Meet Raha Jamalian-Hershey, Founder MA-HA VIRTUE this week’s featured Woman in Business
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.
First and foremost, I am a woman, wife and mother. My family is my lifeblood and the driving force behind what I do. Professionally, I have over 25 years’ experience leading large multi-million-dollar product brands and marketing initiatives. I’ve had great success in leveraging global, high-end client networks to build and maximize product revenues across a diverse customer base. Now I am channeling that passion and experience into my latest venture, founding MA-HA VIRTUE.
What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place? What was the inspiration for your company/project?
My family inspired me to found MA-HA VIRTUE. It holds a monopoly in today’s market, and it was something very important to me; to make uniquely healthy products available not only to my family but other families as well.
Tell us about any new projects you have coming up
MA-HA VIRTUE is entering the Middle Eastern market on a luxury scale. Our Saff-Sour functionals & Mixology is a patented formula and rich with diamond grade saffron. It is non-alcoholic & makes you happy and laugh! Making people smile and being happy during these times, makes us at MA-HA VIRTUE feel complete.
What is a typical day like for you?
My typical day is to wake up and make breakfast for my family at 7am, get my 6-year-old daughter ready for school. Jump into my office and meetings, interviews, brilliant creative brainstorming, solving problems, coming up with strategies. Afternoon before I know it. I spend some time with my family, make or come up with a healthy but tasty farm-to-table dinner that usually does take me 30-60 min tops; or I am so beat that I tell my husband to go out. Some days I call some friends to check in on how they are doing. My day ends with taking a shower with my little one, cuddling in bed and talking about our day, our feelings, and goofy things that happened. Saying thanks for the life we have and counting our blessings!
Tell us about your community involvement – what you are passionate about outside of work and home and why/how you participate?
As an Iranian woman, I am intensely concerned for the rights and freedom of women, children, and men in Iran. It hits home as a wife, mother, and entrepreneur to see that worldwide, human & women’s rights are perpetually violated. But in Iran, those rights are virtually non-existent. More importantly, the politicians and media have closed their eyes on children being tortured, raped, and killed. That needs to change, and I’m working hard to play my part in shining a bright light on their plight to facilitate that change.
What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome?
Being a female minority entrepreneur in a male-dominated market. As an entrepreneur you must take risks, you must assert yourself and your brand. You can’t be afraid of hearing “no” (and you will hear it a lot), you have to be resilient and determined. A lot of people find that intimidating, but as a woman you must fight extra hard to be taken seriously.
From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc.?
My role models are everyone I have met in my life from good to bad. I like to draw inspiration from cultural and memorable experiences. My inspiration from people is mostly the family and friends from whom I feel unconditionally loved and respected because those two attributes are very important in order to make it through life without burning bridges.
What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?
I am an Alpha Female and for me it has always been an escape to play piano or cook which takes my mind off everything. However, to keep me sharp is our Saff-Sour functional because it improves memory in adults and children. Saffron’s antioxidant properties have clinically been proven to make a difference in cognition.
What one thing would you like to learn this year?
I would like to learn how to write Farsi with my 6-year-old because I speak six ½ languages, some perfect, some not so perfect. However, my mother tongue I speak but cannot read or write. I laugh at myself after many people in my life had not believed that I was illiterate in Farsi.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself and my family traveling and discovering amazing places, sourcing rare products that have not been discovered before and integrating them into our gourmet portfolio. I also would like to see that Iran is living under democracy and equality without the dictatorship they live under the Islamic Republic Regime of Iran.
What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
I love entertaining my friends and family at our home or away from home. My passion is to discover fine ingredients and create cocktails (mocktails for the kids) that are delicious. I love to play tennis and one day I think I would like to have a recording studio and sing with my daughter for fun.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Please, be the voice of the Iranian women, children, and men. They deserve every help they can receive to get rid of this terrorist regime. Our people and the government are not the same.
What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?