NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Crystal Berthelette

"You can do anything"

Service Innovation Specialist

Manitoba Agriculture

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

My primary role is being responsible for both internal and external communications at Manitoba Agriculture. This includes an external newsletter targeted at farmers and industry, plus internal communication to staff focussing on programs, training, staff changes, opportunities, events, policies, strategies, etc. I just started this role in August 2019, and am excited to review what is in place and improve some practices to best serve both my internal and external clients. The opportunity to inspire meaningful change excites me. I am also located in a rural office, which means I respond directly to farmers and industry who come to us for guidance, advice, information, etc. This responsibility helps me to keep aware of all developments in the industry. Additionally, I am responsible for maintaining the website and several other tasks with the Markets and Statistics section at Manitoba Ag. While as a student I did not particularly enjoy statistics and math, I’ve discovered that familiarity with statistical changes in prices, livestock numbers, acres, farm demographics, etc is actually quite interesting and useful!

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?

The Government of Manitoba, and specifically MB Agriculture hosts a diverse workplace. Many of our staff (managers, specialists, frontline staff) are from different cultural backgrounds, countries of origin and many are women. While most staff have ag background or education, there are also quite a few from other industries whose skills and knowledge add value.

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

You can do anything. What use to be a predominantly white-male-Aggie industry abounds with professional women now. I’ve seen women in roles like operations at a grain elevator, agronomists, livestock specialists, management, lenders, grain buyers, etc.

What are some of your interests outside of work?

Spending time with my children, camping, beach, crafts, reading novels, rock climbing.

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

Hoping to learn about the new roles and opportunities new graduates can pursue, and what innovative new ideas are potentially going to shape the next few decades of agriculture in Canada or elsewhere. My goal is to provide encouragement and some practical knowledge that will help young female ag graduates as they begin their careers. My career path has been quite different vs what I expected at age 22. But that is the greatest thing about this industry – there are so many facets and so many opportunities!