Women in Wealth Awards 2016

www.wealthandfinance-intl.com 21 Best Food & Beverage Entrepreneur - Arizona Cheri’s Desert Harvest (CDH) is a food manufacturing company that produces all-natural and organic preserves, candy, syrup and quick mixes made from local, indigenous fruits and vegetables. Founder and President Cheri Romanoski talks us through her passion for healthy, fresh foods and how this has led her to drive her business to the success it enjoys today. Established in 1985, CDH’s products can be found in the specialty food, health-oriented, natural grocery markets and the restaurant industry from coast to coast. Cheri outlines the firm’s success so far, and how she has worked to ensure that it offers the best quality products to clients. “CDH has grown every year since its inception with the exception of two in 31 years. I attribute this success to a lot of hard work and dedication, but also to learning early that being diversified is critical to small businesses. It is important to position your business serving multiple segments of the industry, so when a segment of the market is declining, the business is already in position to service other segments that are strong and more profitable.” Former teacher Cheri is truly passionate about passing on her knowledge about Nature’s bounty in the desert and how to be a steward of the environment while enjoying the fruits of her labour. She discusses the role she plays in educating others outside of her role in CDH and how this has enriched both her personal life and her professional career. “Personally, I have had the distinct privilege of working and networking with professional women in various organizations, mentoring students, coaching women in new businesses and donating time in our facility to female-owned businesses. I am currently working with an organization in the USA that are striving to support a small village in Ethiopia that relies on cactus fruit for sustenance, but that are not sustainable. With our expertise in working with this particular produce we are offering direction to help problem solve issues in a third world country to make the village sustainable as well as progressive in business.” The food industry overall is a male-dominated environment, from the production of products to the sales and representation of the products in the marketplace. Women bring creativity, long range vision and the ability to remain in-touch with the trends. Cheri believes that more women need to be incorporated into this industry to capitalize on the assets and direction they can bring to the ever-changing food industry. “Women are innately hard workers and multi-taskers. These attributes WW160029 Company: Cheri’s Desert Harvest Name: Cheri Romanoski Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.cherisdesertharvest.com Address: 1840 E Winsett Street, Tucson, AZ, USA 85719 Telephone: 520-623-4141, 800-743-1141 along with tenacity, honesty, vision and the drive to move the business forward is essential in succeeding in the food industry, and therefore it is vital to the market’s growth and continued expansion that more women enter into it. “It has always been a challenge to be taken seriously as a woman- owned business, but years of taking on that challenge, receiving support from people in the industry as well as customers has brought CDH to the success we enjoy today, and I am keen to support and guide other women to help them achieve the success that I have. Many women have great ideas and a vision to help move the food industry forward in a healthy and prosperous way, but they are faced with many obstacles in obtaining financing to fund the ideas. More opportunities need to be offered to women in business in the way of counselling, mentorships and grants in order to ensure that they succeed.” Looking ahead, CDH’s ongoing focus is to continue to innovate and diversify, as it seeks to offer the best range of natural products on the market, drawing inspiration from the environment around them, as Cheri concludes. “Being stewards of our environment, at CDH we have developed two side businesses in different industries by utilizing every part of the cactus fruit we harvest. Excess fruit is now being used to dye apparel for the clothing industry and the seeds from the waste is collected, cleaned and processed to extract the valuable oil within them for the cosmetic industry. Waste from this process is then used as an ingredient for animal feed in our zoos. We have developed processes to use all parts of this nutritional fruit that have never been explored before. “This helps me to achieve my overall goals for the business; to continue to create new products, to expand our businesses into new countries, to educate consumers about being environmentally conscious and to encourage and foster new ideas from women striving to start a business. We will achieve these goals by aligning our businesses with strong, supportive leadership from businesses with the same foresight, direction and integrity.”

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