Tera Johnson's LV78 Leadership Project Now $14M Business: Products Sold at Whole Foods
Business and Career
In LV78 Leadership in 2008, graduate Tera Johnson raised a half million dollars to pursue her lifelong dream and found the world’s first organic cow, goat, and sheep whey protein processing company. Today, her Teras Whey brand of products is sold at Whole Foods and other organic groceries throughout the U.S.
"We source our protein from small local artisan and specialty cheese makers whose milk comes from small family farms," says Tera. "Our manufacturing plant is LEEDS certified, has an Aldo Leopold inspired prairie restoration landscape that uses all natural raingardens for storm water management, and uses extensive heat and water recovery in the manufacturing process. We source flavors from indigenous people in the tropics, vanilla from Madagascar, and local U.S. and overseas fair trade cooperatives."
We honor Tera because not only did she create a successful company from a vision she had in her Leadership program – a company now valued at $14 million three years later – but she gives back to the world in numerous ways. She leaves a minimal environmental footprint at her green manufacturing plant, and donates a portion of her profits to organizations that improve nutrition for children around the world.
A few months ago, Tera wrote to us with enthusiasm:
"Last week I had an experience that I want to share with you because it made me realize the scope of what is possible when a person like me embarks on a Choice journey. I brought together buyers from the largest organic and natural food retailers in the country, a very seasoned in the trenches sales force based in Boulder, and a truly visionary branding company from San Francisco for a brand strategy session for my consumer ready nutritional supplement whey protein products. The goal of the session was to identify the brand promise that will be the core of my consumer brand and we had to get it down to a short sentence, then a word. I won’t bore you with the details of how we conducted the work, but I will tell you that the process did NOT involve me as the Founder and CEO telling people what I thought it should be (which is probably what I would have done in the past). Instead I got to just be present and allow people to understand the scope of what has already been manifested in the world. The results? All of the experts ended up with the following core brand promise: Change yourself; change the world. While I’ve had these values for many years, I am fairly certain that this specific brand promise would not have been “obviously Tera’s” before I began my work at the ChoiceCenter. I also know that I would never have been able to enroll as many people in this vision and to this extent without having done the work I’ve done with the help of all of you. My experience with all of this has convinced me that people really want to believe that their lives and the world can be better, and that we can, in fact, do better and change the world when we show up touched by the better angels of our nature. So thank you all for starting me on this path and keeping me there. Know that the ripple effect of your work is astounding."