Olmsted Falls-based Vitamix celebrates its 100th anniversary this year under the leadership of president and CEO, Jodi Berg. Known for its line of extra-powerful, durable blenders used by professional and home chefs alike, the company prides itself on its passionate employees, some of whom are fifth-generation Vitamix workers. We talked to Berg, the great granddaughter of Vitamix founder, William Grover “Papa” Barnard and the company’s first woman president and CEO, about how she found success after taking over the company in 2010.
Q. How did you end up taking over as CEO?
A. In 2007 my father said that he wanted to retire as CEO. He said, “I think my replacement should be you.” I laughed and I said, “I’m not qualified to be a CEO and I’m not sure I want to be.” Eventually I said, “OK, but I need two years because I really want to make [my great-grandfather’s] vision happen and there’s a lot that I need to do.” I built the foundation and brought in amazing people that shared my vision and would be able to put the pieces in place that we needed to have the impact on the understanding of whole foods and health that we could, and I felt like this was our time.
Q. How did you find success?
A. I believe the success that I have found is not just in what I’ve done, but that I had this amazing opportunity to be here at a time when so many people in Vitamix have done so much to make a significant change in how people think about food. My dream is that people think differently about food. I’ve been able to be a part of the journey to help the organization rise to that opportunity and realize the dream that my great-grandfather started.
Q. How does that feel to celebrate Vitamix’s 100th anniversary?
A. It’s a little surreal. When you have an anniversary you tend to go back and reflect on how did you get to where you are? You’re helping a company, in a family, in a community with a very large base of beloved fans celebrate something that transcends 100 years. We have family members who are multigenerational and fifth-generations of employees so this is meaningful at multiple different levels for so many different people. The sense of pride to be a part of something of this scale, an elite group of businesses that actually made it to 100 years, I feel a lot of pride and humility to know perseverance to get to this place.