Meet the team

Jon Poole
Chief Executive

Jon’s prime role is to provide the leadership and direction for the executive team. He works closely with the Board to develop our overall strategic direction, translating this into actual delivery.

Jon is responsible for external relations with many of our key supporters and collaborators. In addition, he oversees our publications, especially the International Journal of Food Science & Technology.  

Whilst not a food scientist himself, Jon’s role involves him in most aspects of the food sector. Jon’s background is in organisational and leadership development having run his own consultancy for more than ten years before joining IFST. Jon also Chairs SALSA, the supplier assurance scheme for small and micro food businesses. He has written and had published three books on leadership and coaching.

Jon is a keen road cyclist and guitarist in a funk/soul band. In the winter it’s all about the skiing. 

Andrew Gardner
Operations Director

Andrew is responsible for helping the business run smoothly, from supporting the Finance Committee to overseeing our finances, premises, office facilities, services, and IT.  He manages our education and careers and our professional development team members and related activities.

Andrew also coordinates the education and careers and professional development Forums, which run twice a year.

Andrew has worked in publishing, local government, and with charter, statutory and professional bodies.  Immediately before joining IFST he helped launch a healthcare web platform. He has a degree in social and political science from Cambridge University and he is a member of the Chartered Management Institute.

Off duty, Andrew runs to keep fit and likes to practice yoga.

John Bassett
Scientific Policy Director

John is responsible for the development of our scientific policy priorities and positions and communication of these to stakeholders including membership and government.

He is also responsible for the coordination, submission and communication of IFST consultation responses, in conjunction with our committees and the wider membership. In addition, he represents the Institute in scientific and policy fora.

As a qualified veterinarian, John started his career in clinical practice but became interested in risk assessment and management of animal health and food safety issues. He has worked for the New Zealand government and in food manufacturing before starting his own consultancy in 2013, which he manages alongside his role at IFST. His passion for food safety and new technology fits well with his IFST involvement and he values the network and recognition that comes with being part of the Institute.  

In his spare time John is a keen road biker and runner, likes to get up mountains, and enjoys cooking but even better, eating!

Natasha Medhurst
Scientific Affairs Manager

Natasha’s principle focus is on scientific activities and affairs, contributing to the communication of our scientific voice. She is responsible for writing new scientific materials for our members and other interested parties as well as in response to specific external enquiries.

In addition, Natasha supports the Scientific Committee, coordinates the relationship with our Special Interest Groups and acts as an external scientific representative for collaborations with other relevant organisations.  

Since graduating from University of Reading with a BSc (Hons) in Food Technology, Natasha has taught Food Science in China and worked in product development, quality, project management, factory technical and regulatory roles in the food industry. As an IFST Member herself, she is fully aware of the importance of supporting and uniting food professionals for the advancement of the sector.   

Natasha enjoys travel, cooking and yoga.

Delia Mertoiu
Marketing and Business Development Manager

Delia is responsible for the coordination of our marketing activities. She develops promotional support materials and tools to enhance the awareness of our events and activities and works with external promotional support contractors on IFST marketing projects.

In her role, Delia manages the end-to-end delivery of our key conferences, lectures and launchpads to ensure they are creative and engaging. She also coordinates and actively manages approaches to food-industry employers to promote and progress our group membership scheme, CPD and professional registration schemes.

Delia has worked in HR, finance and business analysis and has a master’s degree in marketing. She appreciates the relationship management side of her job and enjoys building strong relationships with members, stakeholders, suppliers and corporate partners by fully understanding their professional needs, strategies and objectives.

Delia is a book lover and enjoys dancing, travelling and cultural diversity.

Izabela Nair
Media and Communications Coordinator

Izabela is responsible for the coordination of our overall communication activities including e-comms, website content and social media. She is the first point of contact for media enquiries, promotes IFST’s key events and activities as well as records and edits videos.

In addition, Izabela acts as a Digital Editor of our quarterly magazine, Food Science & Technology. She commissions new articles for the magazine website and ensures that the paper-based magazine content is available in the online version.

Izabela has worked in public relations and marketing and has a master’s degree in Media and Communications Management.

In her spare time, Izabela enjoys blogging, finding out about latest social media strategies and learning how to code websites.

Kelly Ah Chin Kow
Membership and Events Coordinator

One of the newest members of IFST, Kelly joined the team at the beginning of August 2018. She is the main point of contact for our Branches across the UK, liaising with the regional committees to coordinate and support branch activities and events as well as our launchpads. She also has a focus on implementing activities to monitor and uphold IFST’s commitments to diversity.

Having worked in events across the charity, arts and culture sector, Kelly has a diverse range of experience from organising workshops, conferences, fundraising challenge events, evening award receptions, to healthy eating cooking demonstrations and presentations for her local community.

She is passionate about discovering different cultures, travel, food, sports, arts and culture and languages. Being fluent in French, she relishes learning new languages, so is currently learning Spanish.

Toby Almy
Education and Careers Coordinator

Toby is responsible for the coordination of our activities relating to education and future careers at school, university and new professional level. He coordinates the promotion and adjudication of the ITST’s range of student competitions and awards as well as manages and develops school programmes including the Love Food Love Science mentor scheme.

In addition, Toby provides support for the delivery of the annual Education & Careers Forum and resulting careers related activities.

After graduating from the University of Bristol with a BA in English, Toby taught public speaking and debate skills at schools in Bristol and east London. He then earned a qualification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and moved to Japan for two years as an assistant language teacher. Having taught a variety of different ages, nationalities and academic levels Toby has developed an interest in how communication skills provide a pathway for personal and professional success.

Since returning to the UK Toby has been a researcher, content writer and freelance translator. In his spare time, he practises his Japanese language skills through the London Language Exchange.

Anjlee Patel
Membership and Finance Administrator

Having joined IFST this year, Anjlee looks after our members by dealing with general enquiries and maintaining and updating member records including welcoming new members. Other key areas of her work include dealing with queries related to renewals or joining, ensuring invoices and receipts are issued, and processing member related financial transactions.

Anjlee graduated in 2017 with a BSc Biological Sciences and has a natural interest in all things science, along with a strength in handling data. She enjoys working with numbers, having previously worked in handling accounts. Having volunteered across the charity sector has resulted in her working with a range of people and building relationships.

Anjlee enjoys reading, travelling and trying different foods.