Q:What’s your most interesting memory from your time at Northeastern?
A:My most interesting memory from NEU was probably our teams’ first real presentation in front of the group. We were all very excited and it was our chance to show our learnings, our skills, and thought process for the first time. It was an awesome experience to work with a dynamic team of professionals that come from many different functional/workplace areas on one project. We all learned so much.
Q:What is your current profession and what led you there?
A:My current position is as a Commercialization Manager, ALL FOOD for Dunkin’ Brands Inc. I wish I had a clear-cut answer for how I got here, but the real story is much more interesting. I went to undergrad for Culinary Arts and Food Marketing. I had dreams of working for a large company someday and hopefully working on food product campaigns. Today I work in the technical manufacturing arm for the Dunkin’ Donuts USA brand. Prior to this, I worked as General Manager for Starbucks Coffee Company. My love of morning drinks and food led me straight to a job I love and am fortunate to have.
At Dunkin’, I started in Field Operations and worked there for three years before I was hired for a position on the Culinary R&D team. I worked on the R&D team in the Bakery division for 3 years before I was approached about a job in Commercialization. I did not go to school for Food Science, but my now manager thought I had what it took to do the job. Six years later I am a manager on the team and have direct reports. Our team works on the conversion of recipes, scale up, manufacturing, testing, and technical documentation of all Dunkin’ Donuts food items. We work closely with our partner suppliers to create world class products for close to 10,000 stores daily.
Q:What was your class project and how did that project impact your company?
A:My project was an afternoon snacking platform for Dunkin’ Donuts. We explored a number of food items and created a grouping of items that tend to sell in the afternoon to build beverage attachment and bring in a new crowd after 11am. The research we did impacted my company in an interesting way. We were able to commercialize a few of the items and are working towards a test in the near future.
Q:How did D’Amore-McKim prepare you for this career in the global business world?
A:I felt that my time at D’Amore-Mckim made me look at the world more broadly. I have worked for large multinational companies for the last 18 years, but was enabled to take a good look at the new and changing global business world. Working with my classmates I was able to see my industry through a different lens. It really helped me think more strategically about our projects and about our world. I was also able to work with new technology and see the possibilities of a truly global business.
Q:What would you say to a prospective student considering D’Amore-McKim for their business degree?
A:I would advise students to meet with an admissions representative because it was a great experience for me. I was so happy to be able to talk with a recruiter about my questions and concerns, and it really helped solidify my decision. I would also advise them to visit a class, which was so impactful for me. I found myself wanting to stay and participate in the day’s lecture. Being able to visualize myself at D’Amore-McKim made the process much easier for me. Knowing that Northeastern is a great university was also a plus! The experiences I gained and the education I received will assist me in the future and in career growth.
Q:How has this program and the class project impacted your career?
A:Right now, I am working with a transformational innovation team here at Dunkin’ to create the next Dunkin’ Donuts prototype store. This is an opportunity I may not have had if I had not taken part in this degree program. Bringing a new store-concept to life has been an awesome new learning challenge.
Q:Some say innovation can’t be taught. How would you respond to that statement?
A:It is probably true that innovation truly can’t be taught, but Innovative Thinking and Platform Theory most certainly can! Innovation is truly the art of blending an idea or need with a gap in the marketplace and finding a way to make money doing it. In this program we learned about doing all of that, at a rapid pace, on budget, and all the while being timely and relevant. No easy task, for sure! The element of risk (and reward) involved in innovating is what makes it so exciting! Working with our teams and outside of our comfort zones made us more thoughtful and creative innovators.