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At the grocery store, we often think items are healthy because the packaging says “good source of protein” or “excellent source of fiber” – when in reality, those products could be empty calories or full of sugar. Consumers deserve clearer labels to help them make informed decisions. That’s why KIND in partnership with a group of public health experts, is petitioning the FDA to bring more transparency to food labels by updating its nutrient content claim regulations.

 

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I appreciate the notes of concern from friends and team members who were hurt by a recent article written by Forbes about me and KIND.  Our record stands on its own.  But this incident does provide me an opportunity to reflect on – and reaffirm – what drives me.  Throughout my life, my purpose has been to make this a better world, with a particular emphasis on building bridges among people so that what happened to my Dad will not happen again to others.  Anyone who knows me would be able to confirm this.

I don’t like to discuss my personal philanthropy – much of it is anonymous, particularly when it comes to helping vulnerable individuals or groups.  While the latter half of the Forbes article reports on my journey accurately, the first half is mean spirited, cynical and filled with demonstrably false statements and thus I feel compelled to correct the record:

  • KIND stands out as a socially responsible company in every regard:
  • To Our Consumers, we provide products that all lead with nutritionally rich ingredients recommended for daily consumption – indeed, we are the only company at our scale that can say that 100% of all the snacks in our portfolio meet this KIND Promise;
  • As a result, we have support from thousands of health and wellness experts who proudly recommend KIND, including the more than 5,000 Registered Dieticians in our Nutrition Collective;
  • We know millions of people choose KIND every day to help them lead healthy lifestyles – many of whom often reach out to share touching testimonials about why they count on KIND.
  • Our leading KIND bar has only 5 gr of total sugar, which is about 2X-7X less than the sugar in every one of our leading competitors’ products.
  • To Our Communities, we recognize your partnership in helping us elevate kindness and foster empathy every day:
  • In partnership with our community, KIND has inspired and celebrated over 11 million acts of kindness, from building mobile showers for the homeless, to providing care kits to foster children, or flying families to visit their wounded veterans;
  • Between KIND and The KIND Foundation we have donated tens of millions of dollars to charitable causes, averaging about 1% of our net revenues and 5% of our profits each year;
  • Most recently, we made our biggest commitment yet with a $20M investment in Empatico through The KIND Foundation to connect kids across the world to help them recognize each other’s shared humanity and develop empathy and kindness.
  • To Our Team, we know your true spirit and commitment to each other and our communities:
  • We see it in how you treat one another at work every day, as well as through the thousands of volunteer hours we log together every year, whether serving meals at a soup kitchen, packing holiday gifts for kids, or counseling disadvantaged groups to get back into the work force;
  • In addition to KIND, I have founded the following business and philanthropic platforms:
  • PeaceWorks Foundation’s OneVoice Movement, which for 16 years now has worked to amplify the voice of moderation and bridge relations between Arabs and Israelis;
  • Using Business to Achieve Social Impact: I created PeaceWorks Foods 25 years ago to deploy market forces in a way that helps neighbors in conflict regions shatter stereotypes and develop vested interests in preserving relations; most recently, we also launched PeaceCrops in Jordan, a pilot project employing Jordanian Bedouins and Syrian Refugees and relying on Israeli agricultural drip technology to make the desert bloom;
  • Feed the Truth: I also seeded Feed the Truth with a $25mm commitment over 10 years to protect the public from undue influence by special interest in the food and nutrition arena;

I recognize this is just the beginning. Our most recent strategic partnership with MARS will enable us to provide healthful snacking solutions to tens of millions more people across the globe.  It will also provide me, through the recently created Lubetzky Family Foundation, a lot more tools to accelerate and deepen the commitments I have to overcome hatred with empathy, to replace racism with respect, to fight cynicism with determination and action.  As our world faces rising totalitarianism, threats against democracy, and a dark cloud of division and misunderstanding, I will never give up my quest to make the world a little kinder.

Aristotle once wrote, “there is only one way to avoid criticism. Do nothing. Say nothing. And be nothing.”

I choose the other path.

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Congratulations, Jaclyn!

Published under KIND, KIND Snacks Mar 04, 2019

This week we are celebrating Jaclyn Fishkow’s 10 year anniversary with KIND. One of my greatest pleasures at KIND has been seeing team members grow and blossom in so many ways. Jaclyn joined us as an assistant in March 2009 when KIND was just 5 years old. We all quickly recognized that she was extraordinarily smart and hard-working. She has held a variety of roles on our Supply Chain & Operations team since then, and 10 years later, as our Senior Manager of Operations Analysis, she continues to grow and exceed all expectations. Congratulations, Jaclyn! To many more!

 

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Back at Trinity

Published under Entrepreneurship and Management Feb 28, 2019

Back when I was an undergrad at Trinity University I started a watch company called Da’Leky Times. It taught me a ton about business and retail merchandising that has helped me throughout my career. This week, I got to revisit my old campus and meet the next generation of Trinity entrepreneurs, including three first year students with a non-profit venture to use art to help people with disabilities and a senior who launched a cold brew coffee company. I can’t wait to see where their journeys take them after graduation.

 

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Published under KIND Feb 25, 2019

Based on how our story began, you wouldn’t expect my relationship with John Leahy to amount to anything. In 2009, our investors persuaded me to hire a president, a partner to manage the day-to-day at KIND Snacks. I agreed to meet John because he came at the strong recommendation of our head of finance, Dan Kruk, but we had already completed our search and were about to make an offer to someone else (which I kindly told John during our meeting). Meanwhile, John almost didn’t make it to our meeting. As a 5 year old start up with just 30 team members, we were in a decrepit office space above a restaurant that nearly scared him away. It was a far cry from what he was used to in his extensive career in much more established corporations. After Dan convinced him to come inside he and I spent 3 hours together, and it became clear that he was the person for the job. He quickly became the yin to my yang, and KIND would not be where it is today without all he has done to drive the business and keep the trains running on time over the last 9 years. As he transitions into a well deserved retirement this year, I can’t say that I’m going to miss him because I’m not going to let him go as a friend and adviser, but I will certainly miss our daily partnership.

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Published under Kindness, Leadership Feb 24, 2019

Worth reading the story of Irena Sendler (Thx Tío Jorge). She worked as a plumber and risked her life countless times to save over 2,500 children, smuggling them through sewers from the Warsaw Ghetto.

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Published under United States Feb 22, 2019

It was an honor to welcome Nikki Haley to our KIND HQ. Thank you for your leadership.

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Welcome to our new KIND team members!

Published under KIND Snacks Feb 21, 2019
Every quarter, I sit down with KIND Snacks new hires to officially welcome them to the team. We get to know one another and discuss KIND’s history, values, and vision. Yesterday we focused on our value of transparency, which most of you probably associate with us because of our clear wrappers. Beyond that, it is a value that is central to how we operate. We prize open and frank communication across the board, which only benefits the team and business. For example if a team member feels, for personal or professional reasons, that he or she needs to move on, we hope to have an early and open discussion to explore options. If leaving is the final choice, we work together on a changeover plan to ensure that the team member interviews, hires, and trains his or her replacement, and we provide support to that team member as they embark on their next chapter. It’s a win-win!
Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, people standing, shoes and indoor
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Published under Kindness Feb 18, 2019

I had the pleasure of meeting Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks recently. I learned so much from him in our short visit. He is a compelling thinker and leader, and his message is particularly resonant given the challenges we face today. I highly recommend exploring his writings and videos. Here is an excellent piece of his about transformative acts of kindness:
http://rabbisacks.org/kindness-strangers-chayei-sarah-5775/

 

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