Blended for success
Alumna named Entrepreneur of the Year for Family Business
By Donna Greenwald
Jodi Berg ’88 took her great-grandfather’s kitchen product company he founded in 1921 and fast-tracked the Vitamix Corporation into a market leader. Because of her innovative success, she was named the 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of the Year Award for Family Business. Entrepreneur of the Year winner is one of the nation’s most prestigious business awards and it goes to a leader and innovator who has grown a company without compromising values and tradition.
“We are on a mission to improve the vitality of people’s lives through the understanding and consumption of whole food and it will take a global army to make this happen,” said Berg. “I am so very proud of every employee, every customer and every person that has helped bring this vision to life because they truly are making a difference. Being recognized by EY allows us to share our message about whole food health and the difference it can make in people’s lives with a greater audience. We hope it will inspire even more people to own their health and wellness through the food they eat and join our movement.”
She added, “I am delighted and honored to represent all the other financially stable organizations that are achieving a higher purpose, multi-generational family businesses and women in leadership.”
“I believe in creativity, passion and inspiration for people to achieve their potential. I believe in making a difference. Bowling Green not only gave me a great education in the classroom, but the community created by the faculty, staff and students laid a foundation for the type of leader I have become today.”Berg graduated from Bowling Green State University with a business degree, specializing in hospitality management. She followed her passion for working with people by landing a sales position with Marriott International. After taking courses in quality management while earning an MBA, Berg joined the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. After the hotel chain won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1992, she had the opportunity to travel internationally talking about the quality award and interacting with different cultures.
Five years later, she was asked to take her great-grandfather’s company global by overseeing the international division. She became president of the Cleveland company in 2009 and added the CEO title in 2011, growing sales over 400 percent. She remains passionate about driving the legacy of the fourth-generation company forward by transforming Vitamix from a product to a brand.
Today, Vitamix is a household name. It has won several awards including “Best in Class” by Food Service Equipment and Supplies magazine for six consecutive years, the 2014 President’s “E-Star” Award for its multi-year contribution in expanding U.S. exports, and the 2014 “Kitchen Innovation of the Year” award.
In addition to the company awards, Berg was inducted into the BGSU Dallas-Hamilton Hall of Fame in 2012. This award is given to outstanding entrepreneurs who have distinguished themselves as highly successful business innovators.
Berg credits her education in the College of Business for helping her to become a strong business leader. “I believe in creativity, passion and inspiration for people to achieve their potential. I believe in making a difference. Bowling Green not only gave me a great education in the classroom, but the community created by the faculty, staff and students laid a foundation for the type of leader I have become today.”