How Regina Range Used WBC Resources to Elevate Her Vegan Food Movement

For Regina Range, business ownership is more than a profession: it’s a path to wellness for her family and her community. A mother and grandmother, Regina has survived domestic violence, being unhoused, and mental illness, but always believed in the power of homemade food to nurture the body and soul.  With her event catering business, The Burnt Skillet, Regina offers soul food inspired by the cuisine of her childhood–but with a plant-based, organic twist. Regina’s journey to thriving as a business owner has been long, as she’s balanced economic uncertainty with concurrent diagnoses of Bipolar II Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Type II Diabetes.  

This year, in search of deeper support, Regina joined the Women’s Business Center’s Preparing for Harvest: Mental Health for Entrepreneurs 10-week course with business mindset coach Asia Hilario. With the resources and guidance provided during the series, Regina has come away empowered to take her business to the next level. 


Before she owned a vegan catering business, Regina Range sold sweet potato pies from the trunk of her car. At the time, Range was experiencing homeless, living with undiagnosed mental illness, and, as she describes, hustling to get by. For her, getting by meant sharing the food she learned to cook in her childhood. “Food has always been embedded in my soul,” she says. “I was born to do this.”  

Eventually, after working with a psychiatrist and beginning treatment for her diagnoses of Bipolar and OCD, Range was able to get an apartment at Folsom Oaks Apartments Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). She also began advocating for mental health education in the Black community. “In my culture it was something we didn’t do,” Range says about seeking mental health treatment. “We didn’t talk to psychiatrists. We’d already been put down, let down, ostracized.”    

As she found stability and identity as a champion of her community, Range also had the capacity to focus more on sharing her cooking. She developed her vision for a soul food catering truck, and joined the Alchemist Community Development Corporation’s Microenterprise Academy at the end of 2019.  The program gave Range the education and resources to finalize her products and launch a food business, but after receiving a diagnosis of Type II Diabetes, she felt the need to reevaluate her approach to cooking.   

“I thought my diagnosis would be fatal,” says Range. Left unmanaged, Type II diabetes can double the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. “But in the [Alchemist] class, I learned about the concept of pivoting: to change, to rearrange, to uplift.”


As she continued to educate herself on the diet-related conditions that persist in the United States, Range realized that many, Type II diabetes in particular, disproportionately affect Black Americans: Black adults in the U.S. are nearly twice as likely to develop Type II diabetes, and recent research indicates that obesity and overweight are driving factors of the prevalence of the disease. While a variety of socioeconomic factors contribute to these conditions, the opportunity for Range to make a positive impact with her business became clear. She learned about the health benefits of the plants used in traditional soul food: black-eyed peas, collard greens, mushrooms, onions.   

Range began to “veganize” her recipes, removing animal-based fats and processed meats and making them more plant forward. She started her own garden and tapped into community resources to source organic vegetables and legumes. By changing her own diet, Range saw marked improvements in all of her symptoms, from depression to glucose levels. Soon, The Burnt Skillet had gone from a catering business to a social enterprise leading a movement to empower her community. “I always thought we could never afford organic,” she says, reflecting on her connections with community gardens and pantries. “That’s where the change is gonna come: showing people that you can afford to eat clean on a budget. It’s a movement.” 


Even with an unwavering vision and positive changes, Range knew that managing her particular set of health circumstances would be lifelong work. “I’ve had to redesign and refocus my life just to feel good,” she explains. “To get up in the morning and say ‘Yes, this is my day. I’m gonna get it done.’”  She turned to the Women’s Business Center during one of her periods of refocusing.  

Through the Preparing for Harvest series, a 10-week course offered at no cost to business owners, Range did deep work with Business Mindset Coach, Asia Hilario, and a cohort of other women in business. The series focused on helping entrepreneurs dig deep to uncover the root causes of imposter syndrome, burnout, and anxiety and had worksheets and homework that kept participants accountable for reflecting and creating new plans. “Many entrepreneurs don’t realize that a lot of their thoughts, actions, and beliefs are rooted in childhood, trauma, or other past experiences,” Hilario explained in an interview about her approach to the series curriculum. “We have to dig into what identity we’re anchored to that is keeping us from doing what’s good for us.”   

For Range, the consistency and validation that the course provided came at a pivotal time. As she explains it, she had been in a manic state and in need of something to help her redefine the direction of her business and her life. The course helped Range set boundaries, examine the reasons for her fear of success, and learn sustainable tools for managing her mental health on a daily basis.  

“[The course] helped me recenter, redirect and redesign Regina Range. I carry it with me every single day,” she says. “Now I got nothing but goodness in front of me.” 


The future as described by Regina Range is bright. As she builds her business through catering events, Range is planning to, as she describes it, “build a utopia”.  She hopes to secure a lease on a brick and mortar space where she can host a cooperative grocery store, cooking classes, and offer housing and employment to unhoused women.  

By making the most of the resources available, Range has doubled down on her lifelong mission of bringing people together through homemade food. “I’m prepared to pour into the community – y’all have no idea how beautiful the world is,” she says. “The fear of being successful is no longer there. I buried that with this course. I was so scared of having anything, but it’s shining now because I did the work.”