According to her colleagues, Michelle Muscat is the very definition of a Canadian entrepreneur. Wildly Delicious Fine Foods, the company she started in her basement over twenty years ago, has become Canada’s largest specialty food manufacturer, with a distribution that includes some of the largest retail outlets across the country. She recently opened the company’s first “experiential” retail location, dedicated to bringing more than 300 Wildly Delicious products directly to customers.
Like many great CEOs, Muscat is a hands-on executive. She has done every “job” in the company and knows what’s required to take an idea from concept to production to sales to fulfillment. One of her toughest challenges was learning to work with Chinese manufacturers. “It has taken years of commitment on both sides to learn each other’s cultures and expectations, and establish standards we both must adhere to,” she explains. Under her leadership, the company has consistently won national awards for best-in-class food products, hard goods and packaging.
Innovation is at the heart of Wildly Delicious and Muscat’s leadership powers it. Distinctive products developed by the company have won many Specialty Food Industry Awards, including its Cheese Knife Set (2011), Outstanding Product Line (2012), Petite Maison Red Brie Baker (2009), Fig Pear with Orange Fruit Compote (2010), Peri Peri Sauce (2012), and Beet & Red Onion Marmalade (2013).
Muscat is convinced that diversity creates positivity in the workplace. “I believe in people, not stereotypes,” she explains. “I always hire people for their ability to contribute, not their specific experience in my industry.” She goes on to say, “Diversity for us is celebrating the flavors of the world. We’ve done this for 23 years, by listening to our team and being inspired by the diversity the world’s ingredients have to offer.”
Muscat offers this advice to young women professionals: “Stay true to your ideas and be passionate about what you do. Your enthusiasm will infect those around you with positive energy.” And she adds, “Love what you do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”