Wisdom Natural Brands CEO dies

Carol May was 76, serving as CEO and chair of the board of directors for the private label sweetener producer and maker of SweetLeaf Sweetener.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Carol May

Carol May, CEO of Wisdom Natural Brands, has passed away at age 76. 

The announcement came from her son Michael May, president of the private label producer and maker of SweetLeaf Sweetener, headquartered in Gilbert, Ariz.

The late CEO of the company joined her late husband and founder James May in 1985, serving as the secretary to the board of directors. Over the years, her responsibilities evolved, culminating as CEO and chair of the board of directors. 

She was widely recognized for her support of the natural and organic sweetener industry and was named to sister publication Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery in 2013.

Other accolades included: Five international Stevie Awards for Women in Business (including Lifetime Achievement, Entrepreneur of the Year, Executive of the Year in Business, Lifetime Achievement and Entrepreneur of the Year in Consumer Products), being awarded the Arizona State University Sun Devil 100 during 2017 and 2019, as well as being invited into the ASU President’s Club in 2019. May was inducted (with her husband) into the prestigious Natural Products Industry Hall of Legends 2016, and was recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona by AZ Business Magazine in 2015, and one of the Most Admired Leaders of Arizona in 2019.

May was a member of the Dean’s Council of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Arizona State University, and a partner with the Department of Psychology in developing prevention research pertaining to the reduction of dietary sugars in order to reduce cardiovascular risk. Under her leadership, Wisdom Natural Brands supported the American Heart Association, where she served on the American Heart Association Industry Nutrition Advisory Forum. She represented her company in the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and served on the Board of Directors in the East Valley Partnership. 

In her own words, her greatest achievements included being a very proud mother of six children and seven grandchildren and working side-by-side with her world-renowned husband, James May, known as “The Father of Stevia.”

Carol May’s personal and professional pursuits focused on improving the quality of life for others. She was an ambassador of health and wellness worldwide. Her commitment to family, company, and community were tireless, and May remained laser-focused on sharing and promoting the healthful benefits of plant-based stevia, which has resulted in the worldwide awareness of better-for-you sweeteners with zero sugar, zero calories, and no artificial ingredients. 

Today, SweetLeaf Sweeteners and Wisdom of the Ancients Natural Products are sold throughout North America in natural and conventional grocery stores, online retailers, and in more than 50 countries worldwide. WNB products have garnered 38 awards for taste and innovation. 

“From the very beginning, my family’s core values have revolved around the vision of both of my parents,” said Michael May, “Our mission has been and will continue to be one of supporting people everywhere by giving them the tools needed to make better choices, which can lead to a longer, healthier, and happier life.”

A family-owned and operated company, WNB will continue to be led under the leadership of Michael May.