Leadership Perspective: ‘No Education or Job Experience Goes to Waste’
By Zoi Maroudas-Tziolas
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Bambino’s Frozen Baby Food
You may plan your profession, but life itself will always surprise you. I’m a Baylor graduate, and in 2013 I founded Bambino’s Baby Food, Alaska’s largest baby food company. I grew up in the food business. My family owns an Italian/Greek restaurant in Alaska, and they have deep roots in Mediterranean cuisine and natural farming. This is my foundation; it’s who I am today.
While studying business, biology and organic chemistry, I worked at Hillcrest Hospital in geriatrics and recovery. That’s where medicine, food and business first collided for me. My fascination with medicine and compassion for patients made me think I was destined to become a physician, but my experience in food production and customer service made me aware of something unique. Patients weren’t eating their meals. How could they gain strength without nutrition?
I asked my mentor if I could create a menu that satisfied nutritional needs and flavors, was easy to prepare and cost effective. One month after incorporating the diet, patients were enjoying their meals and recovering faster.
These experiences shaped the foundation of my now thriving business. My history in medicine also gave me the knowledge to expand my food research to allergies and obesity, prompting me to explore retail food choices and government food programs. My examination became incredibly refined and I knew I’d found a large market in need — baby food. My current mission is simple: provide families with fresh, clean, nutritious, traceable and convenient foods that build the foundation for a healthy, happy life.
Consequently, Bambino’s replaced the stereotype of unappetizing, tasteless, pureed baby food and is enjoyed by all generations. Made with Alaskan seafood, vegetables and grain grown in nutrient-rich soils, it’s shipped direct to our customers’ doors nationwide.
Food for Thought
- All businesses are different, but what makes your business a success is the same across all industries: Integrity, value, trust and commitment. Adhering to these values will be your greatest victory.
- As you grow a business or career, you will evolve. I knew Bambino’s met the nutritional needs for cancer, multiple sclerosis, gastric bypass, late-stage Alzheimer’s patients and even bodybuilders, but I had to wait and secure one market at time or I would be spreading the company and myself too thin.
- The people you encounter have expertise in various fields. Listen to them and absorb or you’ll miss opportunities. No education or job experience goes to waste, as the knowledge you collect will make a full circle one day.
- Know your business inside and out, even if you don’t like a specific piece of it. When I speak on national television and radio or for print media, I’m confident in my knowledge because I know how to make the food, do the taxes, ship orders and more. The list goes on forever as a business owner. That’s why you must be extremely passionate about your business. But the best part of being an entrepreneur is you get to pick which 15 hours you work each day.
Bambino’s participated in Baylor University’s LAUNCH Innovative Business Accelerator. LAUNCH offers start-ups and established companies access to the systems and resources necessary to achieve sustainable innovation and market growth.
Baylor Business Review, Fall 2017