WIN Leadership Interview Series: Q&A with Alicia Peirce Kasch, VP, RIBUS
RIBUS Inc. is celebrating 30 years of business serving the food, beverage, and supplement industries with clean label ingredients. The celebration coincides with the appointment of Alicia Peirce Kasch as vice president; she is the third-generation leader for the company, which was founded by Kasch’s father, Steve Peirce, and grandfather, Jim Peirce. Kasch has been a full-time part of RIBUS since 2017, after working with multinationals including Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Monsanto, and Nestle Purina.
Under her leadership in accounts and sales, RIBUS hit four consecutive record-breaking sales years, and expanded into three new international markets. Kasch is also a member of Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN), and noted the company is currently 60% women-run. WIN reached out to Kasch for more insight on this new role and her dedication to achieving gender equality.
WIN: What is the appeal of continuing the growth of a family-run organization, and did you feel any pressure taking on this new role?
Alicia Peirce Kasch: I always thought I’d work at RIBUS growing up, but advertising got me before my dad could! The first time I remember thinking how great advertising would be was when I saw the movie, “What Women Want” and I was just amazed that that was a job, so I focused on that in college and majored in strategic communication. After several years in advertising, I was ready for a change and after talking it over with family, it sounded like there was an opportunity for me to come over to RIBUS. Now that I’ve been here for almost six years, I joke that it’s the easiest job I’ve ever had. The easy part is that I knew my boss going in, both his personality and his expectations, which I think is the hardest part of any new job. His expectations are extremely high, but they should be. He’s built this company from the ground up, and while some people may take that as pressure, I am motivated by that to make decisions that will continue to grow the company and make him proud. RIBUS is what it is because of his hard work, dedication, and tenacity, and I was fortunate enough to watch him grow this company over the last 30 years. I’m certainly not going to do anything to put that at risk, knowing what went into it.
WIN: RIBUS is already 60% women-run; what do you see as the benefits of companies focusing on gender equality in the workforce?
Kasch: I believe that it takes many different perspectives, experiences and backgrounds to problem solve effectively. Every single person will approach the same situation differently, based on their personal experiences. At RIBUS, we have a diverse group of people living in different parts of the country, from different generations, with different personal and professional experiences, so I feel we are collectively able to look at situations through multiple lenses to make sure we have considered all angles. I think that companies that embrace each other’s differences and perspectives are more agile and better equipped to succeed long term.
WIN: What keeps you motivated in the face of adversity?
Kasch: There are a lot of differences between me and my dad, but we are both pretty determined people, and it’s in my DNA to try to find solutions rather than problems. That paired with an exceptionally talented team, I know we have the potential to do some really wonderful things.
WIN: What do you consider your greatest achievement to date in your career?
Kasch: I’m very proud that I was trusted enough to be named vice president of RIBUS, because I know what this company means to my dad, Steve. It was in no way implied or guaranteed or even discussed when I came on six years ago, but I earned it along the way. That and I had a TV commercial run in the Super Bowl in 2018! Yes, it was a local St. Louis ad, but still very cool.
WIN: What is the challenge you’d issue to the global nutraceutical industry when it comes to achieving gender equality?
Kasch: Honestly, it seems like there are so many women already involved in nutraceuticals globally, which is amazing to see and be a part of. As soon as I learned about Women In Nutraceuticals, I joined because I think it’s critical to build a network of smart, talented, strong women who support each other, both in business and life. My challenge to this and every industry is to let diversity in because it will only make you more well-rounded.