INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
They stimulate innovation, promote humane and conciliatory management, and build and operate state-of-the-art vertical farms. Their stories remind us of the importance of gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace and inspire us to continue working for a more equal and equitable world.
On this March 8, International Women’s Day, we ask 8 questions to Marina Gagnon, Manager, Human Resources, Marie-Hélène Roy, Vice-President, Purchasing and Supply Chain and Christine Prime, Technician, Assembly at Winter Farm.
What are your main responsibilities at Winter Farm?
MG: I oversee human resources and foreign workers. I ensure the promotion of our corporate culture and that the stay of our foreign workers is a success.
MHR: I am vice-president of purchasing and supply. I take care of the management of all purchases of products and services used in the construction and operation of our vertical farms. My mission is also to build and maintain trusting and value-added relationships with our suppliers. Finally, I participate in the management committee of the company.
CP: I am part of the Winter Farm construction team. Mainly, I assemble the components of the vertical farms. I’m a bit of a Jack of all trades, I do a little bit of everything, and I love it.
What inspired you to get involved in the world of agricultural technologies?
MG : After Winter Farm acquired Les Serres Vaudreuil, the company founded by my husband’s family, the opportunity to work for their team presented itself to me as a choice of reason, but also a choice of heart. Having already worked in the greenhouse industry, making the leap to a company like Winter Farm was an opportunity to imagine the agriculture of tomorrow. Incorporating the farmer’s vision and approach into technologies has a very concrete impact.
What motivates you in your work at Winter Farm?
MG: Having three young children, the satisfaction comes from the actions we take to ensure a sustainable future for the next generations. It is also a source of pride to be able to feed the province of Quebec with a local fruit, 12 months a year.
MHR: My entrepreneurial side is highly solicited because what we do – and the way we do it – is unheard of! We are building all the “first times” of the company. We are designing vertical farms that have the potential to make the agri-food world of tomorrow more resilient and more sustainable, it’s exciting!
CP: I am motivated by the team I work with. They are all supportive and understanding. I also love the idea of being part of the project growing local produce here in Quebec.
How can we value the contribution of women who work in agriculture?
MG: The contribution of women in agriculture is increasingly valued. Their place in the workforce is certainly represents a key to the future of the profession. We must continue to put forward female role models, to be conciliatory and attentive to their reality, and above all, to seek out and recruit women for jobs for which they do not always dare to apply. Winter Farm is proud to be able to count on several women in various position.
As a woman, what challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
MHR: Working alongside almost exclusively men when reaching the highest-level positions. Sometimes you must express yourself more frequently and louder to get your point across! Fortunately, this is less and less true.
CP: Like many other women, I was out of the workforce for many years to raise my children. I overcame that with the help of Les Serres Vaudreuil & Winter Farm. Their support in the face of the challenges of balancing work and family has been crucial for my current position.
What are some avenues for a more egalitarian world for companies like Winter Farm?
MHR: To continue to talk about the issues of fairness and equality and raise awareness in compagnies! I would add that diversity is important in every way possible. It is by marrying genders, cultures and points of view that we will be richer and more efficient as a team!
Construction is not an easy field for women, probably even less in agriculture. Why did you choose this profession?
CP: I kind of fell into it with my seasonal work. Since then, I have evolved naturally in this environment with the support of the team at Winter Farm. It is wrong to think that you only need to be strong to work in construction. I use my meticulous side, my sense of analysis and my resourcefulness every day!
What’s the best way to enjoy Winter Strawberry?
MG: Recently, for my daughter’s birthday, we served a Fraise d’hiver Strawberry shortcake. Tasting a cake that tastes like summer, but in February, it’s a winner… for young and old alike!
MHR: Natural, at room temperature, the fruit is at its best! No need to add anything. In addition, it is without chemical pesticides!
CP: Sliced with whipped cream on top of pancakes in the morning…yum!