In summer 2009, CSQ interviewed Lizanne Falsetto – founder and CEO of thinkThin Products. Launched from Falsetto’s Ventura kitchen in 1999, the nutrition bar and snack brand has grown from a one-woman start-up to a national, Los Angeles–based empire with distribution in most grocery and specialty stores. CSQ reconnected with Falsetto six years after the original interview to celebrate her recent transition from CEO to board member and launch of the new #thinkKindness movement supporting and encouraging women entrepreneurs.
Lizanne Falsetto leads with intuition. From her role as an international model and single parent of two, to founder of a flourishing national health food labeland now global business support platform, she remains grounded in kindness and awareness.
“It’s been a long journey. I knew inside – my intuition told me, it was time to give back and become more strategic,” Falsetto says about her transition from CEO to boardmember of thinkThin Products. “For every entrepreneur to grow forward, an important time comes to bring in successful operators of larger businesses.”
Determined to choose the right candidate to fill her role, Falsetto followed her instinct and promoted thinkThin President Michele Kessler to CEO. Kessler’s 20 years of industry experience made her a natural fit. Prior to joining thinkThin, Kessler was a VP at Mars, Incorporated, and senior marketer at Kraft Food Group.
Falsetto promotes women in business and maintains zero tolerance for the “mean girl” complex that she said is an unfortunate reality among schoolgirls and adult women alike. When parents lead by good example, she said, girls grow healthy attitudes that strengthen the entrepreneurial community. To promote her ideology, Falsetto launched the #thinkKindness movement, which celebrates women giving back and supporting each other in business and life. The hash tag is expected to soon become an official platform offering education and monetary support.
“A disconnect exists around women supporting women,” Falsetto says. “I think this (movement) will really connect and resonate with a lot of women … they’ll start to speak more kindly about each other.”
In 2014 Falsetto began speaking on stages around the world. She is host of the “Female Rockstar Entrepreneurs” Sirius radio show, and also has won three Telly Awards for producing and directing in the Best Documentary Short Film category. A 2010 recipient of the prestigious Leadership Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners, Falsetto is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and serves on the board of the Arizona Cancer Center.
“I wanted to change the way people thought of the health food industry,” says Falsetto, who believes in the power of preventive health. “I’ve learned that every decision I’ve made has been right for me. Now I’m thriving off being able to communicate my journey.”
Philanthropy and business go hand in hand, according to Falsetto, who in 2014 and 2015 hosted benefits for Whole Foods Market’s The Whole Planet Foundation, which provides grants to micro-finance institutions in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Middle East. The establishments in turn offer micro-enterprise loan programs, training, and other financial services to the self-employed poor. As a health and nutrition advocate, she also raised $350,000 for women’s cancer research and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. “Philanthropy lends authenticity to what you’re doing,” Falsetto says. “It’s the touch point of your passion. Businesses benefit by also benefiting the world.”
Family remains Falsetto’s top priority and balance to professional success. While her life as an entrepreneur is often a juggling act, relaxation comes by way of meditation, hiking, paddle boarding, gardening, and healthy cooking. Falsetto has taught her daughter Alexa and son Aydan the power of healthy cooking, a passion she developed as a child cooking and organic gardening with her Italian grandparents.
“Using your head and heart to make decisions is a very important part of business,” Falsetto says. “You can really hone in on your intuition when you’re kind, especially to yourself.”