Marianne Gillette

Your IFT is in the midst of a series of remarkable evolutionary changes. These changes are the direct result of IFT volunteers who have been transformed into leaders, thanks to everyone who voted in the IFT leadership elections. IFT’s significant progress is under way with the guidance and innovative muscle of 1,300 IFT volunteers and needs their strong continued leadership to advance successfully.

Consider this when voting for the new leadership in IFT. Your role, as a member, is to share the responsibility with all IFT members, to make a difference … to participate in the future of our food supply by voting in the 2010 IFT national election. Voting is the first, simplest, and most fundamental action you can take as a member of IFT. You should also let your section, division, and national leaders know what you need, and offer your suggestions for the continued evolution. Where do you want us to place our focus and passion? And if you share the passion, please consider volunteering that energy and join those 1,300 members as a volunteer leader of IFT.

Many of us have learned that volunteering in IFT encompasses an incredible knowledge-enhancing opportunity filled with fresh perspectives on contemporary issues. Today, we are able to participate in a growing global dialogue on food safety, nutrition, and education. With our new work group structure in place, every IFT member has an opportunity to become involved in IFT activities at a level that complements their own personal work-life balance.

Next month marks your annual opportunity to help determine the path IFT will follow. Clearly, great things are on the horizon for IFT, and with the promise of such potential and excitement, you may be wondering who within the IFT membership would be best qualified to lead the organization into this bold frontier. Now that we have evolved into a community of food science leaders without boundaries, we must choose leaders who are uniquely qualified to guide us somewhere we have not yet been.

It is important to keep in mind that while all leaders should possess diplomacy, integrity, knowledge, and skills, becoming a leader of an organization dedicated to the advancement of science in food and to the reengineering of how IFT goes about achieving this goal requires characteristics that are above and beyond customary attributes. An IFT leader must know this organization well and be comfortable with the goals the organization seeks to accomplish now and in the coming years. He or she must be conversant not only in food science and technology, but also knowledgeable of other organizations and individuals whose goals may or may not be similar to ours.

He or she must have the cognizance to seek opportunities to enhance the prominence of our society, such as social networking opportunities, and possess willingness to accept responsibility for our actions as custodians of food science. In addition, an IFT leader must be capable of making sound decisions as well as opposing actions that are counterproductive to our mission. He or she must set the example by being an excellent role model, and not only explaining what it is to be a member of this organization, but also living it.

Of course, anyone who wishes to be an IFT leader should have a mindset that transcends the realm of what is and embraces what could be; that person must be a visionary who can lead innovation in our processes, our products, and in our organizational design. And, most importantly, he or she should have the ability to inspire—to motivate members to act proactively, vigorously, and responsibly to increase our status as research champions, influential advocates, and global citizens.

The 2010 election process is under way and will determine who will be the next President-Elect of this organization and who will join the Board of Directors. Positions on the Nominations and Elections Committee are also determined during the election process. The candidates on the ballot for the election can be found in the IFT World section of this issue on page 77. The petition process continues to be an integral part of the IFT election. As of press time, the petition process had not ended. Any additional candidates added to the 2010 slate by petition will be announced by IFT and included in the online election materials.

Your IFT is in the midst of a series of remarkable evolutionary changes. Take the time to influence this evolution by voting. Then, get the most out of your membership by volunteering yourself. 

by Marianne Gillette,
IFT President, 2009–2010 
Vice President of Technical Competencies and Platforms, McCormick & Co. Inc., Hunt Valley, Md.
[email protected]