Katy Jones: Leading the Way in Food Safety and Supply Chain Excellence

Top 10 Empowering Women Leaders of the Year, 2023

Katy Jones CCO at Trustwell

In the dynamic world of software and food safety, one name stands out as a beacon of leadership and dedication – Katy Jones, the Chief Customer Officer at Trustwell. With a remarkable career in the food sector and an unwavering passion for food safety and supply chain transparency, Katy has become a driving force in advocating for excellence in the industry.

Katy’s journey with Trustwell began back in 2015 when she joined FoodLogiQ as the Chief Marketing Officer. Over the years, her dedication and expertise propelled her to higher roles within the company, from COO to eventually CEO. Her contributions were pivotal to the success of FoodLogiQ. When FoodLogiQ merged with ESHA Research to create Trustwell, Katy remained with the company to continue her transformative work.

Katy is not just a leader; she’s an industry luminary with profound insights and a deep understanding of the field. Her commitment to delivering exceptional results and ensuring customer satisfaction has forged strong relationships with clients. As the Chief Customer Officer, Katy is fully dedicated to the ongoing development and enhancement of Trustwell’s solutions and services, tailoring them to meet the diverse needs of their customer base.

Katy’s academic background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She honed her skills further with a Master’s degree in Data Marketing Communications from West Virginia University. Her achievements have earned her recognition, including prestigious memberships in the Chief Marketing Officer Club and the Triangle Business Journal C-Suite Award in 2017.

Katy’s strategic vision and steadfast commitment to customer success are instrumental in driving Trustwell’s growth and maintaining industry excellence. Her fervor for food safety and transparency fuels her mission to provide innovative solutions that empower companies to reach their goals while upholding the highest standards in the supply chain.

A Passionate Advocate for Customer-Centric Leadership

Before joining FoodLogiQ, now Trustwell, Katy dedicated approximately 10 years to supporting non-profit organizations and academic research centers, focusing on a wide array of areas, from pedestrian safety to cancer research. She takes great pride in her ability to simplify complex research topics, making them relatable to the average person.

In her role as Chief Customer Officer (CCO), Katy is entrusted with the vital task of crafting and implementing a comprehensive customer experience strategy that harmonizes with Trustwell’s business objectives. This involves instilling a culture that prioritizes the customer, establishing benchmarks for customer experience, and ensuring consistency in interactions at all stages. Ultimately, her aim as CCO is to cultivate robust, enduring customer relationships while driving growth and retention for Trustwell.

Presently, Katy is actively engaged in seeking Board advisory positions at non-profit organizations and mission-driven startups. Her guidance to aspiring female leaders is simple yet profound: “Be your authentic self and find your people.” She firmly believes that authenticity and aligning with like-minded individuals are the cornerstones of true success, and where one can unlock their fullest potential as a leader.

Bringing Transformation in the Food Industry

In October 2022, following the merger of ESHA Research and FoodLogiQ, the newly formed entity unveiled its new brand as “Trustwell.” This transformation marked a significant milestone, as Trustwell became the sole software platform in the food industry that brings together product development and nutritional analysis with supplier compliance, heightened traceability, and automated recall management.

Trustwell is driven by a transformative mission to revolutionize the food industry. Through the combination of FoodLogiQ’s expertise in supply chain management software and Genesis’ capabilities in nutritional analysis and label development, the Trustwell platform has become the exclusive software solution in the food industry. It seamlessly links the realms of product development and regulatory-compliant labeling with supplier compliance, advanced traceability, and automated recall management.

Catering to a diverse clientele ranging from food and supplement manufacturers to retail grocers and restaurant chains, Trustwell’s software is relied upon by food companies globally. These industry leaders entrust Trustwell as their ultimate source for compliance and quality solutions, setting new standards in the world of food production and distribution.

Prioritizing Customer Demands and Open Communication

Katy, when looking back at Trustwell’s journey, points out a few hurdles and important lessons that helped the company grow. One significant challenge Trustwell has encountered was finding the right balance between customer demands and opportunities in a rapidly growing environment. It’s like doing a dance, trying to keep everyone happy. Fast growth means customer needs change quickly, so the company had to be quick on its feet, like a dancer.

Trustwell also learned that it’s crucial to make sure everyone in the company is on the same page and talking to each other. Keeping everyone in sync and having open communication was a key focus for the company.

In the end, what made Trustwell successful was the team’s ability to move fast while always remembering their main goal: giving value to customers. This approach helped them tackle challenges and grow over the years.

Journey in Media and Beyond

During her formative years, Katy aspired to become a magazine editor. She held a deep appreciation for the structure that deadlines provided, the impact of captivating visuals, and the allure of a compelling narrative. For her, print media was the perfect amalgamation of these elements, drawing her to the world of publishing.

Katy’s journey was also significantly influenced by invaluable advice from her father. He instilled in her the belief that as long as she possessed the skill of writing, opportunities would always abound. Katy took this advice to heart and decided to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, aligning her education with her passion for the written word.

Although her career didn’t lead her to the helm of a magazine as an editor, this early approach to her aspirations set Katy on the trajectory that defines her current path. Today, her appreciation for deadlines, the power of visuals, and the art of storytelling continues to shape her professional journey.

Conquering Imposter Syndrome

When reflecting on her early experiences as a female leader, Katy opens up about the challenges she faced, particularly grappling with imposter syndrome and perfectionism. During the early stages of her career, each time she assumed a new role, she found herself grappling with a persistent fear that she was not truly qualified, and that eventually, others would uncover her supposed inadequacies. This inner struggle of feeling like an imposter haunted her throughout those initial months in her new positions.

Katy acknowledges that, despite these fears, she never actually faced the dreaded moment of being “found out” or told that a mistake had been made in selecting her for the role. Nevertheless, she underscores the ongoing effort required to confront and conquer this self-doubt and critical inner dialogue. Taming that self-talk remains a continuous and integral part of her personal and professional growth.

Empowering Women in the Industry

Katy’s most significant contributions revolve around the meaningful connections she has nurtured with women in the industry, particularly those who played a crucial role in shaping FoodLogiQ and now Trustwell. Over six years ago, she initiated Women@Work ERG (Employee Resource Group). This group convenes monthly to engage in open discussions covering a wide range of topics, from mentorship to addressing challenges like “mansplaining.”

One of Katy’s most noteworthy achievements is creating a safe and supportive space where women can come together, share their experiences, and have candid conversations with one another. She takes immense pride in this accomplishment, as it has allowed women to connect, support one another, and grow within the industry.

Redefining Failure, Fostering Transparency, and Embracing Growth

Katy is on a mission to change the way we view failure, aiming to make it more acceptable and, perhaps, even popular. Her inspiration came from listening to Ryan Leak speak at a conference a few years ago, which shifted her perspective on the role that failure plays in achieving success. She openly admits to being a “recovering perfectionist” and firmly believes that striving for perfection can actually hinder your career progress. In her view, it’s essential to be willing to put yourself out there, take risks, and embrace new challenges as the key to personal growth.

Katy values honesty and transparency, recognizing that every company experiences its share of ups and downs. While it’s natural for leaders to communicate positive news, she emphasizes the equal importance of open communication during difficult times. Moreover, she believes in helping her team understand the “why” behind critical decisions, fostering a deeper sense of trust and collaboration.

Balancing Career and Family

Katy’s work is entirely remote, which means that when she’s not traveling, she spends the majority of her time in her home office. She has a daily routine that typically begins with a workout before her kids wake up, getting her day off to an active start.

Katy is fortunate to have an amazing support system. Her husband, Scott, has consistently been a strong supporter of her career aspirations. They view their family as a cohesive team, affectionately referring to it as “Team Jones.” In this family dynamic, every member, even their dog Wager, plays a vital role and contributes to the team’s collective success. It’s a collaborative and inclusive approach to their family life.

Perspective on Success

Katy reveals her personal perspective on the essence of success. She emphasizes the importance of striking a delicate equilibrium between facing challenges and reaping rewards. According to Katy, these two aspects are inseparable and intertwined. For her, success is not merely the absence of failure; it embodies the audacity to take risks, the commitment to learning, the drive to enhance oneself, and the willingness to adapt to change.

Katy adds that a fundamental element of success lies in the ability to perceive setbacks as opportunities for personal growth, rather than insurmountable obstacles. She encourages readers to adopt a resilient mindset and regard recurring obstacles in life as significant indications. To Katy, these hurdles are not there by chance, and her advice to the readers is clear: “Lean into them.”

Revolutionizing Food Safety and Transparency through Technology

According to Katy, Trustwell is driven by a mission to transform the food industry, recognizing its ripe potential for technological advancement. She envisions a future where the seamless connection of product development with supplier management, traceability, and supply chain management will revolutionize the methods of ensuring food safety and transparency. This integrated approach, as she envisions, will not only empower consumers to make well-informed choices but also assist manufacturers and retailers in swiftly adapting to evolving regulations and consumer demands. Trustwell’s vision entails a harmonious ecosystem where the industry and consumers mutually benefit from enhanced safety and transparency in the world of food.