Interview by Derek Grosso
Name: Aditi Bhatiya
Profession: CEO, The Spice Age Group | Founder, Passport 2 Fashion | Business Operations Consultant, Ohio State University
Education: M.S. Microbiology, The Ohio State University
Community Involvement: Passport 2 Fashion, Columbus Fashion Council, Fashion Week Columbus, Healthcare Business Women’s Association, Asian Indian Alliance, Columbus Young Professionals Club
Quote: “Bland is Banned!”
Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram
Give us a snapshot of your career path:
I grew up in Mumbai, India and moved to Columbus when I was 19. My professional career began at The Ohio State University as a scientist in Microbiology. The seeds were sown for what would become my life’s motto – “Bland is Banned” which is now my company’s tagline and hashtag.
From managing a research laboratory to leading and research operations and compliance at an enterprise level, I have played a key role in creating and successfully running impactful programs and managing high profile projects at a large academic medical center. Whether through training and mentoring students or providing strategic input to leadership I have had the opportunity to promote positive transformation and influence organizational change throughout my career.
I started volunteering for non-profits in Columbus about a decade ago and realized that the organizations that are doing such pivotal work for our community have a big need to tell their stories in a more impactful way. This motivated me to start my company to offer strategic consulting, digital marketing and event management solutions to small businesses and non- profit organizations. Instead of taking a one size fits all approach with my company’s offerings, I develop relationships with their teams, so I understand each organization’s unique challenges and offer customized solutions.
Influenced by the altruistic spirit of the nonprofit community I was surrounded by and moved by the lack of diversity and representation in fashion, I launched my own nonprofit, Passport 2 Fashion. Our commitment is to showcase the beauty of diversity by curating a diverse range of styles, perspectives, and cultures. We strive to uplift and amplify underrepresented voices, designers, and fashion enthusiasts from all walks of life. Through our inclusive platform, we aim to create a sense of belonging, where everyone feels seen, valued, and celebrated. This is our sixth year, and I am grateful for how much our platform has grown!
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
First my alarm and then my coffee! But in all seriousness, its the desire to constantly improve and elevate anything I come across. With all the hats that I wear, the workweek can offer a variety of problems to solve. The pursuit of better and the opportunity to create impact at multiple levels through that approach are a constant motivator.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
Approach everything with intention and never stop learning! Every situation, person, or experience are a great opportunity for both personal and professional growth.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I love spending time with my daughter. Any task or activity with her is a great stressbuster. Taking a walk on the trail along the Scioto River around the Griggs Reservoir area is usually my favorite way to unwind.
What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Pistacia Vera, Mandrake, Townhall, Goodale Station, Cafe Istanbul, Lavash, Clove, Rooh
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I don’t get a lot of time to read! But I am currently finishing up The Book of Everlasting Things by Aanchal Malhotra. I am enjoying the Food without Borders Podcast by Sari Kamin.
What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
I’ve had an “uncoventional” career journey spanning very diverse fields (science, compliance, fashion, events, digital marketing etc.) Recognition of my work through the Next Up Columbus award in many ways validates my belief that there is no conventional path to achieving success, everyone has a different journey and it should be trusted. Too often we’re put in boxes – professionally and personally and these boundaries limit what we can and cannot do. I am here to show the world that anyone can do anything, as long as they have the passion to pursue it.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The community! We have a very supportive community that makes the city thrive. Supportiveness makes for an inclusive culture which has led to Columbus being home for people, businesses and organizations from so many diverse backgrounds and areas.
The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2023 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Quantum Health for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2023” »