Meat our members: Stephanie Kidd

June 6, 2022 By

Stephanie Kidd is the Technical Excellence Manager – Food & Protein at Ecolab. We caught up with her to find out more about her role, to ask what the best piece of advice she’s been given and to see how she has overcome challenges in her career.

Tell us more about how you got to where you are today. What was your career path and how did you end up in your current role?

I left school after A levels and studied for an HND in Food Technology at CAFRE in Northern Ireland. After graduating, I worked in a pathogen lab at a Dairy company. During my time there, I wanted to further my education in the Food Industry or Agriculture sector, which is prominent in Northern Ireland. To do so, I studied part time whilst working, and I achieved my BSc in Food Technology.

 

I then joined Kilco Hygiene in a Technical support role. When Ecolab acquired the company in 2005, I moved into a Territory Manager role, then I became Applications Manager for Ireland. Today, I am the Technical Excellence Manager for the Food & Protein segment for the Food & Beverage Division of Ecolab Europe, managing a team of 9 Technical Excellence Specialists, who deliver valuable technical service and innovative solutions to Food & Protein producers across Europe.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role and working in the meat industry?

I love my job! I enjoy the challenges that the meat industry brings every single day.

 

One of my favourite things is meeting new people (I like talking), and getting to know them and their business. And the best part for me is working with customers from all backgrounds to provide value, innovative solutions and operational savings opportunities day to day.

 

The pandemic has not made this easy, and it is such a relief to get back out on the road to see customers and colleagues again in person!

 

What challenges have you faced in the industry, if any? How did they impact you and how did you overcome them?

I have experienced first-hand some difficult challenges when senior members at companies within the meat industry would ‘test’ me, as the consultant starting out and attempting to demonstrate my value. Although not always easy, I would say and suggest to anyone in the same position, to have the confidence to believe in yourself and know your talents and strengths. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you have an idea – you will find that your idea could be the best thing they have heard in a long time!

Believe in yourself and you will prove yourself time and time again!

 

I would also say there has been a huge shift in the past 20 years within the industry. When I first started visiting meat and food factories in general, you would not meet many females in senior positions. As the years have passed I have seen more and more females moving upwards, and winning in these roles, by demonstrating that they can deliver excellent results and showing that they are comfortable in a previously more male environment. There is still work to be done here, however I see a rise in confidence as numbers increase, and women not a willing to merely ‘settle’ for junior roles.

 

 

What do you think the meat industry could do to ensure that we attract and retain top female (and male) talent?

I think being honest in job descriptions and advertisements would help. Many females would not immediately think a career in the meat industry would suit them, however there are many roles that may in fact be ideal for them and would suit a female (or male) with a young family for example. I have a 6-year-old son and I manage to have a work/life balance.

You just have to find the role that suits you and be open to stretching yourself to get there.

 

What’s the best piece of career (or personal) advice you’ve been given?

Say yes!

Especially if it is outside of your comfort zone. I would admit this isn’t something that has always come easily to me. Everybody likes to feel safe in their zone, however a couple of years ago, I started to say yes to more things and it’s the best advice I was ever given.

If I hadn’t, I would still be in the same role and today, I am taking on new challenges daily!

 

Find out more about #SheLooksLikeMe here

Find out more about membership here

Stephanie Kidd Technical Excellence Manager – Food & Protein at Ecolab.

Connecting incredible women in the meat industry is what we’re all about at Meat Business Women. If you’d like to connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn click here.

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