Fiona Cho

Chief Operating Officer, SPICES USA INC. 

Fiona Cho

Chief Operating Officer, SPICES USA INC. 

Effective and quality leadership plays a crucial role in navigating the complexities of today’s dynamic business environment. In an era marked by rapid changes, global competition, and technological advancements, leadership is the driving force behind organizational success. A skilled leader not only steers a company through challenges but also fosters innovation, nurtures a positive corporate culture, and inspires teams to achieve their best.

 

One such exemplar of impactful leadership is Fiona Cho, the Chief Operating Officer of SPICES USA INC. In the ever-evolving landscape of the spice industry, Fiona’s strategic vision and commitment to excellence have played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s trajectory. With an extensive background in the sector and a keen understanding of market dynamics, Fiona has spearheaded initiatives to ensure SPICES USA remains at the forefront of delivering quality products to a diverse and expanding market.

Fiona Cho’s leadership prowess has not gone unnoticed. Her remarkable contributions and transformative leadership have earned her a nomination for the title of “The Most Impactful COOs to Watch in 2024.” This recognition is a testament to Fiona’s capability to navigate the complexities of the industry and drive positive change within her role as the COO of SPICES USA INC.

From Kitchen Table Beginnings to Skies of Success

Fiona Cho always had a unique and deep personal connection towards the company. Born into the business, Fiona’s journey began as she witnessed her parents, the founders of Spices USA, building the enterprise from their kitchen table. Her after-school hours were spent actively participating in various aspects, from packaging items to accompanying her mother on accounting-related tasks. These early experiences ingrained in Fiona the values of hard work and passion that fueled her parents’ commitment to making Spices USA a success.

 

Coming from Barbadian roots, Fiona’s parents lacked formal degrees yet succeeded in establishing a thriving business, embodying the original mission statement of Spices USA — connecting the world with flavor. This upbringing instilled in Fiona the belief that success doesn’t necessarily require a degree but rather demands strength, tenacity, and clear goals. Her father’s foresight, evident in adopting Bluetooth before its mainstream popularity, showcased the family’s innovative spirit and forward-thinking approach.

 

Despite her strong ties to the family business, Fiona Cho explored her passion for mechanics during a decade-long military career, achieving the rank of E-7 Technical Sergeant of the Air Force. As an Aerospace Propulsion Craftsman specializing as a C-130 engine mechanic, Fiona’s expertise extended from cars and dirt bikes to airplanes, fostering her enthusiasm for diverse mechanical endeavors. Her military service included two combat deployments in the Middle East, where she served as the sole non-commissioned officer of her team, earning medals for exceptional achievements.

 

Stationed in Japan during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Fiona endured and, post-disaster, supported airspace operations and led missions to aid victims and survivors, earning the most prized medal. Additionally, Fiona’s commitment to excellence led her to become an instructor, teaching formal classes to fellow airmen for two years, creating lesson plans, presentations, and refining her public communication skills. Collaborating with ally countries such as Poland and Sri Lanka, Fiona shared her expertise, setting up systems and processes for efficiency. As a leader in various missions, Fiona experienced extreme pressures, shaping her belief that a great leader works for the team’s success, emphasizing trust, dedication, and the importance of developing future leaders within the mission.

Navigating Paths

Fiona Cho’s educational journey reflects a deliberate choice to embrace a multifaceted approach, intertwining academic excellence with hands-on experience in her family’s business. Early on, she grappled with the challenge of balancing school commitments while actively contributing to the dynamics of entrepreneurship within her family. Post high school graduation, Fiona consciously diverged from the conventional college path, recognizing that her mindset at that time favored a more independent and exploratory life approach.

 

Her diverse educational experiences, ranging from military training to academic pursuits, hold significant value in shaping Fiona’s passion and perspective. Initially hesitant towards formal training, Fiona has come to appreciate its potential significance for future success. This holistic perspective underscores her belief that the amalgamation of experiences contributes substantially to personal growth. Fiona’s journey communicates a powerful message — that while college education is valuable, it is not the sole determinant of success. Her military and family experiences have played pivotal roles, and Fiona, having recognized the value of formal education, pursued it to provide her business with a distinct vantage point, different from both her parents and her military background. In doing so, she exemplifies a mentality that appreciates the unique strengths derived from diverse learning experiences.

Harmonising Spice, Wellness and Growth

Fiona Cho, spearheading business development at Spices USA INC, has set her sights on a twofold mission. While her overarching goal is the expansion and establishment of Spices USA as the unrivaled authority on spice knowledge, her immediate focus lies on restructuring the company to foster an environment where employees thrive.

 

Within the company, Fiona has diligently worked on the internal framework—establishing systems, refining policies and procedures, and delineating departments. In the short term, her priority is to create a workplace that employees genuinely want to be a part of, emphasizing a people-centric approach to company culture.

 

Looking ahead, Fiona envisions Spices USA as the epitome of spice knowledge, where individuals instantly associate the brand with the finest quality and sourcing of spices. Beyond taste, she underscores the health benefits of using high-quality and multicultural spices, especially for the younger generation exploring cooking and culinary creativity.

 

Fiona takes pride in the company’s collaboration with distributors, restaurants, and supermarkets. Notably, the past few years have seen a surge in unique requests from renowned chefs and individuals seeking to craft their distinct flavor lines. Fiona commends the research and development team at Spices USA for their ability to transform these creative ideas into tangible, flavorful products, showcasing the company’s dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction.

Seasoned Strategies

Fiona Cho, a driving force behind Spices USA’s evolution since 2019, envisions significant growth and expansion in the years to come, projecting an ambitious above 25% increase. Her unwavering confidence in this projection stems from a dedicated focus on modernizing systems, restructuring departments, and optimizing workflow processes to harness market advantages and emerging trends for sustained year-over-year growth.

 

A notable achievement on Fiona’s list of accomplishments is the ongoing effort to centralize the production line, integrating it with the warehouse operations. This strategic move, slated for completion within the next year, represents a substantial milestone for Spices USA. Beyond the operational benefits, this initiative aligns with achieving SQF qualification, signaling to vendors that the company is committed to producing at the highest quality standards in the food manufacturing industry.

 

Looking ahead, Fiona has set her sights on both international and domestic expansion for Spices USA. Beyond corporate goals, she is passionate about community engagement, eager to share her unique knowledge and experiences. Fiona envisions her role as not just leading a growing business but also contributing to the community through knowledge sharing.

 

Amidst her myriad of goals, Fiona aspires to obtain her IFR pilot certification, a testament to her multifaceted approach to personal and professional development. In weaving together these strategic initiatives and personal milestones, Fiona charts a course for Spices USA that not only ensures business success but also contributes positively to the broader community.

Company
SPICES USA INC.

Management

Fiona Cho

Chief Operating Officer

Description

Their team has gained a wealth of knowledge from being involved in the Spice Industry for over 30 years. From inception, the goal was to supply Florida and the Caribbean regions. Once they secured their market share, Spices USA expanded to supply the entire continental US and many other countries across the globe.

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