FemLovin Welcomes Michelle Pusateri from Nana Joes!
Part of our internal event strategy has always been to provide employees with experiences that enrich and enhance their lives both personally and professionally. FemLovin was started by AppLovin CMO, Katie Jansen in hopes of bringing together women of AppLovin to hear and learn from strong female leaders. These meetings are generally held in one of our US-based offices and encourage networking among colleagues from all departments.
Since the first meeting several years ago, FemLovin has grown to be a large group of both women and men, who meet once a quarter to hear from female leaders in industries that are predominantly male lead. We have gotten the chance to hear from female leaders in several industries including: culinary, finance, marketing, legal, and more. We always love to hear the full breadth of our speakers’ stories whether it’s general insight, success, lessons learned, advice, and what motivates them as leaders.
Since our team continues to work from home, our most recent FemLovin event was hosted over Zoom to allow everyone to come together. It was an honor to have Michelle Pusateri of Nana Joes Granola be our first awesome female founder share her story in our virtual FemLovin event.
Michelle’s journey with granola began somewhere unexpected — while she was out surfing for the day. While she was out and felt her sugar crashing she knew she needed something, but it also needed to be able to meet her specific dietary needs. Having been in the service industry since she was 15 years old, Michelle was ready to make her impact on the industry with her own contribution.
Eventually, she made the decision to start making her own granola, and with $1,500 in her bank account, she tapped into her personal network to see if she could get her granola into a local grocery store. Even as she was working as a pastry chef at Nopalito, she reached out to her friends at Faletti’s next door to see if they would be interested in selling her granola. By August 2010, she had successfully gotten her granola into that store. Growth has only continued from there — Nana Joes Granola is currently available in several stores in the northern California region, including 45 Whole Foods stores (but keep an eye on her products, which will be available in the Los Angeles area and Texas soon!).
Most important to Michelle’s business is staying true to her core value of taking care of her community. And she lets this principle guide her decisions.
“I don’t want to fast track and lose my values,” said Michelle during our live session.
She has a team of 10 people, all based in the Bay Area, who are each paid a fair living wage. Michelle upholds this value by taking this one step further and will only source ingredients from companies that pay their employees a living wage as well.
Even during the beginning of the global pandemic, Michelle took action immediately to ensure she wouldn’t have to lay off any employees. She was able to get a partnership with Sun Basket. She also leveraged her social media presence to appeal to her audience to continue to support small businesses as much as they are able to during the pandemic so that small, community-driven companies like Nana Joes remain standing at the end of the pandemic.
Michelle also ended her session by passing on some advice that is applicable to all industries, which is to never speak badly about competitive products. She also used the opportunity to share some of her favorite small businesses that she likes to support including Just Date Syrup, Miyoko’s Creamery, Yerba Buena Tea Company, and Jem Organics.