Career profile: Karina

Technical group leader, structured emulsions

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Working across Latin America, I lead on a group of development projects from a technical point of view, as well as innovation, to improve dressings. I’m responsible for a team of around 20 people, ensuring we have the right allocation of skills and resources in the region.

In terms of improving products that are currently on the market, our job is to work on taste or nutrition. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of technology behind this process, particularly when you’re looking at the composition of good and bad fats.

On the innovation side, we work closely with the global product development group in the Netherlands either implementing projects or looking at products that don’t exist yet – which could lead to a step change in innovation. I also have a value enhancement role. For example, improving cost-efficiency at one of our factories.

There are many aspects to my role I find interesting. One is that I am accountable for ensuring we have the skills and capabilities that will help deliver the innovation for Unilever to grow. That’s quite a responsibility.

But mainly I contribute to people’s lives by helping create products that work in a particular country. Wherever you are in the world, food is rooted in the culture. So whilst we work globally, we also have to understand people on a local level. After all, we’re trying to change their eating habits. I find that fascinating both professionally and personally. It has to be the ultimate challenge.

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