Liz Dee

by Christie Grimm · October 24, 2019

    Could you imagine being born into a candy legacy? Well Liz Dee is the real deal. A fifth generation candy maker, she's co-president of Smarties Candy Company, carrying on the family business, bringing everyone's favorite rainbow treat to new and exciting heights. And while it may seem pretty insane that someone could have aspirations beyond just being a candy queen, Liz isn't the type to sit still. She also acts as the CEO of Baleine & Bjorn Capital LLC, a company that invests in sustainable, eco and animal friendly companies, and Founder of Vegan Ladyboss, a global network supporting and empowering vegan women on their missions to change the world.

    Who inspires you?
    Authentic people who work hard and are passionate about what they do inspire me. My grandfather Edward Dee is one of those people. He founded Smarties Candy Company in 1949 and just turned 95 years old. He could have retired years ago, but instead he still comes into the office nearly every day because he genuinely loves what he does. 

    Is there an example you can share of how another woman has lifted you up?
    My mother lifts me up. I talk to her on the phone when I’m on my way to work pretty regularly and we catch up and support one another with our goals. Once she said to me, “I hope you live a very long time so you can get done all that you want to get done.” It was so touching and also funny because I have a lot of projects that are going to take a long time to achieve! That’s fine by me, though. I’m in it for the long term. 

    How has confidence played a role in your life? 
    Confidence is critical for success, but it’s important to point out that no one feels confident all the time. That’s why I think courage is more important than confidence. Courageous people feel fear and they have inhibitions, but they don’t let those feelings stop them from achieving their goals. I’m afraid all the time. Fear is a normal part of high-stakes decision making, risk taking or being on live TV, all of which are part of my job. But I don’t let the fear stop me from moving forward with confidence.

    What's the best part of your job?
    The best part of my job is making a product that makes people happy while carrying on my family’s candy making tradition as a fifth generation candy maker.

    What are you most proud of?
    I am most proud of a day well lived. I have achieved many goals that were years of work in the making, such as installing solar panels on the roof at Smarties Candy Company. Most of my projects take a lot of time, teamwork and patience. Rather than waiting for one day in the future to be glad when my efforts will finally come to fruition, I work to celebrate every benchmark, every day. After all, how we live our days adds up to how we live our lives.

    What has been the most useful advice you've received?
    Stick with it. Things take longer, cost more, and go wrong more often thank you think. Don’t give up. Stay the course. You got this.

    Motto or mantra?
    Be the author of your life’s story.

    What are you most excited for next?
    I am most excited to see our new Smarties logo and packaging hit shelves!

    [Photo by Yumi Matsuo]