The President of Wisdom Natural Brands (WNB), makers of SweetLeaf Sweetener, Michael May, Ph.D., today announced with great sadness the passing of his mother and CEO of Wisdom Natural Brands, Carol A. May, age 76.
Carol May joined her late husband and WNB Founder, James A. May, Sr., in 1985, as Secretary to the Board of Directors. Over the years, Carol’s responsibilities evolved into many roles, leading to Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Board of Directors. The entire WNB executive team and employees are saddened by the loss of their leader. She was widely recognized for her support of the natural and organic sweetener industry and her tireless commitment to ensuring her company’s products were always the highest quality, delicious, and the best alternative to sugar.
Carol May won numerous accolades over the years. She was recognized with 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). She was named one of the Top Women in Grocery in 2013 by Progressive Grocer Magazine and 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. Carol 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.
Carol 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 Carol 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. Even with dozens of awards and honors, Carol says, in her own words, that 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’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. Carol 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,” says WNB President 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 P. May, Ph.D. and the executive team. The company will continue to grow and move forward with love, passion, courage, and commitment to make the world a sweeter place.
A celebration of Carol’s life and legacy will be held on Monday, August 16, 2021. The morning will start with 9am Visitation, 9:45am Family Prayer, 10am Memorial Service, and 11am Luncheon for Family and close friends at the LDS Church on 2835 E Des Moines St., Mesa, AZ 85213, with graveside service at Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery, Phoenix AZ.