What kind of work do you do/business do you run?
I am a food safety consultant who goes that extra mile into how food businesses can serve more customers (particularly vegans) and earn more and risk less.
Much of what restaurants do is required by law, and they meet the legal minimum standards, but creating heightened and enlightened food safety and allergy management creates exclusivity and opens up unbelievably strong organic marketing channels.
What do you love about it?
I love helping, protecting people from harm, such as allergy incident, food poisoning or damage to their beliefs but I also like helping food businesses thrive, reduce food waste and increase confidence in both businesses and their customers.
I have a natural customer service focus and basically like to be practical and have fun in a traditionally serious and dull subject.
I guess my super talent is to put a positive spin on the “must dos”, present the opportunities rather than focus solely on the risks and penalties.
What’s your ‘why’ in life?
I want to save the world. I am an adventurer. I want to see species, including humans, live well and without suffering, I want to reduce pollution, waste, disease, climate change and I want my life to be fun and exciting.
The eat-out experience should be available to all, whereas now, particularly in the UK, allergy sufferers, vegans and other minorities are excluded.
It seems unjust, and I like sticking up the little guys.
It also works both ways: independent small restaurant businesses are disadvantaged against the large chains in their capabilities, tech and know-how regarding dietary preferences; however they have the advantage of personal customer service, being local and being more able to adapt to new trends, such as offering plant based.
Why are you a member of the Vegan Women’s Leadership Network?
I have a compliance, academic background and can see that with some marketing and sales know-how within the vegan arena, I can create a whole unique niche of my own whilst furthering the vegan cause, helping businesses survive in difficult times, pleasing consumers and changing lives of minorities such as allergy sufferers, promote green healthy options, prevent food waste and basically impact health, which is why I became an Environmental Health Practitioner in the first place.
I am here for mentoring, encouragement and of course, the network of admirable women.
What’s been the biggest highlight or ‘wow’ moment of your career/business/professional life?
It is actually quite recent, I have been trying to be a food safety consultant since moving to Denmark in 2014, trading time for money as a contractor.
I had 2 children relatively close together, had to learn Danish and have been working self employed for a large international compliance company.
My aha moment was when I realized the sum total of my life experience, lifestyle, academic credentials, career and skills, amounts to a pretty unique and spectacular service. Everything in my history has led me here.
How do you handle failures, fear and disappointment?
I have mentors, coaches, accountability buddies, friends and family to support me and talk me out of self-doubt.
Everyone suffers from disappointment sometimes, it’s how quickly can you bounce back.
Particularly right now during a pandemic working in the restaurant industry, I can see how lucky I am. I have optimism and gratitude to fall back on when things don’t go as planned.
I was brought up “not to get my hopes up”, however as I’ve matured and probably due to inspiration from my young children, I have realized, you cannot have disappointment without first being a risk taker, brave, adventurous and innovative.
If I am going to be a role model for my children, I have a duty to live an extraordinary life and the people I see with the life I strive for are impressively brave, adventurous and innovative.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
Not to worry about what other people are doing, they don’t want what you want anyway. It’s not a competition; relax and enjoy the ride.
Which women inspire you and why?
I’m impressed by women excelling in male-dominated professions, particularly politics, authors, actresses and entrepreneurs/business.
They may be accused of being weak for being empathetic, or cold for being working mothers or they may be damned if they do, damned if they don’t, such as a safety-orientated female Prime Minister.
I feel proud when they are unapologetically themselves whether feminine, masculine or “other”. I guess that translates to women with unshakeable self-confidence. Scarlett Johansson for example.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced and how has it helped mould who you are now?
I was brought up with two professional parents and have had to rebel (again and again) against my own internal dialogue to get a “proper” job.
Such as a job that involves working office hours, for 40 years and then you retire and eventually die.
I’ve learnt to be myself, follow my intuition and walk my own path (however unpopular, such as becoming vegan).
It’s how to grow, progress and feel accomplished. The academic, 40 years with the same employer path I was taught at school was a path I was walking begrudgingly.
What’s your super-power? What are you amazing at?
My super-power is fun. I have a mother and sister who are teachers, and I was determined not to be like them.
However, as it turns out, teaching, coaching, encouraging and helping people learn, creating awareness and making it entertaining, enlightening and exciting is my super talent.
I am just not your classic classroom teacher, I’m a practical, workplace experience, stand-up comedian style educator.
What brings you joy?
I love doing it my way. My way is unconventional, enjoyable and modern.
The ultimate goal for me if freedom in all forms. Financial and time freedom but also the freedom to travel, experience new things.
I would say I thrive on change but during lockdown, I have noticed, its is only change I have chosen that feels good. I like new things, unique things, inspirational change.
How do you define success, and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
This is a difficult one for me. I tend to move on to the next thing without acknowledging my achievements.
I guess success for me, is continuing, even though it gets tough, enduring and persisting purely on the faith that it achievable, and finally completing something, as done, signed, accredited which gives the feeling of accomplishment which is unobtainable if the journey was too easy.
Withstanding the naysayers, adversity, and perhaps several failures to finally get whatever it was you committed to or proclaimed in the first place.
I have a different definition for each aspect of my life but I guess the short version would be to be able to look backward and say “I made the most of it” no matter if it were today or my death bed.
What’s your vision for yourself and your business/career for the future?
I want to transform the food service industry to be more caring and inclusive of minorities, particularly vegans and allergy suffers but also consumers in general and of course the businesses themselves.
It uses all my skills, experiences and charm and provides a deep sense of satisfaction and pleasure.
Also in order to move forward I have to skill up to further my reach in public speaking, online (everything) and I am finding it has become a personal growth journey which is already giving a feeling of enrichment.
My vision is to be my brand, be acclaimed as transformational, inspiring and visionary and provide my clients with the same in a completely natural evolution. In turn their customers will feel happier and business will boom for all of us.
Anything else you want to tell us?
I am also a PADI Dive Master.
Heather Landex (BSc, MSc, MCIEH, EHRB) began working in the food service industry in 2000 and has worked in 8 countries, in over 1000 food service businesses. Since training as an Environmental Health Practitioner she has specialized in food safety, worked with the World’s largest food safety and safety compliance companies, The Olympic Games, the World’s largest chain restaurant brands, Michelin star restaurants and developed and further specialized into allergy and dietary preferences beyond compliance and into customer service, marketing and branding. Why? Heather has personally experienced the wraths of food allergy, is her own style of vegan and travels extensively for work across countries helping restaurants and hotels to keep to food safety and brand standards.