As a scientist, Alba Rosales knew the details that went in to creating a food product. Yet she knew that it took more than a formula to take that product further; it would take business knowledge, too.
Ever curious and constantly challenging herself, Alba is now director of global food safety and quality assurance at Ocean Spray. It’s a global leadership role managing a team with members based throughout the world.
As Ocean Spray brings new products to the market, her work is key. “My team is enabling innovation by ensuring we bring new products with consumer safety at the center and quality in the forefront,” she says.
Alba began her career as a food scientist. A fork in her career came when she nearly pursued an academic career but followed her love of research into the food industry. She came to Madison, Wisconsin, to work as a scientist at Kraft Foods in areas of innovation and product development. She recognized that a business degree would help her understand the practical applications of science and innovation, as well as give her the chance to build her leadership skills. So she enrolled in the executive MBA program.
“It was beyond just formulating a product,” she says. “It was the marketing, consumer insights, supply chain, deciding how we were going to manufacture it, where were going to manufacture it and where it would retail.”
Alba’s career is marked by overcoming any challenge she crosses paths with, something she has done since the native of El Salvador came to the U.S. for graduate school in 2006 and could speak limited English.
“I was afraid to even have a conversation with people,” says Rosales, who now speaks English fluently and enthusiastically. “It wasn’t easy, but now I look back and think, ‘That was pretty cool.’”