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JULIE SMOLYANSKY

Co-Founder

Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods (NASDAQ: LWAY), became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm when she took over her father’s kefir business at the age of 27. Since that time, Julie has bolstered the company’s growth trajectory with creative product development and effective marketing strategies, boosting annual company revenues to over $100 million by 2014. Lifeway products are sold nationwide in grocery stores throughout the United States, Canada and the UK. In addition to her work with Lifeway, Julie dedicates much of her time to domestic and global initiatives that promote women’s rights, civil right and wellness. She is the co-founder of the nonprofit Test400k – an organization dedicated to ending the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the United States. She serves on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations and is a member of multiple civic leadership organizations. Julie was named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ list of '40 under 40', recognized as one of Fortune’s ‘40 under 40’ and ‘Most Influential Women to Follow on Twitter,’ and featured in FastCompany’s series “Generation Flux,” highlighting the pioneers and innovators of the future business and innovation. She is also an Associate and Executive Producer of several documentaries including "Honor Diaries" and "The Homestretch" and a new film debuting at Sundance 2015 highlighting the lack of response to sexual assault on college campuses. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and has traveled to Bangladesh, Kenya and Uganda to work with teens, mothers, refugees and entrepreneurs. Julie has been featured in several national media outlets and is also a speaker, writer and a member of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council. She frequently travels to the White House advocating on behalf of entrepreneurs, girls and women. Julie lives in Chicago and is the mother of two girls.