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An Evening of Recognition: WFFC 2018 Awards

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  • Photo by Dan D'Errico
  • Kathi Sparks, chief flavorist, ADM Nutrition. Photo by Dan D'Errico.
  • Linda Lakind, flavors marketing director, North America, Firmenich. Photo by Dan D'Errico.
  • Susan Arslaner, senior technical perfumer, Symrise. Photo by Dan D'Errico.
  • Celine Roche, senior marketing account manager, Givaudan. Photo by Dan D'Errico.
  • This year’s Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce (WFFC) hosted its annual Recognition Awards to a sold-out audience at Liberty House in Jersey City, New Jersey. Photo by Dan D'Errico.
  • Photo by Dan D'Errico.

Thursday, June 21, 2018, was a night of recognition for the four women who were honored for their successful careers and achievements in the F&F industry. This year’s Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce (WFFC) hosted its annual recognition dinner to a sold-out audience at Liberty House in Jersey City, New Jersey. The honorees were:

  • Kathi Sparks, chief flavorist, ADM Nutrition received the Flavorist Recognition award
  • Linda Lakind, flavors marketing director, North America, Firmenich, received the Innovative Excellence award
  • Susan Arslaner, senior technical perfumer, Symrise, received the Perfumer Recognition award
  • Celine Roche, senior marketing account manager, Givaudan, received the Nancy Poulos award

Kathi Sparks, chief flavorist, ADM Nutrition received the Flavorist Recognition award. After graduating from Purdue University with a food science degree, Sparks started out in quality and food applications and then moved into savory creations, where she began refining her craft. Her expertise lies across many categories including savory, beverage and citrus among others. “I just want to thank the board of the WFFC for selecting me. I’m so fortunate that I get to create flavors, mentor other flavorists and trainees and learn something new every day,” Sparks said in her acceptance speech.

Linda Lakind, flavors marketing director, North America, Firmenich, received the Innovative Excellence award. “Who gets to chew gum, eat cookies, drink cocktails, travel the world, predict trends, mentor newcomers and be a part of this amazing community? Every day I get to be creative often in very unconventional ways and people allow me to do this,” Lakind mused. After graduating from Boston University, Lakind began her 25-plus career in the flavor industry with Bush Boake Allen in the seasonings department. During her time there, she learned the creative side of flavor and the rest is history. “There are so many people who have supported me along the way. Many are here tonight and a special thanks to all of them. But a very special thanks goes to Deb Johns [Firmenich] who took the risk and hired me into the flavor industry” Lakind concluded.

Susan Arslaner, senior technical perfumer, Symrise received the Perfumer Recognition award. “It’s an honor to receive this recognition. I want to thank Symrise for all their support and guidance throughout the years, they have become a second family to me,” Arslaner said in her acceptance speech. Arslaner began her career in the 80's as a lab technician and later accepted a position as a junior perfumer, where she worked her way up from an apprentice to her current role as a technical perfumer. Where a creative perfumer can often see first-hand results of having a perfume on the shelf, Arlaner's role as a technical perfumer, along with having a well-trained nose, works behind-the-scenes to handle the day-to-day challenges on legislation changes, customer restrictions and raw material shortages, among others. 

Celine Roche, senior marketing account manager, Givaudan, and former WFFC president received the Nancy Poulos Leadership award. Roche began her career in 1999 serving as account manager of ingredients for Danisco. Prior to her current role, Roche served as the VP account executive of fine fragrances and ingredients for Mane. Additionally, Roche has led sustainability initiatives all over the world and has served as an active member of the WFFC for the last 17 years. “I’m very moved because there are a lot of people I care about in this room. I’ve created wonderful friendships with many of you. It’s true that I’m very committed to making a difference, and it’s our duty to uphold this. It’s been an honor to serve on the board for 10 years along with colleagues and clients. When I [discovered] I received this award, I was thinking about Nancy Poulos that same day, so I know she is with us today.”

Click here to view more photos from the ceremony.