Empowerment. Julie Smolyansky, CEO and director of Lifeway Foods, is all about finding the inherent strength and power in her company, her community, and herself; and she doesn’t hesitate to do so in even the most challenging of circumstances. In 2002, Julie became the youngest CEO of a publicly held firm when she took over her father’s kefir business in the wake of his unexpected death. At that difficult time, she didn’t miss a beat and has since led her company through major growth that continued while many businesses suffered cutbacks and losses.
In addition to boldly leading Lifeway Foods in its successful expansion, Julie also seeks and encourages empowerment in others, especially women. Her extensive activity in pro-social organizations includes working for the fair treatment of all people with the Anti-Defamation League and advocating for global maternal health with Every Mother Counts. She has worked as a rape crisis counselor for Rape Victim Advocates and has consulted for Vice President Biden’s 1is2many initiative, focused on reducing dating violence and sexual assault among teens and young adults.
One of the ways Julie supports and brings attention to a number of these causes, as well as taps into her own strength and power, is by training as a marathoner. She has completed 8 marathons, most recently running for Team Every Mother Counts in the Chicago Marathon. Despite suffering a recent broken arm, Julie was also slated to run for Team EMC in the 2012 ING NYC Marathon. When the race was canceled in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, she instead worked with many other runners and Lifeway Foods to bring much needed food and essentials to those affected or displaced by the storm.
Julie’s commitment to the inner strength and power in everyone also connects her to us here at Bia. One of our investors and advisors, she sees our product helping to foster independence and peace of mind as part of a smart, defensive fitness plan.