How She Got There: Eva Scofield, Food Buyer at Graze

Name: Eva Scofield
Job Title and Description: Snack Huntress (Food Buyer) at Graze
College Name/Major: University of Rhode Island/Major in Communication Studies, Minor in Psychology
Website: www.graze.com
Twitter Handle: @grazeusa

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Eva Scofield: My role is refreshingly atypical – on any given day I am visiting potential or existing vendors at their manufacturing facilities, mocking up flavor concepts with exciting new and nutritious ingredients, travelling across the country to food trade shows, troubleshooting vendor queries and…eating. Always eating.

What is the best part of your job?

ES: Too many "bests" to list but my favorite part is interacting with the vendors and cultivating relationships with the people making these incredible products. Learning about the ingredients and manufacturing processes is tantamount to Graze’s ethos of providing nutritious and delicious snacks.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

​ES: After a number of teenage years spent waiting tables and working for other people’s establishments, I decided to jump in head first and co-own a preserves business as my first "entry-level" gig; if you’re going to get wet, why not go swimming? It was tough yet rewarding work and taught me more about the competitive nature of the food industry and myself in one year than I learned up to that point in my entire life.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

​ES: Master the fundamentals before experimenting with the nonessentials; so many people are trying to out-innovate each other while leaving gaps in the creation of simple, reliable products. I am a proponent of innovation and critical thinking when it comes to the food industry and food economy, in general, but professionally rely on the base of what makes food good before branching out into far-fetched territory. That being said, I will never not eat the Szechuan Peppercorn Chocolate ice cream from Morgenstern’s. Talk about mastering the basics then going to town… 

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

​ES: One-way ticket on the cheese mobile, but my mother has been a constant source of professional (and personal!) wisdom. She shared some critical advice to never sell myself short occupationally, which helped force open doors that were not necessarily going to open on their own for a young female in the food world.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

​ES: “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?” – Homer Simpson

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

​ES: My preserves company fizzled out due to a lack of foresight about its potential as something more than a hobby and I learned…everything. Be resilient, be thorough, be tactical. Be accountable for your actions but delegate when appropriate. Be graceful in times of stress but maybe take up kick-boxing if that doesn’t work?

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

​ES: Being told part of my job description is to eat food I love all the time.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

​ES: My career path has not involved hiring others, but Graze does a fabulous job at finding people who are naturally entrepreneurial, excited about the ever-changing nature of food and scrappy. We’re a tough little bunch!

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

​ES: Go get it! Our generation is spoiled by the wealth of information available for every hobby and interest; take advantage of that and don’t be afraid to ask people how they got there!  

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