Jennifer Burns

Jennifer Burns.jpg

- Introduce yourself...
Hello! My name is Jenn Burns. I graduated from the Master of Food Culture and Communications in May of 2016. My undergrad (from Davidson College in the USA) was in Food and Environmental Studies, meaning I studied how economic and political policies created our current food system and in turn our food system's impact on the environment. I opted for the Masters in Food Culture and Communications to dig into the human, individual side of our food system. 

- What did you enjoy the best here at Unisg?
The people! Our badass class of 14 women made the most of our year in Italy. We traveled; we gathered for dinner; we hosted dance parties; we started the movement to include women on the board of UNISG. I can't foresee another time in life when I'll get to interact with such a diverse, worldly group of people. 

- Define the UNISG experience in one word.

- What do you miss most about UNISG?
The pace and pleasures of daily life in Italy. I need to slow down and do more stolling and less power walking.

- What have you been up to since graduation? 
Prior to enrolling at UNISG, I worked for a large home grocery delivery company. Specifically, I led our B2B initiatives integrating healthy eating into corporate benefits packages. Remember, in the United States we have private healthcare, meaning health insurance is a big perk of employment and providing health insurance is a huge cost for employers. With the increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, companies knew they needed to start helping their employees be healthier! So, for the internship portion of my program, I continued down the path of corporate food, and I joined Google Food's team via Bon Appetit, a very large food service management company. Here, I focused on using food to increase employee creativity.

I joined Pilot R&D shortly after my internship. Pilot is a culinary innovation company that helps clients formulate and scale new products for market. We primarily work in consumer packaged goods, but we also do some restaurant (fine dining and quick service) and food tech work. I do our client and project management, meaning I am the point person for our clients. Last October, we launched Render Foods, a brand to bring the brilliant creativity of our chef friends to market. It's been a blast launching a brand and new products! I handle our supply chain, packaging, and coordinate all of our certifications (organic, Kosher, non-gmo). 

- Do you have any advice for current students?
A career in the food world isn't an obvious or straight path, but it's absolutely worth it! I keep a folder in my email called "Future." Whenever I learn about an interesting company, role, or person I simply shoot myself an email and file the thought away for the next time I am looking for career inspiration. 
I love going to conferences and reaching out to people on LinkedIn to learn more about their journey in the food world. I always ask, "What do you think are the most interesting companies in food?" 

-Your Unisg Table team