The Faces behind the Milk Bank: Meet Diet Technician Jessica

October 17, 2023

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the Milk Bank? There are many moving parts, and we are fortunate to have an incredibly dedicated group of individuals at the Milk Bank who keep the “wheels spinning”.

Meet Jessica – one of our Diet Technicians at the Milk Bank. A typical day for her involves a range of tasks, from the initial milk donation to its shipment to various hospitals – each step is critical to the overall processing of human donor milk.

Jessica works with a team of seven Diet Technicians at the Milk Bank, all working towards the same goal of ensuring preemie babies in the NICU receive safe and nutritious breast milk.

We spoke with Jessica to learn more about what it means to be a Diet Technician at the Milk Bank, and what led her to pursue a career in this field.

1. Describe a typical day working as a Diet Technician at the Milk Bank.

Our daily tasks span from the initial milk donation to its shipment to various hospitals. A typical day involves quality checks on incoming milk donations and collecting and testing samples to assess bacterial levels. Upon receiving the lab results and ensuring they meet our safety standards, we then initiate the pasteurization process, based on the pooling ‘recipe’ that has been created by our lactation consultants. Once the final bottles are tested and approved, we dispense and pack the milk to the hospitals

2. Why did you decide to pursue a career as a Diet Technician?

My career journey has been shaped by my passion for food and nutrition. Starting with my studies at George Brown College in Culinary Management and Food and Nutrition Management, I embarked on a path where I could combine my love for nourishing others through food. It all began by feeding people, and now, as a Diet Technician, I provide essential breast milk to nourish the most fragile population. This career journey represents the perfect fusion of my passion and a meaningful way to make a difference in these infants’ lives.

3. In your current role, what is an accomplishment you are most proud of?

One accomplishment I’m most proud of in my current role is being there for the remarkable November 2020 milestone of reaching 1 million ounces of milk dispensed to hospitals Neonatal Intensive Care Units, since the Milk Bank opened in 2013. It’s a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team at the milk bank.

4. What does teamwork and collaboration in your work environment look like?

Teamwork and collaboration in our work environment at the milk bank are the cornerstones of our success because we understand that we’re all working towards the same goal. We work closely together to ensure preemie babies in the NICU receive safe and nutritious breast milk. It’s amazing to see how our collective efforts contribute to the health and growth of these tiny fighters. Despite our team’s size, we manage to create a significant positive influence in the lives of these infants and their families.

5. Before working at the Milk Bank, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?

During my high school years, I had an interesting job at Centre Island. The fascinating part was that I got to take the ferry to work every day, which was quite a unique experience. My duties there included working with funnel cakes and handling the cotton candy machine. What made it even more exciting was that, after our shifts, we were allowed to enjoy all the rides.