Interview with Leen Van Campenhout
Leen Van Campenhout brings her knowledge of food microbiology to Lavetan
Leen Van Campenhout started her new position as the new nutritional science manager at Lavetan on the first of October. She is a bioengineer with a passion for industrial microbiology. Leen brings broad professional expertise: from business to education. Her move to Lavetan offers an exciting mix of microbiology and education. She now focuses on team coaching and training development and deployment We spoke with her about her background and ambitions.
Enzymology and Microbiology
Leen Van Campenhout will coach a team of food scientists at Lavetan. This is a logical progression of her journey to date. "After studying to become a bioengineer, I worked for a feed additive manufacturer for five years. I was responsible for managing a small R&D department focusing on enzymology and microbiology. After that, I was offered a position at a college and moved into teaching." She taught food microbiology, among other subjects. She can now apply this broad base of knowledge derived from teaching to real-world client issues. Finally, she also coordinated a research group at the Catholic University of Leuven. "We ran great projects and the research was fascinating."
My profile fits this position perfectly. This is where all my knowledge comes together. Microbiology and education are a nice mix.
The coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic provided opportunities for reflection for many, including Leen. "I followed my heart. That is how I discovered that I am passionate about content. I already knew Lavetan, because they had performed analyses for our research group at the university. I saw the job posting, got excited and just made a call." One thing led to another. "Lavetan also wants to put more effort into in-house training. This is a perfect fit for my profile. This is where all my knowledge comes together. Microbiology and education are a nice mix."
Leen has already survived her first few weeks. "It has been extremely busy. I am always amazed at how many new things there are to learn and discover. I spent the past few years focusing on transferring knowledge; now I am in the role of the learner. Obviously, I felt warmly welcomed. There is a collegial, open atmosphere here. Everyone is committed to progress. That's inspiring."
Getting Started with AI
Leen is interested in what artificial intelligence (AI) can do for humans. "I would love to learn more about it. I want to figure out how what AI can do for Lavetan. There are obviously many open ethical questions. I find that interesting. I had some encounters with AI in my previous work and I want to continue that. I think this will be essential for anyone who wants to keep up with the times and their education. In terms of AI, we cannot miss the boat. We can definitely use AI to process results and analyze trends. There's a lot of knowledge there that we haven't mined yet."
An extensive network
"I also hope to expand my network. My former students follow me. I want to maintain that network. Lavetan may allow me to produce some impressive material. Above all, I want to strike a balance between being a good manager and providing scientific support to my team. It is a role that I will need to grow into, but I'm very much looking forward to it."