Face-to-Face: Meet Hilary Thesmar February 2012

Ever wonder if anyone else is facing the same professional challenges as you? Or just looking to connect with some new people in your field? In IFT's Face-to-Face series, we will be introducing you to a different IFT member every month with a fun, insightful Q&A session.


This month meet...

Hilary ThesmarHilary Thesmar, Vice President of Food Safety Programs at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).

  1. How did you get your start in the food industry?
    I majored in Food Science as an undergraduate at Clemson University. At the time, I was really interested in nutrition so I went on to get a Masters degree in Nutrition. Through a series of doors opening and closing, I ended up back at Clemson studying Food Technology. It was the perfect major because I could study all of the sciences that I loved–nutrition, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, physics, and statistics. Having worked in the food industry for my entire career, I can honestly say I made the right decision as an undergraduate. I love the field, and the people in the food industry are unmatched!

  2. What do you love about your job?
    I love that every day is different and challenging. I’m a scientist who also gets to be a crisis manager, media spokesperson, consultant, marketing intern, business analyst, and counselor.

  3. What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
    Food safety is the first priority for our members, but our food retailing industry is unique, and each company has a way of meeting the needs of their respective customer bases while delivering on safe, secure, and wholesome products. I am challenged by the fact that I need to offer business solutions that aren’t one-size-fits all and still meet regulations set forth by state and federal governments.

  4. What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
    I appreciate my committee members at FMI and how they challenge me on a daily basis. We have the opportunity to dialog on emerging issues, and continue to work on longstanding problems. The diversity of the industry makes our discussions robust and challenging. Ultimately, we all have the same goal of seeking solutions that better the health and safety of food supply.

  5. How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
    It is fascinating to me to see the power of the consumer. I think we’ll be looking to work across the aisles more to satisfy the customer’s curiosity and demand for immediate information, especially when it comes to more complex topics like food safety, food additives, and some health issues.

  6. Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?

If you are an IFT member and wish to be profiled, please contact Kelly Hensel at khensel@ift.org or 312-604-0211.