Robert Reiss: When we last spoke, you were using your business to help with the crisis – how did you respond?
Asma Ishaq: Our first response was to help – in any possible way. It is one of our core values at Modere to practice compassion, and as an industry steward, a social enterprise in our global markets, and an employer, we recognized our responsibility to use our unique resources and means to manufacture essential products for healthcare and safety workers. We began to produce hand sanitizer to donate to those in need. We empathized with our customer base and salesforce who were facing uncertainty, and we launched initiatives to share the burden of the economic effects that inevitably resulted from the crisis. We also responded with authenticity and transparency, maintaining constant communication with our employees, customers, and salesforce. And crucially, we responded to the crisis at lightning speed. In times like these, it’s important to act quickly and lead like you’ve never led before.
Reiss: Last month, Modere was ranked as the third fastest growing woman-led company. How have you managed the growth?
Ishaq: Our ranking was based on our growth rate through 2019, and we’ve grown on a global basis by double-digits since then. We executed well on our budgeted 2020 strategic growth plan at the start of the year; however, our extraordinary growth since March 2020 required us to adapt quickly to new and heightened levels of demand for our products. We locked arms with our stakeholders and consciously enhanced many areas of our operation on a granular level – from implementing a globally unified technology platform to increased production capacity. We’ve embraced a creative and innovative lens through which we look for solutions – engaging our team members at all levels.
Reiss: A resilient business survives through crises, but how do you advance your business during a crisis?
Ishaq: Modere is at the perfect intersection of three colossal global trends: the increased demand for clean-label personal care and health & wellness products, the digital shift toward e-Commerce, and the social commitment to purpose-driven brands. We’ve been fortunate to stay ahead of the trends, shifts, and reshaped marketplace, so we have taken this opportunity to first, ensure the stability of our business and second, position our company to thrive during future unknowns. The latter comes from an agile, scalable, and transformative culture. We are leveraging deep consumer insights to serve the best customer experiences, product launches, and digital offerings that align with the changes we’re observing in consumer behavior. We are also mastering areas of risk in order to emerge from the crisis even stronger. While many companies may react with temporary changes during a crisis, Modere has aimed to establish an agile operational culture that yields lasting impact.
Reiss: Have you made any interesting observations about your organization during your advancement?
Ishaq: Many. First, the stress experienced by an organization – whether due to challenges or rapid growth – during a time like this brings to surface both the good and the bad. In such an ever-changing (sometimes by the day) environment as this, there’s no time to hide. I watched our team come together, keep up with the changes, adapt to a new work culture, and become more productive than ever before. Had our organizational culture not already been shaped by our company principles, it could have been a very different outcome. I’m proud of our team and their display of solidarity and confidence in our plan and direction, which have been built on our values, principles, and purpose.
Second, my passion for our products is deeply ingrained; I’ve always known that our products create tremendous value for people. Having said that, what I’ve witnessed over the past few months is that our customers find such value in our products that they have been willing to readjust as our business has adapted to our new ‘normal’. In my company message to our customers in March, I affirmed that we are “in this together” with them and are doing everything in our ability to share the experience. Since then, I’ve seen extensive implicit and explicit demonstrations of their loyalty and support. In acknowledgment, we are announcing even greater reciprocal initiatives next month to show our appreciation and to honor our customers and salesforce. We are obsessed with showing our customers that we are committed to continuously earning their business and genuinely care about providing them the best experience possible.