Natural Heath Products: Ingredients for Success

#10 Diana Morgan - Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs @ Care/Of | Regulatory Advice + Mentoring + Gray Areas + Don’t Just Say No

November 17, 2020 Stratum Nutrition Episode 10
Natural Heath Products: Ingredients for Success
#10 Diana Morgan - Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs @ Care/Of | Regulatory Advice + Mentoring + Gray Areas + Don’t Just Say No
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Natural Heath Products: Ingredients for Success
#10 Diana Morgan - Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs @ Care/Of | Regulatory Advice + Mentoring + Gray Areas + Don’t Just Say No
Nov 17, 2020 Episode 10
Stratum Nutrition

In this episode, we had a very inspiring and insightful regulatory conversation with Diana Morgan of Care/Of. We discuss everything from Warren G to not saying no for the sake of saying no to your other departments but being creative with finding gray areas and beyond. If you are a young regulatory professional in the natural products space or seasoned veteran, lot's of sound advice from one of the most delightfully-fresh seasoned regulatory pros in the biz.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we had a very inspiring and insightful regulatory conversation with Diana Morgan of Care/Of. We discuss everything from Warren G to not saying no for the sake of saying no to your other departments but being creative with finding gray areas and beyond. If you are a young regulatory professional in the natural products space or seasoned veteran, lot's of sound advice from one of the most delightfully-fresh seasoned regulatory pros in the biz.

Andrew Rice:

You are listening to the ingredients for success podcast, where you can consume dietary supplement industry, best practices, trends, recent news, and other insights provided through interviews and discussions with members of the stratum team and seasoned industry.

Diana Morgan:

Yeah.

Andrew Rice:

Welcome back to Stratum nutrition's ingredients for success podcast. I'm Andrew Rice

Jackie Rizo:

and I'm Jackie Rizo.

Andrew Rice:

Today. We have Diana Morgan with care of, and we're just going to be chatting with her a little bit about things within the industry, um, mentoring and some points that she, she has for some, uh, other, either younger industry professionals or other, other professionals within her role. So, Diana, thanks for coming on.

Diana Morgan:

Hi Andrew. Hi, Jackie. Very nice to be here. Um, hope you guys are all doing well

Andrew Rice:

Yeah doing great. How about you? Good.

Diana Morgan:

Can't complain. Uh, life is pretty good. Things are opening up here in Jersey. The gyms are open, so I'm good.

Andrew Rice:

Good.

Jackie Rizo:

That's Good.

Andrew Rice:

Awesome. To hear my first question for you actually is. You had mentioned wearing a regulator's t-shirt. And I was wondering where your regulator's t-shirt is.

Jackie Rizo:

Yes

Diana Morgan:

You know, that is my favorite t-shirt ever, um, I felt, you know, you might not be able to fully see it, but if anyone knows old school rap, you know, the regulate song from Warren G, I feel like you need to bring some, um, excitement to regulatory. So I always refer to myself as a regulator and bring in old school, hip hop to it.

Andrew Rice:

I love it.

Jackie Rizo:

I do to.

Andrew Rice:

I love it. That's one of those songs. That's one of those songs. I feel like that everybody, if you remember, if you're, if you're old enough to remember the song, I think you can always like, it's one of those songs that I can put myself in the different places that I was, you know, maybe lean back in the seat a little bit, you know, cruising by the high school, with the music blaring whatever so love that. So, yeah. I love the fact that you're trying to bring some creativity and some fun to regulatory. So

Diana Morgan:

yeah, just because we're about compliance function doesn't mean we need to be boring and not creative. So I want to spread that

Andrew Rice:

preach. I love it. I love it. All right. So I kind of stumbled myself like into the area stumbled into the industry. Um, it wasn't something that I, I got a degree and went straight into it. I. I actually was in the agency world for a very long time. The ad agency world, um, had taken a VP position down in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which is about an hour and a half ish away from us. And I was doing some consulting for Stratum, at the time and had just passed on some strategy. And I was on my way back driving home. And Micah gave me a call and was like, Hey, so we love this thing, but, um, Would you, would you come on board? Can, you know, would you, would you take a position with Stratum and at that, but you know, before that point I had, hadn't really thought, you know, I'd taken supplements, you know, Um, love the industry just never had, had been involved with it, even inside the agency world. I really never had an opportunity. So, yeah. Um, that's where I was. And I remember kind of you know, all of those things about, you know, that surrounded me, you know, coming inside of, uh, into the industry, but, um, where were you and, and, and how did you get started in the industry? Diana?

Diana Morgan:

Yeah. So, um, I think it actually started a really early age. So probably when I was like in elementary school, I remember my dad lifting weights in the attic, drinking a Joe weeder protein shake, and then washing it down with a huge. So Garvey I'm 75 multivitamin and that was just his lifestyle. And, you know, he would read his muscle and fitness magazines while, you know, in between working out. And I just love that, that lifestyle. And then it wasn't until, um, you know, I was going for my bachelor's in nutrition that, um, you know, the typical. The typical path of someone doing that at that time was you get your bachelor's, you get your RD and then you work in a hospital or a nursing home. And I realized, you know, I really didn't want to do that clinical aspect of it. And so while I was going for my bachelor's, I actually was doing sales for, um, a very small, uh, dietary supplement company where I would, um, go to work in the morning. Take a really long lunch break and then go take some classes at my school, which was about 10 minutes up the block. And then, um, come back after taking two classes to work and then finish my Workday. And then at that time I got exposure to my very first expo West. And if anyone's ever been to expo West, it is the most unbelievable trade show. And there's the power, the energy, everyone. At the trade show just gives off this love for the industry. And I knew at that time, when I was at that trade show, this was my home. This is where I meant to be. And I've just never looked back. It's been about 15 years in the industry now, and I've worked for so many different dietary supplement companies with either sales or technical services or product development or regulatory. And it's just, I'm never leaving the industry.

Andrew Rice:

I agree. Uh, yeah, thanks for that, Diana. I remember, uh, my first expo and it, it is different, you know, I've been to several trade shows and the environment and the people, how inviting, and, you know, you're a little bit nervous when you're going to one of those things. Even if you've got experience, you know, in the business world or inside the industry, it's just a little bit nerve wracking because of how big it is. Um, But everybody is warm and inviting and friendly and, and not afraid to answer questions and ask questions. So, yeah, I agree. I think it's, uh, it's pretty cool. So, and you've done a lot. I mean, you've done a lot. You've, you know, we've science and regulatory and sales and I mean, you've done a lot. Um, as far as roles are concerned, Yeah,

Diana Morgan:

and I think that's one of the reasons why I just love all these trade shows because everyone is so passionate about the industry and just love talking about sups. Um, you know, I could talk about sups all day long and just because I just love them. I love what they do for your body. I love the great benefits you can get from taking supplements and just really enhancing. Senior overall, um, health, you know, even if it's a fitness program or if you're, um, you know, looking to reduce your stress or, you know, helping you sleep better, there's just so many awesome products. And now we're in such a great state where there's these really cool forms, too. Right? So you have all the gummies, you have all these cool conventional forms, and now we're at this, um, Other crossroad, where we're seeing the convergence of functional foods and dietary supplements. So like, there's that cool aspect of the industry and it just keeps evolving and keeps getting better and better. Um, So I just love, you know, any piece of it. I can get my hands on

Jackie Rizo:

Diana. We also know that you have a passion for mentoring young professionals. So it's not just a passion for what the supplements do for your body, but also helping young professionals. And one way you've done that is through, um, this new networking event called what's up with steps. Um, can you tell us some things that you would tell young professionals coming into the industry.

Diana Morgan:

yeah. So, um, I love helping develop new talent and especially those that are passionate about staying in this industry. I had really amazing mentors throughout my career and they've helped develop me, help grow me. And, uh, I just really want to pay that forward to the younger talent. So, um, what, uh, what's up, what's up a networking event. Was, um, you know, since we've all been cooped up in the house for, you know, the past six months, I thought, you know, we as an industry really thrive on seeing each other and having that personal connection and. The first Whats up with sups networking event took place in Northern New Jersey, uh, about a month ago. And it was a great success. It was outdoors, socially distance. Uh, people had masks on, uh, we kept it pretty small to ensure we took adequate precautions to ensure everyone's health and safety. Uh, but it was an overall success and, uh, part of the, um, Mission of the Whats up with sups networking event is not just for old industry colleagues to connect with each other, but also to make new connections and also to develop a talent and, uh, bring those that are even interested in the industry to some of these networking events, to meet, to meet key players in the industry so they can, um, get that experience so they can have someone that they can lean upon if they, um, you know, not necessarily even looking for a job, but just. Are looking for, um, guidance on, Oh, so what should I do in this situation where, um, I have this awesome ingredient and I'm not sure if it's an NDI or not. So just having someone to bounce. All of those questions off of is really great. Someone that has a seasoned knowledge and can just really help you on so many different levels. And I think mentors are the most important, um, for your career. So there's, you know, a few different types. You have like a mentor and then you have a sponsor and then you have, um, you know, your cheerleaders, the ones that will always be there for you and just really helping to, um, You know, lift you up. So, you know, I just want to really encourage that unity of the industry and, um, you know, just supporting one another.

Andrew Rice:

Yeah. I love that. Um, I think, I think. When I was younger, it was much more difficult for me, for my personality to ask for help. It was like, I know everything and I, you know, but so some of us are a lot harder headed than others when it comes to that. But I think one of the most valuable things I have I have experienced in my professional career is, is realizing I need those mentors in my life. Um, both from a professional and personal. Perspective. Um, and, and you can just grow so much more exponentially, um, when you have that, that seasoned experience and that those people in your corner and those cheerleaders that are rooting for you and, you know, they're behind you and they know that you know that they've got your best interest in mind. It's just a, it's a, it's a great feeling. So. Yeah. That's uh, yeah. Thanks for, for sharing that.

Diana Morgan:

Yeah. You know, the Beatles said it, right. We can all use a little help from our friends.

Jackie Rizo:

That is so true.

Andrew Rice:

So true. So

Jackie Rizo:

true. Yeah. It's hard to do this life alone for sure. And walk this path. Yep. Um, as we've discussed before, we are a big fan of care of so much. So we put care of, um, the customer experience, what you all do in one of our white papers. Can you briefly share with us about care of and just that process of how you all ensure that people are getting exactly what they need?

Diana Morgan:

Yeah. So, um, for some of you guys that aren't familiar, car of is a direct to consumer personalized nutrition company that makes these convenient packs that you could take with you and basically contains everything that you need. Right. Based off of, um, an online quiz where we ask you questions about your diet, lifestyle, health goals. And then based off of that, uh, taking into consideration, uh, clear and competent, reliable science, we will provide you recommendations on what you need for your personal goals. Um, so part of the consumer experience, doesn't just stop after you take the quiz and we give you your recommendations and you get your, uh, packs, which come in a, a monthly dispenser. So that's one way that, you know, you can have everything that you need with you, you take it with you, you pop it in your gym bag and your purse on, on your way to work. And that way it helps you to remember, to always take them on top of that. Uh, we do have, uh, another piece in the consumer. Experience through our app and with the app we provide, um, Some additional guidance. And we also provide you reminders to take, to take your supplements. So I'll just quickly show you my app and you could set these reminders, um, for daily basis. And it'll, it'll have a little pop up on your phone. Remember to take your vitamins. And for some reason, if you don't take your vitamins for a few days, it'll then send you another. Gentle reminder that you haven't taken them in a few days. So every time you take your vitamins, you can log in to the care of app. And this is basically what the home screen looks like. And you guys can see it. I just tap here that I took my vitamins. This is everything that's in my pack. My tap. And then here at the top, you'll see a little carrot. So every time you log that you've taken your vitamins for the day, you'll earn something called care of carrots. Now, care of carrots can actually be redeemed for either merchandise, a free product, or even if you get a lot of care carrots. It could be a Peloton bike. So that type of positive reinforcement will help people, um, be more compliant with taking their supplements because, you know, we all like to get things, uh, additional, right? So, you know, you go to all these different stores and they ask you if you want to be part of their rewards program. And it's nice to get something back for do doing something good for yourself. And I always say that you can have the. Best supplement in the world, the most expensive supplement in the world, the best research. But if you don't take it on a daily basis, you're not going to get the best results. So part of the ultimate customer experience and seeing the results is remembering to take your pack consistently. Um, so on top of having, uh, the reminders for the pack, we also have a constant feedback loop with our customer experience team, where we'll, uh, frequently check in with customers, whether it's via email phone, and we even have a cool text option because, you know, everyone likes texts. Um, it's really hard to actually pick up the phone today for some reason. So people respond more to texts and they actually do the phone calls. So we would do like the text, our customers, and just check in with them and even encourage them at different stages in their life to retake the quiz. Because, you know, say you, um, you know, you're, you're pregnant. Um, and then, you know, after, you know, a few years later, you're going through a different stage in your life. You're no longer needing all those extra nutrients. You'd want to retake the quiz and then just get reassessed for. What your body needs.

Jackie Rizo:

Yeah, I think that's great. I was wondering how that works, you know, when the seasons of life change, but it's really interesting to have it or hear about a company who actually continues to check in with their customers to make sure that they're okay. And I love that you were talking about just that the app and the consistent basis, because if it's not consistent, well, it's not going to be beneficial and it's not going to become that habit that we all need.

Andrew Rice:

I was curious about how many packs I needed to take to get the Peloton. That's all I really heard was like Peloton. So, um, maybe I'll talk with you after we can work out some math. You're probably much better at the math than I am. So figuring out some math on how many of those things I, you know, do I need to double up or so anyway. So we've talked a little bit about mentoring others. We've talked about specifically mentoring those within our industry and our space. What advice would you have specific to somebody else within a similar role as yours?

Diana Morgan:

Yeah, so I, I would say the key things that I would like, um, up-and-comers to know for the regulatory. First and foremost to be a friend of the business. So, you know, so many times I've seen, um, you know, marketers and regulatory, just butt heads because they almost feel like you're a blocker to making awesome claims or awesome products. And that's not how it should be at all. Um, so the way I like to pride myself on being a regulator is working directly with the business because. We ultimately, we want to make awesome products and we want to sell awesome products because we know they're, they're really good. So what I, um, really encourage is having that dialogue with the business, but also seeing it from a business lens, not seeing, okay, I need to go into the CFR and it says, um, it says this, this and this well. It might say this, this and this, but the regulatory framework is, has a lot of gray area and that's a key area that the awesome regulators need to play, and we need to be able to weave in and out of that gray area. And that's what separates, um, a regulatory person from a super regulator. Just really understanding who the consumer is, because a lot of times when you understand what the, um, the ultimate end game is, or the goal for the marketing team, and you understand your consumer base being creative and getting creative with language to get to that common goal while still being compliant and. Not getting a warning letter or not getting a lawsuit and, you know, really understanding that level is what's going to, um, you know, really make your career to the next level.

Andrew Rice:

Yeah, I think so from a marketing perspective, um, strategy perspective, I think what, what you're saying resonates, you know, for, for us specifically, um, My I've always the whole, you know, I have this in the notes from, from something you had had said from before, but like, don't say no, like, I think we all remember back like being kids, like one of the most, one of my biggest pet peeves about my childhood. Um, Was my parents say no for the sake of no, or at least I, I thought they did. Right? So like, even to this day, it's like nails on the chalkboard for me. I do. I, and I have to admit, I push, I push the bounds a little.

Jackie Rizo:

He likes a lot of shock and awe in the marketing.

Andrew Rice:

I do I try to do the shock and awe but like that whole. Philosophy of like, no, we're going to say no for the sake of no. Um, and I, I don't think that happens all the time. I just think it can happen, especially as, as we put our heads down and just like get in our work and, and, you know, we're just kinda trying to crank through things. So yeah, the whole, no, for the sake of no, uh, I, I'm not a big fan of that. Um, my, my question, I think I even still have it on my little LinkedIn image, whatever that's called profile image or whatever. And I it's, why not? Right. I want to ask why not that's me like, well, why not? Why can't, why can't I, why can't, you know, why can't we do this, but I think there's a whole lot less of that. Um, when, when, when regulars re regular, uh, regulatory and, and us. Team together and really focus on being this cohesive team and like your best interest, you know, is mine and vice versa and where we really are working in Gelina as a team. I think there's a lot to be said about that because I think then, you know, we're going to trust. And, and, and really not just listen, but really care about the importance of, of the position that they have with the company. And, and I think, and then I think vice versa there as well, and I think they will then begin to see the advantages for the company from a marketing or strategy, uh, perspective. So, uh, I love that.

Diana Morgan:

Yeah. And you know what, I also think it's really healthy to push each other, you know, not in, um, like a very dominant way, but just, um, being able to push each other to think outside the box and get into that state of, um, you know, being a little uncomfortable. So I, I really love. Being uncomfortable. So you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. And a lot of times people like being comfortable, right. Um, just getting outside of that and embracing that uncomfortable space is really, what's going to take you to the next level and help grow you. So one of the things I always do is always provide recommendations. I would never ever, ever say no. Um, I would always provide recommendations on how we can have it the way they want it. Um, So that's really, what's going to be the key piece and, you know, again, you know, that healthy dialogue, I don't mind it when someone says, well, why can't we do it? You know? Um, I, I really don't mind that I love like explaining, you know, the different levels of risk because everything's a risk call. Right. Um, you know, what could be the potential risk of, um, XYZ claim? Well, here's the implication and, you know, sometimes there are heavier implications than others and that's, you know, all where you need to assess the overall net impression of what you're trying to convey. And if the, you know, the reasonable customer thinks. It's going to be that then that's what it is. Um, but you know, there are so many ways that you can mitigate risk by just one word by an image. And you just got to get creative with it.

Jackie Rizo:

Diana, it has been so great talking with you. Today, um, especially just hearing about your passion for mentoring and all that you're doing for the dietary supplement industry industry and all the new cameras coming in. I appreciate what you have said from the regulatory perspective. Um, especially on the levels of risk. We have a fantastic science and regulatory department here, and that's one thing that we are learning to figure out because we do kind of like to push the creative boundary. And like I said earlier, Andrew loves the shock and awe, um, And that's been seen in a lot of what stratum has done in the marketing and what's been good for us is working through what is that level of risk? Like, why can we not say that? And I just, it's encouraging to hear from you on that and how we can actually even. Be a better team for our science and regulatory department as well.

Andrew Rice:

Agreed. Yeah. So yeah, it's been, it's been great talking to you, um, with your experience from your side of things, from a regulatory perspective. And, and as, as Jackie clearly stated, we, we love our regulatory and science. Um, Um, department in, in this has, this has, uh, encouraged us to continue to grow that bond stronger and stronger. So we do appreciate,

Jackie Rizo:

especially through that gray landscape of regulatory.

Andrew Rice:

Yes. Yes.

Diana Morgan:

And you know, a great way to, um, strengthen that bond. You guys should do a team building event and like go to an escape room or something.

Andrew Rice:

Yes, we could do trust falls. Maybe we can do six foot trust falls right now. Yeah. Maybe, maybe we can't, but I like to, I like the escape room idea, so, well, Diana, it's been great having you on, um, great chatting with you again. Thanks so much. And, uh, hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

Diana Morgan:

Thank you, you guys too be safe and be healthy. Talk soon.

Jackie Rizo:

Thank you. Bye Diana.