• Bob Baron

Preparing to Take the Reins

As I prepare to take on the role of president at Sensory Spectrum, I would like to thank all of you who wished me well in my new role. The positive response was overwhelming and supportive. As I mentioned in our announcement, Sensory Spectrum has been a part of my entire professional life for over 20 years. It’s a bit deeper than that.


I officially met Gail Civille in 1999 (of course I knew of her long before that) while presenting a poster at the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting. She was checking me out for one of her clients who was considering hiring me. I guess I held my own because I got the job. That was the beginning of a great professional relationship and friendship. It was some years later, that I got a call from Gail, I had moved into product development, and I was driving home from one of the factories. She asked me if I would consider coming to work for her. I was honored but not interested in changing jobs at that time. This request reemerged every year or so for the next 10 until finally I was ready for a change.


I came to Sensory Spectrum a little over 7 years ago. I went from a global food company with tens of thousands of associates to a small consulting firm with under a hundred employees. I was like the long-lost relative trying to join a tight-knit family. There was a very different culture, a lot less support staff, and it took some getting used to being the “vendor,” not the client. I must admit those first couple of months were difficult and had me wondering if I made the right choice. At some point early on, I came to appreciate the flexibility and willingness to try new things. It was energizing to help clients through tough challenges. I got to teach and train on a regular basis, sharing my experiences and learning from others. I worked with a group of individuals who were committed to making Sensory Spectrum a great place to work, learn, and grow.


In the early days, I started a list of various initiatives that would make this amazing place even better for our employees and clients. I shared my thoughts with Gail and the other leaders in the company. They welcomed my input and gave me the room to make some changes. Together we have grown the business every year over the past 6 years. Even through the massive challenges of the pandemic. We were able to keep the doors open, make modifications to testing protocols, keep our staff fully employed, deliver for our clients, and even grow the business.


This is the story I excitedly take forward as I step into the presidency of Sensory Spectrum. Following the lead of an incredible visionary leader with unbounded energy and passion for our discipline. A woman who grew a company of 2 people into a globally recognized firm supporting clients big and small, committed to science and education, always looking for what’s next. As I take on my new role, I do so knowing that Gail’s is still guiding the “what’s next” part of the business. I will continue to rely on her guidance and mentorship, which I have counted on my entire career.


So, what is next? The pandemic allowed us to do some reflection. We went back to our mission and values and realized that we needed to refocus on those pillars on which the company was built. Our recent successes have enabled us to invest money and resources in several areas of the business. We are looking to add or improve components of our education and training program, consumer insights services, and innovation. Additionally, as normal travel resumes, we can better support training and project management for our clients. I am ready to take on the challenges we will face in the future while staying true to the values and mission of Sensory Spectrum. The future is bright.