Fireside Chat: FSQ Leadership is About Connecting Expertise with Experience, Theory with Reality

  • Making the point that Food Safety and Quality only works when employees understand how it fits into their day-to-day working lives in a way that is meaningful for them
  • Translating the science and theory of Food Safety and Food Quality into Food Culture that is everyone’s responsibility and everyone’s shared success
  • Putting yourself in the place of a shopfloor employee: How much of your time do you spend thinking about FSQ, and how do you want FSQ’s requirements, expectations, and necessities communicated to you so that you will think and work with Food Safety in mind at all times?
  • Exploring change management, training, coaching, motivational tools, team building, and employee engagement that makes the difference based on my own experience as a plant manager
  • How do you keep it fresh and relevant all year long, and year after year? What can you say and do that will make this content resonate and matter to every worker on every shift?

Heidi Saunders
Chief Quality Officer – Global Quality and Food Safety

C.H. Guenther & Son

Heidi Saunders is the Chief Quality Officer at the C.H. Guenther & Son which employs more than 3,800 people in 28 manufacturing locations in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. Prior to joining the C.H. Guenther & Son Heidi Saunders was VP, NA Quality for Mondelēz International, a global company leading the future of snacking with 2019 net revenues of approximately $26 billion.

In her role, Heidi is responsible for leading all aspects of Quality and Food Safety for the North America region including many Power Brands such as OREO and belVita biscuits; Ritz and Triscuit crackers; Trident gum and Halls cough drops.

Heidi joined Mondelēz International in March 2020 following a diverse career within the food industry. Prior to joining the company, Heidi spent 15 years with the Kellogg Company where she held positions in the United Kingdom, Ireland, North America and globally in Supply Chain, Operations, Quality and Food Safety Roles. From 2012 to 2018, Heidi held the roles of Director NA Food Safety, Senior Director Global Food Safety and Auditing, Senior Director Quality Business Partner and Plant Director. Heidi has led several turnaround teams within North America and Globally. She was the architect of the successful emerging market Quality and Food Safety Strategy leading to business growth. Heidi has also led several acquisition and joint venture risk management projects.

Heidi holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with Honors degree in Food Science and Technology from the Manchester Metropolitan University (UK).



Spir Marinakis
VP of Food Safety, Quality Assurance, Technical Services & Sanitation
Maple Leaf Foods

Spir is currently serving as Vice President, Food Safety, Quality and Technical Services for processed meats, further processed poultry, fresh poultry, fresh pork at Maple Leaf Foods (MLF).  As overall leader of this function Spir is accountable for the strategic direction to deliver on MLF’s Food Safety & Quality (FS&Q) strategy, Food Safety Promise, Quality Vision, day-to-day operations of the FS&Q Management Systems and Microbiology and Chemistry labs that service all MLF’s plants.

Spir began her professional career at Unilever Canada, one of the world’s largest CPG company. She progressed through various roles that included food scientist, sales representative, brand manager, innovation manager, R&D/QA manager, Canada and customer activation manager, North America. During this time, Spir achieved two prestigious Global Innovation Awards for innovative concepts and successful execution. Throughout this time her efforts on the commercial side of the business enhanced her appreciation of the importance of innovation, and customer-centric focus.

In 2004, Spir joined Maple Leaf Foods as Director FS&Q for the poultry division. During this time, Spir was awarded the President’s Award. In 2007, she moved into Six Sigma. During her tenure in Six Sigma, she was responsible for critical projects within marketing and food safety. In 2013, Spir moved into the Director, FS&Q systems role where she  took over leadership and execution of  the company’s quality strategy, performance metrics, FS&Q Pillar of the Operational Excellence System, complaint management, and control of the FS&Q Management System.