Vidya Maharaj

Cues and Views

Entrepreneur, epidemiologist and chef extraordinaire, Vidya Maharaj, in brief.

Vidya Maharaj
"Straighten Your Crown"

Home: Miami.  Birthplace: Trinidad and Tobago.  Profession: Scientist, restaurateur, motivational speaker.  Organization: Regenerative Outcomes Clinical Services Group; Rookman Group.  Title: VP Clinical Operations &  Development; Restaurateur; Executive Chef.  Alma mater: Florida International University.  Languages spoken: English.

Current project: Expansion of both companies that I currently lead.  Recent recognition: Recent induction into CHIEF.  Recent professional development: Learning about fundraising, NFTs and expansion models for my businesses.  Latest accomplishment: My daughter landed a lead role in an off-Broadway musical (follow her on Instagram to learn more about her!).  Hobbies: Traveling, running and spending time with my family. Last book read: My Life in Full, by Indra Nooyi.

What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Ambitious.  Moral compass: Lead by example.  How do you define a perfect friendship? Honesty and commitment that is reciprocated and equally valued by the other person.  How do you define an ideal business relationship? Remaining steadfast, focused and dedicated, regardless of any challenges.  What is your go-to workout? Running.  What is your greatest joy? My nine-year old daughter, a singing, acting, and dancing prodigy.  She's destined to win major awards.  What is your greatest fear? Losing my dad at the peak of my career, or before the Rookman Group makes big news.  I am doing everything in my power to ensure he is here with us when we do make it.  What natural talent have you neglected? Acting, singing and dancing.  I'm happy my daughter picked up those talents and I live vicariously through her.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life? My parents, immigrants and entrepreneurs who achieved the American Dream, and my husband for supporting me through it all!  What is the best advice you received growing up? Speak to the janitor the same way you would speak to the CEO.  What is the best advice you received in your career? Keep pushing no matter what happens. What company or organization do you most admire? Chobani and Spanx.  I want to build employee-owned companies.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? Communicating and learning from others who have reached the pinnacle of their professions.  What change would you like to see in the world? Kindness.  I wish people would be less selfish and more selfless.  What message do you want to send out into the world? Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  What widely held belief do you reject? That success is due to luck.  To the contrary, I believe success comes as a result of hard work.  What mega-trend most excites you? More women in corporate America serving in leadership roles.

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Queen of All Trades.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Priyanka Chopra.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A Bollywood actress. Or, Miss Universe.  I remember watching it on TV with my mom, who would say, “Vidya, you could be that.”  What was your dream? I wanted to be something big.  I wanted to live with purpose and make an impact.  I never once thought about a big house or a fancy car, I always wanted to have a positive impact on humanity.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? I would spend it with my entire family, especially my daughter and husband.  What advice would you give your younger self? Pursue every opportunity, no matter what happens.

Personal mission: Empowering young female entrepreneurs to be fearless about speaking up and hustling. Personal motto: Straighten Your Crown.  Favorite quote: Whenever you feel overwhelmed, remember whose daughter you are and Straighten Your Crown.

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