Kim Malek, the founder of the ice cream sensation Salt & Straw, shares how it all began. Starting with just a single push cart, Salt & Straw has expanded from Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and all the way to Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Kim provides insight into the success of their brand and culture, starting with the importance of developing people who will develop and grow the business. Listen in as she shares the sacrifices she’s made and lessons she’s learned on her journey!
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An industry leader, innovator, and disrupter, Kim Malek is the CEO and Co-Founder of Salt & Straw. Malek built the company from the ground up, from a humble ice cream cart into a fast-growing, family-run company with 18 locations in just seven years. Under Malek’s leadership, Salt & Straw has become known for doing things the hard way – the right way. Salt & Straw takes an unparalleled approach to ice cream making and over the years has created a legendary culture of hospitality, for both customers and employees. Malek is a humble and passionate leader and engaged member of the community, a champion of causes like childhood hunger and equal rights. Her vision and leadership at Salt & Straw have caught the attention of many, from Disney to Union Square Hospitality Group’s Founder & CEO Danny Meyer to Vice President Joe Biden. Prior to Salt & Straw, Malek was at Starbucks Coffee, Yahoo!, Adidas, and (RED). After this chapter, she set out to fulfill her longtime dream of opening her own ice cream shop, cashing in her 401k, and working to build a place that would become the happiest part of people’s day.
Salt & Straw was editor’s pick in both Food & Wine and the Food Network, while also featured in the Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart, O Magazine, Saveur, TIME, Cooking Channel, TODAY, and Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods.
Malek currently serves on the board of the Avel Gordly Center for Healing at OHSU, and is joining the advisory committee of the Oregon Innocence Project. Malek was recognized with the Portland Business Journal’s Woman of Influence Award, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network award, Inc’s 100 Female Founder’s List, Cherry Bombe Hall of Fame, and as a Basic Rights Oregon Equality Advocate Honoree. In 2017, Malek was asked by Vice President Joe Biden to interview him as part of his “Promise Me, Dad” nationwide book tour.
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