Ruth Elnekave – Founder of JOYA’

Ruth Elnekave Joya Founder

Our womanpreneur of the week, Ruth Elnekave, is the founder of JOYÀ, a superfood and functional snacks brand. 

To morph from an attorney with schooling in culinary arts, become a Holistic Nutritionist and then a successful entrepreneur intrigued me to learn more about her journey!

JOYA supplements  

When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?

I honestly think that the first time I felt like I truly knew what I wanted to be was in my 30s – that’s when it hit me that I was an entrepreneur at heart. But there was a period that started in high school when I loosely contemplated medicine or some form of physical therapy, as I’ve always been fascinated by the human body and how it functions and moves.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

Through some incredibly eye-opening work with an amazing career coach during my time practicing law, I realized that nothing makes me tick more than helping people — not helping CEOs make money for their companies, but rather truly helping people in ways that bring them joy and fulfillment.
After I left my career in law, I became a Holistic Nutritionist and dove deep into the world of wellness, and specifically, modalities such as herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. With my culinary background (I trained in the culinary arts before law school) and a lifelong passion for food, it then hit me that food was the means through which I was meant to touch people. In deciding how I could best do this and where there was an opportunity in the market, I identified a significant gap in the functional food space, where most products available are either effective but taste medicinal, or taste good but are of questionable quality.
For me, savoring food is one of the ultimate pleasures in life, and I don’t believe that one’s pursuit of wellness should mean giving up the pleasure of food. I created JOYÀ to share functional foods & beverages that are as flavorful and joy-inducing as they are nourishing and effective!

What is the biggest struggle you’ve encountered as an entrepreneur and how did you solve it?

Resources. Time, money, help… there simply never seems to be enough when you’re a super-lean start-up. I can’t say that I’ve solved this problem, but I’ve found that surrounding myself with incredible, talented and generous people — the members of our small JOYÀ team, advisors, mentors, and friends — has helped me be smarter and run the business more efficiently.

What do you think are the pros and cons of being a womanpreneur?

Pros: You can shine in a way that’s often very difficult in the largely male-dominated corporate world. There are also so many passionate and driven people out there – women and men – that are thrilled to help womenpreneurs succeed.
Cons: It’s difficult to truly ever shut down. I’m a big believer in the importance of unwinding and recharging, no matter how passionate you are about what you do for a living. But it’s hard to make time for that when you run your own business, particularly in the early days when your team is lean and you have to wear 10 hats.

Do you have any mentors or coaches that you work with?

Yes! And each one of them has helped me in immeasurable ways that I am so grateful for, helping to fill in my personal knowledge gaps or gaps on our team. Some have become mentors through events or networking, and others are badass friends who are rocking their careers and are always there to lean on, provide feedback and call me on my s—t!

What advice would you give to someone reading this that has the entrepreneurial “itch”?

I’d say scratch that itch! Building something that you’re passionate about is an incredible experience! But be thoughtful about it. Do some research. Talk to people in the field you’re contemplating. Find out exactly what’s involved, what the demands will be and what your life might look like should you go down that path, and most importantly, be honest with yourself about whether that’s something that you can and want to take on.
What often looks sexy to the outsider looking in, while immensely rewarding, is often also filled with many challenges that aren’t for everyone. And if it is for you, be ready for hard work, emotional roller coasters and an adventure of a lifetime, and go for it!

What is the secret to achieving a work-life balance for you?

I’m not a fan of the term “work-life balance”, as it suggests some ideal split between time allocated to your work and personal life, which is simply not a reality for many people. Having gone from one very demanding and time-consuming career as a corporate lawyer to another as an entrepreneur, I’ve come to realize that what’s important is not the allocation of time, but rather that given your overall routine, goals, and priorities at any particular time in life, that you have a general sense of fulfillment and joy despite any compromises or sacrifices involved — of which there will probably be many (I’ve definitely had my share of “what were you thinking?!” days)!
For me at the moment, this means that some days I’m killing it and on cloud 9, and on others, my time takes a far backseat to work. And that is totally fine because I am so excited about pouring myself into building JOYÀ. That said, there are a few things I try to never compromise on, including daily doses of delicious, nutrient-dense food and movement (even if it’s just a few sets of push-ups, lunges, and crunches)!

How do you find inspiration?

I listen to my heart and my gut and pay attention to what speaks to me, what excites me. Sometimes specific events or moments inspire me, but more often, inspiration comes to me during periods of reflection, typically when I’m in nature, staring out into the water or a beautiful landscape.
There is inspiration everywhere in nature! I’m also blessed to have incredible, brilliant and strong people in my life who inspire me daily.

What is your favorite book?

So many great books — this one is impossible to answer! So I’m going to go way back to a timeless piece: The Little Prince has got to be on of the most brilliant books ever written, in its exploration of fear, isolation, love, friendship, and even the importance of curiosity. I loved it as a child, and I’ve only grown to appreciate it more and more as I get older.

What is your favorite quote?

Again, a difficult one! But I’ll share a quote that epitomizes my career change: “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” – Jessica Hische

What do you do to decompress?

A glass of wine, a long massage, time in nature. Or if it’s one of those days, a good round of boxing.

Tea or coffee?

First thing in the morning and after a great meal, always coffee. (One of my other favourite quotes is: “No matter what historians claimed, BC really stood for “Before Coffee.” – Cherise Sinclair) Throughout the day, green or herbal tea, depending on my mood.

Favorite flower?

Cosmos. They aren’t the most unique or beautiful flowers, but the wild ones that grow at our family cottage with violet leaves and a bright purple center bring me so much peace and joy (and “cosmos” is the Greek word for harmony – coincidence?).
Follow Ruth’s entrepreneurial journey on Instagram, Facebook, and the JOYA website!
JOYA Founder

About The Author

Dana Peller

Dana Peller

I’m a wife, mom, biz owner, writer, creator, and TV personality. My days are accomplished with a dash of flair, lots of style, and fueled by coffee.

About The Author

Dana Peller

Dana Peller

I’m a wife, mom, biz owner, writer, creator, and TV personality. My days are accomplished with a dash of flair, lots of style, and fueled by coffee.

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48 thoughts on “Ruth Elnekave – Founder of JOYA’”

  1. melissa chapman

    I love that quote and doing what you love is always a goal for any person. She seems like she has combined her loves with a way to make a living so lucky.

  2. Wow! What an interesting career. I find these details fascinating. We can all learn from each other. I feel motivated with her spirit to help others and keep on growing professionally.

  3. Bonnie G

    Thank you for sharing about Ruth. I like learning about new people and other business owners.

  4. What a wide range of career paths! Love that she is a full believer in finding your passion and pursuing it. And I love The Little Prince too! But she’s right, you can’t just pick one book.

  5. I apparently need to get myself a squad. I find my lack of resources to be a big obstacle as well, but as women we always find a way.

  6. I totally get it where she says it is hard to step away. My blog is my passion, mostly because I know I am helping others. But I do it take the focus off my health issues. It is a labor of love but I had to outsource this year because it was too much. I needed down time.

  7. That is such an inspiring interview shared with us. It will surely encourage readers to use the best of their capacities.

  8. I’ve never heard of Joya before this interview- I’m super intrigued by all things related to holistic health, so I’ll be checking it out for sure. I love how Ruth has found a way to create a balance between her work and her life, not by separating the two, but by combining them in an organized and succinct way. Totally inspriational.

    1. I agree with you on her outlook on not separating work and life, but combining them!

  9. Loved this! I also loved “no mater what historians claimed, BC stands for before Coffee”

  10. This is a great interview. I really love learning how another business person comes up with an idea for their business and grows it.

  11. This interview has many valuable insights. As an business owner myself, I found it hard to balance work and life, so thanks for Ruth’s tip on work and life balance.

  12. I can definitely relate to her. Resources were also my biggest struggle as an entrepreneur. Indeed, keeping a small but efficient team can make a difference. Thank you for sharing this interview. She’s really inspiring.

  13. She is such an inspiring person. I love looking up to people who gain success as they give me strength to work on myself. 🙂

  14. Kuntala Bhattacharya

    Inspiring and promising lady. You know reading about these wonderful women motivates me to focus on my vision of life and to keep going. It also teaches us to be positive and determined.

    1. I’ve never heard about this product before. I liked that no matter how much money she was making with the CEO’s she was helping. She decided to make the big jump and go into her own business. I want to do the same. This is very inspiring.

      1. You totally should, Jessica! What industry would you like to build a business in?

  15. I love your entrepreneur’s series! It’s so good to see we all struggle with the same things like the lack of resources. I always find that there isn’t enough time…

  16. As a new entrepreneur, I worry that I too will struggle to shut down and recharge appropriately. I love that as women we can uniquely bring skillsets to the table in the corporate, male-dominated environment. You are an inspiration to us all.

  17. I LOVE that she wasn’t positive about what she wanted to do until she was in her 30s! That’s so inspiring!! Love that she is living her dream now and doing what she loves!

  18. Eileen M Loya

    Success is achieved through hard work and dedication. Ruth is an inspiration to many. I wish to be able to achieve even a fraction of her success. This 2020 will be the year I will work to make that dream a reality.

  19. What a great interview. Her advice is really meaningful and inspiring. I agree with her quote! ” The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”

  20. I heard of Joya before. Great interview and she sounds like an amazing business woman!

  21. What a great story and inspiration. Definitely people who likes to help other people see more success in their lives. Thank you for introducing me to Joya.

  22. She is so inspiring woman. Thank you for sharing her story with us. I enjoyed reading it x

  23. Thanks for this inspirational interview. I find it so helpful to learn about the journeys that other “womenpreneurs” are on. It motivates me to stick to my goals! Thanks for sharing.

  24. I have never heard about the brand before. It really sounds interesting. I love the interview and facts about her. I’m curious now about it.

  25. I love this and I love reading that she found what she really wanted to do in her 30’s. So many people in this age get backlash from others that they’ll never make it and discourages them from pursuing their dreams. So sad. But to see that she pushed through and rose, is inspiring.

  26. That’s so amazing and I love to see women be successful in their field and have a huge impact on the world. Thank you for sharing it.

  27. I really like your Womanprenuer series. This woman is inspiring for all the women’s. Thanks for sharing this article with us

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