Daring Women

Building a Better Nugget

Rebellyous Foods founder Christie Lagally is bringing plant-based chicken to the masses

By Edited and Condensed by Rob Smith September 30, 2023

Christy Lagally, Rebellyous Foods founder

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2023 issue of Seattle magazine.

As the name of her company implies, Christie Lagally believes that rules are meant to be broken.

Lagally in 2017 founded Seattle-based Rebellyous Foods, a company whose proprietary technology allows it to produce plant-based chicken nuggets, tenders, and patties at a fraction of the cost of competitors. Lagally, a former mechanical engineer at The Boeing Co., says Rebellyous has partnerships with several major food distributors. The product is now in more than 1,000 retail locations and more than 100 school districts across the United States.

“The world is in desperate need of viable solutions to animal agriculture,” she says, noting that plant-based chicken is the second-fastest growing category in the plant-based meat sector. “We are closer to delicious, affordable, plant-based meat for all.”

The company earlier this year raised a $9.5 million equity round. Investors include Clear Current Capital, Fifty Years, Liquid 2 Ventures, CPT Capital, Agronomics, and KBW Ventures.


Grit and the ability to iterate to optimize for success. The most effective leaders are those who can constantly take in new information, pivot a little (or a lot), and optimize decisions for the uncertainty of the day, while still focusing on the ultimate well-defined goal. You just have to keep trying, and success comes in small wins each day, week, or month.


It’s often perceived that a CEO has all the answers and can make sweeping decisions in the face of adversity. However, research shows that is not really the path to long-term success.


Often, the biggest barrier to success is not being at the table to play the game in the first place. It’s said that “decisions are made by those who show up.” More often than not, women are not invited to play at the table (the CEO position, the negotiations, the high-value contracts, etc.), so you have to set up your own game or ask to be at the table. Don’t wait for an invitation. Ask for one. Don’t assume you have to play the game in progress. Start your own game instead.


Make yourself valuable, and then tell leadership how you are bringing value to the company. Most leaders are deeply grateful for anyone who wants to work hard, pitch in, and help out the team. But you have to tell them you are doing this, as they don’t always see it on their own.


I will never forget being inspired during a talk at Boeing from Christine Walsh, a test pilot, who started in other roles at Boeing and worked her way into her dream job. Christine took one step after another, always optimizing for what she needed to do next to reach her goal, even if the steps were small or hard. Similarly, my first inspiring leader was a woman I never got to meet: the late Gwen Ifill of PBS NewsHour. Ms. Ifill was the first woman who showed me that it was OK to be smart, witty, inquisitive, and steadfast in my professional life. Women are so often punished for being good at their jobs or for being ambitious. I would religiously watch PBS NewsHour and Washington Week to see how Gwen would handle the complex political world and news of the week, and I learned so much from her every word.


Pick your battles wisely and fight them judiciously. Some battles aren’t worth fighting. Some battles don’t come with an enemy to fight anyway, so you are wasting your time. But some battles matter a lot. Don’t assume you know exactly what a win looks like. Sometimes it looks like a compromise, but as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Keep fighting for justice in an imperfect world.


I admit that networking is hard for me, as it takes away from time I could spend working on the company and getting work done on meaningful progress. But networking is a way to work smarter, not harder, so it’s important to spend time on this task. In addition, new people can give you insights in how to do things better. Beware one thing, however: Anyone who says they have the solutions to all your problems is lying. It’s never that easy, so don’t waste your time networking with people who believe this about themselves. This is a disservice to you.  DO


I’ve had a great time in my career so far, so I don’t have regrets. I do think it’s important to take time off when you need it, a lesson I’m still learning.


I love to hang out on the porch with my dogs and enjoy the yard. I enjoy growing blueberries and strawberries and fruit trees in my yard.


My Best Advice is to Iterate: Using Euler’s Method to Make Sound Business Decisions.

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