Nutritional Outlook’s Women in Nutraceuticals Roundtable: Women in Contract Manufacturing


Experts discuss whether there is enough female representation in nutraceutical contract manufacturing.

Nutritional Outlook hosted a roundtable discussion asking experts from the contract manufacturing industry, “Is there enough female representation in nutraceutical contract manufacturing?”

We are presenting this roundtable in association with Women In Nutraceuticals. Women In Nutraceuticals is a nonprofit group spearheaded by global nutraceutical leaders whose mission is to build support for women in the nutraceuticals industry, including 1) helping to increase the percentage of women holding leadership roles in the C-suite and across the dietary supplement industry, 2) increasing funding for female-led businesses, and 3) increasing women’s participation in nutraceuticals research.

For more information about Women In Nutraceuticals, visit We urge everyone to get involved with WIN’s important work.

View the following video excerpts from this roundtable:

Women in Contract Manufacturing (Part 1): What is the status of female representation in the contract manufacturing field?

Women in Contract Manufacturing (Part 2): Are there any specific challenges that females might encounter compared to men working in contract manufacturing?

Women in Contract Manufacturing (Part 3): What kind of training do workers in contract manufacturing facilities go through?

Women in Contract Manufacturing (Part 4): What can contract manufacturing companies do to increase the percentage of females working in the industry?

Meet the Panelists

Sara Lesina, General Manager, Sirio Europe

Sara Lesina is the general manager of Sirio Europe, a nutraceuticals contract manufacturer. With over 15 years of experience in the nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and food ingredients industry, Sara has a deep understanding of the market and its dynamics. Prior to joining Sirio, she held various executive positions in multinational companies such as Lonza and Cargill, where she successfully led cross-functional teams and drove growth initiatives. At Sirio, Sara is responsible for developing and executing the company’s strategy in Europe, focusing on revenue generation through innovation and customer experience.

Sara Lesina

Sara Lesina

Andrea Lester, Vice President of Global Quality, Natural Alternatives International

Andrea Lester is the vice president of global quality for Natural Alternatives International Inc. (NAI). Andrea joined NAI’s Quality Unit in 2005. In her current role, Andrea is responsible for the development, implementation, and enforcement of the firm’s quality management systems to ensure compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices, regulatory requirements, and customer specifications across the firm’s North American and European operations. Andrea oversees all aspects of quality assurance, quality control, document control, validation, and quality systems.Andrea is a member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Division. She serves on the board of directors for the Nutrition Industry Association–West (NIA) and is a member of the benchmarking committee for the Supplement Safety and Compliance Initiative (SSCI). In addition, Andrea is a member of the organizing committee for the Southern California Dietary Supplement Consortium, formerly the Quality Leadership Network (QLN), a collaborative workgroup sponsored by FDA and ASQ which brings FDA, industry, and academia together to enhance transparency and improve product quality and compliance. During her role as co-chair of the Dietary Supplement Division of the QLN, she was among the recipients of the FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs’ Leveraging and Collaboration Honors Award. Andrea is a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) and is HACCP certified. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in biology from Concord University in Athens, West Virginia.

Andrea Lester

Andrea Lester

Gloria Walton, Quality Assurance Manager, GMP Laboratories of America Inc.

Gloria Walton is the quality assurance manager at GMP Laboratories of America. As a quality professional with over 20 years of combined experience in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industry, Gloria is compliance- and results-oriented. She is committed to helping organizations manufacture the highest-quality products, with a continuous improvement mindset, always looking for ways to improve efficiency while maintaining the highest quality in production systems. She believes it is important to infuse a quality mindset throughout the organization using well-crafted standard operating procedures (SOPs) and ongoing training programs. Gloria has extensive experience in contract manufacturing operations and supplier management. Her focus has been on throughput managing and establishing quality systems, KPIs, and CAPA to comply with FDA audits, third-party inspections, compliance, screening, and methods development.

Gloria Walton

Gloria Walton

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