WIN Sponsor Spotlight: Ingredients Online’s Sherry Wang
Intro: Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN) appreciates the support of our sponsors for giving us the opportunity to serve the industry in our move toward gender equality. In our sponsor spotlight series, we showcase leaders across the nutraceuticals industry who are supporting WIN’s efforts around gender equity in leadership positions, business investment, and science and research. This week, we connect with Sherry Wang, founder and CEO of Ingredients Online and GWI. She has more than 25 years of experience in the nutraceutical industry; this year is the 10-year anniversary of ingredientsonline.com, a direct e-commerce ingredients platform.
WIN: Why is Ingredients Online supporting the mission and vision of Women In Nutraceuticals?
Wang: Ingredients Online has always valued diversity in its workforce and has employed and promoted women in leadership roles to comprise of over 70% of the company’s management staff.
WIN: What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Wang: Certainly, founding Ingredients Online was the biggest career risk I have I taken. I took on B2B ingredients sales and distribution without any external capital or previous experience. I also decided to adopt an e-commerce marketplace business model, something virtually unheard of in the industry back in 2013.
WIN: Why is it important to support gender equality at all stages of career development?
Wang: It’s a question of basic fairness. Traditionally, career outcomes have been heavily influenced by gender and the way it has shaped attitudes, behaviors, choices, experiences, and perceptions. We need to create environments in which individuals are free from such pressures and able to perform to the best of their abilities. There’s evidence to show this is also linked to improved productivity and economic growth.
WIN: What do you see as the benefits of bringing more women into leadership and science in the nutraceutical industry?
Wang: I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to discover a line of work in which they can thrive. To this day, there are women who end up in professions that don’t fulfill them or don’t suit their talents—simply because they weren’t encouraged to explore certain avenues. As a result, we’re also not drawing from the entire talent pool and fail to attract some of our brightest minds to a crucial cause. More women in the nutraceuticals industry doesn’t just improve our chance of landing more of those bright minds. Women also bring a unique perspective to the field and thereby increase the odds of outdated ideas being challenged and innovative ideas being born.
WIN: What characteristics of leadership do you embrace and how do you champion other leaders with their own style?
Wang: I embrace resourcefulness, innovation, and strong execution. Having one foot in nutraceuticals and another in technology, I am constantly learning new things—which is why I champion any leader who thinks outside of the box and offers alternative or supplemental strategies to well-established industry practices. These types of leaders will always have a place by my side.
WIN: What is the challenge you’d issue to the global nutraceutical industry when it comes to achieving gender equality?
Wang: I challenge the global nutraceutical industry to develop its existing female workforce into experienced business leaders. I also challenge the industry to diversify its idea tanks by taking on more women in management and C-suite roles. The nutraceuticals industry can only benefit from widening its pool of talent.