoughtful questions by Lee - very helpful life / career lessons & wisdom, especially for of us at the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey!
Lee Green - you have a great voice, and interesting straight-to-the-Point questions. This is the first podcast review I’ve ever written and I listen to a lot of podcast. Great job! Keep it up.