Jodi Berg, PhD ’17, Leader for Vision and Values
Alex Romanowski, Fowler Center Scholar, MBA Candidate 2020
The Weatherhead School of Management has been fortunate to partner with numerous leading business owners in the Cleveland and Northeast Ohio area. Working with the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, these leaders give their insight to Weatherhead students and share the numerous transformative applications of the principles and values in both Weatherhead and the Fowler Center's unique toolkits. One of those business leaders is Weatherhead alumna and Vitamix President and CEO Jodi Berg, PhD ’17.
As CEO, Berg has infused her organization with personal energy and helped make it a rising name in a revolution in health consciousness. Being the fourth generation in a family business, Berg channels and champions all the same love that her grandfather had for the promotion of a healthy diet. When she was a child, she remembers his incredible dedication to Vitamix customers. Later in her youth, a health challenge acted as the catalyst for her commitment to the idea of fully living and enjoying life, a philosophy that she has suffused throughout her company. Her desire could be summed by the company's statement of purpose, "Liberate and nourish the zest for life." In talking with the Weatherhead MBA cohort, Berg expounded on this and discussed her joy in fostering a culture through which a company can produce sustainable social good for its customers. This was also the topic for her Weatherhead dissertation.
No one would have thought that a company could or would seek to grow in the saturated blender market, but Vitamix did just that and the company continues to flourish since Berg stepped into the role as CEO in 2011. The Vitamix blender has a considerable price tag (prices start around $400), yet the company seems to be succeeding in communicating the high value of its product. It has maintained steady sales growth as many sectors of U.S manufacturing continue to decline. The company has also made roads into essential markets such as juice bars and other health venues and capitalized on the growth of smoothies and shakes as meal alternatives.
Vitamix shows us how a business can sell one fantastic product to deliver an element of culture. Its product and branding combine to tell a story, raise awareness, and build health and happiness. This is the real product, the merging of shareholder and stakeholder common good in perpetuity. It is the purpose, the "Why?" of Vitamix, and no one can say it better than Jodi Berg.
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Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.