Member Spotlight

EB Russell

Technical Sales

Kemin Food technologies

What made you want to begin a career working in the bakery industry?

My grandmother suggested that I take a look at it.  She knew Dr. Debi Rogers and knew that Dr. Debi had a great career and loved the work.  My grandmother also knew I loved to be in the kitchen with her and watch/participate.

What challenges did you face starting out in your career? Limiting myself.

I think the fear of not knowing is a big challenge and the insecurity of not saying yes to different opportunities.  Once you get over that, it’s amazing what you can see in the world.  Say yes to the things that scare and excite you!

 I think everyone faces challenges starting in an industry whether it be as a woman or as a young person or as a minority person.  To overcome any challenge, I would say FIND A FRIEND/MENTOR.  It’s been an asset for me to have someone to listen, who can share my experiences and be on my side.  It’s been important for me to have someone who can offer constructive criticism and ideas of what to do or how they overcame issues.  And don’t be afraid to find a good spot that allows you to cry or yell or get mad.

How long have you worked in the bakery industry? That’s a rude question – no one wants to admit their age!  J  I have been in the baking industry for almost 20 years.

What is your career highlight? I’m still waiting to find that – I guess when I get that highlight, I will retire?  Leave on a good note.

If you could make one change to the bakery industry, what would that be and why?

Adapt to technology a bit faster.  Change is a tough thing to accept. Baking has been a long-standing industry, sometimes I think we as bakers get stuck in the way we’ve always done things and miss out on emerging technologies.

What does your job entail?

Today I like to say that I work with customers to find solutions for problems they may not know they encounter.  I like to think I am their partner.  And I sell stuff.

What advice would you give to young people looking to get into the bakery industry?

Take a chance. Ask for help.  Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to get a clear picture. And know that sometimes you will fail but it’s ok, you have a great network to help you.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I love a good spinning class or a good workout.  I love live music or music in general. I love movies and books . . . I can’t wait to retire to catch up on all that stuff Who is your role model and why? My nephew Sam is my role model.  He is 7 and has a great outlook on life.  And when that kid sets a goal, he achieves it.  He sold $900 worth of boy scout popcorn in a week and that was his goal.

What is your favourite bakery event and why?

ASB is a great bakery event. This year should be awesome because Bill Zimmerman Jr is the chair and that guy is amazing!!!

If you could choose to only eat one bakery product for the rest of your life, what would it be?

NOT DONUTS – ask Theresa Cogswell about that. I would say sourdough bread.

If you could tell your younger self one thing you have learnt from your career, what would it be?

Always have a theme song – it will help you to never give up. And remember to ask for help – people love to help you . . . if you can ask.

How would you define success?

I always said I wanted to be “HAPPY” growing up. I would say my definition of success is being true to myself, having fun and enjoying the moment. Success is nebulous so being able to adapt my definition as I grow has been important.

What would say that your proudest moment has been in your career?

I’m still waiting to achieve that

What was your big break, and how did you reach it?

I’m waiting for this too . . . wow, I still have a lot to accomplish.