Gillian Kelleher is President and CEO of Kelleher Consultants LLC, as well as the Chairperson of the Educational Advisory Board (EAB) for the 2023 Food Safety Summit. Gillian has significant, global leadership experience in the food industry and in food safety and quality, having lived and worked in Ireland, the UK, France, and the U.S. She has worked in diverse sectors including manufacturing, foodservice, retail, and distribution.
She was formerly Vice President of Food Safety and Quality Assurance for Wegmans Food Markets, where her scope of responsibility included all aspects of food safety and quality for stores, self-manufacturing, distribution, and Wegmans' private-label program. Prior to her tenure at Wegmans, Kelleher also worked at Häagen Dazs, Burger King, Express Foods, and Pillsbury. In addition, she has led the development of food safety and quality programs for many large and small private-label suppliers and distributors.
Kelleher earned her B.S. degree in Dairy and Food Science from University College Cork in Ireland. She is also a member of several professional organizations, including the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). She is a past co-Vice Chair of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Board of Directors, a member of the Board of Directors of Stop Foodborne Illness, a longstanding member of Harvard's Private and Public Scientific, Academic, and Consumer Food Policy Committee (PAPSAC), and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Food Safety Magazine. Kelleher is also actively involved in the Leafy Greens Safety Coalition (LGSC).
With her significant industry experience and dedication to food safety and quality, Kelleher will work with the esteemed Food Safety Summit EAB and the Summit planning team to shape the educational agenda for the 2023 Food Safety Summit, which will be held May 8–11 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Gillian [6:04] about:
- Changes that have occurred in the food industry throughout Gillian’s career, stemming from globalization, food safety crises, e-commerce, and other factors
- How suppliers can leverage their relationships with retail partners to inform their food safety and quality (FSQ) programs
- The importance of having top-down commitment to FSQ within an organization and keeping hazards analysis and critical control points (HACCP) at the core of a company’s food safety system
- The ways in which consumer advocacy groups can work with industry to drive improvements in food safety, exemplified by Stop Foodborne Illness’ initiatives such as its Food Safety Culture Toolkit
- Why it is important for food companies to hire the right talent, invest in employee training and resources, and actively work on relationship-building
- The value of industry organizations and events—such as the Food Safety Summit—in driving positive change through collaboration
- How FSQ professionals can find success and satisfaction in their careers and day-to-day duties, including advice for young FSQ professionals who are beginning their professional journeys.
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