NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Amy Johnston

"You won’t grow unless you stretch yourself a little"

Industry Development Specialist - Poultry

Manitoba Agriculture

What is your job and what most excites you about what you do?

I am involved in program and policy development for poultry production within the Government of Manitoba. I conduct poultry extension; manage disease surveillance programs, and work with poultry producers, processors and associations to advance the industry in Manitoba.

I am excited to be in touch all aspects of poultry production, keeping up with current knowledge and the science behind best practices in animal health, animal welfare and food safety. I appreciate meeting and working with leaders in a vibrant agricultural industry, and I enjoy working with producers and their flocks.

How diverse is your workplace, or your field of work as a whole? What do you think should be done to support greater diversity and create more inclusive practices in your workplace and in the Agriculture field?

Our provincial workforce is quite diverse, which brings with it a wealth of knowledge and experience. The agricultural industry overall is becoming more diverse, with more women running farms and being involved with boards and at executive positions than in generations past.

I think it is important that we expose all youth to opportunities in agriculture, regardless of gender and background. As well, women in agriculture play and important role in supporting each other and passing on knowledge and encouragement.

What advice would you give to young women interested in a career in your field?

“You won’t grow unless you stretch yourself a little”. I refer back to that advice often. Do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself – every opportunity provides a chance for growth.

What are some of your interests outside of work?

I have a young family, so a lot of my spare time is dedicated to their activities. I do make a point of carving out some ‘me’ time riding horses and taking lessons once a week. I enjoy cooking, reading, listening to history podcasts, bike rides with my kids, and spending time outdoors.

What are you most hoping you will learn from your mentee? What learning goals do you have for this experience?

I am looking forward to meeting my mentee and learning about their background, their education and their goals. It is interesting to discover shared experiences and discuss ideas that you may not have thought about. I am hoping to provide some guidance to my mentee and perhaps make connections that can be beneficial to their future development.