Another great example of next generation leadership, developing and significantly growing a family business. Following the sudden death of her father, Michael Smolyansky, his duaghter Julie stepped up and with the help of her mother and brother has taken the family firm to the next level.
A good insight into some of the ways that the growth was enabled include innovation of markets, product development and use of new media to help with brand development and expansion.
One of those inspirational family business success stories to come from a difficult period in the family too with the loss of a father.
Most specialty foods appeal to a narrow market. For example, Lifeway Foods uses kefir, cultured milk products with probiotics, in all its food products. Research finds that probiotics ‒ beneficial bacteria ‒ improve immunity and reduce depression and anxiety, among other things. Michael Smolyansky, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union knew that kefir, which has its origins in the north Caucasus Mountains, would appeal to other immigrants. When he needed money to grow the company, he took the company public. By 2002, the company had grown to $12 million. He died suddenly that year. His daughter, Julie, took over the company and, at 27 years old, became the youngest female CEO of a publicly trade company