Deirdre Schlunegger, who has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Stop Foodborne Illness since 2010, has announced her forthcoming plans to retire from her position on May 31, 2019. Until then, she will be working closely with the Stop Foodborne Illness Board to help identify her successor and assist with the transition to new leadership.
"Stop Foodborne Illness changed my life when they reached out in 2009 after I contracted E. coli O157:H7,” said Lauren Bush, board co-chair. “Deirdre assumed leadership of the organization shortly thereafter and we have worked together for nearly a decade elevating stories of impacted families like mine. I believe I speak for all the families of the Stop Foodborne Illness community when I say that Deirdre has a heart of gold and cares deeply for all of us. We sincerely thank her for nine years of dedicated service and unwavering commitment to make food safer for all of us."
“Our organization cannot thank Deirdre enough for her years of dedication and leadership in the fight against foodborne illness,” said Michael Taylor, board co-chair and former FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine. “Not only has Deirdre led the way in making the public aware of the seriousness of foodborne illness, but she also has provided a much-needed opportunity for survivors to share their experiences with others so that they can best deal with its effects.”
Working closely with the executive board, Schlunegger will be actively involved in seeking out the most qualified candidates to replace her in this important role and will lead the transition process before she officially steps down.
“I am grateful for having the great privilege of working with many amazing people who have lived through significant trauma related to foodborne illness,” said Schlunegger. “They have made a difference in our world of food safety. I wish to thank Stop Foodborne Illness, its Board of Directors and its supporters for sustaining this important work.”
“Deirdre has been a steadfast leader and steward of Stop Foodborne Illness during a time of dynamic change for food safety and for Stop as an organization,” said Taylor. “She will be leaving our organization stronger than she found it, for which all of us are enormously grateful.”
Schlunegger also has served as an advisory member of the Joint Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition (JIFSAN) and is a participating member of the Safe Food Coalition and the Make Our Food Safe Coalition. She serves as commissioner of the International Food Science Certification Commission.
Before joining Stop Foodborne Illness, she held the position of president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma. Prior to this, she was vice president of chapter relations at Breast Cancer Network of Strength. Deirdre has served as the executive director of a Chicago organization addressing issues of domestic violence, and led a national organization related to children and physical challenges.
Schlunegger graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, completed a Child Life Internship at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, and completed a program in Nonprofit Management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has participated as a member of the Illinois Juvenile Court Domestic Violence Committee and was a Board Member of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence.Potential candidates for the top leadership position at Stop Foodborne Illness CEO can find information about the application process on LinkedIn or visit the organization’s web page.