August 2, 2022 — 21:12 PM
In our series Follow Her Lead, we’re highlighting the voices of leading women in the well-being space. In each installment, you’ll find inspiring stories, ways you can help, and of course, new faces of women worth following.
Finding a career path that both suits you and touches the lives of others can be difficult to achieve—something Erica Rozetti, the president of Whole30, has come to know well. In this installment of our series, Follow Her Lead, we chat with Rozetti on what Whole30 means to her, how she’s affecting the wellness world, and her advice for readers. Here’s what she had to say.
What is your mission & how are you working toward it at the moment?
The biggest thing I would say is that we help people change their health habits and relationship with food. But what most people don’t know is it’s way more than just a 30-day program. It’s a self-experiment. It includes what happens in your everyday life, outside of and after the program, as well.
The 30 days is hard work, but the hardest work is what comes after that. It’s reintroduction of foods, the lessons that you learned from the experience, and how you apply those to every other aspect of your life—which I think is so transformative.
What inspires you the most about the work that you’re doing?
Having the opportunity to change people’s lives—it’s something that you wake up every day excited to do, and I’m excited about the platform that we have and what it’s done. We’re transforming lives every single day so people can feel their healthiest and happiest and strongest selves, and the core of what we do is about accessibility.
We launched our plant-based program this past year, so that’s a great example of how we’re listening to our community and their needs. We’ve also got a lot of transparency in terms of how we work with collaborators and recipe developers, making sure that there’s no differentiation with how we work with one photographer or one creator over another, for example.
And then another big thing I’d say is, last year, we actually rewrote the Whole30 cookbook to recognize and celebrate more culturally significant foods. The big thing for us is making sure people feel seen heard and recognized on our platform, making sure that anyone who wants to do Whole30 at any time has the opportunity to do it. And I think being able to provide the tools and resources, whether it’s our Whole30-approved network of brands or our own line of dressings and sauces, offers opportunities for people to make healthier decisions in their lives. We’re here to serve our community, and we’re here to give them access.
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If there’s one thing you want readers to know, what would it be?
Ask for what you want. I always ask—the worst thing people can do is tell me “no,” and so I’ve always gone after roles, opportunities, life, etc., with that type of tenacity. Before working at Whole30, I had a pretty sexy corporate job, but I was unfulfilled and bored. I thought it was super cool—but it just wasn’t the right thing for me. So I sat down and made a list of brands I admired, and I started to set out trying to find a way into those organizations.
On that list was Whole30. I wrote them an email with a pitch about my background and what I had to offer them. And the next day Whole30 founder Melissa Urban wrote back saying it was serendipitous timing, and we set up a time to chat. That was it: I shot my shot, and I got a response.
That’s how I cultivate my life. Putting it out in the universe is one thing, but the universe is not going to give you anything back if you’re not putting in the time and work.
What challenges have you come up against in your work?
Educating people on what makes the program unique—and how it’s not a fad diet—can be challenging. Whole30 is meant to help reset, curb cravings, break bad habits, and identify triggering foods. There’s so much more to the program than some people realize.
Through the program, we have the opportunity to demonstrate there isn’t a one-size approach to health, and I think that’s a big part of our ethos and the messaging that we’re working on changing.
What advice do you have for women in your line of work?
If you want something, go for it. Dream big about what you want your life to look like and cultivate it. I tell people all the time: This life is yours for the taking. It starts with sorting out what you want, and then creating the path for that.
I haven’t had a traditional legal path, even though I started out as an attorney. I had a really, really big passion for health and wellness, and I found a way to merge the two. I think often, especially for women, we feel like we need to be in a box, curating some sort of persona or staying on a rigid trajectory.
While I don’t think you can “have it all” and finding your path is going to be hard work, I believe in marrying what your talents are, what your passions are, then continuing to seek them out and refine them.
Who is a woman who inspires you?
My mom is my biggest inspiration. I’m a first-generation American, my parents are Soviet immigrants. My first language was Russian, so I had a pretty different upbringing, and growing up in a place where you’ve known the struggles that your parents went through to get you to where you are is just incredible.
When my mom immigrated from what’s now present-day Ukraine, she, my uncle, and my grandparents were all janitors. Later, my parents cleaned out commercial office buildings at night to make ends meet and had a pawnshop together. And I think a lot of what my family history has cultivated in me is this understanding that this life is yours. That mindset was a big part of my upbringing.
If you want it to be a certain way, if you want certain things, you can only count on yourself for that.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.