Since the very beginning, women have formed the backbone of the natural products industry but their vital contributions have sometimes been overlooked. This year's Natural Products Expo West will highlight the women of the industry with two events: a "Pioneering Women in the Natural Products Industry" seminar and the first Women In Naturals Networking Event. The goal of these events, open to all Expo West attendees, is to build community for women within the industry.
"Women have really been the heart and soul of the naturals industry over the years," says Susan Fecko, Expo West's education manager. "They've sometimes remained in the background and been less visible, but these two events are meant to celebrate how women have shaped the industry."
The "Pioneering Women" seminar will be held Saturday, March 25, at 4:30 p.m., with a panel discussion featuring women who have been instrumental in the development, growth and success of the natural products industry. They include Lynda LeMole, United Plant Savers' executive director; Janet Zand, L.Ac., OMD, co-founder of McZand Herbal and formulator of ZAND herbal formulas; Cheryl Hughes, owner of the California-based Whole Wheatery natural foods store; Cheryl Bottger, Western regional vice president of sales at Avalon Natural Products; Nancy Knudsen of the natural products marketing firm Natural Vitality; and Susan Haeger, vice president, New Hope Natural Media. These speakers will discuss the various changes to the industry over the years, the challenges they've faced and how they see the future. "I'd say we're all past male bashing and more about coming from our strengths as women and what we especially bring to our work worlds, and how this has shaped the natural industry. We are an industry all about health, nurturing, preservation and values," LeMole says. "Women bring a deep intuitive sense to the work world, and I have always benefited from talking with my fellow work sisters."
Following the discussion at 6 p.m., the Women In Naturals Networking Event will offer attendees and speakers an opportunity to meet and greet in the Anaheim Hilton, where wine and appetizers will be served and a presentation honoring women in the industry will be featured.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 2/p. 12