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An image of IFT's Board of Directors
Julie Mann first joined IFT as a food science student at Penn State University more than two decades ago. Since then, she’s been involved in everything from volunteering at IFT’s annual event to assisting with fundraising and reviewing scientific papers. “[IFT] encouraged me, supported my career development, and gave me a tribe,” said Mann, a plant-based foods expert who recently launched her own company, Appropriately Rogue Consulting. “Through IFT, I always felt I had a community of friends, colleagues, and partners.” 

In September, Mann stepped up her engagement even further by becoming a member of IFT’s Board of Directors. “I believe in this organization and wanted to help drive its future strategy,” she said. “The food system is evolving at a rapid pace, and I felt my knowledge in product development, innovation, and technology development, as well as plant-based and alternative proteins would strengthen IFT.”  

With applications for Board membership now open, eligible IFT members like Mann who have demonstrated leadership, commitment, and involvement are invited to apply themselves or nominate a colleague who would be an outstanding contributor. Board selection is guided by a competency and multi-representational approach emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as recruitment from a broad range of sectors and expertise areas. Board members volunteer their time and are asked to actively participate in three in-person meetings each year, IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Food Expo, and regularly scheduled Board calls, among other duties.  

The commitment is well worth it, Mann said. Her participation on the Board has helped her expand her network and provided her with greater personal and professional exposure. “It is a synergistic relationship to advise IFT, support food science initiatives, and grow your own individual network and personal brand,” she said. 

Gunnar Sigge is similarly enthusiastic. A Board Member since 2021, Sigge said his experience as part of “a well-functioning Board and IFT staff working relationship” and exposure to trainings in strategic thinking, innovation, and inclusivity have been particularly helpful to him as head of department and associate professor in the Department of Food Science at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa.  

“Board members share a common interest in advancing IFT and are comfortable sharing differing, sometimes dissenting, opinions so that informed decisions can be made,” Sigge added. “If you are passionate about the advancement of food science as a career and critical discipline and want to play an active role in furthering educational initiatives to deliver engaged, inclusive, and thought-leading employees for the food system, this is the place to be.”  

Membership on IFT’s Board has been especially important during the pandemic, said Bill Barrier who joined the Board in 2021. “The best of part of being a Board Member has been working with colleagues in this time of volatility, uncertainly, ambiguity, and complexity to develop strategies that will allow IFT to adapt and evolve to meet current and future challenges,” Barrier said. His advice for those who are considering applying for Board membership: “The compelling reason to apply is to champion the premier organization for the science of food while providing servant leadership to IFT members.”  

Visit the Board Leadership Applications page to nominate someone for IFT’s Board of Directors or apply yourself. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Charlotte Patterson, staff liaison to the Leadership Development Committee. The deadline for all submissions is January 23, 2023.  

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