Getting to Know Erica Boyd January 2018

Erica BoydSince graduating from Virginia Tech in 1997 with a BS in food science, Erica Boyd’s volunteer activities have been an integral part of her professional life. A member of IFT since 1995, Boyd says a move to Cincinnati many years later prompted her to re-engage and “meet like-minded folks in my new home.”

Boyd is now in her second year of volunteering on the Ohio Valley IFT board. Last year she served as secretary, this year as chair-elect. “I am looking forward to the next few years in my leadership role with this team,” she says. In addition to organizing and supporting the Ohio Valley IFT Expo in April, she will be “serving on the Scholarship Committee, as well as supporting the planning and executing of two of our events for the 2017–2018 year.”

Boyd also serves as the Ohio Valley’s social media representative, managing the section’s Facebook page and working on building out its LinkedIn presence. Her involvement in IFT, she says, “has been a very valuable experience. Professionally, it has built my network, and I really feel like I am part of the food science community, particularly locally. Personally, it has really helped with my confidence in meeting new people and speaking out in group settings.”

A key development opportunity that arose from Boyd’s volunteer work was the chance to participate in the IFT Leadership Summit, a forum that engages volunteer leaders from across the organization. The summit aims to further develop participants and equip them with resources to advance the objectives of IFT while providing networking opportunities among the boards, sections, divisions, and workgroups. Boyd took part in the summit in 2016 and 2017. “I found it very beneficial to meet and talk to other volunteers from various regions,” she says. “I liked hearing fresh ideas for promoting our field.”

Juggling a career, volunteer activities, and personal commitments can sometimes be a challenge. Boyd nevertheless finds time to teach Jazzercise, participate in a community choir, golf, hike, attend sporting and theatrical events, and indulge her passion for food (“I love all things food [cooking but mostly eating!],” she enthuses). Striking a balance is not always easy, but Boyd’s philosophy is simple: “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus on the big picture and what it is that you want to accomplish in your life and career. So far, that has worked for me. I may not have the cleanest house and award-winning front yard, but those simply are not my priorities.”

When asked what advice she would offer other busy IFT members who are considering volunteering, she says, “IFT is a big, global organization and it certainly can be a little intimidating. So first and foremost, I suggest that you check out your local IFT section, attend an event, and get to know your local board members! There are so many opportunities to get involved locally, from serving on the board or a committee to even something small like helping to organize an event. We value everyone’s opinion and time. We want to grow the IFT network, and the easiest way to do that is by building connections in our back yard.”

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Executive Director, Feeding Tomorrow

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