Shalom Lloyd (BSc MSc Pharm; MBA) is a proud mother of five, a wife, a serial entrepreneur, TEDx speaker and a workaholic.
A global leader for over twenty (20) years in the UK Pharmaceutical (drug development) Industry, Shalom Lloyd is the founder of Naturally Tribal Skincare a company that uses Mother Nature’s gifts to create natural chemical free skincare products in the United Kingdom with ingredients ethically sourced from Nigeria. Shalom is also the Chief Strategy Officer at Emerging Markets Quality Trials (eMQT), a non-profit organisation focused on providing the global pharmaceutical industry access to patients in Africa.
Shalom is a Commonwealth Export Champion, a Mentor, a STEM Ambassador and strong believer in the fact that anything is possible!
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
My name is Shalom Lloyd, I’m the proud mother of five, a wife, a terrific friend and a workaholic. I launched Naturally Tribal when I was a global leader in the Pharmaceutical Industry until in September 2018, I decided to follow my passion and focus on growing my young company Naturally Tribal Skincare Ltd.
I am one of those annoying people who truly believe that nothing is impossible. I am a driven woman who does not shy away from making innovative and daring decisions and resolutely refuses to ever be afraid to ask that difficult question and most importantly, deal with the answer. When I look back and connect the dots of my life journey, where I am today, makes complete sense.
I started my career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1995, an industry I have loved for over twenty years. Building a career in the pharmaceutical drug development arena enabled me work from the ground up into senior leadership roles where I led teams locally and globally – a successful career for which I am grateful.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Physics, Chemistry, Biology – those were the subjects I felt most comfortable with from a young age and they led me to work in an industry I love, where I believe I made a difference. I was fortunate enough to be given a full scholarship to study pharmacy in the former Soviet Union (Russia). I was 16 when I arrived in Moscow and after a further five years of living and studying in a country to which I arrived without knowing a single word of Russian or knowing anyone, I returned home to the United Kingdom with a BSc and MSc in Pharmacy.
In addition to the language, there were many challenges and barriers to being a young woman of colour in Russia. However, my experience in the former Soviet Union not only nurtured the scientist in me but gave me confidence, determination, tenacity, the will to succeed, the ability to adapt and the understanding that my success or failure is down to me!
In 2014, after several IVF cycles, I gave birth to a beautiful set of twins! One of my twins, Joshua, was covered in eczema from birth and I spent months combining lotions, creams, emollients, teas – you name it – to stop his ‘scratch until drawing blood’ dilemma. I tapped into my African heritage and started to mix raw ingredients from Africa – the scientist in me took over, experimenting and testing using these natural ingredients. Then once I stumbled on the right formula, it miraculously only took three days for Joshua’s skin to become what it should have been at birth.
Naturally Tribal Skincare was born from this personal experience.
I never sat down and planned my career however, what I did try to do was maximise opportunities that came my way. I didn’t have all the answers, frankly, who does? – But I did know that I wanted to be the best version of myself and leave a little mark in the world somehow.
As a girl good at her sciences with no concrete plans, I do know that science and technology are nature’s true gifts. But, when one sprinkles a little innovation into that mix, taking an idea, making it better, demonstrating the value and bringing it to life – the sky is truly our limit!
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Like most people, life is full of challenges and I too have faced my fair share – challenges as a young woman growing up in Nigeria, as a black woman in the former Soviet Union, as a young graduate trying to start a career in the UK, as a career woman trying to progress and climb that famous ladder, as a woman divorced, as a woman who thought there was a possibility she would not be a mother, as a mother, as a step mother, as a mother of mixed race children, as a wife, as a business person, as me!.
There will always be obstacles and barriers as we go through our life journey however, I do believe that ‘Failure’ is an option! Failure is the first step to success; multiple failures are multiple steps towards success. Name an idol, a mentor, someone you admire who has not failed multiple times to get to where they are. We always view failure as a negative, we call it a ‘challenge’ which sometimes makes it sound not so bad, but failure to me is a positive. As an entrepreneur, I have failed multiple times and that is ok! If we have the courage to stop, retrace our steps, we will see that the failures we have had, have been the drivers and the obstacles we have had to overcome to get to where we are today.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date is my family – As I mentioned previously, I am a mother to five amazing children and a wife to my soul mate. I worked my way up to becoming a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry, starting several businesses, being a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend – it’s tough but my family help me do all of this whilst remaining focused, grounded and at the same time remaining true to my values and ambitions. My biggest achievement is being that cool and fun mum, that role model to my children.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Faith in myself and my abilities
Faith in people – the few right people in my life
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
When you google the word ‘Mentoring’, it states “Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person” – I somewhat disagree with google!
Mentoring to me, is a relationship where both the mentor and mentee equally benefit, grow and take something away from the experience. Even the greatest of the greats have/ had ‘Mentors’! When you find a mentor who shares your values, vision, understands and even believes in your crazy, ‘out there’ ideas, your story – you know you are onto a winner.
In a Forbes article by Brian Rashid titled ‘3 Reasons all great leaders have mentors (and mentees)’ he put it so beautifully – “Trying to do great things is difficult. Trying to do them alone is, more often than not, impossible”.
I have great mentors who have just recently come into my life through the Commonwealth and in a very short space of time these mentors have lifted, championed and continue to teach, encourage, push, support, constructively criticize, develop, question and open new doors for me! My mentors surprise me every day, push me out of my comfort zone, give it to me straight and honest. Most of all, they want me to succeed!
“A Mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself” (Oprah Winfrey)
Through my career, I have had the privilege of mentoring some great people who have gone on to have fabulous careers. I am, for the second year running, a proud Cherie Blair Foundation mentor where women are connected and matched across continents to develop a mentor/ mentee relationship where we both grow, learn, empower, develop skills and build confidence.
Within my company, Naturally Tribal Skincare, sourcing the right high quality and premium natural ingredients is the key to our product efficacy. The search for quality ingredients led us to the Kingdom of Essan, Niger State, Nigeria from where some of our high grade and high-quality ingredients are sourced. Today, our business goes beyond the Naturally Tribal range of skincare products and now gives us the chance to make real difference, improving the lives of women in Africa. We are looking to introduce our ‘Empowered Connection’ Programme, a mentoring programme where we are matching capable, strong, influential, experienced and culturally sensitive women from the western world with capable, strong, less experienced women from Africa – different backgrounds and cultures to facilitate learning, empowerment, connectivity and sisterhood on both sides.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for gender parity, what would it be?
So much is being done and gender parity topic is everywhere! If I could change one thing, it would be making us women more accountable. I would like us to think, say and then do more!
I was born in Nigeria! I LOVE my roots and my Nigerian (African) heritage which gave me the grounding from a cultural perspective, the love and appreciation for family, understanding of the strength of community.
As a woman, I have rebelled against the stereotype where my role appeared to be pre-defined; rebelled against my culture where I could have been boxed into being seen but not heard; rebelled against those who frown upon my mixed marriage and beautiful children being dubbed as ‘mixed race’. One aspect that surprises me every day is how we as women treat each other but still point the finger outward!
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Can I cheat and give my younger self two pieces of advice which are two of my favourite quotes?
Firstly Shalom, just start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible because trust me, you will conquer the impossible (Saint Francis of Assisi)
Secondly, it is better to be prepared and not have an opportunity than to have an opportunity and not be prepared (Whitney M. Young) – be prepared Shalom, you will be absolutely fine!
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
2016, Naturally Tribal’s first year of operation was focused on building a strong team, testing, formulating and building our pipeline; 2017 our ‘soft launch’ year was spent validating and understanding our market, raising brand awareness and product reformulation based on research and customer feedback. 2018 kicked off the full launch of our products and brand.
I am now running the business full time and 2019 is all about getting our products into luxury high end stores, exporting more, launching our body cleaners and our bridal collection. The future looks bright for Naturally Tribal and my aim is to seize every opportunity (including the enigma that is Brexit) and truly position us as a company with not only great products but one with a conscience.