Carrie chats with entrepreneur Jennifer Maxwell, who was a co-founder of PowerBar and the current CEO and founder of JAM Foods! They talk about her journey into the world of sports nutrition, her love story with her late husband (Olympian Brian Maxwell), the PowerBar story, how running has helped her deal with his passing, and much more!
Recorded March 3, 2022
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Jennifer Maxwell serves as the CEO and founder of JAM Foods, maker of the organic artisan energy bar JAMBAR. She leads the strategic, operational and financial functions of the company, and oversees product development.
Jennifer founded JAM Foods with the goal of helping people feel good about the ingredients they put in their bodies, and the positive impact they can have on their local communities. As a nutritionist and food scientist, Jennifer spent four years creating a bar made with organic ingredients including gluten-free oats and grains, a medley of fruits or premium Guittard chocolate, sweeteners from nature, nuts and high quality protein. Her desire for a charitable component to be central to the company’s mission resulted in the JAMBAR Gives Back Program, donating 50% of after-tax profits to organizations that support the transformative pursuits of music and active living.
The launch of JAMBAR returns Jennifer to a category she helped pioneer. Along with her late husband Brian, Jennifer created the original energy bar, PowerBar, in 1985, kicking off the entire sports and energy bar category. By the time the Maxwells sold the company to Nestle in 2000, PowerBar had upwards of $130 million in annual sales and was one of the most highly respected sports brands in the world.
Lauded for her positive and innovative management style, Jennifer received the Haas Women in Leadership Cora Jane Flood Award for her outstanding support to the Haas School of Business through the establishment of the Brian Maxwell Fellows program for entrepreneurs. An active philanthropist, Jennifer works to preserve her husband’s legacy and donates to a number of causes, focusing on education and music. Jennifer has served on the board of directors of several companies and organizations.
A competitive runner and the mother of six children, Jennifer is also an accomplished drummer who performs in two Bay area bands. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in nutrition and food science.