Julie Smolyansky: 2015 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum

Heartfelt congratulations to Lifeway President and CEO Julie Smolyansky on her acceptance in the 2015 class of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, a select community of leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future and work tirelessly to make the world a better place. Julie has long been an advocate for social justice and equality and has committed countless hours to humanitarian work both domestically and abroad.



Most recently a featured speaker at the 2015 Forbes Reinventing America Summit, Julie also serves as a member of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council, advocates for global maternal health with Every Mother Counts and is the founder of Test400k, a nonprofit dedicated to ending the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the United States. Closer to home, Lifeway Foods is flourishing under Julie’s leadership. Currently the largest manufacturer of kefir varieties in the world, Lifeway distributes across the United States, Canada and is exploring distribution around the world, including more of Europe, Asia and even the Middle East. Julie’s new role with the YGL is a natural next step and perfect fit for her to continue her work to bring equality and innovation to all parts of the world.

Image via Amina Elahi


Made up of members from all nations and walks of life, YGL members go through a rigorous selection process, where only individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to their community and society at large are elected. Each YGL serves a six year tenure and works closely (as a team and individually) with the World Economic Forum and YGL foundation board. They are tasked with pushing themselves (and each other) to be more compassionate, innovative and strategic – to be the best leaders they can be.

“The YGLs include the world’s most pioneering, next-generation leaders who have developed in their journey to produce positive, tangible impacts in their countries, industries and societies,” said John Dutton, Director and Head of the Young Global Leaders Community at the World Economic Forum. “The class of 2015, together with the community over the past 10 years, shows how the future of business and public leadership is becoming more gender-equal, more geographically diverse, more varied in its expertise and is challenging established ways to get things done.”

According to the WEF, The Forum of Young Global Leaders has three objectives – collaboration, learning and action. Learn more about the objectives of the YGL forum and what Julie will be doing specifically by visiting