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'Mindful Monday' Interview: Jody Levy

Interview: Jody Levy, Daily Crunch Snacks, Blog Post June 2020 Author, interviewer, and TED-x speaker Lily Clayton Hansen chats with Daily Crunch Snacks friend, artist and serial entrepreneur Jody Levy,...

Interview: Jody Levy, Daily Crunch Snacks, Blog Post June 2020

Author, interviewer, and TED-x speaker Lily Clayton Hansen chats with Daily Crunch Snacks friend, artist and serial entrepreneur Jody Levy, as she worked from her home in Denver, Colorado during quarantine.

One wonders after talking to Jody Levy if there’s anything the entrepreneur cannot accomplish once she sets her mind to it. As she rattles off stats about her latest companies, it’s clear that while Levy, an artist, designer, director, producer, educator, writer, entrepreneur, executive, and investor, wears many hats she has a deep emotional attachment to each her companies. Levy, who created her most recent companies, NeuroPraxis and The Milk Cleanse, to offer others solutions she found to her own health struggles, seems to be guided by the question, “How can I make this amazing treatment accessible to everyone?” Levy, the first long-form interview in Daily Crunch Snack’s Mindful Monday series, is a long-time friend of the company. She is one of the mentors the founders rely upon for unabashedly honest advice gleaned from her own experiences in the packaged food and beverage industry. Levy, who considers herself an artist first and foremost, began her entrepreneurial mission when she started her first company, an experiential design firm that worked with automotive brands and museums. While designing installation art, Levy learned that the best way for people to remember your product is to present yourself in a playful and beautiful way with an honest story attached. During that time she became known as a pioneer, for the first time, by merging installation art with marketing communications. When Levy transitioned from entertainment to the food and beverage industry, the disruptor had an ambitious goal top of mind: to start companies dedicated to helping people be as happy and healthy as possible. She knows from her own life the two are intertwined. Below, Levy sits down with author and interviewer Lily Clayton Hansen to chat about her business philosophies, finding the right partners, and her innovative new companies, NeuroPraxis and The Milk Cleanse, which are quite literally creating new categories in the supermarket aisle. While Levy modestly attributes her success to serendipity or stumbling across amazing collaborators, it’s clear that her drive, resilience, and desire to constantly find new purposes is also a plausible explanation for it. We can all learn a bit about how to go after our dreams from the woman who acquired funding from Beyonce for WTRMLN WTR, now sold in 27,000 stores, after hearing the lyrics “I’ve been drinkin’, watermelon” in the smash hit “Drunk In Love.” Maybe upon reading her advice, we’ll become as bold. 

Maybe we can begin by talking about how you have been taking care of yourself during quarantine, especially as a jetsetter who isn’t used to being grounded for this long.

In some ways, it has been amazing to take the ability to jump on an airplane or pursue a new adventure away and just stay in one place. On the other hand, it’s been really hard because my community is scattered. I am a weird blend of extrovert and introvert and also work from home so it’s maybe been easier on me than most. I’ve had the luxury of being able to create my own world during this time, which has allowed me to thrive in spite of what is happening. I live next door to my sister who is my best friend, her husband, and their two 15-month-old twins. Living next door to two toddlers brings me back to the joy of the moment and out of the insanity. We’ve been cooking great food and working out a ton because my sister is a trainer with her own fitness community called the RBL REMOTE.

Your new company NeuroPraxis launched in March 2020. What was it like to launch a company directly after the Covid-19 outbreak?

I’ve launched two businesses during this insane time, which are The Milk Cleanse, an eight-day goat milk lifestyle cleanse, and NeuroPraxis, an app-based platform that is made up of 10-15-minute meditation-like modules that reprogram the brain. These NeuroPraxis modules, which are more like visualizations than meditations, get people out of stress, PTSD, and limbic looping. I suffered quietly for many years from Lyme disease and a host of associated chronic symptoms. During this time, I kind of felt crazy because I had all of these invisible symptoms that no one could diagnose. Once I got better, I still had symptoms, which led me to learn about the neurological looping that happens in the human brain. And more importantly, how it’s possible to break those limbic loops and stop the symptoms associated with them. Neurological pain is similar to phantom pain where someone loses a limb but still feels it.

Serendipitously, I met an amazing woman named Lisa Wimberger, the inventor of Neurosculpting and founder of the Neurosculpting Institute in Denver, which I live down the street from. Lisa and I did four Neurosculpting sessions together and the process eliminated all of my symptoms. That’s when I said to her, “We need to make this accessible so other people can have relief from stress, anxiety, PTSD, and all kinds of biotoxicity.” From there, Lisa and I, along with my design and tech partner EchoCharlie built the NeuroPraxis app. When we went to launch, we found ourselves facing a global pandemic, which, ironically, had everyone on the planet coping with biotoxicity. We pushed the web app out first, which is now live, to make it accessible to those who were suffering from fear of everything going on in our world during the pandemic.

How do you explain NeuroPraxis, which is described as a digital app made up of interactive neurosculpting modules that shift brain plasticity and support wellbeing, in layman’s terms?

After a chronic illness, a lot of people will still have aches, pains, and emotional distress, to name a few, because the neurological system still has the memory, or pattern, of it. NeuroPraxis is effective in reducing our experience of pain because it’s focus is on retraining the mind, brain, and the way the neurological system works. The process take advantage of our innate neuroplasticity. The method is a practice, of an active visualization module, like a meditation, which Lisa leads, that opens the prefrontal cortext, connects left and right-brain hemispheres, and conditions the neurological system to re-pattern itself. I listen to them while I’m on my bike. Our users, who are often in a limbic loop related to a pain pattern, say that NeuroPraxis has taken their pain and anxiety down tremendously and provided them with the deepest meditation they’ve ever experienced.

Let’s talk a bit about Milk Cleanse, which is the other product you recently launched and wholeheartedly believe in.

The Milk Cleanse is an amazing tool that I rely on to stay super healthy. Many people do it twice a year to get rid of parasites and give the body a chance to reset. You aren’t in deprivation mode when you do The Milk Cleanse because of the complete nutritional balance of full fat milk. It quite literally brought me back to life and my body into balance after years of suffering from Lyme’s disease. It’s also an easy, peaceful process as you drink only full-fat animal milk for eight days. On day seven of my first Milk Cleanse, I said to my then doctor and now dear friend and business partner Dr. Linda Lancaster, “We have to turn this process into a product!” We felt like it was critical for everyone to have access to this modality, which cleanses the body and brain, and gives your body a reset wherever you are.

We started the project a handful of years ago when I had just jumped back into the CEO role at one of my beverage companies, WTRMLN WTR, which is my baby, and needed my focus at the time. Fast forward two years, I had an imbalance in my body last fall and went to The Milk Cleanse again, which reminded me of how important it is to my life. So, I picked the project back up and it launched this past spring. My partner Nora’s involvement and ability to lead has been instrumental in allowing me to be a part of Milk Cleanse while also operating my other companies.

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

I love telling stories, making connections, and bringing all the right people together around a project. I am able to do this because of my passionate business partners, the executives who run the day-to-day, and allow me to connect the dots and focus on the place where the macro and micro details intertwine.

Do you have one overall goal with all of your businesses?

My goal with business in general is to build community and bring people together to create, live out their purpose, and use their skills as part of a cohesive whole. My focus for the new businesses is to create products that sit in the health and wellness aisle of a store for people who are dealing with the invisible symptoms of bio-toxicity. Because of all that I’ve gone through, I want to make sure that no one else has to suffer.

What is one lesson you learned from your first food and beverage company WTRMLN WTR that you have brought to your other businesses?

My first beverage company WTRMLN WTR, which I co-founded in 2013 with Harlan Berger, started because of our goal to make something with waste watermelons. At the time, there were hundreds of millions of wasted watermelons in the US. I originally wanted to make ethanol out of the watermelon waste and fly rocket ships on watermelon eco fuel because my background was in the automotive industry. I quickly realized that was impossible because watermelon doesn’t have enough sugar to make ethanol. From there, we decided to make WTRMLN WTR because watermelon is a super delicious fruit that people from all walks of life have an emotional relationship with.  love creating products, stories and brand that are powered by mission and meaning however, what really fueled me was making a super clean product for as many people as possible. The fact that WTRMLN WTR didn’t have any harmful chemicals, sugar, or use any processing techniques that stripped nutrients was much rarer in 2013 than it is now. Because of my own health issues, and need to eat super clean food, the mission became to use every bottle of WTRMLN WTR as an interface to the idea that what you put into your body directly impacts the way we feel and how happy we are. That’s been my true north and is why my spirit is still so invested in the company.

Do you think because your products have been successful because they are tied to a personal story?

It’s impossible for me to get involved with a business I don’t believe in. Like most small business owners, it’s the story around it that fuels me because the path certainly isn’t easy. (Laughs)

What is some sage advice you can give fellow entrepreneurs?

The person who is at the helm of the business, whether they are the founder or the CEO, should trust their instincts. I love collaborating and bringing in amazing investors, partners, and experts, who come with their own knowledge base, but I also keep in mind that every business is an organism with its own path. As an entrepreneur, I am always in new spaces because I don’t ever like to do the same thing twice. I had to learn to accept information from others, filter it in my own metronome, and make all decisions based upon my own belief system at that moment in time. While someone may be an expert in their field, every business has its own web of circumstances and group of people. My advice would be to have full confidence in your decision-making process and filter information through it.

Why are you so passionate about mentorship? 

I love mentoring entrepreneurs when I believe in their business, how they are conducting their business, which must be with integrity, and if they’re doing things in innovative ways. Like a karmic circle, similar to an infinity loop, people give to you and you give to others. By sharing wisdom with one another we can be a part of this great collective that allows us to build things that will continue to enhance the world we live in.

What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

One of my favorite parts of being in the entrepreneurial space, beyond the collaboration related to the businesses, are the circles that go along with it. Someone in the food and beverage world had warned me years ago that being in the industry was like being hit in the face with a two-by-four often. The experience of falling down, getting back up, and doing it all over again is something only other people who have similar experiences understand. From being a part of groups like The Female Founder Collective, which Laurel {Daily Crunch Snacks co-founder} is also a part of, I’ve been able to meet other women who are also creating their own path and dealing with this wild world we’ve all chosen to be in.

As a mentor to Daily Crunch Snacks and someone the founders look to for advice what’s been your favorite thing about watching the company grow?

There’s no better feeling than to help someone whose eyes are wide open to the challenges of the industry and yet, they still move forward in spite of them. I grew up with Laurel’s husband, Ethan, and {Daily Crunch Snacks co-founder} Diane Detroit and have been eating Daily Crunch Snacks before they had a name or an amazing package. I have a personal attachment to the product and am thrilled to see it in the world. The founders have a “can’t stop me” attitude that is infectious and is why they will make it. And that is why I am cheering them on with everything I got.

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