BFP: What do you do?
AL: I am leading the Future Fortified campaign, a new initiative that seeks to raise both public and political will in the United States for improved nutrition for women and children around the world, particularly during the critical 1,000 day window from a woman’s pregnancy to a child’s second year of life. We believe that by mobilizing a new constituency of informed and engaged supporters for nutrition, we can drive focus and resources for improved nutrition, the basic building block for good health and well-being.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
AL: The opportunity to be creative and bold for such a fundamental, critical issue for all of us. Nutrition, though widely understood to be important, has remained largely overlooked and completely underfunded within the global development agenda. We have an opportunity to make significant change in the coming years by educating new communities and advocating for better policies. It’s truly inspiring to be a part of this change process.
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
AL: The dual nature of nutrition – that it can be both hidden and everywhere all at once. Clearly nutrition matters to each of us in one way or another, as we think about what to eat for lunch and what to feed our families for dinner. Many of us are even supplementing our nutrition with vitamins every day! And yet when it comes to global nutrition, the issue has remained hidden, stuck somewhere between what are seemingly more urgent issues of hunger and obesity. Somehow we need to make it clear that nutrition IS urgent; that poor nutrition early in life prevents children from reaching their full potential and is a limiting factor for a number of our global health and development priorities. And make this compelling and actionable for individuals who are thinking about nutrition in their own lives every day.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges?/ What advice, would you give to others?
AL: We’re still working on it! I believe people do want to get involved on global nutrition, we simply have not packaged the issue in a way that is both accessible and compelling to them. I would love to hear from others; both those in the nutrition community and those outside of it. Above all, I am open to learning from others to find what works best and collaborate.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
AL: I always tell people that there is no one path, which may be a bit discouraging or empowering depending on your perspective! For me, it was about being open to opportunities as they presented themselves early in my career, such as contributing to the creation of the Nothing But Nets campaign and subsequently leading the campaign. I now have the opportunity through Future Fortified to take all those lessons and experiences to the nutrition community to build an educated and active constituency for this issue. Several individuals – who have become mentors – have been a huge part of my personal path. I think it is important to both seek out and be open to these mentors as you may find them in various aspects of your life.
BFP: Finally; what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
AL: I am thrilled to be a part of the BFP community to connect with and learn from others, particularly those with different experiences and perspectives. I think the BFP community provides such a space and I am looking forward to leveraging that opportunity even more in the year ahead.
Thank you to Adrianna Logalbo for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.