Young Leaders Spotlight Series: Mckenna Haz
From Student to CEO
Mckenna Haz grew up on the West Coast of Canada on Vancouver Island. After high school, Haz spent a year in New Zealand to work on her rugby skills. For college she attended Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT majoring in Advertising and Integrated Communications and minoring in Entrepreneurship. Haz received an NCAA Division 1 Scholarship to play on the Women’s Rugby team.
Mckenna graduated in 2021, but during her time at QU she started Seaav from her dorm room. Since then, she has devoted herself to building her company. Seaav is an athleisure brand that is focused on creating sustainable products, cleaning the oceans, and donates to We The Reef. The activewear is made from at least 80% recycled plastic bottles, the packaging is biodegradable, and one pound of plastic is cleaned from the shorelines for every purchase.
We sat down with the CEO and Founder to discuss what motivates her to be successful.
Question: What inspired you to start your own company?
Answer: I want to make an impact while on this earth, and create something bigger than myself. What drove me to starting Seaav is my passion for our oceans and I want to clean them up for the next generation.
Question: Where does your passion for sustainability come from?
Answer: I was fortunate enough to grow up in one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Canada, Victoria BC. Sustainability has been top of mind since I was a kid. There is recycling, compost and trash accessible pretty much everywhere on the island. Through my travels to other countries, I realized that recycling programs aren't as developed and coastlines aren't taken care of.
Question: Where did the idea to start a sustainable athleisure line stem from?
Answer: There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste estimated to be in our oceans and I want to clean them up. With every purchase of Seaav we remove one pound of waste from our shorelines. We also spin post consumer single use plastic back into our apparel. Through our ocean clean up initiatives we have already diverted 285,218 plastic bottles from our oceans.
Question: What has been the main challenge for you since starting your company?
Answer: Comparing Seaav to other larger brands. Imposter syndrome.
Question: What keeps you motivated to continue your work?
Answer: The community and support that is being built around Seaav keeps me going. The fact that other's believe in our mission to make waves, not waste and want to make a positive impact for the next generation as well.
Question: What is one piece of leadership advice you have for someone who wants to start their own company?
Answer: I'd make sure you're passionate about what you're doing and lead with a mission.
Question: Do you have any leadership advice?
Answer: I recently learned about the Inverted Pyramid leadership style. This is something that has helped me tremendously while building out my team.
Question: What are some activities you enjoy doing?
Answer: I love being in the mountains skiing in the winter and surfing in the summer. I constantly get the travel bug and enjoy experiencing new cultures.
Question: What do you love most about the work that you do?
Answer: I learn something new every day. I'm constantly evolving as an individual, while working towards making an impact. Hopefully, a bigger impact than I could ever imagine.
Question: What are you looking to accomplish with your company in the coming future?
Answer: By 2025 I want to divert 1,000,000 plastic bottles from our oceans through our clean up initiatives.
Visit the Seaav wesbite here!