How She Got There: Jamie Danek, Co-Founder & CEO of Humm Kombucha

Name: Jamie Danek

Job Title and Description: Co-Founder and CEO of Humm Kombucha

College Name/Major: International Marketing with a minor in Japanese


Twitter Handle: @HummKombucha

Instagram Handle: @HummKombucha

Let's be real: although we all might like to think of ourselves as the resident health and lifestyle influencer on campus, there's still a lot that baffles us in the word of health and food fads. For instance, we're still not entirely sure why we need probiotics, but we know they're good for us and that they're a key ingredient in kombucha. For those of you who are obsessed with the magical drink known as kombucha, we have some good news — you can take your obsession and turn it into a career. Jamie Danek dishes to Her Campus on how she made a career out of the fizzy beverage at Humm Kombucha. 

Humm's CEO, Jamie Danek, explains the setbacks, wins, and personal growth that comes from starting a company from the kitchen up. Listen to the full 30-min podcast from @SheSez here:

Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Jamie Danek: Lots of meetings with department heads, lawyers, banks, board members, equity partners, and other businesses in similar places. The only thing that’s typical in my world is there is a guarantee there will be meetings!

HC: What is the best part of your job?

JD: I get to share Humm Kombucha with the world!

HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

JD: Since I made the jump into kombucha world, it started with being a co-founder. My first job in the company was to sell kombucha and wash kegs. I was proud to be an outstanding keg washer. I got our business by focusing less on the how and focusing more on the' why' — we just wanted to help people feel better!

HC: What words of wisdom (well-known quotes, an anecdote from your boss) do you find most valuable?

JD: Pablo Picasso – 'The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.' The reason this is so important to me is we all think about why we are here at one time or another. If it’s as simple as knowing what you're good at and sharing it with the world, would more of us do it? Because we evolve as human beings when we take what we learn and know and share it with the world, it’s how we evolve, become smarter, faster stronger as a race.

Martin Luther King – 'The ultimate measure of a man is not how he shows up in moments of comfort and convenience, but how he shows up in times of challenge and controversy.' Why? Because it’s easy to be a rock star when things are easy and flowing but when things are tough, how do you show up? It’s important to me to strive to be that rock star when things are tough too. That’s how you really know a person.



*Does a double take* 👀🙀🤯 #5G #gingerjuniper #hummkombucha

A post shared by Humm Kombucha (@hummkombucha) on

HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

JD: When it came time to step up as CEO, I did not want to do it. It was the assumption that I didn’t have the skills to do the job and we didn’t have time for me to learn. So, I became jokingly known as the reluctant CEO. I would have done much better to just step into the role and just do it. I spent a lot of time thinking about the can I, should I. I learned how much the position requires everyday growth, listening and learning. Years ago, I would have been voted worst manager on the planet, seriously. I had to learn from how to turn my "solopreneur"-attitude into an approachable CEO with an open-door policy.

HC: What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

JD: As someone that has struggled with public speaking, from book reports and deep-rooted childhood humiliation, I had to work tirelessly to depersonalize the fear — it’s about what you’re presenting, not who is presenting. Many months after addressing this head-on, I had to say yes to any talk someone asked me to give. Then, I gave a Ted talk about our founder story.

HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

JD: What their sign is, and so long as they’re not a Pisces, we’re good! [laughs]

HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

JD: Kick ass at everything and every job you do. Make it so that when someone thinks about what a person can do that job, it’s you. Ask a lot of questions. The more you ask, the more you learn. The more you seem interested, the more you will stand out. The right people to surround yourselves with are the ones that know that there are no dumb questions

HC: What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

JD: I always resonate with experience that captures their resourcefulness, that entrepreneurial spirit. It’s generally the best indicator of that can-do attitude.