WFFC Announces 2019 Annual Recognition Award Recipients

Glen Rock, NJ – The WFFC is pleased to announce the 2019 Annual Recognition Award recipients. They are Catherine Herman, Flavor & Fragrance Specialties, Inc. (Nancy Poulos Leadership Award), Kay Murano, IFF (Flavorist Award), Jerome Epinette, Robertet Group (Perfumer Award) and Jennifer Romano, Bontoux Organics, Inc. (Innovative Excellence Award).

The award recipients will be honored at the WFFC Annual Recognition Dinner on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at the Liberty House Restaurant in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Catherine Herman, Director of Regulatory Affairs at Flavor & Fragrance Specialties, Inc., is the recipient of the Nancy Poulos Leadership Award. Catherine began her lifetime career in the Flavor & Fragrance Industry more than four decades ago at Givaudan where the various positions that she held in the gas chromatography lab, organoleptic evaluation and data management provided a valuable foundation for her career in Regulatory. After retiring from Givaudan in 2008, Catherine worked for Belmay prior to joining FFS in 2013. Catherine enjoys life in the fast-paced regulatory lane where there is never a dull moment!  She is often heard saying, “in any other profession there might not be much more to learn after 43 years; however, in regulatory every day is a new opportunity to grow”. Catherine relishes spending time with family and her wonderful husband.  In her spare time, she volunteers as a mentor to single mothers & teaching Sunday school. She enjoys cooking, reading and gardening.

Kay Murano, Ph. D., Flavorist at IFF, is the recipient of the Flavorist Award. Three words which describe Dr. Kay Murano are honest, passionate and detailed. Her career path has led her to becoming a highly regarded Scientist and Certified Flavorist at International Flavors and Fragrances specializing in taste modulation and flavor design.

Kay’s professional path to mastering both the science and art of flavor design started early in her career. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from St. John’s University ultimately being offered a position within IFF’s Global Flavor Research Lab where she has contributed to numerous patents and publications. After Kay earned her doctorate in food science from Rutger’s University she decided to explore the world of creative clavor design by joining IFF’s Creative Flavor Lab where she put both her technical expertise of flavor chemistry and her passion for art to work. Since joining the Creative Labs at IFF, Kay has found success in the alcoholic beverage segment and is a lead modulation expert.  Kay is recognized for her innate skills around ideation and creative concept design. Kay is a committed member of our industry; in addition to mentoring on a daily basis, she is a certified member of the Society of Flavor Chemists and has served on the Board of Directors of the Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce from 2006-2016, over which time she held the roles of Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President. While Flavor Design and Professional Achievement is certainly a passion for Kay, her heart is with her beautiful family. She is most proud of her decision to marry her husband and best friend. Together, they are raising their amazing two-year-old son who is truly Kay’s greatest creation.

Jerome Epinette, Vice President of Perfumery with Robertet Group is the recipient of the Perfumer Award. He began his career in Robertet’s Paris office in 2003 and joined the U.S. team to launch the New York Creative Center in 2006. Jerome is the only two-time winner of the Fragrance Foundation’s prestigious “Perfume Extraordinaire” award.  

Jerome earned a master’s degree in Biochemistry in Dijon, France and attended the Grasse Institute of Perfumery in Grasse, France. His perfumery work is inspired first and foremost by the beauty of nature; the sights, sounds and scents of flowers, forests, the sea and the sea breeze.  In his spare time, Jerome is an accomplished cook and enjoys blending different types of herbs in unique combinations to create new culinary experiences. Had he not become a perfumer; Jerome would have become a sommelier. His admiration for winemaking is influenced by his hometown of Burgundy, and he loves to attend wine tastings and compare the different notes in wine, just like in perfumery. As a part of the creative process, Jerome is always striving to make something new and different.  He enjoys working with niche brands because he gets a lot of room to be creative.  His formulas are often simple and shot, but they are elegant and authentic. Jerome is known for his mastery of Robertet’s natural ingredients to create exceptional quality in his fragrances. He is an amazing creative talent and continues to delight his clients with his ability to translate his vision into olfactive treasures.

In 2016, the WFFC Board created the “Innovative Excellence Award,” honoring an individual who offers novel contributions to the industry, and acts as a role model for guiding change and innovations. This year’s Innovative Excellence Award recipient is Jennifer Romano, Commercial Director of Bontoux Organics, Inc. At Bontoux Organics, Jennifer manages all aspects of the business including sales and sourcing of all organic materials, establishing and managing customers and producer relationships, and continuing to build on the established and outstanding Bontoux reputation. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of NAFFS. Jennifer’s mission has always been to help her customers build their brands by creating partnerships based on trust, transparency, and the quality and safety Bontoux is known for. Before coming into the F&F industry over 12 years ago, Jennifer started her career with an aerospace engineering company – where she spent 10 years helping to build a company from a two-employee start-up to a era sale of $700MM. Jennifer is the extraordinarily proud mother of 4 children (two sons and two daughters) and resides in Jackson, NJ. In her free time, she loves to play golf, bake, read, crochet, knit, and ride her Peloton. 

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About the WFFC

The WFFC, Inc. was founded in 1982 by women employed in various capacities in the U.S. flavor and fragrance industry. This organization was borne out of a recognized need for a networking, education and support system for women in our industry. Our mission has been and remains to this day to provide a center of education, camaraderie, support and networking opportunities for women in our industry. Our membership encompasses women involved in sales, purchasing, customer service as well as technical careers.