Yes, there are things men can do that women can not. AND there are an equal number of things women can do that men can’t. I am a firm believer that we are ALL capable of incredible and unique things, and gender should not be a tool to measure ability, which is why I cheer on any woman who has a dream.
I have multiple degrees in culinary arts and environmental science and resource conservation. I have worked on crews in kitchens and out in the field where I was the only woman on the team, and to be 100% honest, that didn't bother me. I wanted to work in a certain career field, and I did it. No one was going to tell me I couldn’t use a chainsaw, drive a tractor, find an adventure, or travel the world. It wasn't until later, when people approached me about it, I realized I was setting an example for other women around me. THAT has become a driving force in my personal and professional space - to encourage others, regardless of age, race, gender or other characteristics, to never say ‘I can't’, but instead say ‘I can't right now, but I will’.
I began working at MCDI after a fortuitous series of events introduced me to Laura. Joining her team was the easiest decision I have ever made for my career, and in less than two years I can't even begin to describe how honored I am. I have had incredible mentors in past (and I am thankful for each and every one of them), but it is truly rare to join a team where you collaborate equally with your colleagues, mentoring and encouraging each other to stand up and show the world how awesome we are. I am the science-minded person on the staff. Laura is a powerhouse of business savvy and animal behavior knowledge. And Tracie is a magician with words and creating a community. Together we are the trifecta of an incredible team, constantly learning from one another and utilizing our individual strengths to fuel MCDI.
In the last year, Laura, Tracie and I have launched three new programs to prioritize youth education, college graduate research & mentorship, and pollinator conservation. Our idea list is a mile long (not a big shock if you know me!) and I am at the edge of my seat to see what we can accomplish in 2020.
I think the most important message I try to leave behind with every student and person interested in our field of work is, “Just because it seems impossible today, doesn’t mean it's not achievable tomorrow.” I believe in you! Happy National Business Women’s Week!