We connected with first-time PFS volunteers, Camilla Cavalier and Sorana Ionita, to learn more about their recent experiences as client leads. When asked what she would say to someone who’s interested in joining PFS, Sorana, a Supply Chain Project Manager at Bühler, said, “If a certain project or company sparks your interest, either because you relate to their business or you have some of the skills required for the specific position, you should go for it! Even if the position doesn’t align with your day job’s description I would suggest you take a chance, volunteer as a client lead and enjoy the ride.”
PFS: Why did you decide to get involved with PFS?
CC: It didn’t take much for me to join. PFS aligns with my personal and professional interests, and since Bühler is an active partner I had some colleagues who were already involved. When I was asked to join a project I knew I wanted to get involved right away.
SI: I attended a training about cocoa farming in Ghana in early 2019 and that experience really opened my eyes to food production in Africa. After the training ended I knew I wanted to get involved in improving food security in Africa, but didn’t know how I could directly contribute as an individual. At the same time, a colleague introduced me to PFS and it was like the stars aligned – this was my chance to get involved with Africa’s food system.
PFS: Why did you choose to be a client lead for the company you work with?
CC: The client lead position for Valid Nutrition really aligned with my job at Bühler. I’m a project manager and already had experience working with remote and global teams so it seemed like a good fit for me. However, I didn’t have any experience in the project topic I was managing, which was a good challenge for me. I was exposed to quality lab design work that I would have otherwise never been exposed to in my day job at Bühler.
SI: My client, Fastizers Foods and Confectionery, was working on a food safety and quality control project, and a snack product development project involving cookies and biscuits. At Bühler, I am a supply chain project manager and do not work with food safety or product development. However, I am familiar with biscuit, cookie and waffle processing machinery, which helped me contribute in some areas of the projects with the client.
PFS: What’s your favorite part of being a client lead?
CC: I love coordinating the meetings and making sure everyone is getting value out of it. Sometimes it can be challenging to schedule calls with people from across the globe, but once we got the preliminary logistics worked out we were able to have fruitful discussions and I could keep the project moving forward through recap notes, delegating tasks, etc.
SI: I have really enjoyed working with people from such different backgrounds and cultures other than mine. I’ve been introduced to different perspectives and experiences that I may not otherwise get to interact with day-to-day. I’m always looking forward to my next status call!
PFS: What would you tell someone who is interested in becoming a PFS volunteer, but is hesitant to join?
CC: I would let them know that whoever joins as a volunteer is well supported by the PFS team. They’re available to answer your questions at any time and will be there to help you keep the project moving forward.
SI: If a certain project or company sparks your interest, either because you relate to their business or you have some of the skills required for the specific position, you should go for it! Even if the position doesn’t align with your day job description, I would suggest you take a chance, volunteer as a client lead and enjoy the ride.