-- Growing up in Arizona, Kara Goldin had no idea she would one day be working to revolutionize the American beverage industry.
“I’ve always had this mindset that you just have to keep learning along the way and trying to figure it out. I also have a lot of trust of what happens day after day without thinking through exactly what’s going to happen next week,” Goldin told ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of ABC Radio’s “No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis”.
Goldin had an early introduction to the world of healthy ingredients from her father, who worked in the Healthy Choice division of Conagra. When Goldin was born and her mom went back to work, her father was determined to make healthier, easier meals for Goldin and her four older siblings, she said.
“My dad decided that he didn’t like TV dinners that were the typical, mystery meat TV dinners that were available in the frozen food section so he decided, 'What if I develop a better-tasting ... TV dinner, which was Healthy Choice.”
Goldin later went on to study communications in college and minored in finance at Arizona State. She originally set out to become a journalist, but instead found herself in the tech world, working her way up the ladder at AOL, where she became VP of shopping and e-commerce partnerships and grew AOL’s shopping startup to over $1 billion in under seven years.
Goldin’s shift from Silicon Valley executive to beverage CEO came gradually. After her third child was born, Goldin “really started to look at everything not only that I was doing from an exercise perspective, but also from an eating perspective and drinking perspective.”
Her final challenge: giving up Diet Coke, of which she says she consumed 12 cans of every day!
“I had a love affair with my Diet Coke,” Goldin said. She quit cold turkey.
Her replacement? “I was never a water drinker. And so I started slicing up fruit and throwing it in water to get myself to drink more water.”
When she looked for a similar product in the grocery store, she couldn’t find it. So she set to work in her own kitchen, brewing up water with no sweeteners and a hint of natural fruit flavoring.
The same day Goldin gave birth to her fourth child, Hint Water made its debut at Whole Foods. As Hint Water began growing, Golden says she reached out to an executive at a large beverage company for advice. What he told her changed everything. He said: “This company will never work because Americans love sweets.”
That's when she says she realized, “We could actually change health in America by helping people really eliminate their need for sweet.”
Now Hint is sold in stores like Whole Foods, Target and Wal-Mart, and is the main brand of water at tech companies including Google and Facebook. Goldin attributes Hint’s success to her tech background, but also to the healthy choices her father made.
“I never really realized the impact that had on me. I didn’t go into food right away,” she said.
“I think just being able to look at something and say, 'I can do better than this.' I mean, that’s what great entrepreneurs do right,” she added.
To hear more of Kara Goldin’s story and how she created Hint Water, listen to “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis”.