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Meet Megan Aubrey, R&D in Food Science

What does Empowering Women in Industry mean to you? I can best explain this through one of my favorite quotes. “A candle never loses any of it’s light by lighting another.” -James Keller When you realize your life is not solely about your success or your accomplishments but is also to serve others and to make them see their light, that is when we all as a whole are uplifted, and can all be truly great. When we choose to help other women and empower them to see their best self and what they have to offer in all aspects of their life that is when we have created a culture full of leaders who will continue to light other’s candles. People may not remember what you did to them, but they will remember how you made them feel. The feeling of empowerment starts with an empowered woman who is confident in self and strong enough to light other’s candles. For me, the feeling I get from lifting others up far outweighs the feeling I get from lifting only myself up. Because at the end of the day, when that person goes home, they go home to their families. If they feel empowered, happy, valued or respected they can then be their best self in all aspects of their life.

How did you get started in your field? I currently work in Research and Development (R&D) for a company that is food service business that supplies premium high-quality products to restaurants and pizzerias. My passion started when I was an intern, where I spent three summers working in different functional groups including: Corporate Lab, R&D Lab, Quality Assurance and R&D. From these experiences, I was offered a full-time position as a scientist in R&D to study, improve and develop new products using Sensory Science. It was through my internships and my education (B.S. and M.S.) that I realized what direction I wanted to take. I am thankful for the experiences I had because they truly guided me towards a role, I have been extremely passionate about, and I have worked alongside some of the most experienced and intelligent people in industry whom have provided guidance and mentorship along the way.

What do you love most about your job? What are you most proud of? This question made me smile. Do me a favor and close your eyes to envision one of your favorite moments where you were surrounded by family and friends…don’t stop until you have it. Hopefully, you have a great memory in your mind right now! I am hoping that this memory not only made you smile, but I am wondering if you can recall if you were gathered around food and beverage during this time? If so, that is what I am most proud about my job. I love that my job is positive, because food is something we socially gather around. The holidays, birthdays, weddings, celebrating a promotion and any other reason to come together; it is likely food is nearby. I feel I contribute to something bigger than myself through what I do and it is to bring people who love or care for each other together.

What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work? Be humble and see every situation as an opportunity to learn. There are two big mistake people make in their careers one is when they are new in a role and two is when they are experienced in a role. When they are new in a role they feel that have to prove themselves, when really this is a time for you to learn and have knowledge transfer from your more experienced peers. This is also a time to ask as many questions as you want, you kind of get a free pass at not knowing everything. When they are experienced in a role, this is not only a time for you to tell others what to do or show them, but also ask leading and seeking questions. What I mean by this, you need to ask leading questions so the person you are teaching can get to answers on their own. You also need to ask seeking questions, because new perspectives can lead to innovation. In the world of R&D, you need to be inquisitive and open to all possibilities and two minds are smarter than one.

Anything else you would like to add? Here are some key things I have learned over the years. If you truly want to empower others, you need to feel empowered yourself which means you need to be happy with self and in life. We all are on a unique journey, so always have compassion and don’t jump to conclusions, but rather extend an olive branch. Extroverts need to be the ones to draw introverts out, you can do this by asking them questions or praising their efforts for them. Set your team up for success by selecting roles and tasks you know they will thrive in. Operate with your team via listen-insights-thrive strategy; listen to your team give you an update on what they are doing, provide your insights that help set them up for success, and then let them thrive. And always have a mentor and offer up mentorship. If anyone reading this needs help and guidance along the way, please reach out to me! I personally would love to help anyone who needs career guidance or would be happy to help find the right mentor for you. Personal Email: Cell Phone: (262)646-0218

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