Michelle Franze (she/her)
I was born/grew up in: I was born and raised in London, Ontario.
I now live in: I live in Campbell River, British Columbia.
I completed my training/education at: I received a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Marine Biology, from Dalhousie University.
What I do at work
My role in the association varies, depending on the priorities of our team. Some of the main activities I am responsible for are, external communications to the general public and media outlets. To do this, I engage with them directly or create content for our BCSFA social media accounts. I also help create information sheets and content to help correct misinformation. This educational content provides up to date information about the salmon farming industry.
I am also responsible for internal communications with our members. In this role I update them on our activities. I also send them our newsletters, invitations to events, etc. I am also responsible for member, media and stakeholder relations. In this role I am always keeping people informed on what we are doing. I also attend and support community events and plan industry events. I provide donations to post-secondary institutions or to charities/fundraisers. I also host farm tours.
My career path is
I've always cared about the environment! I was involved in raising awareness for many social justice issues during elementary and high school. I have always had a strong interest in biology, and always felt a connection to the ocean. I knew I wanted to work in the marine space when I was in school. But I didn't know I would love aquaculture until I took a job opportunity. The irony is that I took this job just to gain experience as a new grad.
Working in this industry was never an interest of mine. This was because it is criticized by some groups. This is why I am so grateful I took the opportunity. The best way to learn about something is by doing and experiencing it. It was nothing like I imagined. I am blown away every day by how great it is!
I am motivated by
I am motivated every day by the amazing, hardworking people that I work with! There are so many inspiring people in this industry. There is so much care for the environment and focus on improvement! Seeing the constant innovation makes me hopeful for the future. Aquaculture is recognized by several international bodies as a way to increase food security with a minimal environmental impact. Being a part of this excites me. I love connecting with people and learning about new advancements. I also love being able to share what I know with young people as there is so much opportunity for career growth.
How I affect people’s lives
I love my career and have found a strong passion behind it. I started my aquaculture career working in a scallop hatchery as a biologist. I quickly fell in love with aquaculture. It is a form of food production that can support so many important larger initiatives. These include food security, healthy food, climate action and technology innovation. I've always cared about the marine environment.
I like that I am able to share information about aquaculture with others, especially young people. There is so much potential for the aquaculture industry in Canada.
Outside of work I
Outside of my typical BCSFA responsibilities, I am also the Co-Founder and Director of the Young Professionals of Salmon Farming in B.C.. I also enjoy staying active and trying new things. I enjoy any water related activity (e.g., scuba diving, swimming, paddle boarding). I have always had a love for baking from a young age!
My advice to others
The best advice I can give is take every opportunity you get in life as you never know where it will lead you. Always stay curious and never stop asking questions and learning.