Women Who Own It

Kathleen Wood of Suzy's Swirl

Women Who Own It

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Kathleen Wood

CEO & Co-Founder

Suzy’s Swirl

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What inspired you to start your business?

I have been a growth-strategist for over 20 years and have built hundreds of businesses with my clients. I reached the point after building so many great companies for others that I was inspired to build a great company with and for my family.  The best gift in the journey is I always wanted an amazing business partner to build a great business with and found a great partner with my sister, Sue Tierno. How great is it to build a business that focuses on serving happiness with amazing liquor-infused frozen yogurts like Bourbon Caramel, Pina Colada and Pink Champagne sorbettos.

What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

The greatest challenge is being easily dismissed because of reasons ranging from being a small business, a frozen yogurt business, women-owned business, and the list goes on. I have found that overcoming them is not letting the limiting thoughts of others be the limiting factors in our success.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

It is never too late to start your own business and make your dream a reality.  There is also never a perfect time so be the best prepared you can be and go for it.

What three traits define you?

Passionate. Resilient. Bold Leadership.

How has being a Certified WBE helped your business?

The WBENC Certification has been a game-changer for our business. The opportunities for our business in terms of exposure, support and business development have been accelerated because of our WBENC certification.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

Our product is the perfect combination of a great cocktail and good probiotics is following the trend of finding “better for you” alternatives for snacks, desserts and frozen beverages.

As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?

Questioning if we are doing everything possible for the success of our business, team and customers.

What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?

Finding their “voice” as a business owner. Being able to speak with confidence, conviction and then being able to amplify their voice over the noise of naysayers. It takes time to learn this and the key is to start early and to practice, practice and keep practicing.

What do you love about being a business owner?

In our business we are on a mission to inspire one million moments of frozen happiness through our liquor-infused frozen yogurt and sorbetto. I love that our team is so committed to making this happen and to being the driving force to make such a powerful impact.

What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?

Making the very tough personal decisions to do what is best for our business. 

How do you define success?

Being blessed to do what I do with the people I love and respect to make a positive impact in the world.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Follow your passion and you will never have to worry about a paycheck.

What’s your favorite career moment?

One of my most recent moments was winning the WBENC Pitch Competition, presented by PepsiCo, at the WBENC National Conference.  It was truly an amazing experience to be in a ballroom of 5,000 wildly enthusiastic people pitching Suzy’s Swirl. It was such a great moment for our entire team and family. 

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I would invest more time supporting more women in the success of their businesses.

What are you reading or listening to now?

Thoughts That Rock, Maria Shirver’s Sunday Paper, and I have been busy writing my new book; Founderology – The Ultimate Employee’s Guide for Excelling with Entrepreneurs.

What’s the best way to start your day?

In silence with a great cup of tea and my journal.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to own several businesses and travel the world.

How do you unwind after a long workday?

Just chill out with Netflix.

What do you like about your workspace?

The freedom to work with a great team doing meaningful work.

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I... double down and shift it from a challenge to an opportunity.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… don’t sweat the small stuff and have more faith.

The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my family.

By this time next year, I will be… ecstatic because Suzy’s Swirl Spirits will be everywhere for everyone.

To get my creative juices flowing, I bike ride.

The best thing that happened to me last week was… I went to Croatia with 20 great friends and our team did an awesome job leading our business.


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Suzy’s Swirl

Suzy’s Swirl features amazing liquored-infused frozen yogurt and sorbettos.

Learn more.