BIV is pleased to recognize five outstanding leaders with 2022 Influential Women in Business (IWIB) Awards.
This year’s recipients have achieved remarkable success in their respective careers. They are recognized by their peers for their contributions to community, and they are advocates and champions of women in business.
Aisha Yang is co-founder and CEO of Herbaland, Canada’s largest vitamin gummies company. She is an active member of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and a board director of the non-profit Help Change My City.
Recipients will be celebrated on March 8 at the Terminal City Club. The event will be livestreamed at biv.com. •
What career highlight are you most proud of?
I founded Herbaland alongside my husband in 2009, after the birth of my youngest son. I still remember holding a one-month-old baby and beginning my entrepreneur journey. Today we support more than 200 team members with opportunities to support their families, and encourage women to take a step in workplace leadership.
Your toughest professional challenge as a woman in business?
The truth about the immigrant experience is that oftentimes, people underestimate you and your ability. As an Asian immigrant, many mainstream clients didn’t give me an equal opportunity to review Herbaland’s products. I found that breaking the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding my identity were more than barriers for Herbaland’s growth — they were obstacles in my personal life as well. Especially as a young company, it can be extremely difficult to combat this, which is why female representation in business is so important to me, and why it’s crucial for each and every one of us to continue paving a path for each of our own communities.
Greatest advice ever received?
My father (who was also an entrepreneur) always reminded me to be grateful, be humble and focus on my goals. Resilience and gratitude are the essences of success.
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
I really wish I realized earlier on that the challenges and obstacles that came my way were not the end of the world. Instead, these challenges are essential to helping you grow and develop better strategies in your business structure.
What does it take to be a leader in 2022?
Being a leader is so much more than knowing how to make a plan for your team. From my experiences, being an effective leader means that you have the ability to share your vision and inspire those around you. Self-motivation comes with a desire to transform your dreams into reality, and patience gifts you the opportunity to lead your team with intention and watch them grow.
Your top takeaway from leading during the pandemic?
The pandemic has reminded me not to take things for granted. Appreciate the people who surround you, and those who support you. In terms of business, having a ‘plan B’ has proven itself helpful during times of persistent and unprecedented change.
What is your best habit?
My best habit is my ability to resist procrastination and complaining. Even if it costs me a few hours of sleep, completing my priorities has allowed me to keep moving forward every day and be as productive as possible.
A book you would recommend?
The book I am currently reading is called The Way of Ultimate Leadership, which is inspiring a lot of my current leadership methods. We’re all curious people. Whether it’s a podcast, reading a short article or having a chat with people with different life experiences, we’re always blessed with the opportunity to learn. I feel that as company leaders, we should always keep an open mind and keep embracing inspiring new ideas.
A surprising or improbable fact about yourself?
My most surprising fact is that despite my day-to-day responsibilities as a company leader, I am also a wife and mother of three. I’ve definitely learned the importance of time management and can now cook a meal really fast and have it still taste good.
What are you looking forward to personally and professionally this year?
Professionally, I would like to continue leading my team to make Herbaland into an iconic Canadian lifestyle brand, and to make a positive impact on other businesses to prioritize sustainability, while emphasizing giving back to the community and inclusivity. As for my personal goals, I hope to take my family to travel to some new countries and to keep supporting people who may be less fortunate by providing opportunities for them. •