On this episode of Bay Area Ventures we speak with Sheryl O’Loughlin, Co-Founder and CEO of www.REBBL.CO, and author of the new book “Killing It: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart”. Sheryl is a serial entrepreneur, professor, mentor and author. She was CEO of Clif-Bar for 10 years where she launched the successful Luna Bar line and doubled the company’s revenue under her tenure. She then founded and built Plum Organics to $100M in sales and successfully sold the company to Campbells Soup Company. Sheryl was the Director of the Center for Innovation at Stanford University and, just prior to becoming CEO of REBBL, was a faculty member at Sonoma State University, teaching Lean Startup Methodologies to aspiring entrepreneurs.
This is Sheryl’s second appearance on Bay Area Ventures. We begin the interview by catching up on the changes that led to her joining REBBL as their CEO, then we discuss her new book in detail.
Sheryl practices what she preaches and teaches. She advises entrepreneurs to create “purpose driven organizations” and that’s just what she is doing at REBBL, a registered Benefit Corporation. REBBL is the offshoot of the non-profit organization Not For Sale which is working to stop human trafficking around the world. Specifically, Not For Sale is striving to improve the lives or women and girls in developing countries who are most at risk for exploitation of human traffickers. 2.5 percent of REBBL’s net sales goes to Not For Sale and Sheryl talks about how she has chosen investors and co-workers who support the fact that REBBL is about more than just the bottom line.
Sheryl, is open and passionate about sharing her experiences as an entrepreneur. She has lived through the ups and downs of building a company and suffered the tolls that it takes on one’s health and relationships. After coming close to personal bankruptcy, Sheryl spiraled into a personal health crisis but, managed to pull herself through with counseling and the support of her family, friends and colleagues. To help other entrepreneurs avoid the problems and challenges she has gone through, she authored her new book, Killing It. Unlike a typical book or business school course on strategy, financing, marketing and all the other nuts and bolts of building a startup, Killing It talks about the personal decisions and actions one must take to maintain a healthy outlook and physical well-being needed to launch a company.
In Killing It, Sheryl walks entrepreneurs through the various stages of building a company from the decisions around founding a company, to choosing partners, teams and investors, to the ongoing stages of growth that a typical startup goes through. At each stage she offers personal advice about how to stay true to one’s personal beliefs and how to avoid the mistake of going from a healthy passionate pursuit to a destructive obsession. Sheryl openly discusses her own personal experience of going down the “dark path” and how difficult it was to see it while it was happening and how she ultimately came to put her work and life in balance.
Today she is back, her company is thriving and she is happy and fully connected with her relationships. She has dedicated time for family. Her team at REBBL is fully aligned, feel they are on an epic journey and share the dedication and fun of work with each other in order to help each other stay connected and in balance.
This is a highly personal story and fantastic advice for any entrepreneur.
To purchase Sheryl’s book go to: http://amzn.to/2j18mFB
For more information on Not For Sale go to: www.notforsalecampaign.org
Recorded December 19, 2016 on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School. Bay Area Ventures airs live on Mondays at 4:00pm Pacific Time, 7:00pm Eastern Time.
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