When she was four years old, Mikaila Ulmer was stung by a bee. Less than a week later, she was stung again. Bees, it seemed, were out to get her. To make sure Mikaila didn’t develop a phobia, her parents began to educate her about bees, which resulted in her becoming fascinated with the tiny creatures. At nearly the same time, Mikaila’s great granny Helen sent the family a 1940s cookbook that contained her own old-fashioned recipe for flaxseed lemonade. Mikaila adapted the lemonade recipe to include honey so the bees could benefit too. With some encouragement from Mom and Dad, Mikaila bottled the recipe and took her new product to a local children’s business competition.
Ten years later, Me & the Bees Lemonade has matured into a successful business. Helmed by a now-teenage Mikaila, the company sells its products in more than 1,500 locations across the United States. Mikaila herself has appeared on Shark Tank (where she garnered a $60,000 investment deal from Daymond John), founded the bee-saving Healthy Hive Foundation, and regularly leads talks on social entrepreneurship. “In the last 10 years, my job has gone from being a CEO with two advisors—my mom and my dad—to a CEO with manufacturing in Virginia, a national sales team, a finance department, and a marketing team,” says Mikaila, Founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade. “I’m not sure how I’d do it all without Microsoft Teams and the other Office 365 technologies.”
At age 15, Mikaila exists in many worlds at once. She is a thought leader, a CEO, a student, and a daughter. Mikaila credits Microsoft for helping her to organize these varied facets of her life. Years ago, as her company began to take off, she and her parents used Office 365 to create a highly detailed family and business calendar. As the business grew, Me & the Bees Lemonade began to rely more heavily on Office 365. “As we grow, we’re always looking for more sophisticated features,” says Theo Ulmer, Chief Operating Officer at Me & the Bees Lemonade, “and what we find is that they’re already available to us through Office 365. It feels like the solution is growing with you, but really, you’re growing into it.”