Orgain's message and goal is simple –– to help individuals lead healthy, vibrant lives. That mission is the development of Orgain® Founder Dr. Andrew Abraham's journey from teenage cancer patient to medical doctor to entrepreneur and builder of a growing number of high-quality nutritional products. Today, Dr. Andrew Abraham's literal “life's work” has named him a finalist in the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. We caught up with Orgain's founder to talk about inspiration, expectations, rookie mistakes, and the importance of ping pong.

When did you first know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I don't think I necessarily planned on becoming an entrepreneur, but did find something I was passionate about––nutrition. Once I realized that I had a real product that addressed an important need, the motivation to put aside my medical career and become a full-time entrepreneur was pretty strong. While it was a leap of faith and a tough transition for a while, I can't picture myself doing anything else.

How has your work stood out among fellow entrepreneurs?

For me the key is to truly love and believe in what you are doing. I find myself going into work every day with an eagerness and a desire to not only grow Orgain, but grow with purpose. Our reason for being is to inspire healthy, vibrant lives, so our product innovation, company culture, and mindset revolve around this overarching goal. I believe that this driving purpose is what sets us apart.

How would you define the staff culture at Orgain HQ?

We all work extremely hard at Orgain HQ, but still foster a laid-back and fun work environment. We don't get hung up on hierarchy, which I believe helps us to work better as a team. One of my favorite aspects of our crew here is that we are always willing to set aside our individual workloads and help each other out––we're all in this together. I also think it's important to balance out the hard work with fun, competitive activities. I should probably mention that I'm currently the ping pong frontrunner. ;)

Want to share any “rookie mistakes” and what you learned from them?

I could probably write a few books on “rookie mistakes”, but making a mistake and seeking out the solution is the best way to learn and improve. For example, I learned the hard way that I can't and shouldn't try do everything on my own. Extracting myself from daily tasks that were both outside of my area of expertise and time-consuming, and now we have a great team lending their individual talents to the growth of Orgain. I also underestimated the work commitment and resources necessary to get a company off the ground. Starting Orgain was far more involved than I ever imagined. Looking back, I would have reached out to mentors to help create a more realistic roadmap.

What inspires you to continue to grow?

We receive hundreds of letters and emails from customers telling us how Orgain has positively influenced their life in a meaningful way––elite athletes who are performing better, busy moms who are eating healthier despite hectic schedules, and cancer patients who rely on Orgain as their sole source of nutrition. Hearing these stories, and how we are solving a real need for clean nutrition and protein, inspires me to continue to grow Orgain with purpose.

Who have been your greatest supporters and how?

Without a doubt my greatest supporters have been my family, especially my wife Kathy. My schedule is extremely demanding and stressful, but they are always wonderfully supportive and encouraging. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners will be announced at the Awards Gala on Friday, June 17.