Leveling Up Health, Leadership, and Ambition
For Jeanne David, founder and CEO of Outer Aisle, it’s all about leveling up.
Early on in her family’s own personal health journey, David came across cauliflower pizza crust while looking for ways to replace empty carbs in her family’s diet and improve their blood sugar levels. In that pizza crust, she saw an opportunity to level up her own health — and the potential to revolutionize an industry.
“What if,” David thought, “we could do this with bread – and not only remove empty carbs, but replace them with vegetables?”
At the same time, David was also sensitive to the fact that her family’s personal health challenges were also reflected in national American health trends: the prevalence of diabetes has significantly increased among adults in the United States during the last two decades; roughly one in ten Americans have diabetes and more than one in three are pre-diabetic.
And so, combining her passion for fitness and health with her experience in product development and a deep understanding of the health trajectory of the country, David realized the incredible positive impact that vegetable-based, nutritionally dense bread alternatives could have on the American diet when compared to highly processed, high-carb breads (which turn into glucose and spike the blood sugar when ingested).
With that idea, the concept of Outer Aisle was born.
Since the company’s founding in 2013, Outer Aisle has expanded its product offerings from cauliflower sandwich thins and pizza crusts to broccoli-based options as well. The company has experienced tremendous growth, reaching grocery stores across America and becoming one of the leading brands in the CPG food space. In 2021, Outer Aisle doubled its year-over-year sales growth and expanded its production facility to keep up with demand for its products.
As the company positions itself for even greater expansion, David is keenly aware of the need for the executive team to adapt accordingly. “I am always having to level up my leadership,” David said, “to become better and find new ways of pouring [myself] into our executive team.” For David, leveling up her leadership is all about ensuring her team’s personal growth and preparing the team to overcome the challenges that inevitably result from a company’s growth.
Even as her company drives improved health outcomes for its devoted customer base, David is focused on generating other positive impact, as well. She and her husband, with whom she co-founded Outer Aisle, had a vision early on that – after they’d accounted for their retirement needs – the proceeds from the future sale of the company would go entirely toward philanthropy.
“We want to use the money for good in this world and effect change,” David said.
David shares that this impact-focused mindset has always been a driving factor in her work, and she hopes that Outer Aisle can inspire other CEOs to follow a similar model. Indeed, deciding early on to donate the company’s proceeds to a good cause has been a powerful grounding tool for David. She finds work more fulfilling with this mindset, energizing her and leveling up her ambition for success with that higher purpose.
“For our mission, it’s much bigger than just the things we support right now,” David explains. “It’s the full buy-in with the business and the purpose.”