Intentional Performers with Brian Levenson

Honest Tea Founder Seth Goldman

February 27, 2019

Honest Tea Founder Seth Goldman joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Seth Goldman is the Co-Founder and TeaEO Emeritus at Honest Tea. He started Honest Tea years ago and he is also the Executive Chair of Beyond Meat. We will talk about both companies in detail and the mission behind both companies. Honest Tea specializes in beverage that are a tad sweet, organic and fair trade certified. In March 2011, Honest Tea was acquired by the Coca Cola Company becoming the first organic and fair-trade brand in the world’s largest beverage distribution system. Honest Tea and Honest Kids is sold in over 140,000 stores in the US and Europe including McDonald's, Subway, and Chick-fil-A. Beyond Meat is also rapidly expanding distribution as the company seeks to expand the accessibility and availability of plant-based protein. You will hear Seth’s passion for vegetarianism and providing plant-based options that can provide protein for us. Seth is passionate about providing quality ingredients to humans so they can fuel their body and live a better life. Seth also serves on the board of Ripple Foods, the Yale School of Management, and Bethesda Green. Seth is a “multi-tasker” that likes to create, innovate, and disrupt, and he is passionate about making this world a better place.

In this episode, they discuss what childhood was like (5:20), where his mother’s interest in Chinese history came from (6:30), what his father was like (8:00), how his parents helped shape his perspective (9:30), how his parents reinforced that he was special (12:30), the values his family all share (13:20), what high school was like for him (14:20), the difference between being spoiled and being special (18:20), why he kept with wrestling (20:00), where his confidence comes from (21:00), when running came into his life (22:50), what he was like theater wise (24:30), his experience at Harvard (25:40), what motivates him to do all these different things (27:00), what he did right after college (27:40), his mindset when he is performing (31:00), the things he would do to train his mind (32:30), what he did to practice presence (33:20), how his parents reacted when he didn’t do something academic (35:20), what his preparation was like (36:30), what causes him to not be at his best (39:10), what it was like when his dad passed away (41:00), what he did after China (42:00), his thoughts on how he sees non-profits succeed (45:30), what bubbled up for him while at business school (47:00), when Honest Tea came to be for him and what he enjoys about creating (48:10), how he develops his relationship with fear and what excitement feels like for him (53:40), what it was like being a brand in Bethesda, Maryland (55:20), the advice he gives to entrepreneurs (56:00), what attracted him to Beyond Meat (58:20), how he responds to people that think his ideas won’t work (59:30), how he handles investors and his relationship with his employees (1:01:20), his partnership with Coca Cola (1:02:20), what makes a good leader (1:03:10), what he envisions for himself in the future (1:04:40) , the quotes, frameworks, or philosophies that help guide his life (1:08:40) , his thoughts on the mindset in preparation vs. performance (1:10:30), when he looks for help (1:12:40), and how religion guides him (1:13:40)

Thank you to Seth for coming on the podcast! We encourage you to check out Honest Tea and Honest Kids which is currently expanding around the country. Beyond Meat is also growing quickly and they have a beyond burger and beyond sausage that is available in places like Whole Foods, Kreuger, and Safeway, and also now at Carl’s Jr., BurgerFi, TGI Friday’s, and here locally at Silver. Seth is also on the board of Ripple Foods which sells plant-based dairy made with peas. Bethesda Green is the local non-profit he founded 10 years ago, and they have a green business incubator, and they are working hard to engage the community of Bethesda in sustainability and finding ways for them to live greener, more sustainable lives. is another organization he’s interested in that is helping to organize MBA and college students interested in business to pursue careers in socially responsible businesses. Last, his co-founder Barry Nalebuff and he published a comic book called Mission in a Bottle, and it’s a fun retelling of the Honest Tea story in a comic book story that shows the lessons they’ve learned.

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Thanks for listening.