Nutritional Outlook’s Women In Nutraceuticals Roundtable: Women Leading Nutraceutical Brands

Published on: 

Female executives in the nutraceuticals industry discuss the challenges and benefits of being a female leader.

On November 15, 2022, six female executives from the nutraceuticals industry joined Nutritional Outlook to discuss the challenges and benefits of being a female leader in the health and wellness space. Produced by Nutritional Outlook, this roundtable was created in association with Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN), a new nonprofit group spearheaded by global nutraceutical leaders whose mission is to build support for women in the nutraceuticals industry, to help increase the percentage of women holding leadership roles in the C-suite and across the dietary supplement supply chain, to increase funding for female-led businesses, and to increase women’s participation in nutraceuticals research.

As a founding media partner of WIN, Nutritional Outlook, a brand of MJH Life Sciences™, is spearheading online events and editorial coverage to further WIN’s mission of encouraging representation of women in the nutraceuticals industry and in nutrition research.

For more information on WIN, or to join, please visit

View the following video excerpts from this roundtable:

Women Leading Nutraceutical Brands (Part 1): Why do you like the nutraceuticals industry?

Women Leading Nutraceutical Brands (Part 2): What are the challenges of being a female leader in the nutraceutical industry?

Women Leading Nutraceutical Brands (Part 3): What are the benefits of being a female leader in the nutraceuticals industry?

Women Leading Nutraceutical Brands (Part 4): What can we do to achieve more female leadership and representation in the nutraceuticals industry?

Women Leading Nutraceutical Brands (Part 5): How do you unwind?

Meet the Panelists

Melina Baxter, Chief Marketing Officer, Shaklee Corporation

Melina Baxter is responsible for the Shaklee brand, all things digital, and product innovation. She is a world-class marketing executive whose skills and expertise include content strategy, campaign and program development, social media, and cultivating brand influencers. Melina has held executive marketing positions with eBay, Stella & Dot, PopSugar, Sephora, and Levi Strauss & Co. At Stella & Dot, Melina was Head of Brand Marketing, Social & Loyalty. Melina holds a BA in Communications from San Diego State University.

Asma Ishaq, Chief Executive Officer, Modere

Asma Ishaq is the Chief Executive Officer of Modere, a global, live-clean lifestyle brand whose advanced science portfolio of beauty and personal care, health and wellness, and household products is currently sold in 44 international markets. Asma pioneered the collagen/HA dietary supplement and skincare markets when she cofounded Jusuru International in 2009 with a highly successful, premiere line of blue-ribbon nutraceuticals, nutricosmetics, and skincare products based on Liquid BioCell, a multi-patented liquid collagen and hyaluronic acid ingredient. She led Jusuru through its acquisition by Modere in February 2017 and was appointed Modere’s CEO less than one year later in January 2018. A thought leader in her industry, Asma was elected the chairperson of the Collagen Stewardship Alliance in 2020 and was named NutraChampion by NutraIngredients the same year in honor of her lifetime achievement and contribution to the nutrition/natural products industry. Ernst & Young named her winner of the illustrious EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Pacific Southwest Award. In 2021, Asma catapulted Modere to number-one on the “50 Fastest Growing Women-Led Companies” list, where the company has appeared in the top-five for three consecutive years. Newsweek named Modere to its 2022 and 2021 rankings of the “Top 100 Most-Loved Workplaces” based on Asma’s stewardship of the company; Forbes named her a “Top 10 CEO;” and she received the CEO Forum’s Transformational CEO award in 2021. She is a committee member on the Council of Responsible Nutrition; sits on the advisory board of the Fragrance Creators Association, the Women Business Collaborative (WBC), and Enterprising Women; is an active member of the Committee of 200 (C200) and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO); and is a Zenith member of the Women Presidents Organization (WPO).

Beth Lambert, Chief Executive Officer, Herbalist & Alchemist

Beth Lambert is the Chief Executive Officer of Herbalist & Alchemist, a company founded in 1982 that makes practitioner-quality herbal products from organically grown or ethically wild-crafted botanicals. She serves on the executive committee and board of directors of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and chairs AHPA’s Education Committee and the AHPA-ERB Foundation. She is also a board member of the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association. A graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Business School who rose to be a managing director at the investment banking firm PaineWebber, Beth made the decision to instead focus upon sustainable choices. After teaching agricultural economics at Rutgers University and being involved in community-supported agriculture and permaculture, she joined H&A in 1995.

Sharon M. Leite, Chief Executive Officer, The Vitamin Shoppe

Sharon M. Leite currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Vitamin Shoppe. In this role, she leads a renewed growth strategy that is bringing industry-leading innovation, quality, and expertise to the health and wellness category. Sharon joined The Vitamin Shoppe in August 2018 and since that time has launched a new technology-driven retail format, opened distribution to new sales channels, increased development and penetration of private brands, introduced personalization initiatives, pioneered an expansive CBD hemp extract merchandising program, and expanded the business into Asia. She has also re-energized an updated Healthy Awards loyalty program; starred in an episode of CBS’s hit reality show Undercover Boss; and launched an innovative, omnichannel franchising model with the brand’s first-ever franchise location opened in 2022. The Vitamin Shoppe, a subsidiary of Franchise Group Inc., is an omni-channel specialty retailer and wellness lifestyle company with more than 700 directly operated stores under The Vitamin Shoppe and Super Supplements banners, and an e-commerce business. Based in Secaucus, NJ, the company offers a comprehensive assortment of nutritional solutions, including vitamins, minerals, specialty supplements, herbs, sports nutrition, homeopathic remedies, green living products, and natural beauty products. Sharon joined The Vitamin Shoppe from Godiva Chocolatier, where she was President of North America from October 2017, leading a turnaround that returned the North American business to profitability. Previously, she was the President of Sally Beauty, U.S. and Canada, an international specialty retailer and distributor of professional beauty products. Sharon also spent close to a decade at Pier 1 Imports in increasingly senior roles, leaving as Executive Vice President of Sales, Customer Experience, and Real Estate. Earlier in her career, Sharon held leadership positions with increasing responsibilities at Bath & Body Works (L Brands), Gap Inc., The Walt Disney Company, and Express. Sharon currently serves on the Boards of The National Retail Federation, The Lovesac Company, Tandy Leather Factory Inc., Women in Retail Leadership, Performing Arts Fort Worth, and the Neeley Business School at Texas Christian University. She is also a member of the Senior Advisory Council of AEA Investors.

Karlyn Mattson, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer, GNC

Karlyn Mattson, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer at GNC, champions all consumer-facing touchpoints within the company’s global, omnichannel strategy, including sourcing, product design and development, merchandising, marketing, science and regulatory, distribution, and store experience. With oversight of more than 500 associates, and responsibility for driving innovation and transformation in service of consumers’ desire to Live Well, Karlyn provides expert leadership that spans all functional areas serving the customer. Driving a consumer-first mentality, she leads GNC’s efforts in personalization and localization to understand consumer-purchasing motivation at a deeper level while also delivering go-to market product experiences that deliver on those needs. Working closely with GNC’s technology team, Karlyn is an advocate for the use of data to inform strategy, decision making, product assortment, marketing, and customer engagement. Amplifying the GNC brand through the omnichannel lens, Karlyn and her team are concentrated on efforts to improve traffic, conversion, retention, and loyalty. With 25+ years of leadership experience with industry-leading global retailers including Target, Famous Footwear, Zappos, and Macy’s, Karlyn is a passionate and driven senior executive leader adept at successfully steering organizations through the constantly evolving retail sector, promoting strategic change and advancement to deliver on business objectives and revenue growth. She was recognized as a “2022 Top Women in Retail” by Women in Retail Leadership Circle.

Vivian Rhoads, President, Women’s Health Business Unit, Pharmavite

Vivian Rhoads joined Pharmavite in 2018 as the Divisional Vice President of Innovation before being promoted to President of the Women’s Health Business Unit in 2022. As President, Women’s Health Business Unit, Vivian is responsible for leading Pharmavite’s EQUELLE and Uqora businesses while accelerating their growth. With over a decade of experience in building scalable, world-class organizations, Vivian has a unique perspective on growth strategies and innovation. She gained hands-on experience in leading both larger CPG companies and smaller Health & Wellness CPG startups, including working with PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, Wrigley/Mars, Molson Coors, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Clorox, Nissin, Thai Union, and Nestlé. Vivian earned her MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin, and a bachelor’s in business from the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she was born. She is married to John Rhoads and has two children (Anita, age nine; and Victor, age seven).