Athena Bravos proudly describes herself as a one-and-a-half generation American. Her mother is Greek and her father is a first generation Greek American. �My mother, who�s lovingly called Yiayia � grandmother in Greek � perfected her treasured granola recipe several years ago, passed it along to me, and our family has enjoyed it ever since.�
�I studied Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Management at Cal Poly Pomona with the goal of traveling the world working in hotels. My path took a different turn, where I was able to travel the world, as a corporate meetings and incentive planner. It was a great career.�
While her husband Peter was completing his residency in anesthesiology at the University of Southern California, they had their first child. During the baby�s first year, Athena continued to travel, taking her mother or her husband with her. �Together we raised a very well-traveled baby,� she laughs.
Upon the completion of Peter�s residency, the family moved to Yuba City in the Sacramento Valley, where he had grown up, and Athena retired. Two more children were born, and at first Athena found she didn�t miss working, but as the children got older and were all in school, she wanted a new challenge.
Athena channeled her skills into founding an educational foundation at the children�s school. �This was a time when school budgets were being cut, and valuable programs needed funding in order to continue. I was part of a group of nine mothers who wrote grant proposals and raised money for art, music, sports, and field trips. It was wonderful to see how our efforts made a difference for the kids.�
After a few years, it was time to pass the baton to others, and Athena started thinking about a new venture. �I had been making Yiayia�s granola recipe for years. Peter had been giving it as gifts to his professional colleagues. Then a farmstand near us wanted to sell the granola. That prompted me to begin the business-building process.�
In February of 2016 � the day she got her California business license -- a friend took Athena�s granola to New Earth Market in Yuba City, and they immediately decided to carry it. �They wanted to have it for a big celebration they were having in a couple of weeks, so all of a sudden the whole family was enlisted to fill this first big order.�
�My family has been involved at each point in the development of AtheenOats with their endless support and input. Our oldest daughter Alexa also helped me search out a not-for-profit organization to partner with that was a fit with our family. My father passed away from lung cancer, so the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation has been a meaningful partnership. We�re delighted to donate a portion of our sales to fighting lung cancer. We also support local fundraisers, such as golf tournaments and charity runs, with granola for the bags given to each participant.�
�Our granolas are made with wholesome, natural ingredients, amazing flavors, and a satisfying crunch. It�s very gratifying to hear the delightful comments of our customers, and we are proud to support the efforts of others in order to be socially responsible corporate citizens.�