How Women Are Winning 2019
2019 has already been a winning year for women: from a record-breaking number of women elected to U.S. congress, to numerous female 2020 presidential bid announcements, women are present and showing signs of strength in the political world, and elsewhere.
As the summer season approaches, it is encouraging to see a general shift in how the media is discussing health and happiness. Where once women were relentlessly targeted by marketing relating to weight loss and unrealistic beauty standards to strive for before hitting the beach, today’s media is showing us something different. There is more content than ever about smart health and self-care, and about taking your health and beauty into your own hands and defining it for yourself. Even Weight Watchers has jumped on board, changing its name to WW, or “Wellness that Works.” Part of this shift, no doubt, has to do with women playing larger roles in the leadership of the companies that sell us our food and other household products.
At Saffron Road, we have always had a strong foundation of female customers, employees, and thought leaders who have guided our company into becoming a gathering point of smart wellness and inclusive community. As a tribute to all of the strong women who make Saffron Road the brand and movement that it is, this article spotlights 6 inspiring women who are leading the way in 2019 in the food industry and beyond.
Shazi Visram, Founder and Chairmom of Happy Family Brands
Shazi Visram is the Founder and Chairmom of Happy Family Brands. She is a fierce advocate for family health and food transparency and a former Director of American Halal/Saffron Road. When Visram’s own son was diagnosed with autism, her medical team informed Visram that cutting dairy and gluten from her son’s diet could be a part of the solution. Ever dedicated to sustainable agriculture, Visram then learned on a more personal level that there was still much to be discovered about the links between our food, our environment, and our children’s growth and development and has dedicated her life’s work to supporting new parents. Happy Family Brands is a Mom-friendly resource for straight-forward, helpful advice for feeding your entire family and using food as it was intended: as sustenance and preventative medicine. Ms. Visram successfully scaled Happy Family to the #1 organic baby food company in the world, with over $200 million in sales and sold it to Groupe Danone in 2013.
Visram is a mentor for startups and an impact venture investor, with investments including EpiBone, Ovia Health, Recycle Track Systems, Simple Mills, and Bulletproof. She is also a Strategic Advisor at wearable breast pump maker, Willow.
Gabriela Cāmara, Founder of Cala Mexican Restaurant
Gabriela Camāra is a self-made success story motivated by a strong sense of social justice and a love of good food. Camara moved to the U.S. only five years ago, but her San Francisco based restaurant, “Cala”, is already achieving worldwide recognition for it’s delicious and unique spin on traditional Mexican cuisine.
Back in Mexico, Camāra’s 20-year-old restaurant is a beloved community landmark and one-stop-shop for everyday Mexican classics. Camāra is not only a fabulous chef but an insightful and involved social justice advocate. Her friend, the president of Mexico Andrès Manuel Lòpez Obrador, looks to her for guidance on food policy and defending Mexico’s rich and unique culinary tradition, and she will be returning to Mexico in 2019 to be an official government advisor.
Her political efforts stem from a desire to fight for equality, and here at Saffron Road, we know first hand how much global equality can be traced back to the exchange and creation of food. According to this New York Times article, Camāra has stated that she strives to be the “Human Rights Watch for Mexican food,” and her actions make it clear that she is on the lookout for human rights for people as well, starting with her employees. Her California restaurant employees-many of whom were previously incarcerated– receive full health insurance and other benefits.
Camāra is an inspiring example of tenacity, integrity, and passion for life and for food.
Janie Hoffman, CEO & Founder of Mamma Chia
Janie Hoffman turned her personal passion for Chia seeds into a multi-million-dollar global brand, which is sold in over 15,000 retail stores in the U.S., including Target, Kroger, and Sprouts. After a long struggle with autoimmune diseases, Janie discovered that organic chia seeds offered her relief that traditional treatments could not provide, and created Mamma Chia products in her kitchen as a way to nourish her family and friends before deciding to turn her focus to bringing more organic chia to the world. As an entrepreneur, she often speaks about the need to cultivate kindness and compassion in the workplace and the importance of nurturing a healthy and collaborative culture.
Mamma Chia believes in doing good every step of the way and are dedicated to uplifting both the soul of humanity and the soul of the planet and is proud to be a Certified B Corp, a Certified Women-Owned Business and 1% For the Planet member because Mamma Chia loves Mamma Earth and her people!
Saffron Road is proud to collaborate with Mamma Chia on some of our retail and digital promotions.
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo and Board Member at Amazon
Indra Nooyi has repeatedly topped lists of influential business women to watch for the past few decades, and she continues to win in 2019 by joining the board of Amazon this February.
Nooyi wrote a heartfelt open letter to her team at PepsiCo that discusses the challenges of being a CEO and mother, or as she put it “3 full time jobs.” She expresses certain regret about not spending more time with her family but notes the importance of making decisions and owning your sacrifices no matter what you decide to accomplish.
Nooyi’s inspirational career makes her an inspiration to all women and girls, and the immeasurable progress she has made in breaking the glass ceiling and get women a seat at the table will be continuing to make an impact for generations to come.
Soraya Darabi, Founder of Trail Mix Ventures
Considered one of the most creative people in business today, Soraya Darabi previously founded Zady in 2012, an ethical clothing company that empowers women to use their purchase power to promote ethical trade.
She then moved on to found Trail Mix Ventures, an investment firm that seeks to further the efforts of sustainable food and companies that make the world a healthier place.
One of her recent investments, The Wing, is a work and community space specifically designed for women and is a place where women can find encouragement and community as they aspire to reach their professional goals. Wing is a major success as one of the only “Unicorn” companies (over $1 Billion valuation) run by a female executive and has raised over $120 million with a stellar list of investors, such as We Work, Sequoia Capital (funded Apple, Google, What’s App), AirBnB, and NEA. Everything Soraya does is grounded in her concrete ethics and desire to improve the world through socially impactful investments with exceptional returns that also promote female entrepreneurial superstars.
The Wing’s mission is the professional, civic, social, and economic advancement of women through community. https://www.the-wing.com/who-we-are/. The Wing, which launched its retail line in Spring 2018, sees its merchandise as another way of spreading the company’s mission of gender equity. To create its products, the company works with 100% women vendor partners and dozens of female artists, and donates some of its proceeds to female-focused nonprofits, such as the Women’s Prison Association, Girls Build LA, and NARAL
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, House of Representatives (D)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as she has grown to be known, has recently made history as the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress. With her progressive stance on current issues like climate change, she is seen as a voice for both the younger generation and marginalized communities in America.
AOC is a prime example of how women are breaking gender and age barriers to represent forgotten minorities in the United States and the world.
As a leading Natural/Organic food brand on a mission for a Journey to Better, women are at the core of everything we do. Our passionate female customers have been the nourishing forces for their families and communities for decades and serve as the grounding force in the world as a whole. We hope this list of leaders helps motivate and inspire you as we trek along the Saffron Road committed to impactfully being a change agent advocating for ethical consumerism for the betterment of humanity.
And of course, if there is a woman who inspires you, let us know in the comments.