Lokai CEO Steven Izen Says In Sport And Business “It’s All About the People”

In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, Steven Izen traces his love for competing in track relays to building winning teams in the two highly regarded companies he founded, Lokai and Elements.

“When you start a company, you think you can do everything in your company better than everyone else,” observed entrepreneur Steven Izen in a recent episode of Corporate Competitor Podcast. “It’s just not true.” Izen says that starting two companies taught him that the stronger his team was, the more successful and resilient his companies would be. “We continued to thrive during the Covid pandemic because our sales, finance and operations people knew how to adjust.”

In this podcast, the founder of Lokai and Elements uses the handoff of the baton in a relay race to illustrate the classic entrepreneur’s journey from “running through walls and never taking no for an answer” to maturing into a long-term thinking planner whose success depends not only on lots of hard work, but also aligning team members around a shared mission and passion for “making the world a better place.”

Izen is in a unique position to speak both to founders and corporate leaders because he currently serves as both. He launched Lokai in 2013 as a senior at Cornell and launched Elements six years later. Today, Lokai products retail at more than 5,000 locations in 170 countries; Elements products have found a place in Wegmans stores, and is being tested at other large chains.

Listeners are sure to enjoy Izen’s descriptions of getting his businesses off the ground as well as the differences and similarities of being a founder versus a CEO, including:

• How to change from being a founder to a CEO

• Why the numbers count … but aren’t everything

• Baking social responsibility into your bottom line

• The advice Izen gave his fellow Cornell alums about life.

Izen offers a distinctive blend of unwavering confidence and hard-won humility that is sure to inspire and awaken your own creative juices. And one thing’s for sure: you’ll never look at a baton handoff in a track relay the same way again. Listen!


5:30  How the highs and lows of sport relate to Steven’s business.

7:00  The lessons from football woven into Steven’s journey

8:00  The athletic accomplishment Steven is most proud of.

14:00  His dad’s impact on his leadership.

18:00  The idea Steven had while studying at Cornell that changed his life.

19:30  Debunking Steven’s “overnight success.”

23:00  The advice Steven gave his fellow Cornell alums about life.

29:00  Lokai’s partnership with Kyle Carpenter

Check out the full Corporate Competitor Podcast interview archive and subscribe to new episodes.


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