An Interview with Gnarly Nutrition's New CEO, Shannon O'Grady, PhD

An Interview with Gnarly Nutrition's New CEO, Shannon O'Grady, PhD
An Interview with Gnarly Nutrition's New CEO, Shannon O'Grady, PhD

An Interview with Gnarly Nutrition's New CEO, Shannon O'Grady, PhD

In an exciting development for Gnarly Nutrition, we are proud to introduce our new CEO, Shannon O'Grady, PhD. As a distinguished leader and seasoned professional in the field of nutrition and fitness, Shannon brings a wealth of knowledge, innovation, and a passion for fostering a culture of well-being. With a track record of driving positive change and achieving remarkable results in her previous role as COO, Shannon is poised to lead Gnarly Nutrition into a new era of growth, innovation, and community engagement. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Shannon to ask her what her vision is for Gnarly and what exciting prospects lie ahead for the brand under her leadership.

Can you share some key takeaways from your experience as the CPO/COO at Gnarly Nutrition and how it has prepared you for your new role as CEO?
My baseline has always been product development but managing operations gave me a lot of insight into the importance of team dynamics in company success. I believe the role of a CEO is to be a northstar for the direction of the company but also to manage relationships and team culture, so I’m hoping to continue to make this an emphasis at Gnarly.


Your background includes a Ph.D. in Nutritional Physiology. How does your scientific expertise contribute to the innovation and development of products at Gnarly Nutrition?
It helps me cut through the bullshit. I always describe Gnarly Nutrition products as ‘basic’ because they are; we formulate products based on science and to be honest, most of that is science has been around for quite some time. Nothing in a supplement is a magic bullet that will supersede the hard work it takes to achieve your athletic goals. Nutrition/supplements are definitely a variable in that equation and we believe that finding the product that works best for you can be critical.


You’ve discussed the importance of making value and mission-driven products. How do you plan to further incorporate these principles into your role as the CEO of Gnarly Nutrition?
Gnarly Nutrition is the only brand in the sports nutrition industry that has taken a definitive step towards improving the sustainability of our packaging. We will continue on this path by looking for new ways to innovate our packaging in a way that minimizes the impact on the environment. We’ve also been actively building relationships with athletes, events and partners that share our values around sustainability, inclusivity and no bullshit sports nutrition. We’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for 2024!


You are steadfast in your belief of transparency in product labeling. How do you plan to enhance transparency in Gnarly Nutrition's products under your leadership?
Supplement companies have gotten a bad reputation for being deceptive when it comes to what’s in a product and what benefits a consumer can really expect from supplementation. Gnarly has always been forthcoming when it comes to what a customer can expect from our products in terms of both ingredients and claims. We are one of a few companies in the space that doesn’t use proprietary blends and has invested in third party certification via NSF. We know that sports supplements aren’t a magic bullet for athletic performance and we aim to produce science-backed products that our customers love and trust.


Could you share some insights into the challenges and opportunities you foresee in the sports nutrition industry, and how you plan to navigate them in your new role?
I see the reliance on plastic packaging as both a huge challenge and opportunity in the sports nutrition industry. Two years ago Gnarly moved many of our products from plastic tubs to stainless steel cans because domestically plastic is recycled at a rate of 5% while 70-80% of all steel is recycled. The user experience of our packaging is unique and may take some getting used to, but customers love that the brand has made a decisive step away from plastic. We plan to continue on this path, constantly looking for new ways to reduce our brand footprint and push the industry forward.


You’ve mentioned the value of a company's culture in other interviews. How do you plan to shape and nurture the company culture at Gnarly Nutrition to align with its mission and values?
I truly believe that if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.  Brands shouldn’t just show up for causes or talk about values when it is of benefit or when it happens to be a certain month where that cause is being celebrated. I want Gnarly to live our values and hope to develop an internal culture and community presence where we show up consistently and provide support in a meaningful way.


How do you envision fostering and growing the Gnarly Nutrition community under your leadership?
I think so many have misconceptions about what an ‘athlete’ looks like.  I’d love Gnarly to be a part of redefining athleticism. Specifically helping those that might not consider themselves athletic realize that there is an athlete in all of us. Part of this can be addressed through inclusivity and representation and Gnarly will continue to partner with athletes and organizations that share those values. 


As the new CEO, what goals or milestones have you set for Gnarly Nutrition in the short and long term?
Short term goals include expanding our team and some exciting new flavor launches this year. Long term goals include taking the Gnarly line beyond powdered supplements (that’s the only hint I’m giving), eliminating single use packaging in sports nutrition and redefining what people have come to expect from a supplement brand.

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