The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020


The company aims to celebrate female success within the corporate world in its upcoming edition “The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020.

Editor’s Desk

Seeing Business

through Hers


cross the globe, women are smashing the

Aglass ceiling with their determination and

resilience. With every passing year, we are

getting closer to the stage of parity between women

and men within the business world.

Today’s women business leaders are chartering

unknown territories fearlessly and unabashedly. Be it

in business, ecommerce, education, politics, investing,

travel, fashion, retail, fitness, hiring, and anything and

everything under the sun they are leading with

initiative and unconstrained enthusiasm to change the

world around them. They are setting benchmarks in

their chosen fields and making a difference with their

ideas, providing solutions that have never been

pursued, running successful ventures, fighting social

norms, and generating employment for many.

As Maya Angelou has said, “My mission in life is not

merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with

some passion, some compassion, some humour, and

some style.”

Each business woman is scripting her own success

story and Insights Success is bringing the journeys of

some of these dynamic women who are recognized for

successful business, leadership and entrepreneurship

across the world. The company aims to celebrate

female success within the corporate world in its

upcoming edition “The 10 Most Influential

Businesswomen to Follow in 2020”.

A true leader understands the needs of the

markets, and takes every action necessary to cope

up with the consumers requirements too. We

might have witnessed many great business

women, who shows exceptional traits and have

contributed for the betterment of their respective

organizations as well as community. Through a

quote, “life-fulfilling work is never about the

money- when you feel true passion for something

you instinctively find ways to nurture it” Clothing

designer and Founder of Eileen Fisher Inc, Eileen

Fisher states that a success is never defined by the

monetary assets but by the satisfaction one gains

from fulfilling his/her passion. With undivided

passion and strong determination anyone can

achieve his/her long term vision.

Bhushan Ghate

Let’s unveil such alike, inspiring stories and

interviews of many such passionate leaders in this

special edition and spread a word about their

contribution in making this world a better place.

Also, while flipping the pages, don’t forget to go

through the articles and CXOs written by our inhouse

editorial team and industry experts


Have a good read!


Catherine Pearce

Helping to Bring Promising

Medicines Forward


Laura Brandao

An Inuencer and Powerful

Mortgage Professional


Kim Vogel

A Visionary Revolutionizing the

Investment Management Sphere


Rhonda Vetere

A Gem in the Jewel of

Corporate Business


Siobhan Calderbank

Leadership and Talent

Development through

‘Her’ eyes


Shagun Malhotra

Enhancing the Month-End

Financial Close Process for

Mid-Size Companies



Sofia Fominova

Enabling Billions of People

to Smarter Food & Nutrition



Tina V. Murphy

Forging A Path

Amid Change


Integrated Approach

How to do your best

Work when you're not

Actually working!

Contents 2020




Women Impower

Dynamics of Women

Participation in the Everchanging

Modern Workforce


e Art of Leading

Attributes of a

Good Leader


Pooja M. Bansal

Managing Editor

Anish Miller

Executive Editor

Sourabh More

Assistant Editors

Jenny Fernandes

Bhushan Ghate


David King

Art & Design Director

Amol Kamble

Associate Designer

Kushagra Gupta


Asha Bange

Senior Sales Manager

Kshitij S

Business Development Manager

Andy Mitter

Marketing Manager

John Matthew

Sales Executives

Daniel, Ethan, Vishnu Vardan

Technical Head

Jacob Smile

Business Development Executives

Anish, Joe, Alan, Omkar

Technical Specialist


Digital Marketing Manager

Marry D'Souza

SME-SMO Executive

Prashant Chevale

Research Analyst

Frank Adams

Circulation Manager

Database Management Technology Consultant

Robert Brown Stella Andrew David Stokes

June, 2020

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Reprint rights remain solely with Insights Success.

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Helping to Bring Promising Medicines Forward

She is atalented drug-development professional, an

impeccable leader, and marketing expert. Meet

Catherine Pearce, DHSc, MBAChief Operating

Officer at CinRx, whose firm determination and passion

helped her in achieve many career milestones in the

pharmaceutical industry.

She has more than 20 years of experience in

pharmaceutical clinical development, business

development, and R&D at companies including Merck,

Ethicon and Medpace. Most recently, she served as the

Vice President of Research and Development for New

Therapeutic Entities (NTEs) at Teva, where she was

responsible for developing over 20 repurposed products

across multiple therapeutic areas.

Catherine has co-founded and assembled CinRx’s

talented leadership team that has submitted multiple New

Drug Applications (NDAs) throughout their careers,

overseen hundreds of Investigational New Drug (INDs)

applications, as well as Clinical Trial Applications

(CTAs), and Investigational Medicinal Product Dossiers

(IMPDs). Between the approximately 15 person team,

the group has published 36 patents and participated in

more than 2300 clinical trials which resulted in 50

approved therapeutics worldwide.

Into the Shoes of Catherine Pearce

Catherine started her career in sales and marketing with

Hoffman-LaRoche in 1997 and later with Merck, where

she launched cardiovascular products in hypertension

and lipid management. For 5 years, she served as

aClinical Project Director for Phase I-III global studies at

a CRO, Medpace, in a variety of therapeutic areas,

including cardiovascular, diabetes, nephrology and

neuropathic pain studies. She later started the Business

Development group in 2007, and subsequently left the

company in 2011 to pursue opportunities in life science

investment and device development at Ethicon (J&J).

In 2012, she joined Teva as Vice President, R&D, to lead

the medical assessments for the newly created New

Therapeutic Entities (NTE) team, a group responsible for

building a portfolio of drugs through repurposing generic

molecules. After successfully helping to add over 22

repurposed molecules to Teva’s R&D portfolio, she left

to co-found CinRx Pharma, LLC—a privately held

biotech company dedicated to drug development. Being

a Chief Operating Officer at CinRx, her daily

responsibilities include the overall management of the

company and its operations, business development,

strategic direction and planning, for CinRx and its

subsidiary organizations.

10 | JUNE 2020

Teachings worth Admiring

Catherine acknowledges one of her colleagues,

Dr. Jon Isaacsohn, a co-founder and CEO of

CinRx, as an influential mentor for over 20 years

in this industry. She states that through him, she

has been taught the underlying strategies for

good clinical trial design and execution, as well

as been encouraged to challenge herself

professionally. Personally, Catherine sees great

learnings growing up with a set of grandparents

who taught her that one doesn’t need an

education to leave a legacy of kindness that can

change people’s lives.

She describes herself that as a voracious reader

of all media, devoting a substantial time to

newspapers and journals daily, including her

favorite novels of the past several years which

have been memoirs. She thinks and believes that

learning about someone else’s journey and

seeing life from a different perspective is both

inspiring and humbling. She recalls her favorite

childhood book series “Valuetales” which had a

substantial positive impact on her. Each book

featured a notable scientist, inventor, or

historical figure that told the story of the

embodied value in their work. She made the

connection very early that the work is more than

just accomplishing a task, but an opportunity to

demonstrate your values and add meaning to

your life and others.



Chief Operating


Serving the Needs

Catherine states that in more than one previous

role, she needed to create her own job

description and department. Through quoting,

“Not having a roadmap, resources, or legacy

process necessitates creativity,” she implies that

when she started the Business Development

Department at Medpace, she didn’t try to copy

another system and implement a large-scale

JUNE 2020 | 11

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020

Advice to Rely On

“Develop good, healthy

physical, emotional, and

spiritual habits uniquely

right for you & balance

initiative on Day 1. Instead, she interviewed customers of

Medpace and got a sense of what they wanted to see from the

department and how the business might best serve their needs.

The slower, systematic, more targeted approach allowed her and

her team to set realistic goals and make necessary adjustments in

order to grow into an optimized department with the right tools

and people.

Embracing the Technology

will follow.”

She believes that even though technology is a great enabler, it can

also make people particularly lazy and create a “herd” mentality.

The key is not to use these tools as a replacement for the ground

work that can uncover novelty with scientists and other

innovators. She states that human relationships and having

conversations face-to-face can really help you piece together

seemingly disparate pieces of data which can spark a great idea.

Many times, people just simply don’t ask enough questions from

each other because they assume all the answers they need can be

“googled”. The biggest advantage she see to evolving technology

is to connect people faster, enabling any conversations.

Catherine firmly believes that with working

hard anyone can taste the fruitiness of success.

She advice every budding leaders to work hard

in order to build a team that possess different

traits. Maintain a culture of curiosity and go out

of your way to celebrate victories, both big and

small. “Do not assume that consulting

“experts” will be a key to success. I have found

that there are people with great, untapped ideas

that just have not been called upon,” mentions


She also suggests to be surrounded with the

people who are smart and will challenge you.

“Invite criticism and drop complacency,” she

adds. Most importantly, she ask such buds to

bring a sense of joy and humor to their work.

“Generally, I think people need to find their own

rhythms – and those will change over time.

Develop good, healthy physical, emotional, and

spiritual habits uniquely right for you and

balance will follow,” quotes Catherine.

CinRx’s Future through Catherine’s eyes

Catherine states that the short-term goals at

CinRx are to prove the value of the model. She

and her team believes that there is a better, more

efficient and cost-effective way to bring

meaningful medicines to patients. Within 5

years, they would like to have current CinRx

companies grown their respective pipelines with

additional in-license activities while also

establishing 1-2 NewCo’s every year in an

“evergreen” approach.

12 | JUNE 2020

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020



A Visionary Revolutionizing the

Investment Management Sphere

Meet an exceptional businesswomen whose unique approach and

endeavors have helped her achieve an influential stature. This avid

leader, Kim Vogel—Co-founder and President of BaseVenture,

has led her company to achieve many impressive milestones. She understands

the needs of clients and takes every measure to meet their requirements and

elevate their business objectives.

BaseVenture is a cloud-based software company in the investment management

space. It develops innovative solutions in the areas of financial reporting, data

visualization and process management. Beyond founding and building

BaseVenture, Kim held executive positions in multiple large tech and finance

companies, worked as a certified public accountant and taught as a professor at

Saint Mary’s College where she currently serves as a member on the Board of

Trustees. She also has an MBA from Harvard Business School along with

decades of experience working to grow and monetize companies.

Kim recently spearheaded the sale of BaseVenture to Fidelity Information

Services (NYSE: FIS), a fortune 500 public company, accelerating the

Company’s vision to digitize the back office of worldwide investment

operations. Its employees have amazing new opportunities and the platform will

reach more customers than we could have ever imagined. “It truly was a great

transaction and we couldn’t be more pleased,” says Kim.

Balancing Professional Life and Personal Fulfillment

Kim confesses that work life balance is always a challenge and something she is

constantly juggling with to try to ensure that she is not tipping the scale too far

in any direction. With a seventeen year old daughter and a five year old son,

there are a lot of demands that unfold daily. First and foremost the biggest

enjoyment she has in life is being a mother. She reminds herself every day that

she has worked so hard to achieve what she has so that she can ensure that she

has flexibility in her schedule to be an active part of whatever her children are

experiencing. Kim believes that balancing becomes much easier when priorities

are clear. “My priorities couldn’t be clearer, my children come first.”

Expect the Unexpected

One of Kim’s biggest setbacks occurred early on in her career for which she is

thankful. She was laid off at 23 years old from her very first professional

14 | JUNE 2020

JUNE 2020 | 15

“Success takes a passion for

controlled risk taking, bold

decision making and a desire

to build kick-ass teams.”

position along with half of the office but she still took it

personally. She quickly landed another position with better

pay and more time on her hands which gave her the

opportunity to apply to Harvard Business School. She

doesn’t believe she would have ever applied if she hadn’t

been laid off given the grueling hours of public accounting.

It was a complete game changer in her life. HBS

completely transformed her career path, exposing her to

things that she would have never thought possible. She

learned to live by the belief that “Setbacks are shortcuts to

our ultimate goals, if we allow them to be”.

A Lookout for the Future

Kim truly believes, we get out of life what we put into it,

and we are all co-creators of our own respective destinies.

With that being said, there is still a lot of work to do. Her

life journey continues to be a work in progress and she feels

that there is so much yet to see, experience, and


She firmly thinks that a key characteristic of successful

people is the love of learning and never feeling one has

achieved all they have desired. There is so much to

experience and do in this world. “There is an endless supply

of next steps,” says Kim. She is really proud of what she has

accomplished but she also hopes that she never feels like

she has accomplished enough. After one big

accomplishment or meeting a goal, it is merely time to start

thinking about and exploring the next challenge, it is the

foundation for building on repeatable success.

and benefits are received,” says Kim. “So much of the hard

work has to be done early in life while the benefits and

paybacks come down the road. I worry about the young

adults in my family. I see how so much of their future

depends on the decisions they are making in their late teens

and early twenties. Those foundational years are pivotal

and working hard early on sets the path for life. I still work

hard, don’t get me wrong. Still too many hours however I

also spend time looking around at what I have, the

relationships that surround me and most of all the flexibility

I have and constantly pat myself on the back knowing that

this only exists because of all the hard work I did decades,”

she adds.

Advice to Rely On

Kim advises that one must not feel that he/she has to do it

all by himself/herself. She admits that her most successful

ventures were achieved with a strong partner and together

building out strong teams. She modifies the age old saying,

“It takes a village to build a successful family and a

successful company,” and therefore cautions that one should

always seek out the best and brightest people to work with.

Complacency and stagnancy scares Kim, she never ever

wants to stop moving and growing. The list of things Kim

wants to do and learn is quite long. Surrounding herself

with brilliant and driven people provides consistent

inspiration and rejuvenation whenever needed.

It is easy to be allured and feels comfortable to work with

people that are similar. Kim feels that this can be

detrimental. Success in partnership comes from everyone

bringing their differences and uniqueness to the table,

having very different skills is what makes success in

business complementary. She enjoys bringing valuable

insights to the table while also knowing that she does not

have to be a master of all things. When she looks back over

the three companies she built, she realizes a solid partner is

what initially attracted her to each one and building a

diverse team is what made each of them successful. All

three of these companies were technology companies, all

with products based on engineering code and for better or

worse she can’t read or write a single stitch of code. She is

fascinated with the productivity, utility and efficiency that

technology brings and adds her part to the development

process and shapes her companies by focusing on

these facets.

Now that she is older, she tries to spend a bit of time

acknowledging how her hard work has paid off. “I think one

of my biggest realizations is how the timing around the

work we do ISN’T closely aligned with when the rewards

16 | JUNE 2020





Maintaining a personal and professional life balance

Tessa Clarke

Co-founder & CEO


In my role as chief evangeliser for OLIO – the

world’s only neighbour-to-neighbour food sharing

app – I speak about our work and journey at a lot

of events. And without fail I’m almost always asked

something along the lines of “How do you juggle

having a family with a start-up?” Whilst this is an

extremely valid question – and it touches on a topic

that’s very close to my heart, it really frustrates me

because I never hear the same question levelled at male

peers. As a result, this seemingly innocuous question is

laden with an enormous amount of gender bias,

generally to the exclusion of men. I would suggest that

if we want to achieve a fulfilled balanced life for all –

male and female – we have to ensure that we’re all

participating in this debate about work/life balance, and

that inclusivity needs to be the starting point.

Another challenge in this area is, funnily enough,

the gender bias experienced by men who choose to

be the “stay at home Dad”! Several years ago my

husband and I decided that given our respective

career paths and motivations in life, it made

sense for me to be the “bread winner” and for

him to look after our two kids and home,

whilst developing property in his remaining

time. This has given me the flexibility to

pursue the opportunities for OLIO with full

vigour, and has been absolutely invaluable in

terms of helping me to achieve a balanced

life. However, sadly, my husband

experiences more than the occasional

disparaging passing comment and has even

been asked “When are you going to get a

proper job?” Thankfully he has no self-

18 | JUNE 2020

Integrated Approach

esteem issues, and thinks he has the best job in the world!

But I highly doubt that in this day and age anyone would

ever dare say this to a woman; and so why to a man? If

women are to be truly equal in the workplace – and to

achieve a balanced life, then we need to adjust our

perceptions of what it means to be a male in a modern

society, and accept that this will require men to taking on an

increasingly prominent role in the delivery of childcare –

which is to the benefit of all involved, not least the children!

Gender issues aside, I spend a considerable amount of

mental energy working towards achieving a ‘balanced life’.

I prefer the terminology of a ‘balanced life’ rather than

‘work/life balance’, because when you’re an entrepreneur

(and especially an entrepreneur working from home), the

two can become very mixed! And to suggest that ‘work’

and ‘life’ are the antithesis of one another surely isn’t what

we should aspire to. In the very early days of setting up

OLIO, it was pretty much impossible to lead a balanced life

because we had to achieve so much, in so little time, and

with virtually no resources. As we’ve grown the business

and the team however, both Saasha my Co-Founder and I

have achieved a much more balanced life – which is

important, because the start-up journey is a series of

marathons, not a sprint, and so it’s essential to avoid

burnout. We find that working predominantly from home is

extremely helpful in achieving balance (5-10 hours per

week gained back through not having to commute!), and we

both carve out time during our working days to exercise. In

the early days we used to feel quite guilty about exercising

when we ‘should’ be working, but now we recognise that if

we’re to perform at our best then we need to be mentally

and physically fit and exercise is absolutely critical for this.

Plus, I find that I have many of my best insights and

inspirations for OLIO when working out, so it really is

killing two birds with one stone!

As well as working towards a balanced life for ourselves,

we’ve really baked this into the DNA of the company too.

And this has manifested itself in a couple of important

company policies. The first is our holiday policy – we have

no cap on the number of day’s holiday an employee can

take; however we do have a minimum and insist that

everybody has at least 20 days off. This is because we saw

research from other companies who had adopted a limitless

holidays policy, and it actually showed that the number of

days worked by employees increased, not decreased! We

also think it’s really important for the team to have a

collective break over the Christmas holidays so everyone

can really relax, confident in the knowledge that their email

inbox isn’t rapidly filling up! We also ensure that in every

employee’s induction, we talk about the importance of a

balanced life, and in our line manager training, we stress

that the line manager is responsible for working with their

direct reports to ensure that they are achieving a balanced

life. What this means is that on a day to day basis our team

chat will often show someone walking the dog at mid-day,

someone else with their kids at 3pm and others heading off

to swim or yoga. Each team member is responsible for

ensuring that their work is done, according to whatever

schedule best suits them, and as a result, we have an

incredibly motivated and productive team, the majority of

who say that working for OLIO is the best job they’ve ever

had! If you aren’t already talking about how you can

achieve a balanced life as individuals and as a company,

then I can highly recommend spending some time on it, as

the rewards will be enormous!


Tessa Clarke is the Co-founder and CEO of

OLIO, a free app tackling the problem of

food waste by connecting neighbours with

each other, and volunteers with local

businesses, so that surplus food can be

shared, not thrown away. Since its inception

in 2016, 850,000 people have joined OLIO

and have together shared over 1.2 million

portions of food.

OLIO also publishes,

a website and newsletter that aggregates all

the best zero waste news from around the

world. Prior to founding OLIO, Tessa spent

10 years as a digital Managing Director in

the media, retail and financial services

sectors, and gained her MBA from Stanford.

Tessa is passionate about the sharing

economy as a solution for a sustainable

world, and is equally passionate about the

importance of leading a ‘balanced life’.

JUNE 2020 | 19

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020


An Influencer and Powerful

Mortgage Professional

Imagine being able to build a stronger book of

business than ever before, simultaneously working

more efficiently. Yes, it is possible, thanks to

Laura Brandao- President and Partner at AFR

Wholesale. For over 12 years, Laura has been the

driving force catapulting AFR Wholesale to the top of

Manufactured Home, One-Time Close, and

Renovation lending. Growing AFR into a national

leader in specialized programs, she stays connected to

the clients and families she serves, allowing her to

develop new products based on market demand,

including VA renovation, USDA repair escrow, and a

full suite of One-Time Close Construction-to-

Permanent programs. Under her leadership, AFR

remains on the cutting edge of technology with

mobile-friendly applications that cohesively integrate

AFR with the borrower, Realtor, and broker.

The biggest thing that Laura has learned is that if you

go into every situation with no preconceived notions or

expectations, you can do ANYTHING! She feels that

as humans, we often create our own fears or cause our

own let downs, because things don’t turn out exactly

the way we expected them to. But by realizing that you

are doing it to experience something new, there is no

possible way to be let down, because as long as she did

something for the first time -SHE WON!

Opportunity- Building Wholesale Business

When Laura was a young mom, she needed to find a

job she could do in the evening after her husband got

home from work. At that time, that meant

telemarketing. She was propelled into the industry

because her first job was making calls for Champion

Mortgage explaining to borrowers how to refinance.

You remember, “when your bank says no, Champion

says yes.” Turns out she had a knack for explaining the

benefits of refinancing, and moved up quickly to


After a few years running the call center, her boys were out of

diapers and Laura was ready to make the leap to working

fulltime, during the day. Naturally, she went to work for a

mortgage company. She quickly recognized that the company

did not have a strong operations team, so Laura taught herself

everything she could about how to process loans. She climbed

to COO of People’s Mortgage, while still in her 20s.

Fast forward to the market crash of 2007. Laura Brandao had

worked for a few mortgage companies since her telemarketing

days and was looking for a new opportunity. AFR Chairman

Rich Dubno ffwas looking to start a wholesale division. He

provided Laura the opportunity to build the wholesale business

from the ground up, and at that time, there were a lot of great

mortgage professionals out of a job. So, she did exactly what

was needed to be done. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Striking the Working Balance

Laura Brandao is living proof of the adage, “if you love what

you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” She LOVE’s

what she does! She loves the people she works with, the

company’s clients, and the families they are helping to bring

home. When the company opened an office in Arizona was

when Laura recognized just how important it is to strike a

working balance between your personal and professional life.

She realized you do need to take time to recharge – everyone

does. Her husband and herself now spend winters in Arizona to

break habits and reset. Her motivation is renewed in the fresh

air and sunshine, and she can work out of AFR’s regional office

in Scottsdale.

Laura feels blessed by the life she has. She is grateful for what

she has built, and that at this point in her career, she needs less

time tied to a desk to be an effective leader.

Recent Accolades

Among her many recent accolades, Laura was named a “Best

50 Women in Business” by NJBIZ in 2019, a HousingWire

“Women of Influence” in 2018 and 2019, and one of

22 | JUNE 2020

“Don’t shy away from

new opportuni es, in

business or your personal

life. I encourage all of you

to “Say YES every day!”

Laura Brandao


“Mortgage Banking’s Most Powerful

Women” by National Mortgage

Professional in 2018 and 2019. Laura

was also one of Mortgage Professional

America’s “Hot 100 Mortgage

Professionals” in 2017, and an “Elite

Women of Mortgage” in 2014, 2016,

and again in 2017.

She is also actively engaged with many

industry organizations, including the

Association of Independent Mortgage

Experts (AIME), and is a sought-after

speaker, moderator, and panelist.

Stay Learning and Listening

“Emerging business leaders should

remember that continuous education is

key. Continually feed your brain to stay

fresh in your skills and broaden your

perspective. Get out of the office and

meet your customers and connect with

your team. Stay learning and listening

to make better decisions. Leadership

should never become routine. You have

to keep working at it. You are never

finished, you are never done, and you

should never stop putting people first,”

says Laura.

Empowering Other Women

Not only has the ‘glass ceiling’ been

shattered at AFR, but women account

for more than half of all AFR

employees up to and including the vice

president level. Women do not want to

hide in the shadows anymore, and each

year more organizations are

recognizing that they need to support,

and empower women, or be left


The AIME (Association of

Independent Mortgage Experts)

Women’s Mortgage Network, for

example, is a community for women in

the wholesale mortgage industry to

influence conversations between

industry leaders and wholesale

mortgage professionals across all

levels. The group offers a place to

discuss industry topics, celebrate

career accomplishments, share

personal experiences, insights, and

resources. Also, the upcoming Annual

Regional Conference of MBAs

(Mortgage Bankers Associations) will

host its first-ever Women’s Event!

Developed for and by women, this

event promises to engage, empower,

and provide value to all who attend.

Laura is actively trying to empower

other women to pave the way; teaching

them that by uniting, she says, “we can

all succeed together. No one can limit

you, except you. And, there is strength

in numbers.”

It’s a new decade, a decade of doers. I

want to leave a legacy that the

mortgage industry is not just for men

anymore. Boys club be gone!

JUNE 2020 | 23

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020

Meet Rhonda Vetere, a twotime

author as well as a

global C-suite leader, who

has exceptionally

contributed in the evolution

of business sector and

inspired many budding

personalities out there.

Moreover, she is an also a

two time author and a true

Corporate Athlete.



A Gem in the Jewel of Corporate Business

24 | JUNE 2020

She has been also recognized as one of Most Powerful Women in Technology

along with a two-time author, irrespective of spearheading corporate initiatives

around the world, competing in another IRONMAN 70.3 mile triathlon, or

mentoring students & athletes globally in STEM through sports.

Insights Success admire Rhonda’s commitment to work and takes pride in

featuring such leaders in its special edition, “The 10 Most Influential

Businesswomen to Follow in 2020.” In the interview, Rhonda expresses her

journey which portrays application of her unique ideologies.

Into the Glimpse of Rhonda’s Life

Rhonda Vetere is globally renowned C-Suite leader, passionate global technology

icon, two-time author, and corporate athlete. She is also known for being a

change agent, digital transformation leader, global leader. Rhonda Vetere has

worked across industries as a global executive and change agent at Herbalife

Nutrition, Santander Bank, Pamplona Capital Management PE, Estée Lauder

Companies, AIG, HP Enterprise Services, Barclays / Lehman, Bank One /

JPMorgan Chase, CompuServe, UUNET, MCI, and Worldcom. A two-time

author, Vetere first co-wrote the HP special edition book, Enterprise Service

Management for Dummies. Her second book, Grit & Grind, was published in

2019. She has lived and worked internationally – in New York, Hong Kong,

Singapore, London, Mumbai, and across India – and has managed teams of up to

20,000 people. Her role at Estée Lauder Companies included global leadership

across 162 countries and running the technology & operations team. She

spearheaded the transformation of the IT capabilities foundation into a digital

environment at record industry pace, without business disruption, around the

world – while saving $28 million a year. A dynamic leader both at work and play,

Vetere is constantly training for and competing in events – over 70 races so far,

including triathlons, halfmarathons, marathons, and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlons

(single-day races that consist of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bicycle ride, and a

marathon 13.1-mile run). In 2018, Rhonda participated in the first-ever womenonly

run across the Serengeti wilderness, and she returned in 2019 to do it again

— all 55 miles. Rhonda is a member of the New York Road Runners (NYRR)

and Winged Foot Golf Club, and encourages her friends and associates to pursue

active, healthy lifestyles as an integral part of career success and improving


Below are the highlights of the interview:

What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted


My Mom is the largest impact in my life, growing up as an only child and

watching her work two jobs impacted me. I knew at an early age I wanted to

make this world a better place and bring unity and strong bonds in my life. Also,

not seeing a lot of female mentors growing up in the business world, inspired me

to push myself stronger to make this world a better place and be a role model for

others. My best friend, I have known since I was three years old and I believe

heavily in strong relationships in life.

JUNE 2020 | 25

What are some of the vital attributes, in

your opinion, that every leader should


The ten principles in my Grit and Grind

Book. Listen, Treat everyone with respect

and how you would like to be treated,

openly communicate, be humble and learn

every day. Be a servant leader daily.

How do you maintain balance between

your professional & personal life?

Managing large global teams throughout my

career, I use triathlons as my outlet and my

workout time to think without technology in

front of me.

As a Director and leader, describe a

challenge you overcame.

As a leader, I overcame being one of the

youngest, female Managing Directors in the

Finance Sector in my career- I didn’t know

it at the time but it was told to me several

times 20 years ago and I didn’t realize what

that meant at the time.

Do you think women feel intimidated in


This is coming to light more and more with

the world events- in my career, I haven’t felt

intimidated and have been true to myself.

However, I do think this is a hot topic now

that I am reflecting on how to help others


Is there anything you wish you had done


I hoped to start a global mentoring program

formally earlier for the technology Industry.

What specific advice would you have for

young women who would like to become

an entrepreneur?

I would like to advice many upcoming

leaders that, Don’t give up, get a mentor and

don’t lose sight of your dream, surround

yourself with people that prop you up and

not tear you down.

26 | JUNE 2020

Open, transparent,

over communicate,

learning and

putting myself in

others shoes.

JUNE 2020 | 27

Dynamics of

Participation in the Ever-changing

Modern Workforce

28 | JUNE 2020

Women Impower

Gone are the days when women were stereotyped to

a certain set of skills and professions, restricting

them from exploring the world of endless

opportunities. Today, women have announced their arrival

in many fields of the business world. Therefore, it seems

more important than ever before to recognize female

contributions in every profession.

Fighting through biased work culture in favour of male

dominance, women have conquered the unconquered on the

account of their distinct calibre and predilections. In the

times when the world female participation rate is to the

dispiriting levels of around 67% and pay-off rate of about

63%, achievements by women go-getters are praiseworthy.

Listening capabilities is one of the

distinguishing aspects of feminine species as compared to

their male counterparts. Instilling and pursuing ones

thoughts is undoubtedly important for effective working.

But being a better listener is something that can make a

difference as studies show that the customer values and

trusts the firms if they perceive that they are being listened

to by the firms. With inherent caring and affectionate traits,

women outclass men when it comes to understanding

critical demands of the customers.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) - the ability to identify and

manage one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of

others - is an essential skill when it comes to dealing with a

diverse class of consumers. Women are naturally gifted

with higher EI making them better suited for pressure

situations and avoiding counter-productive decisions while

keeping emotions in check.

Emotional Intelligence encompasses two major dimensions

– awareness of one’s self and awareness of others. Both the

attributes are very much significant for the survival and

success of any organisation. Self-awareness involves being

familiar with trigger points and behavioural traits when put

to the test. This, in turn, helps to modulate impulses

avoiding conclusions which are harmful for the welfare of

business. In addition to self-awareness, an awareness of

others is equally critical in business. Analysing and

decoding non-verbal communication – that amounts to 93%

of the message – eventually benefits in convincing and

converting a lead into a client.

Collaboration, and not the cutthroat competition, is the

modern era’s principle virtue to achieve success. Many

endeavours which seem to be beyond the bounds of

possibility can be attained by combining efforts from

different resources, channels and departments. Further,

collaborating products with consumer experience are

enormously important. It leads to crafting the best solutions

for customer’s pain points and compelling value

propositions that reflect their overall business objectives.

Multiple studies have found that women prefer to work in

teams, while men prefer to work alone. An unfaltering

affinity towards collaboration primes women to garner

success in different fields of business which gives them an

edge over others.

Increased profitability can be a motivating factor for many

firms to hire more pool of female talents as many studies

support the fact. Statistical research shows that Fortune 500

companies with the highest representation of women on

boards financially outperform companies with the lowest

representation of women on boards. Moreover, genderdiverse

teams have higher sales and profits compared to

male-dominated teams, and a recent Gallup study found

that gender-diverse business units have higher average

revenue than less diverse business units.

Trust over female leaders is an attribute which needs to be

reciprocated while making the choice. More American

workers perceive female executives as honest and ethical

than male executives. Pew’s “Women and Leadership”

surveyed Americans in 2015 and found that 34% say

women are better at this, while only 3% say men are better

at it (64% say there’s no difference).

While it’s unclear whether this means women are actually

more honest, it’s a subtle reminder of how tangled some

business decisions can be. Leaders are often tasked with

choosing between options that aren’t black and white,

ethically speaking, and the capacity to lead honestly is

important to the entire company’s success and job


Not to mention, increased job satisfaction and

organizational dedication to cite positive and meaningful

business culture are the added advantages feminine

employees carry to the organisation.

However, the journey is not all merry go round every time.

Hindrances – seen, unseen – are there to check the

unrelenting zeal of women aspirants to thrive in the

industry. These obstructions need to be pointed out and

rectified to create an environment that fuels women


JUNE 2020 | 29

Lack of confidence, according to many experts, is one

prime reason women tend to question themselves and doubt

their worthiness. In order to advance, they must coach their

inner critics.

Out-speak and define what women want professionally if

they want to get succeeded. Too often they don’t know or

rely upon others to define it for them.

“Building relationships with those in positions of

leadership is critical,” Susan Brady, executive vice

president of Linkage Inc. says. “Put down the to-do list long

enough to connect with decision makers across the

organization, and help them understand who you are and

what you bring to the table.”

Women are generally uneasy about asking for what they

want. They must stop thinking about what they need as a

self-serving request. They must develop the courage and

fortitude to stand up and ask for what they want.

While proving value, women tend to overcompensate in

order to demonstrate that they are adding value. Instead

of doing it all alone, change the paradigm and track to

encourage others to take on more responsibility, thus

enabling them to scale and multiply their own impact.

Not to forget, biased work culture and regional

barriers are the crucial obstacles in the road of women

work participation. But, today women are breaking these

shackles and coming out boldly to be a part of economic

processes shouldering their male counterparts.

There has been obvious progress in achieving gender

equality around the world over the past two decades:

more girls are attending school, more women are

working and are being elected to public offices, more

women hold management positions, and the situation

involving women’s legal as well as social rights have

also improved.

However, a great deal still remains to be done to achieve

equal outcomes for women and men. Recognizing

women’s abilities, the values they bring to the

organisation, the transformation they achieve as far as

work environment is concerned, and considering

monetary benefits associated with the female work

participation, corporate sector need to welcome their

emergence with open arms. No future is far where maledominated

workplaces will be a tale of extinct,

we believe.

30 | JUNE 2020

32 | JUNE 2020



Enhancing the Month-End Financial

Close Process for Mid-Size Companies

Closing the books, reconciling accounts and performing flux analysis are

essential activities for every corporation. Failing to close properly and

efficiently can put organizations at a competitive disadvantage and

potentially run into regulatory and compliance issues. Mid-sized companies, in

particular, are challenged with having to manage complex operations, close quickly

and report accurate numbers, often with a lean accounting team. The task of closing

each month produces as much administrative work as strategic work, forcing limited

resources to focus on manual and low-value activities in addition to high-value work.

To overcome this set of challenges, Shagun Malhotra, the Founder and CEO of

SkyStem, built ART – a SaaS solution that automates month-end close, from

managing close checklists and reconciling accounts, to performing flux or variance


In an interview with Insights Success, Shagun Malhotra sheds light on the

remarkable benefits of the unique platform and also recalls the interesting story

behind the inception of the organization.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Can you give a brief overview of your background and role at SkyStem?

I started my career in the travel and hospitality industry, and through my experience

in audit and investigative accounting, I ultimately fell in love with the world of audit,

JUNE 2020 | 33

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020

controls, and the accounting process. I was asked by a troubled financial

services giant to lead the year-long remediation effort due to a failed

regulatory audit. This happened due to broken controls around the month

end process. After a year of arduous work, long hours and team work, we

were able to deliver a clean audit and retain the banking license.

Due to various projects and being immersed in the accounting world, I

knew firsthand the multitude of problems and risks accountants face when

employing manual methods to close the books and complete

reconciliations. Whether it's a large corporation or a small company,

closing and reconciling is part of the routine function in the accounting

department. I also realized that existing platforms with automation in this

area were barely existent, priced quite high, and often beyond reach for

mid-sized companies.

Mid-sized companies are often operationally complex, and can benefit

from automation during the close, but lack the excess capacity and

resources to make a large investment and undergo a multi-month

implementation. This motivated me to found SkyStem, a SaaS provider

aimed to create an affordably priced solution to help automate the monthend

close and reconciliation process. SkyStem's flagship solution, ART,

was brought to the market shortly after.

“We love our customers;

they are the basis of our

company ensuring ART

always feels custom made

just for them.”

What people, what books, what life

factors have influenced and impacted


My parents have always been a crucial

part of my life, I come from a family of

hard workers and problem solvers. They

are very supportive and loving people

who have modeled me into a successful

and strong woman. My father started

life as a refugee and eventually was able

to live his dreams despite all the

obstacles that he faced. He started his

own business with a wife and two kids

– believing that anything is possible.

Years later we have enjoyed living in

various countries, went to prestigious

schools and have been given the tools to

expand and grow our own lives. There

are so many books that have influenced

my life such as Fountainhead by Ayn

Rand and Daring Greatly by Brené

Brown. Each have themes of standing

by your convictions even when others

are not on your side and being able to

be vulnerable to allow growth to take


What is your vision for SkyStem for

the next five years?

Accounting is filled with so many micro

processes and tasks and there has

always been limited focus on the small

things that make the accounting world

tick. I would like to continue to build

and refine our current product to mirror

what our customers need. As we

continue to acquire customers, I am

always amazed at, and grateful for, how

many great ideas are delivered to us by

them. Continuing to inject intelligence

into our tool will enable our customers

to do more with less and we want that

vision to be a constant focal point.

What are some of the vital attributes,

in your opinion, that every leader

should possess?

34 | JUNE 2020

There are all kinds of leaders that have proven success so

I don’t believe there are a few magical attributes that

make it happen. However, in my opinion it is important

to have passion, patience and a strong commitment to

customers and colleagues who make the vision a reality.

No business can be built alone and it is necessary to

always remember that.

How do you maintain balance between your

professional and personal life?

Make exercise a must do not a should do. I take a 6am

yoga class every morning, it’s a great mind and body

exercise. Yoga sets a positive tone for the rest of my day,

I feel like I can tackle anything afterwards. A healthy

body means a fresh mind, which means you’ll function

better overall. I’m also an avid traveler, I’ve traveled all

over the world and ensure I make time for taking

multiple trips a year with my friends and family.

Keeping things in perspective gives one the tools to be

able to focus on the important things in the business and

not get too derailed by the challenges and setbacks that

are faced as a usual part of business.

As a leader, describe a challenge you overcame?

Being a female pursuing a start up in a male dominated

industry has been a tough journey. The imbalance is very

evident, but I feel lucky to have stayed our course even

with these challenges. This has led me to become a

different type of entrepreneur. SkyStem consists of a

majority of diverse women in all departments. With this

diversity, SkyStem has created several powerful and

vibrant marketing campaigns to reflect the female mind.

I make a conscious effort to continually include

outstanding women on my team and have always

encouraged women to take on growth-oriented roles

regardless of the industry. I aim to put a dent in the

gender imbalance in the finance and tech industry and

have also been an advocate for minority women in the

workplace. As a minority woman myself, I personally

understand this issue by seeing it through my own

experiences as an auditor.

initiatives to afford women the opportunities in areas

that have not been common. Mentoring young women

who are on the path of entrepreneurship or set out to

accomplish their dreams is something that would be

very rewarding.

How do you sustain your entrepreneurial and

leadership spirit in this changing technological era?

Strategic vision, commitment to innovation, and a

progressive leadership approach has been essential to

the success of SkyStem. My personal involvement in

many aspects of entrepreneurship, such as being a

member of a Department of State panel for women

entrepreneurship and being a judge for the New York

City Business Plan competition, has made me a known

leader in the community. Through these programs I

meet and mentor women entrepreneurs to motivate

them to strive for their dreams. By maintaining a

progressive leadership philosophy and involvement in

every department, women at the company have

excelled in their roles and have learned firsthand what

it takes to run a company. I’ve also encourage my

employees to take classes that will enable their career

success and to strive for their passion. This has not

only directly impacted the customer experience

through frequent touch points, but also that of

SkyStem’s employees.

What advice would you like to give to the emerging

business leaders?

You can’t do it all. Focus on your strengths and hire

qualified people to do the rest.


Headquartered in the heart of New York City,

SkyStem’s flagship solution, ART helps CFOs and

Controllers shorten the month-end close by automating

balance sheet reconciliations, managing month-end

tasks and performing flux analysis.

Learn more at

What one thing, more than anything else, do you

want to accomplish in your career?

Being known as a leader in the financial software space

would be a great start. The primary reason for that is to

be able to use that platform to get involved in women’s

JUNE 2020 | 35

n an interview with Insights Success, Siobhan Calderbank, an experienced

IDirector of Talent Management at LCBO, shares her leadership insights,

personal journey, career challenges and passion for learning. In parallel to

her key role in the organization, she is also a keynote speaker, recognized

Learning Leader, consultant, and award-winning author.

In this very issue entitled, “The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in

2020”, Insights Success takes pride in featuring such an avid personality.

A brief about Siobhan

Siobhan has over 20 years of progressive experience in transforming businesses,

leading change and developing leaders. She has spoken to diverse groups and

thousands of people from 71 countries at conferences, events, seminars, and

planning sessions to motivate individuals to work more collaboratively.

Siobhan is a Universal Women's Network 2019 Women of Inspiration Award

recipient for Diversity & Inclusiveness. She is the Founder of Butterfly Ladies – a

Mentoring Program committed to helping develop the careers of women and

youth, especially visible minorities. She was also voted Top 10 Finalist for

Women Entrepreneur’s 2019 Inspirational Female Entrepreneur.

At LCBO, Siobhan focuses on talent development, learning, change management,

and diversity and inclusion. As an advocate of change, she has integrated change

management strategies with learning and developed a 4-step process to increase

engagement, innovation, performance and resilience of people during times of

disruptive change.



Leadership and Talent Development through 'Her' eyes

38 | JUNE 2020

Siobhan Calderbank

Director of Talent



JUNE 2020 | 39

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020

Below are highlights of the interview:

What people, what books, what life factors have

influenced and impacted you?

I have been fortunate to have many great coaches and

mentors such as Priscilla Fraser, Gregg Brown and JT Foxx

that have shown me how to adjust my approach to become

a better leader and to embrace mistakes. My friends and

family members have been a huge support network in my

life, especially during challenging times of a divorce and

being a single parent. My husband, Chris, has been one of

my biggest advocates and constantly encourages me to


Books such as “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek and

“Becoming” by Michelle Obama have provided clarity on

knowing my purpose and have inspired me to not silence

my voice, but rather to tell my story. As I reflect on my life,

my greatest teacher has been my mom. She overcame

adversity coming to Canada from Trinidad at 17 years old

and became a college professor. She taught me to be

grateful for what I have, to always do my best even if I

think no one is watching, and that my words are powerful -

so always speak positively with purpose and intention.

What is your vision for your role at the LCBO for the

next five years?

Over the next five years, I envision the Director of Talent

Management role to evolve learning, talent and change

strategies to further increase employee engagement. Selfservice

learning options could be expanded to improve

onboarding, overall leadership, skill development, and

enhance customer service experience. I also see the

integration of artificial intelligence technology with

learning to identify and develop key talent to fill the

succession pipeline. Lastly, I envision the expansion of the

LCBO's diversity, inclusion and belongingness initiatives.

As a keynote business speaker, what are some of the

vital attributes that every leader should possess?

One of the most vital attributes of a leader is effective

communication and the ability to express commitment to

their vision in a way that is compelling enough to inspire

others to act. Having the courage to be authentic and show

vulnerability is also critical for a leader. Lastly, a leader

needs to show empathy, compassion and respect to others.

This is especially important during uncertain times, when

people look to leaders for understanding and to demonstrate

resiliency while navigating disruptive change.

40 | JUNE 2020

How do you maintain balance between your professional

& personal life?

Maintaining balance can be challenging, especially when

you have children who demand your time and competing

work deadlines. I prioritize the most important tasks such as

spending time with my family, meditation and personal

development. Time management skills and having

supportive people in my life are key to maintaining balance

and remaining centred.

As a Director and leader, describe a challenge you


Being a female leader can be challenging when attempting

to express your opinions in a room filled with men. The

desire to be assertive, engaging and influential is more

difficult for me since I'm an introvert. However, I remind

myself that being introverted in no way means I should

silence my voice, but rather focus on the value I bring and

that we all have a right to be heard. To break down barriers,

stereotypes and biases, I remain committed to change and

confidently state my views, even when I am nervous, to be

seen as a role model for others.


What one thing, more than anything else, do you want

to accomplish in your career?

To be able to help accelerate the advancement of women in

the workplace. We still have a long way to go and are

making progress with the help of men advocating for

change. The most successful organizations recognize

through simple changes to their approach to attracting and

developing talent, they can engage women and all

employees to thrive and reach their full potential, thus

cultivating an environment in which everyone can succeed.

How do you sustain your entrepreneurial/leadership

spirit in this changing technological era?

I am constantly seeking new opportunities to learn, develop

myself and help lead others to do the same. For some

“ Be a catalyst for

change by taking

consistent and

persistent action

towards a vision to

help others learn,

live and lead.

people, change can be challenging. However, embracing

technology allows me to find new ways to be productive,

collaborate with others and develop better processes to

enable learning and enhance engagement.

What advice would you like to give to the emerging

business leaders?

Make sure that you have a mentor, a coach and a sponsor to

help propel your career forward. A mentor will provide the

guidance you need as you move up in your career and

encounter new experiences. A coach will offer suggestions

to adjust your leadership approach and help you build

critical skills. However, a sponsor will advocate for you in

the boardroom with their peers and highlight your

contributions so that you get noticed. All three of these

individuals play a vital role in your career development and


JUNE 2020 | 41


of a Good


44 | JUNE 2020

The Art of Leading

Leadership is about using the

power of a position to

empower a group of people in

order to attain a common goal. A

leader’s task is to implement the plans

that usually look good on paper,

through a delegated team, in a specific

time with an ongoing motion. She/he

may use the traditional method or may

think out of the box. It depends on the

leader as how to do it; the ultimate

motive is to get the job done.

Although, each and every individual

has a different approach on leadership,

some might say it is about setting

examples, some might say it is about

sharing the authority; what matters is,

taking the right decision when it is

most needed.

Leadership varies from one

organization to another. An

organization is a dynamic body and

creates new probabilities every now

and then. And with new probabilities,

come new challenges.

Although, it is impossible to overcome

every challenge, the business

environment has adopted certain

leadership styles for the efficiency of


The Participative Leader

Participative Leadership is the process

of sharing authority with the work

force in order to get optimum

efficiency. The team, after getting

access to certain powers, works

responsibly to accomplish the goals set

by its leader. The shared leadership

also helps in case of any requirement

of change, as the employees adapt

quickly in such environment.

Incidentally, this style of leadership fits

best in a scenario when there is a

limitation of time.

The Transformational Leader

A transformational leader inspires the

team through effective communication

and an intellectual environment.

However, these individuals require

more detail oriented managers to

successfully implement their strategies.

Transformational Leadership is

considered among the most effective

employees of the organization. One of

the examples of this type of leadership

is when a leader is assigned on a higher

level for effective environment.

The Transactional leader

The transactional leadership, as the

name suggests, enables the leader to

incentivize the team corresponding to

their performance. The team gets

rewarded when it attains the goals and

the Leader has the power to review the

results and act accordingly when the

team fails to do the same. The goals

and the strategy to attain them are

decided by the leader and the team


The Situational leader

Situational leadership is a theory that

the best leader will adapt to the

required leadership style according to

need of the hour. A Situational leader

may adopt democratic style while

discussion business with senior

executive, but may switch to

transactional at the time of team

review. However every individual has

a natural style of leadership and it may

be difficult to switch roles at a certain

point of time.

Qualities of a good leader

There is an old proverb that says,

“Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed

Him for a Day. Teach a Man to Fish,

and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.” So

is the case with leadership. One of the

basic qualities of a Leader is to pass on

the leadership skills.

Following are some of the qualities of

a good leader:

Communication Skills

Communication is the basic

requirement for efficiency in a

business. As the level of hierarchy

elevates, the requirement of

communication grows. Especially,

when it comes to leadership, there is no

scope for lack of communication. A

Leader who fails to develop this skill is

looked up as incompetent, because it is

his job to send the message loud and

clear. Although, it is also important to

listen as it is an integral part of



C.S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the

right thing, even when no one is

watching.” Be it giving credit to one of

the team members or be it admitting a

mistake, a leader wears integrity as a

badge of honor. They do what is right,

no matter what.


As mentioned earlier, Leadership is

about using the power of one’s position

to empower a group of people in order

to attain a common goal. A good leader

shares his authority with the team in

order to get the job done. By doing

this, he shows confidence in the team

and obliged by the gesture, the team

works with full enthusiasm to

accomplish the goal.

Decision making

There is risk in decision to making.

Great leaders take great decisions

when the stake is high and it is the

success of those decisions that make

them great. To add up, a good leader

takes right decision at the right time.

In conclusion, a good leader can be

defined by the dynamics of his style in

leadership, the values that he brings to

the organization, the methods he uses

to make the best of the resources, and

the kind of decision he makes in the

given situations. At the end it is about

the attitude of an individual to bring

the change for good.

JUNE 2020 | 45

Sofia Fominova

Founder and CEO


46 | JUNE 2020



Enabling Billions of People to Smarter Food &

Nutrition Choices

n an interview with Insights Success, the Founder

Iand CEO of Mealz—Sofia Fominova

emphasizes on her impeccable journey of being a

technology entrepreneur and paving her own path of

success. Her unique ideas and methodologies helped

her company to achieve many milestones en route to


As an experienced technology entrepreneur, her

passion for, and about, the food industry has never

taken a leap back. She is building an open recipe

publishing platform that helps people discover recipes

and enables food brands to excel at recipe marketing.

Insights Success admire such leaders and takes pride in

featuring Sofia in its special edition, “The 10 Most

Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020”.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Give a brief overview of your background and your

role in Mealz.

Mealz is a technology company with a mission to help

people eat more healthily. We are building software

products that enable efficient content creation and

distribution; all focused on making it easier for people

to access and consume healthy eating content.

Our portfolio of products today includes the following:

1. An online recipe platform,, with

thousands of recipes and meal plans from

professional chefs and bloggers;

2. An online membership community that helps people

save up thousands of pounds on healthy

products - Mealz Club, and;

3. A B2B software product that allows our partner food

brands to create their own smart recipe

hubs and build digital communities around their


What people, what books, what life factors have

influenced and impacted you?

Travelling around the world taught me a lot about

appreciating diversity, respecting different cultures, and

looking for opportunities to make people's life better,

especially when it comes to basic needs, like nutrition,

clean water, education and human rights. When I was

little my father took me travelling around Africa, South

Asia and India for months and since then I always

remember that the world is big and there are many

diverse people.

Some of my favorite books are The Fountainhead by

Ayn Rand, Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy, The

JUNE 2020 | 47

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020

Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates, Becoming by Michele

Obama and Origins by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg. I

am also currently doing a Speak and Inspire course with

Lisa Nichols, who has become one of the women who

constantly motivates me to come out of my comfort zone

and always strive to be the best version of myself. Amongst

other women are the war reporter Martha Gellhorn (second

wife of Ernest Hemingway) and a well-known TV

journalist Oprah Winfrey and her “Vision 2020” series.

What is your vision for Mealz for the coming years?

Our vision is to rapidly become the #1 content platform

focused on healthy eating. To achieve this vision, we will

continue building state-of-the-art software products that

make healthy eating content available to billions of people

worldwide – across multiple devices, languages, and


The journey to healthy eating starts from inspiration,

continues with practical learning, and culminates in shifting

the habits in food consumption. Mealz is helping to

positively influence all stages in this chain through

technology. Over the next few years, our goal is to reach 10

million active users, making us a go-to platform for healthy


What are some of the vital attributes, in your opinion,

that every leader should possess?

One of the most important attributes is to be able to think

strategically and make mindful decisions whether they are

business or team related, technical or creative. Good

communication skills is another quality I value in leaders

and team members.

Having great listening skills, a talent to be concise and the

ability to communicate your ideas and vision in a clear

manner helps a true leader to build a strong team, inspire

and empower people to work towards the same goal.

Focusing on results rather than on the process is more

effective in my opinion. Other attributes would include

being curious and eager to learn, being innovative and

always ready to challenge the existing approaches to

problems and solutions and being confident and patient.

How do you maintain balance between your professional

& personal life?

Building a successful business that allows me to spend

good quality time with my family has been a priority for me

for a long time. I started to develop Mealz on my own, but

now that we work on Mealz together with my husband,

maintaining the balance became much easier.

Overall, I see my professional and personal life not as

separate concepts but something as deeply connected and

intertwined on the daily basis. My husband and I are

“I am passionate

about building

technology products

that positively

influence the lives of

millions by changing

status-quo in



working hard to build a great business and through that

experience we grow together, we learn a lot from each other

and we have fun. Having a long-term vision of where we

are going and that we are building a business for our future

family also helps me see my work as an essential part of my

life, that isn't separate from my personal or family life.

Building equal partnership both at home and at work with

responsibilities shared on a 50/50 basis also makes it easy

to maintain the balance between professional and personal

life. As a few habits, though, we always go for a walk to the

park everyday where we talk about other ideas, what is

happening in the world and just dreaming about our future

and we try not to work on weekends, where possible. We

also love travelling and always find time to switch off from

work when exploring other countries.

As a Director and leader, describe a challenge you


Getting to product market fit is harder than many people

would assume. It took us a while to understand what our

customers want in terms of functionality, and define the best

business model to go with it.

This entrepreneurial challenge of testing various business

models and approaches is exciting for some, but created a

managerial challenge. When the direction is changing so

48 | JUNE 2020

rapidly, many skills become obsolete quickly, and it was a

struggle to empower the team to be at their best whilst

changing the direction of their work.

That experience taught me to hire people with the right

mindset for the company’s stage, and not just with the right

skills. The best team members for the launch phase of the

product, in my opinion, are those who can adapt quickly

and proactively evolve their skillset to match the company's


What one thing, more than anything else, do you want

to accomplish in your career?

My ambition is to build a number of sustainable, scalable

technology businesses across different industries. I would

love to do it together with my husband, and run some

businesses together and some of them separately, depending

on how we choose to build and manage our teams. My

aspiration is to be a successful entrepreneur, a loving wife

and a caring mother at the same time. Although I am sure it

is challenging, I believe that I have a great foundation to

achieve my goals and make my dreams come true.

implement them, and another day you feel like giving up. I

just try to remember that. Every time I feel demotivated or I

face a challenge that I am not sure how to overcome, I

remind myself that it happens from time to time, and that I

always find a way to find a solution and carry on building

my business. I also surround myself with inspirational

people, mentors and other entrepreneurs who help me stay

positive and remind me of why I have started Mealz.

What advice would you like to give to the emerging

business leaders?

Be patient and make sure you are prepared to do everything

to make your business fly. To build a sustainable business

takes a lot of time and effort and it is very easy to give up if

you are not patient enough. I would advise to keep

believing in yourself, patiently working on the idea and

constantly improving the product, on building a strong team

and never give up because there will be dozens of

reasons every-day.

How do you sustain your entrepreneurial/leadership

spirit in this changing technological era?

Being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster. One day you have

a positive spirit and you are full of ideas and energy to

JUNE 2020 | 49

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020

dvancements in technology have profoundly

Aaffected the ways in which we work and live,

delivering new levels of automation, efficiency and

economies of scale. The challenge for many leaders is

finding the most effective ways to leverage technology to

fuel competitive growth for their organizations.

Tina V. Murphy, Chief Revenue Officer at Global

Healthcare Exchange (GHX) understands the role and

power of technology in advancing industry-wide change.

Tina joined GHX in 2000 and is responsible for overseeing

all customer-facing functions including global product,

sales, marketing, business development and customer

operations. At GHX, Murphy has built a culture that values

a diversity of thought and perspectives from its employees

and customers.

GHX is a healthcare business and data automation company

that provides cloud-based supply chain solutions, analytics

and services. The company’s mission is to enable a more

operationally efficient healthcare supply chain that will help

organizations reduce, not shift, the cost of doing business,

paving the way to delivering patient care more effectively

and affordably.

Murphy’s ability to drive innovation, meaningful change

and strategic alignment across diverse stakeholders has

provided a solid foundation for GHX’s continued growth.

And this approach is not only beneficial for the company,

but also, the healthcare industry.

The healthcare industry is in the midst of unprecedented

change. The shift to value-based care, where hospitals are

rewarded for the value they provide patients, not just paid

for the services performed, has put the emphasis on the

cost-quality equation, forcing organizations to rethink the

business implications of how they function. At GHX,

Murphy and her colleagues are focused on what they call

“the new business of healthcare.”

“The question facing the industry is how do we remove cost

without affecting the quality care delivered to patients?,”

said Murphy.

One thing is clear: A tremendous opportunity exists for the

healthcare supply chain to become a greater strategic asset

through evidence-based, patient-centered decision-making

for the products and supplies used in the delivery of care.

Murphy’s goal is for GHX to be the industry leader in

facilitating ongoing partnerships with the thousands of

providers and suppliers in its community as the company

works to bend the healthcare cost curve and help improve

patient care.

She adds, “This is healthcare. It matters.”

Embracing the Struggle

There isn’t a playbook for the transition the healthcare

industry is currently undergoing. As Murphy and her team

forge ahead, she takes inspiration from Ben Horowitz’s

Tina V.


Forging A Path Amid Change

52 | JUNE 2020

Tina V. Murphy

Chief Revenue Officer

Global Healthcare

Exchange (GHX)





JUNE 2020 | 53

book, The Hard Thing about Hard Things, in which he

outlines, ‘the struggle.’ The struggle is a scenario in which

a compelling and purpose-filled vision has been laid out,

teams work day and night in service of that vision, and yet a

heart-sinking feeling looms - that the outcome isn’t going to

materialize as planned. Murphy believes embracing the

struggle while staying steadfast about the end goal is

critical to success. Further, she believes roadblocks happen

for a reason, and the ability to persist through challenges

ultimately brings better results. Teams that begin tentatively

or view the struggle as a failure are missing an opportunity

for growth.

For Murphy, maintaining hope and faith in a mission

despite the challenges are critical to success.

“Even when all hope seems lost, we can still choose our

thoughts, we can still choose our responses to situations,

and we can persevere in ways we never thought possible.

The struggles that arise as we pursue our goals force us to

be creative, to adapt, to innovate, and that’s where the real

change happens,” said Murphy.

This is precisely why she believes the greatest leaders have

a unique opportunity to inspire hope around a mission that

energizes the human spirit, encourages resilience and

instills a strong sense of purpose.

Murphy adds, “All of the greatest breakthroughs have one

thing in common: they were sparked in a culture that not

only leaves space for, but also invites diversity of thought.”

Murphy emphasizes the importance of welcoming a wide

range of opinions and experiences to spark the strategic

thinking and creativity that are the hallmarks of innovation.

Recent reports from Harvard and Yale have proven that

diverse teams deliver better outcomes to a company's

customers and to the bottom line.

Leading with Heart and Authenticity

Providing steady, and inspiring, leadership is important to

facilitating change or managing challenges. Murphy is

quick to remind colleagues that employees aren’t

necessarily looking for a leader with all the answers. In her

view, attempting to adopt that persona would be inauthentic

and misleading. Murphy believes strongly that people want

and respond to authenticity and honesty.

54 | JUNE 2020

“Today we are being asked to lead through unprecedented

times. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing leaders to

balance their own fears and uncertainties, with a perceived

need to stand tall and lead,” says Murphy. “There’s great

strength that comes from vulnerability. Brene Brown

describes vulnerability and authenticity being at the root of

human connection and today, that is what society needs

from our leaders.”

Murphy also encourages leaders to be present for their

teams and over-communicate through this difficult time.

“We need our leaders to deliver a clear call to action, while

having the strength to acknowledge the difficult facts before

us, and still lead from a place of hope,” says Murphy.

Avoid Being Self Limiting

Murphy’s path to developing her leadership philosophy was

hard won. Early in her career, Murphy says, she made the

mistake of accepting too many opinions about what it

meant to be a woman in the workplace. For instance, when

she was told that women are overly emotional, she accepted

that as fact and made a mental note that she needed to

overcome that instinct. Murphy says it takes time to find

one’s voice and truly understand that unquestioningly

accepting others’ beliefs limits your potential. Today, she

extols the powerhouse combination of knowledge and

intuition women bring to the workforce to help their

companies navigate complex situations.

U.S. venture capital investment in female-owned businesses

hit an all-time high at the end of 2019. Companies are

adding more women to their boards to celebrate the

measurable power of diversity of thought. Murphy is

excited by this shifting business climate and encourages

young women, and men, to challenge perceptions about

their potential.

Murphy adds, “Don’t fall prey to outdated belief systems.

Be bold and create a career plan that represents your

individual vision of success.”

Embrace and Inspire the Next Generation

As she looks ahead, Murphy is inspired by the enthusiasm

of younger colleagues. She notes that this next generation

of employees is hungry to be inspired around a mission

worth fighting for. Today’s leaders would be wise to fulfill

that desire and Murphy advises leaders to create a clear

corporate vision that brings to life a sense of purpose, and

more important, help employees understand how their work

links to that mission.

Murphy adds, “We all want to know that our work matters.”

She also advises leaders to get in the trenches and work side

by side with their teams to solve the complex problems to

help them earn credibility and respect.

Murphy’s parting thoughts for current future leaders is to

always lead with strength, conviction and passion, but never

fear showing your vulnerability. “It’s what makes a leader

human and relatable. Having the strength to show that

vulnerable side is what will build teams that will walk

through fire for you,” she says.

JUNE 2020 | 55

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