Who is she?
Dr Reena Sharma grew up in a lower middle-class vegetarian family. She did her doctorate in Biological Sciences and spent 16years working with a leading health care and clinical research organization. She is also the Founder and CEO of Shandi Global, leading an amazing team of scientists and professionals to develop, manufacture and serve healthier and tastier food at price parity.
What made you decide to start Shandi Global?
“I grew up in a lower middle-class family, yet staying pure vegetarian made me believe that plant-based food can provide food security and sustainability. When we move to Singapore and started travelling around the world, it was very hard to get the food choice and vegetarian diet. Hence I mostly cook at home or go to the same Indian style restaurants over and over.
I heard about plant-based meat alternatives, I was happy and excited and brought several brands of plant-based products sold as meat alternatives and try to cook curries out of them. But they could not be cooked the way people cook meat. They just fell apart into small pieces. Then I realized that they are not meat alternatives, rather alternatives of a few foods. So I decided to develop a true meat substitute, which cooks like meat and taste like meat so that people from all cultural, or economic backgrounds can adapt plant-based diet without compromising the taste of food they love.”
What is a typical morning at work?
“I have to check out the status of the project, discussing with around 10 different contractors and suppliers making sure the project remains within time and budget. Then I connect with the customers and learn about how their products are developing using our meat and reassuring them with all the support and supplies.”
What are some of the challenges of the job?
“COVID has disrupted the supply chain and have delayed our equipment and raw material supplies. Hence trying to keep our manufacturing plant with budget and timeline is a major challenge. Fortunately, we have huge traction for our product and customers are waiting for commercial supply, hence we can’t afford to delay the production irrespective of challenges.”
What were some of the life lessons which you have learned along the way in your career?
“Learn from everyone, but validate that logically and establish your own path based on our strengths.”
Best advice someone has given you in life?
“Follow your heart to have a vision! Define the path logically! And execute it with passion.”
As the Founder & CEO of Shandi Global, what motivates you personally?
“One thing which is common around the world, the “food my mom cook is best”. Why because feeding family is not her business, it’s the
opportunity to make people happier she cares the most. For me this is the same, I want to deliver tastier, healthier and sustainable food to more and more people. Because I care for people around me, I care for the earth I live in.”
Do you ever face biasness in your work and position because of your gender?
“At Shandi we work as a family and we treat each other like family, we argue, we fight, and we agree, we disagree but gender is never even a consideration. We accept and acknowledge people based on their capability and contribution not based on gender or job title.”
If I were not an Entrepreneur, I would be a _________?
“A scientist! I am still a scientist, the only difference is that, instead of just inventing products and technology, I decide to commercialize it.”
Any inspirational quote for all the women in business & leadership out there?
“Equality is not about one being privileged over the other. It’s about the equal recognition of contribution we make to society.”
Check out Shandi Global here.