Q & A with Austin Soendker, Finance and Operations Associate
Austin has always had a passion for financial strategy, specifically analyzing numbers to implement the best course of action in business and operations. While attending school at Columbia College, Austin worked as a teller and went on to gain experience in several departments within banking including; consumer banking and lending before eventually becoming a licensed financial advisor.
After six years in the banking industry, Austin left to pursue opportunities in insurance and marketing before deciding to go back to school. Recently, he earned an MBA through the UMKC Bloch School of Management on full scholarship with a focus on Entrepreneurship/Innovation and Finance. It was during this intensive year-long program that one of his professors recommended him for the Finance and Operations role with Tohi, and as they say, the rest is history.
Q: What made you want to join Tohi?
A: I fell in love with the idea of being on the ground floor of a start-up that was founded in my hometown and playing an integral role building it into something great! It’s also important to me that I believe in the product we are making. Tohi improves the well-being and health of our consumers and I am proud to be a part of that.
Q: When it comes to beverages, what’s important to you when deciding what products to drink?
A: I focus on products that are good for hydration or offer a nutritional benefit. I care just as much about what’s not in a beverage as I do what is. For example, I stay away from products with a lot of sugar or artificial ingredients. I try to stick to natural juices and water. That’s why I like Tohi – it’s naturally sweetened with monk fruit.
Q: How does Tohi fit into your active lifestyle?
A: Tohi is perfect as a post-workout hydration drink that gives your body the nutrition it needs to recover without being too heavy or leaving you full. When I want something different after drinking water throughout my workout, it’s a great alternative with a refreshing taste. Additionally, I enjoy a Tohi every morning with my breakfast to jumpstart my day.
Q: As someone who loves golfing and working out, what potential do you see for Tohi within the world of sports and fitness?
A: I believe there is a ton of potential for Tohi in sports and fitness. Tohi is the perfect combination of nutrition and hydration. It’s 30 percent antioxidant-rich Aronia Berry juice, clean label and low calorie.
Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of working at a startup and the most challenging?
A: The most rewarding aspect has been the launch process. When I came on board we had not even ordered the cans and we were still working on the label design. To see all of it come together is truly amazing! I’d say the most challenging aspect of working at a startup is restraining yourself from taking on way more than you can handle. There is so much potential for Tohi and so many ways that we can grow that you want to do it all at once.
Q: What is your favorite Tohi flavor?
A: Saved the hardest question for last! Ginger Lime is my favorite-but just barely. They are all great and I highly recommend trying them all with a variety pack.