Priscilla Spall, Account Manager – Beverage Enzymes at IFF (International Flavors & Fragrances), strode into the beverage industry and didn’t look back once she found out innovation was prized. While her original path pointed towards a career in the pharma industry, she was draw to food science and enjoyed the challenge and creativity found in the field. Our favorite quote: “I see a growing demand for no and low alcohol, similar to plant based vs dairy.  It started out niche, but now it’s evolving into mainstream.  I think the innovation is there, it just needs to be more refined.”

BW: When and how did you discover you wanted to work in the bourbon/whiskey/spirits industry?
PS: When I heard there’s always room for innovation, that’s when I knew I wanted to be in this industry.  With my mindset, I can get bored easily and alcohol is constantly evolving with new consumer needs and trends.  It’s the fastest growing industry, so naturally, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  I love meeting customers in this space because I feel the passion they have for their job and its a vibe I want to be a part of.

BW: How did you end up working in the industry?
PS: I was a chemistry nerd and had my heart set on being in pharma.  After interning and realizing that wasn’t the path I was looking for, I was worried I wasted my college education, towards a degree I couldn’t use.
I settled on a job at David Michael & Company straight out of college and it was seriously the best decision I’ve ever made.  I learned so much about company culture and values, working as a team, supporting/enjoying “work” together.  These core values set the foundation for where I am now at IFF (International Flavors & Fragrances)

BW: What was your previous background – and how do you use your background in your role today? How did you background prepare you for your position in the industry today?
PS: I’m a food scientist by trade, with 12+ years’ experience in various food and beverage categories.  My diverse background gave me insight into different consumer trends, cross category influences and an innovative approach to service customers.  Through my years of experience, I’ve grown to develop a passion for the industry.
My technical background puts me in a unique position, with now serving on the commercial side.  I’m able to connect with my customers on a more intimate level by feeling comfortable asking those difficult technical questions to service them better.

BW: What does your day-to-day life in the organization look like?
PS: A lot of networking/building relationships, putting out fires and of course, enjoying a drink.

BW: What similarities and differences are there between your former career/position and this one?
PS: Technical vs Commercial, there are obvious differences, but have quickly learned some similarities.  For instance, the customer is priority and how we can service them the best we can.  We’re able to build and maintain customer relationships to be a premier partner. The success we have really comes down to how effectively we work together as a team and how successfully we can navigate within our organization.  I’ve been privileged to be at IFF long enough to connect with many people and build some solid relationships.

BW: What’s the future role or vision you’d like to see the industry move towards?  What are the biggest roadblocks and how can we overcome them to get there?
PS: I see a growing demand for no and low alcohol, similar to plant based vs dairy.  It started out niche, but now it’s evolving into mainstream.  I think the innovation is there, it just needs to be more refined.
Customers can leverage their suppliers, similar to IFF, for full product design with help on innovating new or optimizing existing concepts to ensure repeat purchases.  Understanding the target consumer and designing for their needs is most important.

BW: What’s one thing you wish people understood better about your role or the initiatives you’re working on?
PS: We strive to make our customer’s lives easier, by being their premier partner and leveraging ingredients in our portfolio to align with their goals/strategies.

BW: What’s something in your role and/or company that inspires you or gets you going in the morning? 
PS: My team is really amazing. The vibe is so natural.  Even though I’m still fresh, they’re committed to helping me succeed and that motivates me to not let them down.

BW: What advice do you have for women who want to step into a similar role or carve a similar path?
PS: Don’t be afraid to take risks and lean on your mentors for that extra push.

BW: Tell me about your perfect whiskey weekend in your state/city:
PS: Philadelphia’s craft distilling scene is evolving with many distilleries in the area like Philadelphia distilling, New Liberty distilling, Bluebird and Four Humours, Philadelphia, PA

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