Spotlight On Linda Funk
Meet Linda Funk, Executive Director of The Soyfoods Council and Chair of the FSHN External Advisory Committee (EAC). Though not an alum, Funk is a long-time supporter of the department and ISU. She has hosted interns from the culinary science program to work on projects for the past several summers and helps sponsor the ‘Soy You Think You Can Cook’ contest.
Most of us in the department are self-proclaimed “foodies.” What is your background with food?
I have spent my entire career in the food industry! I have a Home Economics Education degree from the University of WI-Stout. Food is so fun and fascinating…always something new to learn about. I also love having people to my house for dinner parties.
As Executive Director of the Soyfoods Council, what are some of your responsibilities?
I started the organization in 2000 and it is a national organization. Our mission is to increase the awareness of soyfoods for mainstream consumers. We do this by working with food editors, media and the foodservice industry. We develop and implement innovative programs for the target audiences.
How did you come to get connected with ISU and FSHN?
When I arrived in Iowa in 2000, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) was and still is very supportive and connected to ISU. Being the The Soyfoods Council is part of ISA, I then started contacting key personnel in the FSHN department to see how we could support each other. Ruth MacDonald, professor and chair, was one of the first people I met. Ruth is such an asset to ISU and such a good friend at this time! I feel fortunate to have met her and all the people in the food and nutrition areas of ISU.
As a long-time friend of FSHN, what is your favorite ISU or FSHN memory?
There are many…but I think the best is when Ruth MacDonald joined me in going to Japan to talk to the soyfoods industry about the research ISU has been involved in. But the best part of the story is when we were flying back…we encountered a blizzard in Minneapolis. Our flight was delayed and I think cancelled so Ruth, one of our farmer board members and his wife and myself decided to rent a car to come back to Iowa….well it was one of the most nail biting trips of my life! We made it back but without moments of doubt as to why we thought it was a great idea to drive!
Why did you accept a position on the EAC?
First it was an honor to be asked and I so believe in what ISU-FSHN is doing and their programs. I have been so fortunate in my career, it is time to start giving back my time and talent.
What most excites you about being a member the EAC?
The opportunity to work with such accomplished professionals!
As chair of the committee, what are a few of your goals for the EAC?
Actually to work with the members set goals for this committee, engage them to work on the various committees so we can accomplish what we set out to do! One of my personal goals is to increase the awareness of FSHN to the greater food industry via trade media.
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