According to Zevia CEO Paddy Spence, fighting for smarter food options for consumers against large, established competitors is the riskiest career move he ever made, but he’s not one to shy away from a fight, or to let fear of failure prevent him from taking a risk.
Growing up with a single mom who struggled to make ends meat, but always made a point to feed her kids the best food she could buy, Paddy knew that he wasn’t going to get any handouts and any success he had would come from dedication and hard work.
He studied Greek and Latin in high school and used his unique specialization to get the interest of the college administrators at Harvard where he paid his way by delivering boxes for UPS. After graduating from Harvard Business School with his MBA, he went on to work for companies like Kashi, and Levlad, a personal care manufacturer that makes natural shampoos and soaps. He also founded SPINS, a health and wellness marketing firm.
While working at Levlad, Paddy came across a stevia sweetened soda called Zevia, and was inspired to find out more about the company. He ended up buying the the small startup and has since led Zevia to over $100 million dollars in annual revenue, and that’s with products that are artificial color free, artificial flavor free, corn syrup free, GMO free and naturally sweetened.
On today’s show, we are joined by Paddy Spence to discuss his career, his life, and how he’s trying to revolutionize the diet soda industry.
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