Anita T. Broach is a Chemical Engineer/Scientist/CEO/Founder of CSI: Create. Solve. Innovate. LLC, an independent scientific and technical consulting firm with 20+ years of combined research experience in materials science and engineering and development of cutting-edge products and technologies.
Anita T. Broach’s Story
When did your interest in science or engineering begin?
I was a curious kid. Growing before the “Google” era in a small town, where the number of books in the library are limited, I tried to read everything what was available to me, especially in the field of chemistry, physics, mathematics, technology… I also had great teachers, many of them with only Associate degree, but unconditionally tried to teach the assigned courses. Maybe, exactly these teachers in chemistry, math, and physics inspired me to continue my education in the field of Chemical Engineering.
What was it like to be a woman studying in your field?
I did not feel inferior in my field during my education and career. It is true – there were more male students in engineering, but they all acted with a tremendous respect towards me and my female colleagues.
Share with us some of your career highlights.
I am a versatile engineer, scientist, innovator, visionary, wife and mother. I am performing all these “job titles” simultaneously during my daily activities. Let me elaborate briefly:
– I am a Chemical Engineer and Material Scientist being named as an inventor or co-inventor on more than 40 patents and patents pending.
– I have envisioned several disruptive products, some of them ahead of their time (and sometimes not understood by others).
– I am a proud wife and a mother. Even when I play with my little daughter, I am trying to instill a sense of what being an engineer or a scientist looks like, e.g. fixing a broken toy, or looking in a plant leaf under a microscope, or explaining the optical phenomena related to a wonderful rainbow with simple words.
To date, what project is your greatest innovation success? What is the story behind it?
I am proud of many engineering projects that I have worked on and my inventions that were the results of these projects. I have participated in the development of many new and disruptive products and technologies. However, I am equally proud of my passion for sustainable and healthy diets and lifestyles. This passion of mine resulted in myself exploring my Mediterranean heritage and searching what is known about the Mediterranean Diet (MD) – the diet that I have adhered to all my life. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that MD is one of the healthiest and most sustainable diets in the world. This inspired me to turn my passion into activity of promoting the MD outside the Mediterranean region and offer my MD Inspired™ recipes and products. Moreover, my “engineering spirit” lead me to develop new nutrient-packed functional food products based on MD, and intended to address the dietary needs of specific consumer groups, viz. kids, elderly, athletes, etc.
Tell us about something that made you grow the most as a leader in your field.
Over the years, I have gained a lot of knowledge in different engineering fields and scientific disciplines, I have acquired hands-on expertise and skills, I have developed novel products… I have been also blessed to work with many smart and accomplished people, who were experts in their fields. They have all inspired me and challenged me to do the assigned tasks with a great success. Sometimes, it seemed a demanding environment or a personality difficult to deal with, but looking back – I have learned the most in such difficult situations. Exactly these experiences helped me to build my resiliency and grit.Therefore, what sets me apart from others is my combination of grit, resiliency, determination and persistence along with my attitude to always stretch outside my comfort zone.
How are you and/or your company bringing innovation to the forefront?
Looking back in my career, I think all my activities have been intertwined with innovation. In 2015, I founded a consulting company CSI: Create. Solve. Innovate. LLC, which offers consulting services in the field of engineering, materials science, and IP guidance. What is unique in my consulting activities is that I do not just solve the problems or challenges of my clients my solutions always are instilled with innovation and provide a competitive IP advantage. This has resulted in distinct IP portfolios for my clients.
What advice do you have for future female engineers?
My advice to future female engineers is “Do not be afraid to stretch out and try something new regardless of the official training”. As Marie Curie said “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
I will also encourage the future engineers to “try to take the road that has been less traveled” and that can make all the difference in the life, as Robert Frost concludes in his poem “The Road Not Taken”. Why? Because, I had traveled the road not taken by others, and indeed, it made a huge difference in my career and life! And I love it! And I will do it again, and again, if needed!