Eileen Bailey Hall is the Clinical Project Manager, NIC R&D HN Segment Pharma and Medical Nutrition, for DSM Nutritional Products, Maryland, USA.
Eileen was recently interviewed by Kacie Ho, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Newsletter Editor and Secretary/Treasurer of the AOCS Health & Nutrition (H&N) Division.
Tell us more about what you do and your career path?
I began my career at Martek Biosciences right after graduation from UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I’ve stayed with them for 26 years (when I find something I like, I stick with it!) and have held various roles with both Martek and DSM (which acquired Martek in 2011) including QA/QC analyst, sensory panel leader , analytical chemist, and clinical lab manager.
In my current position as Clinical Project Manager, I get the most satisfaction from interacting with researchers who are using our products in their clinical trials. I am inspired by these scientists working tirelessly to combat disease and improve the quality of our lives. I’m also amazed by the speed of the science. We are only a year into the COVID pandemic, and we already have a vaccine(!), understand transmission routes, and realize the importance of nutrients in immune function. Many of these nutrients (I am proud to say) are in DSM’s portfolio including Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and D.
Why did you get involved with the Health & Nutrition Division?
My AOCS journey began when I met Doug Bibus (current AOCS president) at my first AOCS meeting in San Diego in 2000. Health and nutrition are my passions, and I was there presenting a poster on blood fatty acid analysis. Doug encouraged me to join the H&N Division and become engaged in AOCS activities. The next year, he asked me to chair a session at the annual meeting. I was terrified (especially after my co-chair was a no show) but I persevered. Over my 21 years as a member of AOCS, I have presented my research, chaired and organized H&N sessions, organized a Hot Topic session, served as Secretary/Treasurer and Vice Chair of the H&N Division and been a member of the AOCS Networking Value Center. In every one of these situations, I thought to myself “I can’t do that” but each time the old motto “Just Do It” echoed in my head. As a result, I saw huge growth in my leadership skills and in the connections and scientific knowledge I could offer to DSM.
How has AOCS made a difference in your career?
In my time with AOCS, I have developed an incredible network of researchers. Doug Bibus has continually challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and is a great resource to bounce ideas off of and answer questions around Omega 3 fatty acid analysis and mechanisms. Carol Lammi-Keefe and Holiday Durham Zanetti have inspired me in their dedication to maternal health and served on the H&N leadership team with me – I am proud of the work our all-female team accomplished! And so many AOCS staff have so much energy and were always there to motivate and assist me in all my AOCS needs. I would not be where I am without the AOCS community.
Do you have any advice for students and young professionals?
I have a lot of advice for H&N members and students who may be starting off their careers. Immerse yourself in AOCS activities. By doing so you will build your scientific knowledge, your network, your skill set and your confidence. Join a Toastmaster’s group. If you cannot effectively communicate it, no one will ever know it. Many great opportunities are found in lateral career moves that may increase your exposure and knowledge base. And lastly, never say “no” to an opportunity. I have found the more reasons I find to resist doing something the more reasons there are for actually doing it.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I am not all business though. I love to be in the great outdoors whether it be skiing, running, or hiking. It is in doing these activities that I do my best problem solving and innovating! Fresh air, fresh thoughts.