YPDaily: Maayan Kessler

As the Director of Operations at Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard, 26-year-old Maayan Kessler is already planning for mustard world domination. How does she plan on getting there? Find out in today’s YPDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am the Director of Operations at Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard; a family owned (my family owned) and operated mustard company based here in Toronto. I am involved in every aspect of the business, from creative to financial to HR. My job also allows me to eat a lot of good food and work with a lot of great people. 

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I had recently left a job I wasn’t crazy about and my brother was looking for some help in the office. Working with my family was always appealing and I am a lover of good food, so I’m really not sure why it didn’t happen sooner. I guess I was a little ambivalent at the thought of working with my family, all day every day. Honestly I am so happy that everything has worked out the way it has – and in hindsight it should have happened sooner. I am involved in so many aspects of the business that I am constantly challenged and always on my toes.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my day-to-day is working with other people who share the same passions. Kozlik’s customers are excited about food – they understand what makes our mustard special and appreciate what we do. Our customers are chefs, storeowners and avid eaters (like me); it’s always exciting to meet with them, eat with them and draw inspiration from them. 

The most challenging part of my job is breaking into international markets. We are so used to everyone knowing and loving us! We are just starting to test the waters outside of Canada, and though we’re getting a great response it is definitely a challenge to break in without relying on our local reputation.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself spearheading Kozlik’s expansion into international markets. Canadians have come to understand the brand and associate Kozlik’s with innovation and quality. I want to lead a global education, sharing Kozlik’s with food lovers all over the world. 

What does success look like to you?
Success to me means loving what you do, giving 100% every day, and growing the business a little bit each day. Whoever said, “do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life,” was bang on. Success for Kozlik’s means breaking into new markets, expanding our product line, and increasing awareness of the brand. 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career? 
Well I’d like to think that the best is yet to come, but being recognized by Saveur Magazine was pretty great! They named us one of the top food products from around the world, and that same week we were featured on the Today Show where they sang our praises. Not a bad week! 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Take the time to explore different options and find what you love to do. Travel and try different things before you settle on what you think you should be doing. When you find that something you love, be persistent and don’t take no for an answer. Hard work and a positive attitude go a long way. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Kozlik’s supports a number of organizations within the food industry, like Second Harvest, a food distribution organization that aims to ease hunger in Toronto. Kozlik’s is also very active in the local food movement helping to support Ontario-based manufacturers and restaurants. 

Describe your ideal retirement: how old will you be and how do you plan on spending your retirement years? 
As long as I love what I’m doing, I don’t see myself ever retiring completely. My grandfather retired when he was 93, and it wasn’t because he wanted to. So, in the spirit of my grandfather, hopefully I’ll keep trucking until I’m 93 as well…Kozlik’s better be a household name by then! I’d love to spend some time on a beach somewhere between breaking into international markets and total mustard world domination…I’ll have to work on that. 

What are you looking forward to most about retiring?
I’m 26! In all honesty, retiring is so far from my mind. I enjoy my job far too much to be looking forward to retirement already. Ask me again in 50 years. 

What to you is notable?
Being passionate about the work that you do. 

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, iPad, iMac, pretty much iEverything. These are daily essentials for me…I totally drank the Kool-Aid.