IFT Sci Dish

IFT Sci Dish

Episode 23

DEI’s Role in Supporting a Sustainable Food Ecosystem

Join host Matt Teegarden and guest speakers Kurt Callaghan, Erica Jenkins, Emma Topps as they explore the interconnections between accessibility and the future of the food ecosystem. Discover how Ingredion leverages diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), supplier diversity and well-being, pipeline programs, and community-driven initiatives to drive innovative solutions within their organization, helping create a more accessible, safer, and sustainable global food system for everyone.

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Kurt Callaghan Kurt Callaghan, Global Strategic Director, Sugar Reduction & PureCircle Office of the CEO, leads strategy and key strategic projects for the Global Sugar Reduction platform and PureCircle. Prior to this Kurt led the financial evaluations of global innovation projects at Ingredion. Kurt is an avid traveler who feels blessed to see the world and learn about cultures around the globe through food.

Erica Jenkins Erica Jenkins, Sr. Specialist, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), joined Ingredion in 2017 and has spent the last 9 years as a Human Resources professional. Currently, Erica is leading DEI initiatives globally as the Senior Specialist, bringing with her experience from her time in Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, and as an HR Business Partner in the manufacturing industry.

Emma Topps Emma Topps, Senior Technologist, Systems & Ingredient Solutions, is a Senior Food Technologist in Technical Service with a specialization in hydrocolloid, starch, and plant-based protein ingredient functionality. Emma provides ingredient & process recommendations to customers looking to develop new and innovative products, or improve current products and process technology.


Matt Teegarden Matt Teegarden, PhD is a food scientist and chemist with expertise at the intersection of food and health. An emerging leader in the science of food, Matt has previously served as a board member, student association President, and Proud Resource Group chair for the Institute of Food Technologists. Based in Columbus, Ohio (USA)- Matt enjoys cooking (duh!) and eating way too much food (double duh!). He plays in LGBTQ+ sports leagues around the city, recently picked up ceramics as a hobby, and is living his HGTV dream renovating a 100 year old house. Matt spends a lot of time with his family and friends and is absolutely obsessed with his dog, Huckleberry.


Diverse group of working adults in a meeting at a table with laptops.
IFT Sci Dish

Sci Dish Podcast

IFT Sci Dish explores science, research, and perspectives from multiple disciplines related to the science of food and food innovation, each aimed at sparking new ideas to ignite innovation in your work and career. Developed by IFT’s topical Divisions, member experts and special guests discuss important topics, challenges, and solutions impacting food science and technology today.

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