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Charles Chen of Zzeal.co: “Leadership is holding space, listening, and having emotional intelligence”

Leadership is holding space, listening, and having emotional intelligence. Most often people want to be heard, and seen. Apart of being a leader also means showing your commitment through actions and not words. It is easy to say you are going to do something, it is another to show through actions. As part of my series […]

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Leadership is holding space, listening, and having emotional intelligence. Most often people want to be heard, and seen. Apart of being a leader also means showing your commitment through actions and not words. It is easy to say you are going to do something, it is another to show through actions.


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles Chen.

Founder of Zzeal.co Charles Chen has created a name for himself in culinary & wellness space working with some of the largest CPG & Fortune 500 brands. Since Charles’ 100 weight loss transformation, it has become Charles mission to democratize wellness, and transform 1 billion lives. Charles has been seen as a regular on Dr.Oz Show, Food Network, Netflix, ABC, NBC & Netflix.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Through my own struggle at one point weighing 100 pounds heavier and being pre-diabetic, I hit rock bottom at a early age. I made a promise to myself that when I transformed my own life, I would dedicate my life to helping others getting healthier, and making wellness more accessible.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

There’s a quote “ never underestimate what a small group of committed people to change the world” — Margaret Mead. Since starting the Zzeal movement, which came to me through a meditation, I’ve been able to witness people from all walks of life come together, sharing their unique gifts to serve the community together. It has been a very beautiful experience to witness, we lean on each other and this movement would not be possible without all those who chose to show up.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When we first launched the Zzeal wellness boxes, my neighbor offered me his small garage and let me and my close friends pack the boxes there on the weekends. We didn’t have any tables at the time, and were all packing boxes on our knees and yoga mats. It’s pretty funny looking back, but it was such humble beginnings and I am so grateful for those experiences.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

Zzeal helps to amplify voices of wellness leaders within our community, we offer free monthly masterclasses with experts in specific spaces to fine tune their messaging. Each box sold we support community organizations doing great work, and highlighting small poc businesses that would otherwise not get any time of day from traditional retailers.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Nekia was a local artisan who had to shut her brick and mortar office due to covid. She began making masks and we found her through social media. We reached out and offered to include her locally produced face masks in our Zzeal boxes, helped her create a video campaign to share her brand story, and invited her to be apart of our monthly masterclasses. We were able to connect her with local tastemakers, and share marketing tips to grow her brand.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Our goal at Zzeal.co is to help democratize wellness, and make getting access to healthy nutritious foods more easily. Through our monthly boxes we are able to share wellness products regardless of your demographic, and make it affordable.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is holding space, listening, and having emotional intelligence. Most often people want to be heard, and seen. Apart of being a leader also means showing your commitment through actions and not words. It is easy to say you are going to do something, it is another to show through actions.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Great things take time.

It’s a marathon not a race.

Start with why.

Put in work every single day.

Surround yourself with good people.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It would be exactly what we are doing at Zzeal.co. To remind people their life matters, and each of us has influence within our own communities. Our mission at Zzeal to to empower leaders within all of us to take a stand, and do something good for the planet.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” — Marianne Williamson

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to have lunch with Elon Musk or Bill Gates.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@CharlesChenTV @ZzealCo

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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