Featured Founder: Spritz Beverages

"Featured Founder” is a series that profiles founders and entrepreneurs connected to The Ohio State University.  Today, we are featuring Kathryn Dougherty and her company, Spritz Beverages. Read more about the leadership lessons she has learned as a founder. 

Tell us about your business or organization.

Spritz Beverages is a Columbus startup that develops and markets a line of sparkling tea infusions.  We are launching with two products: our herbal hibiscus tea and our green tea!

Why did you decide to take a leap and become a founder? How did you reach that decision? 

I always wanted to be an entrepreneur — to build a company I could be proud of and use it to have an impact on the issues I care about. Once I felt that I had a good product, in a strong market with validated consumer interest, I felt ready to take the leap!

How have you had to develop your leadership skills as a founder? What leadership lessons have you learned through leading your organization? 

As a founder, you do everything.  The people that work with me are experts in their areas and look to me to see how their pieces fit into the bigger puzzle. By constantly learning new parts of running a business, I'm able to grow as a leader because I can show how those pieces come together into something great. And if I had to pick only one lesson, out of so many, it is focus and execute on the most critical things. It's easy to get excited and want to go in a variety of directions, but doing a few things really well wins out over doing many things poorly any day.

Describe a success that has been made possible through your leadership skills or a failure that you turned around through leadership. 

Launching a new beverage brand with only a single true employee is no easy task — and making sure the people who are providing consulting and contracting hours understand your vision so they can execute efficiently is critical to that.  I believe that by ensuring my team knows the "why" behind the "what" we are doing keeps us focused and working toward the same goal, even when we aren't able to be together as team often.[1]

Based on your experiences as a founder, what is the most important leadership trait that founders must possess? How did you foster that trait in yourself? 

Resilience, resilience, resilience.[2] Every day is a new challenge. Every day you're presented with NOs.  Every day you have to figure out that next step because there is no perfect playbook.  You have to keep moving forward.  I fostered that trait in myself through my prior career in corporate America — but even more so through Ironman training.  One swim stroke at a time.  One pedal push at a time.  One step ahead at a time.  Eventually, you can cover 140.6 miles.  You just have to not give up.

What other advice would you give a current or future founder about leading others? 

It's important to make sure your team knows you value them and their opinions.  Building a collaborative team where they can bring new ideas and feel respected, even if you don't agree with them, is important to a healthy and happy culture of engaged individuals.

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[1] https://simonsinek.com/product/start-with-why/

[2] https://www.inc.com/gordon-tredgold/4-reasons-why-entrepreneurs-need-to-be-resilient.html

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.