“It can sometimes be challenging, but I consider inventing my own pathway a blessing."

My favorite quote is: “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi My favorite activity is: Scuba diving

Sheena Macrae

Inspiring kids and families to discover their food superpowers

ENJOY THE PROCESS. Sheena Macrae's outlook on life is similar to that of philosopher Alan Watts: that life is not a journey but rather a dance. Throughout her career, which spans art, writing, filmmaking, and business, she believes the key to success and fulfillment is falling in love with the process rather than focusing solely on the outcome.

"Whenever I'm making something, whether it's contemporary art that sits in a gallery, or a product or a service, it's about resonating and communicating something that feels familiar but also feels new. Hopefully, the end result is something that has that little bit of magic to inspire and delight."

Such is the feeling of her venture, Ollie Club, a kids food-wellness franchise based on the famous storybook Ollie, The Boy Who Became What He Ate. The tale of Ollie, who gains superpowers from each superfood he eats, became a hit with picky eaters and their parents across the world. "It started with a thread of an idea and people saying, you’ve got a one in a million chance of success with this, to people telling me, I can't believe nobody's done this before!"

Her storybook has since been turned into a hit TV series, with two seasons so far watched by millions worldwide. Sheena has also expanded Ollie's world with an online club that includes recipes, educational content, and virtual events. Now, she wants to bring Ollie even closer to the family kitchen by creating a gamified experience. Initially aiming at kids aged 2-6, the plan is to expand and offer a variety of content for children up to 12.

"Again, it feels like an obvious concept, but nobody has done it before. It'll be an app and online, but also off-screen in the kitchen and outside, where kids can learn about food and where it comes from. The aim is for families to engage and have different conversations about food, ultimately making it more playful."

BUILDING A LEGACY. Sheena's storybook started as a piece of local government work in the UK, aimed at getting young families engaged with healthy food choices. As the Ollie franchise expands, she has been careful to remain faithful to its legacy and focused on its goals. These include helping tackle food scarcity, childhood obesity, and ensuring all children have access to books by giving away a million storybooks.

“Ollie Club aims to inspire new conversations that all families can have around the kitchen table because habits formed as a child can have life-lasting effects. For every new subscription, we give a free subscription away to those who could not otherwise afford it. We want to make Ollie a legacy and for him to have an impact across the Ollie Club family. Kids brands have the power to stick around for a long time if you think of characters like The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Popeye.”

Reflecting on her original storybook, the tale of Ollie is all-at-once heartwarming, funny, friendly, insightful, and inclusive. She credits her unique and unconventional perspective to her parents ("my father has always been a playful person with a real sense of beauty and curiosity about the world"), her wife, and her identity as a gay woman. "Both in art and the LGBTQIA+ arena, you often sit outside your dominant culture, which allows you to have a different perspective that is often more valuable.”

“Sometimes you might feel life would be easier if you were doing everything in line with the dominant culture's pathway, but I've never felt like I've been on that path. It can sometimes be challenging, but I consider inventing my own pathway a blessing."

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.