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Julie Smolyansky Joins United Nations Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council

2013-02-11 13:37 ET - News Release

Council will help the Foundation drive innovative solutions to support the UN as it takes on the world's toughest challenges

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Nations Foundation today named Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, INC (LWAY) as a member of its Global Entrepreneurs Council (GEC), a group of leading innovators dedicated to helping the Foundation apply an entrepreneurial approach to its mission of helping the United Nations solve global problems. The 2013-2014 Council is comprised of 10 of today's leading entrepreneurs under the age of 45, and draws from multiple industry sectors.

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"To help the UN solve global problems, we must adopt an entrepreneurial approach, turning the challenges of this generation into opportunities," said UN Foundation President & CEO Kathy Calvin. "With leaders like Julie Smolyansky of Lifeway Foods, the Global Entrepreneurs Council brings a fresh way of thinking to our efforts and will help us sharpen support for the UN's best work around the world."

Julie Smolyansky became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm when she took over her father's kefir business in 2002 at the age of 27. Lifeway Foods has grown from $12 million in sales in 2002 to almost $90 million in 2012. 

"I am honored to have been invited to join the UN Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council," said Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods. "I look forward to collaborating with my fellow Council members as we tackle some of the world's most pressing issues from global malnutrition and health to educating girls and women to ending violence against girls and women. Using innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, we can lift humanity in ways not possible 20 years ago."

The GEC is comprised of a unique group of entrepreneurs from multiple sectors who have proven leadership experience in the areas of global advocacy and philanthropy, as well as business. The members of the 2013-2014 GEC include:

Neil Blumenthal – Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Warby Parker, a socially-conscious business offering designer eyewear at a revolutionary price;

Ruma Bose – Managing Director, Innovators Fund, a fund focused on investing in emerging, innovative business models;

Barbara Bush – CEO and Co-Founder, Global Health Corps, an innovative nonprofit promoting global health equity by connecting outstanding young leaders worldwide with organizations working on the frontlines of health;

Troy Carter – CEO and Founder, Atom Factory, a multidimensional management company working with innovators such as Lady Gaga, John Legend, and Mindless Behavior;

Ido Leffler – "Chief Carrot Lover" and Co-Founder, Yes To Inc., one of the world's leading natural beauty brands;

Haroon Mokhtarzada – CEO and Co-Founder, Webs, do-it-yourself website building tool, and Vice President of Digital Products, VistaPrint, a leading provider of marketing products to small and micro businesses globally;

Narry Singh – Technology Entrepreneur, most recently the Chief Business Guru at Outfit7 Inc., the company develops the tremendously popular "Talking Friends" mobile apps and toys, with over 650 million user installs in more than 100 countries;

Julie Smolyansky – President, CEO and Director, Lifeway Foods Inc., America's leading supplier of the cultured probiotic dairy products known as kefir and organic kefir;

Ingrid Vanderveldt – Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Dell Inc., multinational technology and technology services provider; and

Tina Wells – CEO and Founder, Buzz Marketing Group, marketing and marketing research firm.

The Global Entrepreneurs Council was launched in 2011 as a strategic advisory body to the UN Foundation comprised of successful, high-profile entrepreneurs under the age of 45 who are committed to finding innovative solutions to global problems. The Council carries on the bold vision of leadership Ted Turner set when he committed $1 billion dollars to UN causes 15 years ago, establishing the UN Foundation and bringing entrepreneurism and creative ideas to humanitarian issues. The Council works closely with the UN Foundation to bring innovation and a new generation of supporters to the UN to increase the impact of its work on issues ranging from climate change to supporting adolescent girls and strengthening global health. Members support the UN Foundation in pioneering international campaigns such as Shot@Life, Nothing But Nets and Girl Up, in addition to helping to develop new campaigns to benefit UN programs. For more information, please visit www.unfoundation.org/GEC.

About Julie Smolyansky
Julie Smolyansky became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm when she took over her father's kefir business in 2002 at the age of 27. Julie and her family were one of 48 families allowed to settle in Chicago from the Former Soviet Union in 1976 when she was just a year old. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago (B.A., 1996), where she majored in Psychology and minored in Women's Studies. She began her career as an in-home family counselor in Chicago's under served neighborhoods. She left the social service field to support her father at Lifeway Foods in 1997. Julie serves on the board of directors for multiple philanthropic organizations and is a member of several civic groups. She is a frequent speaker for various organizations on topics ranging from healthy communities to innovation, entrepreneurship, leveraging social media, and increasing women's participation and leadership roles. She has been featured on most major media outlets. Follow Julie on Twitter at @JulieSmolyansky.

About Lifeway Foods, Inc.
Lifeway Foods, Inc. (LWAY), recently named one of Fortune Small Business' Fastest Growing Companies for the fifth consecutive year, is America's leading supplier of the cultured dairy products known as kefir and organic kefir. Lifeway Kefir is a dairy beverage that contains 10 exclusive live and active probiotic cultures plus ProBoost. In addition to its line of Kefir products, the company produces a variety of Frozen Kefir and probiotic cheese products. Lifeway also sells frozen kefir, kefir smoothies and kefir parfaits through its Starfruit retail stores.  

Find Lifeway Foods, Inc. on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lifewaykefir
Follow Lifeway Foods on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lifeway_kefir
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/lifewaykefir

About The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world's most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.

Hanni Itah
(847) 415-9324

SOURCE Lifeway Foods, Inc.

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