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The definition of leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization. Julie Smolyansky excels at both and her story is compelling. Julie became the youngest CEO of a publicly held company at age 27 and when she is not leading that company, Lifeway Foods, she is fiercely advocating for victims of sexual assault by using her voice as a platform for change.

I met Julie through a mutual friend when I started my business and instantly, as I say in the podcast, “dug” her. There’s nothing not to dig. I have never met anyone with more passion and drive to use her story to save and heal lives.

It’s not an accident that Julie’s role as CEO of a company that provides the best in probiotic (Kefir) and nutritious foods to improve the health of their customers is in sync with how she uses her gut for brave and courageous decisions as a survivor of sexual assault. Julie’s gut feeling is always at play and not only does it work for her, it works for others, which is the true definition of a leader.

Julie says she recognizes her privilege and is leading the way by standing on stages, speaking her story, traveling to Bangladesh to speak to women and girls and producing films to spark a conversation and remind women they are not alone.

Her film On The Record, out May 27th on HBO Max, shines a light on the #MeToo movement, specifically for women of color. Julie, who believes women should be linked arm in arm, is so beautifully in her purpose, it’s hard to know where the CEO starts and the advocate ends. She manages a perfect balance of the two and the results are positive change, which is the goal of all leaders.

Take a listen to this “Speaking of Leadership” episode and share it with a leader you know, or someone who needs to hear Julie’s story. We recorded this episode in early February, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the call volume currently rising with domestic violence and sexual assault cases, Julie’s message and leadership is needed now more than ever.

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