Meet Norma Orozco, Founder, and General Director of the Mexican School of Confectionery and Chocolate, she has been dedicated to the food industry for more than 28 years, and she is the creator of the product «Mchocolate» added coenzyme Q10, which is the first sugar-free chocolate with a medical check that has positive effects on its consumers.
“You have to study, learn, and investigate every day, keeping myself updated has been part of maintaining myself as a leader in the industry”
Who is Norma Orozco? Define yourself!
A woman who achieves her goals through discipline, passion, and love of life. Something that I like to do a lot is to develop, innovate, investigate confectionery and chocolate products.
How were you as a kid?
Very restless and independent since I was little, I loved discovering new things, running, and getting on my bike.
You studied food engineering at Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, Mexico, why did you choose that course of study?
When I had to choose a career there was a lot of talk about the career of the future and that caught my attention, I was interested in learning about the new technologies that were going to be developed for food.
You have been dedicated to the food industry in its branch of confectionery and chocolate products for more than 28 years, you offer technical advice, especially in the chocolate and confectionery industry site visits, development of new products, quality control, and exports. Collaborated with many companies in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, what are the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the years?
That I have to be always updated and that I learn something new every day, therefore one lesson is that you have to study, learn, and investigate every day, keeping myself updated has been part of maintaining myself as a leader in the industry.
Have more patience and know that not all of us go at the same pace and understand the same. That personal life is the most important thing and that you have to work to live. And the saying that we can all be necessary, but no one is indispensable has become very clear to me.
You are the creator of the product «Mchocolate» added coenzyme Q10, which is the first sugar-free chocolate with a medical check that has positive effects on its consumers, as it improves the mood in general and decreases the depressive state, you are also the General Director of the Mexican School of Confectionery and Chocolate, international professor, researcher, writer, and lecturer. What´s the recipe for your success?
Do what you like with passion and be very disciplined, never say you can't or let someone tell you can't.
Where did your interest in confectionery and chocolate come from?
Recently graduated from university, destiny took me to a chewing gum factory, and I liked it a lot I learned that the world of confectionery and chocolate was incredible because of its colors, textures, and above all its flavors and aromas. From there my passion and interest in this magical world are born.
Being an expert in chocolate, what characteristics does a bar of good chocolate have? In your opinion, what are the best chocolates in the world?
The range of chocolates is so wide that is why 90% of the world population consume it, if you ask me which one, I like are those 70% chocolate bars, especially criollo cocoa or fine aroma cocoas.
“Do what you like with passion and be very disciplined, never say you can't or let someone tell you can't”.
Tell us more about your book: Confectionery: from the artisan to the technology". Which is available in two languages: Spanish, and English, and it is the first Mexican technical book on this subject.
When I talk about the book that I wrote together with a great friend, it fills me with emotion, because it is really the first technical confectionery book written in Mexico, it reflects more than 20 years of experience and learning in this industry, a great satisfaction especially in that we have three editions and talking about two editions is already important imagine three editions and this last one in English. As of today, the editions in Spanish are sold out. We hope to print the 4th edition again soon.
I can tell you that it is an easy to read and very interesting book where you enter the world of confectionery from its raw materials and why and what role each of them plays in the final product until you know part of the current production technologies of the sweets. It is also the only book where you can find more than 70 formulas, including formulas for spicy candys, products that are produced only in Mexico.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I could tell you that I don't have a normal day thanks to my work, there are months that I spend traveling to different cities and at least to a different country, so I'll talk to you about a day in a factory outside the country. You have to get up early and have a good breakfast to have enough energy. In the factory, we normally start with a planning meeting and start working and that is what I enjoy the most, being in front of a team where we begin by preparing the raw materials, adjusting the parameters, and starting the process. It is incredible when you see the first product leaving the line and if this is the closest thing to what was planned in the meeting it is a great satisfaction, in the production lines, you can spend up to 10 hrs.
After finishing, I return to the hotel to rest, to enjoy a delicious dinner and if there is an opportunity and the body is not too tired, go for a walk around the hotel and see or visit the places that I like the most. When I am in the City of San Luis Potosi at the EMCC facilities, getting up and knowing that I am going to school gives me great pleasure and I always give my best.
Arriving at school I have to start the courses with the theoretical part, after the practical part a good meal and in the afternoon after finishing the course, I go visit my parents or have a coffee with friends. If I am at home I read, if it is a weekend a good glass of red wine in the company of my friends.
“Being present with the clients at the moment that it is required to provide the service in a timely manner is very important to maintain your client portfolio”.
What do you love most about your job? & What is the most difficult part?
The development of new products, to see the new ideas in a product and above all, to see that this product is on the market, and you can find it in different points of sale.
As for the most difficult part, I would say it is to have to fill out many reports, there are also times when I have to deal with negative people that everything is difficult, that it is not possible to do it or that they tell you that it cannot be done.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow your business?
Always be at the forefront of trends in confectionery and chocolate products, attend international forums where new trends in food, especially confectionery, are discussed, participate in exhibitions and workshops.
Being present with the clients at the moment that it is required to provide the service in a timely manner is very important to maintain your client portfolio. Advertise on social networks and inform about the courses that are given at the moment and the results of the products, keep customers always informed.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?
More than a talk, it was a moment that I had to live, managing to survive an aerial experience where I thought I would not see my son again and that changed my way of thinking, and now I can say that my work is important, but it is much more my loved ones.
Do you have any particular philosophy that guides your career decisions?
Congruence, ethics and discipline
What are the dos and don’ts of female leadership?
The advantage at this time is that the people are listening to us and have begun to see us as a person who can be a leader in any field.
You still find people of any gender who believe that a woman cannot be a leader or, worst of all, that they do not have the capacity to be one.
Everybody has had dark moments in their lives, what have you done to get out of that phase?
I consider myself a very practical woman, so in dark moments I stop to think about what the options are, and I consider it to be the best at the moment, I make the decision and assume the consequences, I get out of that circle and turn the page as soon as possible.
“I have always commented that I do not give advice. I firmly believe that it is an example of how you are and what you have achieved is much more important than giving advice”.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to read a lot; I belong to a Reading Workshop that I enjoy a lot. When the time is enough, I love to travel and visit different places walking and getting to know the cities.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life, and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, I don´t know if you are married and have kids, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
I am a mother; a grandmother and I have a partner. I have not felt that I have to work harder than a man has to work to have my professional career, what I do is prepare myself every day to be the best at what I do.
There is still a glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for the fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
At some moments in my life, I have felt the glass ceiling, but I have broken it with the strength and intelligence of someone who knows what he is doing and has prepared himself to achieve it.
The biggest challenges have been facing people who have one face in front of you and you turn around and its other people and not get hurt or hurt, the way to overcome it is not to allow their behaviors to affect you.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Norma and what´s not?
I have always commented that I do not give advice. I firmly believe that it is the example of how you are and what you have achieved is much more important than giving advice.
Everyone has to learn firsthand is the way one grows and what is important is to see those women who inspire you and what they did to achieve it.
As I previously mentioned, you have to be consistent in life, so if Norma is disciplined, ethical and professional, that is what I reflect and it is what people see of me, perhaps and they tell me that I get very angry, but it is not like that, I just talk clear and direct and this can cause confusion when interacting outside the professional environment, since I consider myself a calm person who can be fun.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
I admire those women who leave their case every day to look for opportunities to be better every day and who are willing to face the systems and expect nothing but work to have everything and I am not only talking about the material, but also the personal and spiritual.
Name: Norma Estela Orozco Sánchez
Company: Mexican School of Confectionery and Chocolate
Designation: Founder and General Director