Preetika Ghai, Rich Products’ Senior Director of Manufacturing, has been honored as a 2022 Change Maker by the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), an organization Rich’s has partnered with for 30 years. WFF focuses on advancing women in the food industry and recognizes rising leaders who model inclusive leadership behaviors and support gender equity within their organizations with the annual Change Maker award.
Our internal team recently sat down with Preetika to connect on her career journey, her advice to other women and her reaction to being named a 2022 WFF Change Maker.
Rich’s: Preetika, you’ve been named as a 2022 Women’s Foodservice Forum Change Maker. What does it mean to you to have received that recognition?
Preetika: I think I’m very humbled. To be honest, I’m getting a little emotional! The leaders, managers, teams, and mentors I have had throughout my career have contributed so much to the person I am and this recognition.
Rich’s: That’s okay to be emotional! A lot goes into this recognition; you have put in a lot of hard work to be where you are today. What advice would you share with other women in the food industry…or really any industry?
Preetika: The best advice I would offer is to speak up and advocate for your team and yourself. I would also say—it’s okay not to know 100% of the job. You will learn as you go along, provided you’re willing to put in the work and upskill yourself. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of strong teams and collaboration.
Rich’s: What led you to your current role as Senior Director of Manufacturing?
Preetika: I had been at Rich’s since 2004 serving in a variety of roles when the Senior Director of Manufacturing opportunity presented itself in 2021. My first thought was, ‘I don’t know if I should apply…I’m not sure I qualify…am I ready to take the next step?’ My mentor pushed me to apply, making me think, ‘why not me?’ I applied, interviewed, and ultimately was offered the role…though I still wasn’t sure I should accept.
I called my manager, and he said, ‘I’m on my way to meet a customer. I only have five minutes.’ I spent four minutes and thirty seconds trying to convince him it was a bad idea for me to take the role. I was almost waiting for someone to say, ‘maybe you should wait.’ He listened very patiently, and then said three things to me I’ll never forget:
- You need to do this.
- It’s going to be fun.
- I’m not going to let you fail.
I know how fortunate I am to have always had managers at Rich’s who supported me 100%.
Rich’s: What has your experience been navigating through a global pandemic after taking on your new role?
Preetika: It’s no secret supply chain disruption is real—we’ve been challenged with ingredients, labor, and more. But Rich’s as a company has come together to anticipate, collaborate, and create solutions so we continue to create value for our customers. And really, this is only possible if you have leaders as we do at Rich’s, who empower you to think out of the box!
Rich’s: What are some of the ways Rich’s has supported you in your career?
Preetika: An example that comes to mind is when I wanted to start an analytics program. I needed funding to get it off the ground, and I went to our Chief Supply Chain Officer. He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll figure it out. You move forward with this, and we’ll make it happen—show us what you got.’
Rich’s allows me to be creative and innovative. This is something all our leaders really encourage. As a leader, I often reflect on the experiences I’ve benefited from and strive to bring those same experiences to my team.
Rich’s: Thank you, Preetika! Enjoy the Women’s Foodservice Forum conference this month!