WIN Sponsor Spotlight: Informa’s Danica Cullins
Intro: Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN) is delighted to kick off our sponsor spotlight series, showcasing leaders across the nutraceuticals industry who are supporting efforts around gender equity in leadership positions, business investment, and science and research. This week, we connect with Danica Cullins, Senior Vice President of SupplySide, part of Informa Markets, a platinum sponsor of WIN. She has been with the organization for 25 years, serving in multiple roles from operations and sales into executive management.
WIN: What motivates you to be a leader in the nutraceutical industry?
Cullins: The motivations to continue investing my time and energy in the nutraceutical industry have shifted over the years. The current state is that I am married to a first responder; in his profession, the forces on body and health are particularly stressful, including concerning trends around joints, heart health, mental wellness and more. We are both patients facing priorities of healthy aging, and we enjoy being patients of a naturopathic practice that prioritizes nutrition and a proactive approach to health. That experience continues to pull me in deeper to learning and makes this industry ever more personal. My buying habits are more informed, and the number of nutraceuticals and natural products in our home is at an all-time high. We have two teenage sons, and as they take more nutritional choices into their own hands, my interest in educating them has never been higher. As these considerations become more central in my personal life, I am reminded of the opportunity and inspiration to ensure solutions are available to people and families everywhere. I’ve seen this industry continuously invest in science, share impactful results, and innovate—seeing the industry grow before my eyes has been a thrill, and it fills me with gratitude to be involved. And finally, this has been an economically exciting place to be, weathering various waves of world events with success.
WIN: What characteristics of leadership have you seen in other women that inspire your leadership traits and why?
Cullins: A top characteristic is the delivery of direction, feedback or bad news in a manner that is direct, honest, and unambiguous, but also with a tone that leaves the recipient feeling like that leader just invested in them. As they say, feedback is a gift. Other characteristics that inspire me include consistency, transparency, and ambition. I find myself drawn to leaders—of any gender—who are driven by a sense of respect and a hunger for professional fulfillment.
WIN: You’ve been a champion of including men, women, and all genders in the conversation about female leadership. Why is it so important to be inclusive in this way?
Cullins: A major component of improving gender parity in senior roles is ensuring opportunities for continuous advancement and growth through early and middle career stages. It’s during those critical opportunities for advancement that many women begin a family. I truly believe that until parental leave (not just maternity leave) is normalized, expected, and supported, we will not see the magnitude of change that we desire. The best thing we can do for professional women is encourage professional men to share parenting to the extent that they advocate for organizational support—not just for the women around them, but for themselves.
That being said, parenting is absolutely not the only contributor to issues in gender parity. We must remember that support and opportunities for women who are not parenting can be a blind spot. Most importantly, if parity is the goal, how could we possibly move forward without leading by example—which means having parity in the movement itself? Achievement of the goals set forth by WIN will be a victory for all, and only made possible with the active participation of all.