As I settle into my new role as CEO of Sawtooth, you better believe I’m watching and learning from some of the top female CEOs in my favorite part of the industry, food and wellness.

These women are much more than CEOs. They’re disruptors: they’re transforming the way consumers experience their categories. They’re forging new ways of thinking to address the needs of today. Here’s what I’m learning:

 

How to engage consumers in a purpose much bigger than a product

When I need a reminder to think even bigger, I look to Luvo CEO Christine Day.

After a booming career at Starbucks then Lululemon, Day brought her fighting, fearless spirit to Luvo frozen foods. And she’s poised for success, because for Day it’s much more than a job. It’s a personal mission to challenge the status quo of an old school industry and a fast-declining category, one that is failing its consumers. Day knows firsthand, from her experience shopping for convenient foods for her diabetic mom.

She’s leveraging this passion by engaging consumers in a purpose much bigger than a product. Her belief: “This is a movement. If I can engage you in the purpose of what I am doing around my brand, then you are actually loyal to my purpose, not just my product.” That’s powerful.

 

How to inspire consumers to see a legacy brand in a new light

One of the greatest challenges for today’s marketers is to get consumers to see legacy brands differently. And I know first hand, because it’s what we do it every day.

So I look straight to Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi to see how she’s leading that charge. Nooyi is committed to taking PepsiCo beyond “soda and snacks” to a global brand that is making the world a better place. In fact, when Nooyi first came on board as CEO, one of the first people she looked to for advice was the legendary disruptor,  Steve Jobs. Now, Nooyi is leading with three priorities: healthier products, empowered employees and environmental responsibility.

In Nooyi’s own words: “We believe if you educate a woman, you educate society. And it improves our consumer base. So we are going to invest in every country to uplift women and girls.” Pretty inspiring stuff.

 

How listening leads to lasting relationships with colleagues and consumers

For better or worse, I’ve always led from my heart.  

I’ve gained amazing insights from really listening to and understanding people, whether it’s the clients I work with, my own team or people I connect with through this blog. So reading this interview with SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan really resonated with me.

Whelan’s gift of truly listening is something that has guided her whole career journey. It led her to her role as CEO and it’s something she is committed to with the teams she leads, the opportunities she gives and even the energy she fosters in the SoulCycle studios. It’s all about the energy of the people, their relationships with her, with the work they do, with the brand, with each other. I got interested in Whelan when I saw her being interviewed by Tony Robbins at the same conference that the idea for our innovation, I-Factor™ was born  two years ago! It makes me admire her EVEN more.

 

Following women like these is a constant inspiration to push the limits of my industry and my company. It’s the kind of thinking that made me realize something needed to change with consumer insights. And that’s the exact reason we created I-Factor™. To arm brands with the information they need to win in their categories, to REALLY connect with today’s consumers.
Curious what other irresistible insights I have? I’d love to share. Let’s talk.