Sheri Schellhaass

I believe the greatest opportunity bestowed upon our nation is the ability for every citizen to participate in the political process—the process to elect the leaders of our states and the leaders of our country. As I stood among the countless others in a long line at the polls last November, I marveled at the incredible responsibility that stood before us on that day. As a nation, we were truly united in our responsibility to select the future leaders of this great country.

I am equally gratified and humbled by the opportunity to select leaders in other aspects of my life, including my profession. Voting in the IFT Leadership Election provides you with a voice in important decisions that affect you, your livelihood, and your profession.

IFT elections are your annual opportunity to help determine the path IFT will follow. In the spirit of such promise and excitement about the many possibilities ahead, each of us should be asking ourselves a key question: Who would be an effective leader for IFT?

The 2009 IFT Leadership Election is under way. From February 12 to March 13, 2009, all IFT voting members can cast their ballots electronically from any Internet-accessible computer worldwide. Candidates for President-Elect include Robert Gravani and Lamartine Hood. The President-Elect represents IFT, helps appoint the members and chairs of volunteer workgroups, and in the event of the President’s absence, serves as chair of the Board of Directors. Candidates for Board of Directors include Catherine Adams, P. Michael Davidson, Colin Dennis, Bruce Ferree, Conrad Rebello, Justin Shimek, Barry Swanson, and Zey Ustunol. IFT’s Board of Directors oversees the strategic plan, establishes and implements policies, and aligns resources to support the organization’s strategic direction and mission.

The petition process is an integral part of the IFT Election. Any additional candidates added to the 2009 IFT slate by petition will be announced by IFT and included within the online election materials.

Positions on the Nominations and Elections Committee are also determined during the election process. Candidates for Nominations and Elections Committee include Amanda Lathrop, Jonathan Merkle, Nancy Nagle, Suzanne Nielsen, and John Siddle. Among other activities, this committee solicits candidates with ideal attributes and characteristics for IFT leadership roles and certifies their qualifications. Congratulations to our entire slate of candidates for the 2009 Leadership Election.

It is no exaggeration that IFT’s Leadership Election would not exist without the dedicated service of the individuals on the Committee on Nominations and Elections. I would like to personally thank every member of this hardworking committee for their devoted service to IFT and our election process. Committee members include Charles Manley (Chair), Michele Buchanan (Immediate Past Chair), LeeAnne Jackson (Incoming Chair), Ellen Bradley, MaryAnne Drake, Linda Kragt, Scott Lineback, Mark McLellan, Paul Singh, and Pamela Vaillancourt. I would also like to recognize and give thanks to the dedicated members of the Nominations and Elections Committee that recently completed their full terms on the Committee: Richard Dougherty, David Park, and Allison Yates (Past Chair).

As volunteer members of the Nominations and Elections Committee know, to become a leader of an organization dedicated to the advancement of food science, one must possess characteristics that are above and beyond customary leadership attributes such as diplomacy, integrity, knowledge, and organizational skills. An IFT leader must be dedicated to working with the membership to proactively, vigorously, and responsibly elevate our status as research champions, influential advocates, and global citizens. All of these responsibilities are integral to the success of IFT—and most importantly, in supporting our mission in advancing the science of food.

Please visit to learn more about each of these talented candidates and the election process.

Your participation in the 2009 Leadership Election enables us to continue our volunteer legacy of unparalleled commitment, knowledge, and innovation to our profession and IFT. I truly believe that each of us has a responsibility to vote, to contribute to the election of our IFT leadership and to the advancement of our profession.

There are no long lines at the polls; just visit the IFT Web site to vote. Our ability to advance the science of food is limitless, so please be sure to take the time to select individuals who will continue to champion IFT in the 21st century.

Questions about the 2009 IFT Leadership Election? Contact Erin Carter, staff coordinator for the Nominations and Elections Committee, at [email protected].

Sheri Schellhaass, IFT President, 2008–09, Vice President of Research and Development, General Mills, Minneapolis, Minn. ( [email protected] )