In 2002, Julie Smolyansky’s father passed away.  Smolyansky’s father was the founder of Lifeway Foods and up to that point, had led the company for its entire existence.  On the day of her father’s death, one of her father’s friends uttered the words that would push Smolyansky to build her company into a $250 million conglomerate.

“There’s no way that a 27-year-old girl can run this company. That’s it. It’s done,” he told her.

The following day, the company’s stock was in free-for-all and a plan had to be created to keep the boat afloat.  Smolyansky did that and more, increasing Lifeway Foods’ revenue six-fold. 

“But she still thinks of her father’s friend and what he told her nearly 15 years ago. “That comment, I think about it every day of my life still,” she said.”