John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” As a professor who teaches a leadership course in the food science department at Cornell University, I naturally agree with this statement, since I work alongside the future leaders of our profession every day. From the latest innovations in processing, packaging, and ingredient technology to new food safety legislation and dietary guidelines, our dynamic profession changes in the blink of an eye. As educators, mentors, and leaders in our profession, we are constantly listening, learning, growing, and applying these talents and skills in our daily activities.

This desire to learn and lead translates into our everyday jobs and our own professional organization, IFT. The many friends and colleagues I’ve met in IFT and the exceptional leadership opportunities I’ve been afforded since joining this organization as a student many years ago have helped me through every facet of my career. The individuals that we elect each year to lead IFT are integral in working with our membership to advance the science of food, and our profession.

On January 3, 2011, IFT announced the slate of candidates for the 2011 Leadership Election and opened the petition process. The 14 candidates are talented and dedicated professionals who offer a breadth of knowledge about the profession, a diverse volunteer history within IFT and beyond, and an unwavering commitment to each of you. IFT’s voting membership elects one member for President-Elect, four members for the Board of Directors, and three members for the Nominations and Elections Committee. For President-Elect, the candidates are Catherine Adams Hutt and John Ruff. Board Member candidates are Luis Fernandez, Brenda Knapp-Polzin, Douglas Marshall, Indra Mehrotra, Linda Perucca, Marcos Sanchez, Craig Sherwin, and Rakesh Singh. Candidates to serve as members of the Nominations and Elections Committee are Paul Cole, Anne Goldman, Jaime Reeves, and Jenny Scott. The petition process continues to be an integral part of the IFT election, and, as of press time, the petition process is still open. Any additional candidates added to the slate by petition will be announced by IFT and included in the election materials at

During our election from February 8 to March 9, 2011, IFT members can cast their ballots electronically from any Internet-accessible computer worldwide. It is simple, convenient, and so important to the future of IFT. I encourage you to take a few minutes from your busy schedule and learn more about each of these candidates, and, most importantly, cast your vote. This brings to mind a quote by Albert Einstein, who said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” So set an example, and influence your IFT friends and colleagues to vote in this election by voting yourself!

As you determine which candidates are best suited to lead IFT, consider your own personal vision of where IFT should go moving forward. It should go without saying that IFT leaders are committed to the ongoing success of the organization, and the dedication and qualifications of our 2011 slate of candidates assures us of this. Which of our candidates are the best visionaries who have the ability to inspire and motivate our members to drive the mission of the organization—to advance the science of food? Which leaders have the right balance of being consensus builders, yet also have the ability to make tough decisions? Are we looking for leaders who are strategic thinkers, team builders, or both?

Our slate of candidates offers a wide array of proven leaders who are results-oriented and open-minded and who demonstrate effective communication skills and are ethical, engaging, and enthusiastic. They know this organization well and are highly aware of the goals and objectives that IFT seeks to accomplish.

I would like to personally thank all the members of the Nomination and Elections Committee for their devoted service to IFT and our election process. A very special thank you to Ellen Bradley (Chair); LeeAnne Jackson (Past Chair); Suzanne Nielsen (Chair Designate); MaryAnne Drake; John Floros; Amanda Lathrop; Scott Lineback; Moira McGrath; Nancy Nagle, and John Rupnow for a job well done!

A key value of IFT is establishing personal and professional connections, networking, and collaborating for mutual benefit. The candidates play a major role in enhancing the IFT member community through these networks and by contributing to the advancement of food science and technology. Leadership and learning make IFT what it is today. With your continued interest in and support of your professional society, as well as participation in the election process, IFT will remain the strong, vibrant, and dynamic organization that it has always been.


Robert B. Gravani,
IFT President, 2010–2011 
Professor of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 
[email protected]