Creative, passionate, and a quick learner, Ana Maria Rodriguez Figueres has become distinguished as a leader in food science and technology. She rose through the ranks of the field quickly, aided by the master’s degree in food engineering from the Universidad de Costa and the Master of Science from the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia she held. Over the years, she worked hard to build a strong rapport with peers, clients and community alike, and credits her ongoing success to her capacity for embracing change and thinking positively.
Now a professional with more than two decades of industry experience, Ms. Rodriguez Figueres has spent the last three years with Yum! Restaurants International as the food innovation director for Pizza Hut International. There, she oversees food innovation around the world for Pizza Hut and 13 different business units worldwide. Her role also includes sharing the best practices from one business to another and setting up innovation strategies for the world and new product layers for the company, as well as handling product pipeline, core product standards and execution, innovation capability training, coordination, and practice standards, among others.
Ms. Rodriguez Figueres feels that one of the best parts of her current job is travel requirement. She has traveled to more than 70 countries around the world for Yum! Restaurants, furthering her knowledge in franchises, suppliers and trends. Ms. Rodriguez Figueres knows what each government requires and has the ability to build important relationships. As a native of Costa Rica, her ability to adapt to new cultures has proven to be an invaluable asset.
To keep up with developments in her field, Ms. Rodriguez Figueres is affiliated with the Institute of Technology, the Women’s Foodservice Forum, the World Hunger Relief Program, and the World Food Programme. She believes it’s important to never stop learning and improving, and has lived by the words, “Surround yourself with great people different than you so you can get better and have broader perspectives. Be humble, be nice and be generous, and always respect the opinions of others.” She hopes to use her knowledge and connections to continue leading innovation for big corporations, setting up strategies, and finding new ways to bring more sales to the business.
In recognition of her impressive achievements, Ms. Rodriguez Figueres was honored by Pizza Hut International as best innovator of the company and was presented with awards for best product launches in Latin America and best research and development director in Latin America.
When she is not working, Ms. Rodriguez Figueres enjoys exercising, walking, attending concerts and stadium games, and traveling with her family.