What did you like about chemistry in high school?
I learned early on that nobody can see atoms and molecules, and that came naturally to me. We visualize atoms as they connect to form molecules, and that is precisely how I visualize streets, buildings, parks, and bus stops in cities when I navigate them as a blind traveler.
What advice do you have for students with a disability when seeking accommodations?
Many students with disabilities seeking accommodations at their high school or college tend to do so forcefully. My advice is to do it instead with Zen and pizzazz. A calm, almost meditative way of bringing people together is more effective.
How did you come up with the concept of five-sense branding?
It just came to me over time as I noticed what our clients wanted. They wanted something new, fresh, and innovative.
How does chemistry fit into your job today?
Well, 75% of our emotions are generated by what we smell, and humans are able to distinguish more than 10,000 different smells. These odors are caused by specific molecules, often volatile organics like esters. Studies have demonstrated that pairing odors with products can increase sales.
What senses other than smell can be used in sensory branding?
Companies spend a lot of money researching how their product packaging sounds when opened—think Snapple and Pringles—or when things like doors on automobiles are closed.
What do you like most about your job?
Definitely helping people. And every day, there are new challenges. Studying chemistry gave me the skills to solve complex problems and help people realize that their goals are within their reach.