I was born/grew up in: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I now live in: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I completed my training/education at: University of Manitoba
What I do at work
I spend most of my time at my computer or on the phone. On the computer, I work with databases, spreadsheets and analysis software. I write computer code and analysis code, create presentations, visual ways to look at data and reports. I perform training with coworkers in Canada. I create workflows and brainstorm to better understand our processes today and the processes we need for tomorrow.
I also spend a large part of my day interacting with co-workers from around Canada and around the world, mostly by phone or web conferences. I am often asked to fix problems with software not working properly, how to make a process more efficient or user friendly, how to setup a research project so we can answer a specific question or what our software and hardware for the future should be.
I spend time deciding how to analyze information properly, and the format in which that information should be presented so it is easy to understand by someone that does not have a science background. I try to think of all of the possible outcomes a project could have, what are the pros and cons to each outcome. I seek advice from coworkers, superiors, those that will be affected by the outcome, those that have influence on the outcome and those that have previous experience with answering a similar type of question. I use my education in math, statistics, computer science (code writing & web design), plant physiology, plant genetics and chemistry to take raw information and convert it into a story about what is happening and how plants interact on a farmers field.
My career path is
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture majoring in Plant Science and a Master of Science degree majoring in Plant Breeding. I actually did not set out with this career in mind. I started out not knowing what I wanted to do, but that I wanted to work in science and at the same time give back to people. My high school guidance counselor suggested I look at agriculture. Since I am from the city and only visited my uncle's farm a few times, I had loads to learn. I started out thinking I would go into food science when I started university but after taking a few plant physiology and genetics classes I knew that plant breeding was the best place for me.
I worked as a plant breeder for 12 years and loved being in the field or greenhouse working with my hands and making decisions on which plants to cross or advance. However I decided a few years ago I wanted to understand more about the business side of agriculture and get closer to farmer experiences. That is what led me to this new role as a data science manager. In this new role I get to help influence business decisions by using my science and plant research background to combine and analyze data from on-farm research trials and experiences.
I am motivated by
I love solving problems, big and small, having a positive impact on not only the work I do but the work that others do is very rewarding. I like a good challenge and learning something new. I also really like the fact that I get to interact with people from across the country and around the world, I like learning from them and finding ways we can work together to make things better. Finally, even though I work at a computer I enjoy knowing that I can have a impact on the quality of life of those in my neighborhood to those on the opposite side of the globe and all the places in-between.
How I affect people’s lives
I help the company make decisions about the products we sell to farmers, I also help the people I work with be more efficient and effective at doing their job. Most importantly, I have impact on the crop varieties farmers plant that will help make them successful and feed their families. Ultimately I also have an impact on the food that is put on your table and mine.
Outside of work I
I have a large variety of interests outside of work. I like to swim and run long-distance. I play on a recreational ringette team and a co-ed soccer team. I love listening to live local music, singing, gardening and refinishing old furniture. I also love spending time with my very energetic husky-border collie dog. I enjoy hiking and back-country camping. Finally, I have a huge passion for traveling, to see new places and understand new cultures.
My advice to others
Don’t be afraid to try something that you are not familiar with, you might find that you love it and you are great at it. Your career path may not be a simple one, that’s OK, it’s a life-long journey, enjoy each moment, as it’s part of your life story. Work hard and be engaged. Effort and engagement will be rewarded. Be open and gentle to those around you, take the time to ask questions, listen, and ask what you could do differently. All of these things will help you work on problem solving, communication, and strategic thinking.