Career Tails

A 25+ Year Career in R&D at Purina

Janet | Vice President & Director, Nutrition Research

My passion for pets started early in life, growing up on a grain farm just north of Peoria, Illinois. We always had dogs and many cats to play with on the farm. When I was just a little girl, I remember sitting on the back porch with my cats in the early spring season. I would put on my dad’s jacket and stuff them into it until 15 or so were in my coat. They loved it and my jacket was filled with warm, purring kittens and cats. 

As the youngest of four children, I learned early in life the value of hard work, perseverance and self-reliance to complete any task. Everyone was expected to do their part. My main jobs included field cultivating, plowing, towing anhydrous tanks and loading grain into the trucks. I still remember doing my schoolwork while unloading wagons and drying corn from the fall harvest. On the farm, you learned from the ones that came before you. As a result, I developed keen listening skills. 

After receiving my PhD in Animal Nutrition from the University of Illinois, I joined Purina in 1990 as a Nutritionist. This was a perfect job for me. I learned about the history of the company, and thought it was also important to learn about the nutritional philosophy of Purina. Teamwork was so important, and the relationships you form in your career are the foundation of Purina culture. The importance of a can-do attitude and a solution-minded approach are vital for team success. I have always believed that communication is a key to success, along with leading by example. 

I progressed through my career as a Nutritionist, Director of Product Development teams and now Vice President & Director of Nutrition Research. I value the relationships I have developed over the years with my colleagues across the company, both at Purina and our colleagues in other Nestlé businesses. In my 25+ year career, I feel like I have grown up in the Purina family culture. I have been inspired by the opportunity we have in R&D to make a difference in the lives of pets, and I am proud to be part of a team that has made significant advancements in knowledge. That work has enabled us to develop nutritional innovations to promote lifelong health to keep our pets as an integral part of the family.

 

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