What had happened was...

“What had happened was….”  You know when you hear that phrase, the story is about to get good.  

It was a Friday--the best day of the week.  I hit it hard at the gym, came home and hopped on my 9:30 team call.  I was so excited.  The week prior I had started a continuous coaching program with my team.  In the first week, they were asked to write down every characteristic that the perfect candidate would have for their job:  educational background, technical expertise, personality traits, personal currency, etc.  In the second week, they compared themselves with this ‘ideal candidate’ and determined which areas may need strengthening for them to get close to the ideal. This week, we were finally ready for tactical lists to be made and incorporated into their cookbooks for the new fiscal year starting in just 4 days.  

We discussed continuing education in food safety, food quality, and sensory and consumer insights.  We discussed time management and negotiation.  We discussed transparent goals and what it would take to surpass each one.   We discussed the challenges ahead and laughed at things we knew were outside of our comfort zone.  

A quick hour later the call was a wrap.  It was camaraderie.  It was momentum.  It was a great way to start the best day of the week.  

Ten minutes after that call ended, I was let go.  

Poof.  “Cost reduced” with 3 others.

I was shocked, wounded, bewildered.  How could I feel completely jazzed up from my team meeting and ready to tackle the new fiscal year one minute and then then the next I was irrelevant?!?

Initially my heart was broken, and after a few days my mind was thankful.  I had been set free.    

For the first time in 19 years, I was free to explore what my next chapter might looked like.  Out of this was born Food Improved Consulting Group.  

Today, I am as excited about what I’m building in Food Improved as I was when I was a fresh-faced PhD right out of grad school.  Food Improved Consulting Group is the go to resource for food quality based consulting services.  With 20 years in the contract research and testing business, I have seen every quality issue you can imagine.  Some quality issues step from lack of sightline, and others from unexpected sources along the product development path.  All in all, they can be prevented or fixed.  

Over my career in the food industry, I worked with product development teams, buyers, FSQA professionals, and marketing and legal teams to ensure product quality across their supply chains.  I have designed supplier monitoring programs, trained buyers and brand managers in food quality, written specifications, and acted as a third party in disputes between private brands and their suppliers.  I designed programs to monitor quality, created corrective actions for quality issues, and I trained groups on understanding how to use analytical data to make informed decisions in food quality.  I have worked with all foods and beverages and in all cases….

“Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of intelligent design.”

--John Ruskin

John Ruskin was right.  The best practice is to use outside experts to fine-tune and synthesize food safety programs built from what you already know about your products.  By bringing in an external lead, your food quality programs are engineered around your budget, with your goals at the forefront, but leverage multi-segment knowledge to make sure you are covered soup to nuts.  (pun intended)