Lezlie Karls of Mid-Day Squares: “They have always been intense and eye opening!”

Some of the best words of advice I have received along my journey have been to solve your own problems, make decisions that feel unaverage and to be okay with being misunderstood. When my partner in life and business, Nick Saltarelli, and I were out trying to find “better-for-you snacks” to satisfy our cravings we […]

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Some of the best words of advice I have received along my journey have been to solve your own problems, make decisions that feel unaverage and to be okay with being misunderstood. When my partner in life and business, Nick Saltarelli, and I were out trying to find “better-for-you snacks” to satisfy our cravings we solved that problem ourselves by building and launching our business, Mid-Day Squares!


As a part of our series about strong women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lezlie Karls.

Lezlie Karls felt like she’d been “swinging and missing” for the last decade of her life. That is, until she launched Mid-Day Squares in 2018 from her condo kitchen. Lez was making 8 bars by hand, with an old-school wooden rolling pin. Fast forward about 24 months, and Mid-Day Squares is now a multi-million-dollar business in Canada, breaking into the U.S. market with a ferocity that matches that of the team.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

For the past decade of my life, I have been an entrepreneur and worked on multiple projects trying to build a brand I was passionate about. Everyone kept laughing when I would try something new and, at times, I did start to doubt myself, but I stayed focused and blocked out the noise and continued to push forward. All those trials led to Mid-Day Squares! Prior to entrepreneurship, I had studied theater in NYC at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater and quickly realized while my love for acting was there, that it wasn’t enough for me. I felt lost for a moment but after traveling around the world and doing some reflecting, I was ready to begin my journey of entrepreneurship. After six months of many trial and errors I launched my first company, Hektor Clothing, a high-end ready-to-wear clothing line. Fast forward a few years after sleeping in manufacturing plants, pitching buyers and dressing VIP celebrities I realized fashion just wasn’t the right fit for me and I decided to close the company. As the saying goes, with every closed door another door opens, and with that I found my true passion within the food industry which led me to launch Mid-Day Squares!

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

As a young woman, and driven entrepreneur, my hope is to build a legacy that brings worth and presence to females like myself in this world showcasing what it takes to be a great CEO in 2021. With Mid-Day Squares, I pride myself on trying to operate the company with a value system that speaks heavily about equality. My hope is to inspire anyone to do whatever their calling is, and to be a trailblazer. I hope to disrupt the industry with Mid-Day Squares by building a brand that makes people feel something deeply — whether that be proud to be themselves or simply feeling good when eating our delicious snacks.

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?

From my experience I have never really made a funny mistake, they have always been intense and eye opening! Always remember that mistakes are inevitable and as long as you learn through them you can take it as a lesson learned.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Jim Gavin, my business coach and psychologist, has been a mentor to me for the last nine years. He encourages me to face hardships head-on and has guided me through many difficult circumstances. The rapid growth of this business created many obstacles for us and having Jim by our side was crucial in getting us through the madness. He challenges me to work on myself and continue to grow into the leader that I am today!

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

In my opinion it is hard to see disruption in a negative connotation — it is a natural occurrence and happens because the world is constantly changing and evolving. “How could we do this better” should always exist! That being said, don’t just disrupt to disrupt.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Some of the best words of advice I have received along my journey have been to solve your own problems, make decisions that feel unaverage and to be okay with being misunderstood. When my partner in life and business, Nick Saltarelli, and I were out trying to find “better-for-you snacks” to satisfy our cravings we solved that problem ourselves by building and launching our business, Mid-Day Squares!

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We definitely are nowhere near the finish line! Our goal for Mid-Day Squares is to continue our expansion into the US market and disrupt the CPG industry by putting out products that change the way people snack and experience food.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Women disruptors are definitely not heard as much as men are. There is this unspoken expectation that women need to be a certain way and are too emotional and fragile. Men tend to see empathy and emotion as weakness, but I see it as a superpower! To be the best ‘disruptor’ male or female, it’s important to find your own balance between empathy and logic.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I don’t have one per se. We have a podcast here at Mid-Day Squares called Mid-Day Squares Uncensored where we talk about all thing’s chocolate, family business, and our unfiltered thoughts on entrepreneurship. Nothing is off topic; no subject is off limits. We really unpack entrepreneurship in the way it should be told with no f***s given. I learn a lot from these round table podcast conversations, and they have impacted me in all the best ways. Also, a lot of moments that I’ve had in my life that have impacted me have come from making unaverage decisions and allowing serendipity to happen by leading with an open mind and open heart.

You are a person of great 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. 🙂

I would want to inspire a movement around the art of communicating. Communication is the focal point of many problems that we face on this planet, and I think if we can learn to empathize more and truly listen to one another that would be healing for many people. We are all in this together!

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

“Be unapologetically yourself.” This life lesson has always been relevant to me as I have always been pushing against the grain and have felt misunderstood. Like many others, I have experienced bullying and negativity throughout my life, but I worked hard to block out the noise. It’s so important to level up from first principle thinking then to get lost in societies pre-determined constructs.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find all of our products on our website at www.middaysqures.com, and follow us on Instagram @middaysquares, Facebook @MidDaySquares and LinkedIn as well as check out our podcast on Spotify/Apple/Google Podcasts.

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