Editor's note: In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, FastCasual interviewed several female leaders in the restaurant industry to learn about their success and how they feel about leading in a male-dominated industry. To read the entire series, click here.
Tara Gilad, founder of Vitality Bowls, was inspired to create the concept by her 2-year-old daughter's struggle with food allergies.
"It was so hard to eat out as we had to ensure she was getting the best nutrients in restaurants that took allergies seriously," said Gilad, who believes that mothers shouldn't be afraid to take on leadership roles.
"It can be difficult being female in a male-dominated world, and I've often found myself discounted by men when dealing with them in various aspects of the business. I hope that in the coming years, an increase in the number of women leaders will have a positive effect on the industry."
Got her start in the biz
After struggling to feed her daughter, who was suffering from food allergies in 2011, Gilad created Vitality Bowls, a brand she describes as a "casual super-food cafe where people eat nutritious super-foods from a kitchen that strives to avoid cross-contamination of common food allergy ingredients."
On why women make great leaders
"I think many women are concerned with work/life balance and trying to manage having a family with the demands of leadership roles and/or owning their own business. However, I find being in a leadership role gives me more flexibility than a regular job. It's a lot of late nights and coordination, but for the most part I'm able to schedule my work around my kids' needs. Plus, I'm a wonderful role model to my daughter. I definitely encourage more women to create businesses of their own and a huge benefit is gaining more control over their schedules. Vitality Bowls has several women franchisees that now own their own business and are experiencing success."
Advice to women looking to lead
Do it! Don't be afraid. The positivity and rewards that come from it far outweigh the hard work and long hours.
/ Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for FastCasual.com.