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Downtime with Lisa Sedlar

Lisa Sedlar, CEO of Green Zebra Grocery Jason E. Kaplan Lisa Sedlar, CEO of Green Zebra Grocery

What does founder and CEO of Green Zebra Grocery do on her own time?


What I am reading

Since my very first Nancy Drew book, I’ve been a fan of mysteries and thrillers. I’m a longtime subscriber of National Geographic, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. I love me some People magazine.

Must-have gadget

TV remote control

What I am watching

Every night while I’m catching up on email, I watch TV.  You can imagine it adds up to a lot of hours. It all starts with Jeopardy – I’ve been watching most every night for decades. I also love comedy. I’m in love with Conan O’Brien. He is just so freaking clever. My current shows include Veep — such great use of swear words — Smilf, Bosch, Pennyworth, Ozark, Marcella and Luther.

When I am not working

I love to play racquet sports: badminton, tennis, ping-pong, pickleball. I also love swimming. I like playing trivia – I’m a pop culture genius. I’m terrible at geography, though.
Favorite family tradition

My whole family is into sports. We especially love college football. My mom and dad are from Ohio, but we grew up in Michigan, so we are a divided house – half of us Michigan fans and half Ohio State fans. People in Oregon don’t get how intense this rivalry is. Everyone is so polite about sports here.

Business role model

My dad. He is great with people. Even at 90, he knows everyone’s name and something about their family. He holds people accountable in a way that is respectful, fair and kind, yet no-nonsense. I get my sense of humor from my mom, and don’t ever underestimate how helpful having a sense of humor is when running a business.

Brian Rohter, one of the founders of New Seasons, is one of the best people I know. His mentorship definitely helped make me a better leader. One of the many things he taught me is that it’s OK for leaders to be wrong. Evelyn Murphy, our COO at Green Zebra, is amazingly brilliant and capable. People say you should hire people who are smarter than you — done.

Favorite place to vacation

Kailua Beach, Oahu. Open-water swimming there is the best. Unlike Oregon beaches, it’s sunny and the ocean is warm.

Fondest memory growing up

It’s a tie between going to the Detroit farmers market with my dad on weekends — I knew what a cheesemonger was from a very early age — and going to Detroit Tigers baseball games in the old stadium with my brother. Bleacher tickets were a few dollars. If you came in the seventh inning, it was free.

Professional ambitions

I hope that Green Zebra gets big enough to change the convenience-store model from one that’s dependent on selling tobacco, Slurpees and lotto tickets to one that sells healthy food and beverages.

Trends to look out for in the grocery store sector

We are rapidly moving toward a much more plant-based way of eating. This is not a passing fad. Millennials and Gen Z-ers are serious about saving our planet, and eating a mostly plant-based diet is one of the ways we can make a positive impact on our environment.


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