I’ve seen what a difference volunteering can make. So many people in the developing world need the expertise that food scientists and technologists can bring, and that knowledge is just not being leveraged.
Knowledge Multiplies When Shared
Longtime IFT member Donna Rosa’s love of foreign lands began as a young girl, after touring the United Nations during a visit to New York City with her father. That tour set in motion a lifelong passion that would take her all over the globe, working and helping those in the most difficult of circumstances.
Although her career started as many food technologists’ do in a product development lab, Donna transitioned to the business side of the food industry after earning her MBA and later landed her first overseas assignment. She felt compelled to share her accumulated business and food science experience with those who needed it most—small enterprises in developing and emerging nations— so she started doing volunteer assignments abroad and later began doing small business development consulting full-time.
Donna’s personal desire to do her part to make sure everyone, everywhere, has enough nutritious, safe, affordable, and high-quality food naturally led her to get involved in Feeding Tomorrow, especially with the work underway within its “Leverage” promise.
“For me, this is all about harnessing and synergizing the vast brain trust of IFT members to expand and improve the global food supply,” Rosa said. “We’re just starting with a few key partners, but I believe in a few years, the program will be exponentially larger… and thus, more impactful.”
Donna’s rich experience in international development volunteerism has been a tremendous asset in helping to shape Feeding Tomorrow’s Volunteer Globally program, which added two new partners during the last year.
“I’ve seen what a difference volunteering can make,” Rosa said. “So many people in the developing world need the expertise that food scientists and technologists can bring, and that knowledge is just not being leveraged.”
The Volunteer Globally program offers in-country and virtual volunteer opportunities for those interested in serving those with the greatest need. According to Rosa, international volunteering gives IFT members a chance to apply their knowledge and experience to challenging situations and learn how to operate in different cultures with few resources. Participants also develop creativity in problem solving and learn how to think on their feet. Perhaps most rewarding, they help others who are so grateful and appreciative for the support.
“Volunteering is ultimately selfish,” Rosa said. “You feel really good giving back, you learn so much, and there’s a great sense of accomplishment. I always feel like I get just as much, if not more, from the experience than those I’ve helped have gotten from me.”
Profile updated 2019