PAULINA WIDGER

AS PRINTED ON IFT.ORG/FOOD-TECHNOLOGY

Getting to know Paulina Widger
Each month, we meet one of IFT’s valued volunteers.

 

As a little girl I dreamed of coming to America, and just before my 18th birthday I made the official move from my small hometown of Loja, Ecuador, to Los Angeles,” says Paulina Widger. Although the move was a culture shock, it also paved the way for a rewarding career in the food industry. Knowing the important role education would play, Widger says she “got started in college classes while I took my first job working in research and development in the cosmetics industry.”

 

After spending 10 years in an R&D environment, says Widger, “I think I’ve found my sweet spot in my career as a technical sales manager for Ingredients Inc. I really love working with people to solve problems, growing new business, and setting new goals every day! I enjoy the challenges, and the fun and excitement that the food industry brings with new products and new market disruptors every year.”

Widger first became acquainted with IFT when she attended several events sponsored by the Florida Section. “Coming from another industry,” she says, “I was looking to get involved and get ‘plugged in’ with as many leaders, food scientists, and go-getters as I could find. It wasn’t long before someone offered me the opportunity to become chair-elect, and then chair, and I have enjoyed every minute ever since!”

 

From a professional standpoint, Widger feels her experience as a volunteer has given her exposure to every corner of the industry—from R&D and food science to marketing, regulations, and sales and purchasing. On a personal level, “this has also been an amazing development tool for me,” she says. “I now have colleagues that I call close friends and have learned so much from so many different people. Working with IFT has sharpened my leadership and team-building skills.”

 

As a young professional, Widger attended IFT’s annual event, where she met students who were trying to break into the industry. “It has been very gratifying to see many of these young professionals move into great job positions that they love and start amazing careers,” she says. “This sort of thing inspired me to also join the University of Florida Food Science Board of Advisors, where we mentor and advise the staff and the graduating students on the state of the industry and what is best for their future.”

 

Looking ahead, Widger feels the future of the food industry is bright. “A group of us attended the SIAL show in Paris a few months ago, and they had an event there called the ‘Future Lab,’ which predicted major industry changes that are coming. Feeding a global population with billions and billions of people, so many new technologies are going to appear: from plant- and insect-based proteins to new farming technologies and new product advancements. It’s just going to be a blast watching all of the new things unfold in front of us.”

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