food for thought

Rooted Women: a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Women You Should Know

Our life’s work is to support good people making a difference.  And as an all-female team, we have a soft spot for women who are passionately putting themselves out there, making the world a better place. With that in mind, we’re kicking off a new monthly series, Rooted Women, in which we’ll get up close and personal with women you should know. Our goal is to inspire you, not just by how impressive these women are, but by how human they are, and what they do to achieve extraordinary things.

First, we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Rubino, the Executive Director of Content at Informa Markets’ New Hope Network. She’s an inspiring go-getter whose work we’ve been following for years. As a natural products industry expert and content strategist, she’s passionate about exploring issues related to health, sustainability, equity and innovation for good.

1.Promoting health is one of your passions. What is your favorite healthy go-to meal (or meals) during a busy day?

JR: Working in the natural products industry, I’m surrounded by inspiration to create healthy meals that sustain me throughout the day. But, as we all know, cooking can be challenging when the day gets cray, which happens more often than not. Enter: The Board, a comically simple yet somehow fancy format for compiling everyday ingredients. Rather than cranking up the stove or oven, or falling back on a sandwich or salad, I love finding creative ways to arrange real, whole foods into essentially a grown-up snack plate. I’m a lover of Mediterranean ingredients so combos of veggies, hummus, lemony Greek yogurt, whole wheat pita and olives are a great place to start. My boards generally don’t look Insta worthy (though I have been known to break out the ramekins) but they are incredibly easy ways to load up on healthy foods throughout the day. Beyond that, you can’t really go wrong with some brown rice, perfectly cooked fish (in foil to avoid dishes) and mixed greens. I’m also super impressed with the health and flavor profiles of some of the frozen meals they’re making these days. Next level!

2. At the other end of the spectrum, what’s one of your favorite splurges/guilty pleasures?

JR: I love this question because I am all about balance, and sometimes you get there through extremes. In other words: I love me a guilty pleasure. And, you guessed it, there’s also a board for that. One of my favorites is charcuterie with alllllll the cured meats and cheeses. I am also a big baker; I try to share as much as possible, otherwise a dozen Mexican wedding and thumbprint cookies will be consumed in 24 hours (Christmas ’21 true story).

3. What’s an organization(s) or company(ies) you’d like others to know about and why?

JR: Our NEXTY Awards are coming up (winners will be announced pre Expo West in February) and the finalists and winners never cease to amaze me with their social and environmental commitments. These awards focus on recognizing CPG companies that are raising the bar in the areas of innovation, inspiration and integrity. Over the past year, in particular, I have been wowed by their flavor, innovation and scientific vigor.  A few NEXTY winners I am loving are Solely, Fila Manila and Alexandre Family Farms. Each has a beautiful story and great products.

4. We all know too well that women are still trying to do it all – succeed at work, look after their families, run a household, be a good friend and member of the community. What do you like to do to unwind after a hectic day/week?

JR: I am so inspired and motivated by what the women in my life achieve with such grace and fervor, and it’s always fascinating to hear how they keep firing on all cylinders. For me, running (despite my love/hate relationship with it) is one of the ways that I both refuel and unwind. It has also given me the opportunity to set goals outside of work, explore new places and get centered. Of course, being totally enthralled with a good book like Tech to Table or the show Never Have I Ever also helps, and being with friends and family is the ultimate key to feeling whole after a long week—and getting ready to take on the next.

5. We’re hearing that there are exciting plans ahead for New Hope! What’s coming down the pike?

JR: Ah yes, we have so many exciting things in the works at New Hope Network. Of course, we can’t wait to get back to Natural Products Expo West in March. Outside of the return to in-person shows (we had an incredible Expo East in Philly in September), we are extremely energized by what’s happening in the virtual space. Our online community platform, Natural Products Expo Virtual, is built to keep the industry connected year-round and really complements our on-site events. We know that the vibrant natural products industry is eager to engage all year and we’re doing that through great content, networking and business opportunities on newhope.com and in NPEV. In our virtual community platform this year, we’ll have content leading up to the Expos, discovery sessions to connect young brands with retailers throughout the year, two Natural Products Business School events and our first-ever Press Pitch in partnership with Us Weekly.

Most of all, we are really committed to our purpose of supporting the health of people and planet and bringing joy and justice to the world through high-integrity businesses. This is why we exist, and now, more than ever, we need businesses to embody these values. In conjunction with this, we’re doing a lot of work to further define the natural, organic and high-integrity products industry. What will this industry look like in the future and how can we best support its responsible and sustainable growth? It’s such an exciting time to be asking these questions.   

6.  How do you get motivated to go out there and kick ass every day, even when things feel overwhelming? 

JR: It’s all about having a purpose. When we have one, we can achieve amazing things.  

7. What are your resolutions/intentions for 2022?

JR: Continue to focus on being present and intentional. Drink more water. Never lose sight of being kind to myself, others and our planet every day. Master making ramen broth.

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