Hi Samantha, before talking about your job at Connecting Food, let’s speak about you… Where do you come from?
Hello! I am American, and originally from the state of Minnesota, but I have been living in France since 2003. I started out at first in Brittany and have now been in Paris for the past 12 years.
How long have you worked in the agrifood industry?
My background is originally in Food & Nutrition, and I worked for major food companies like General Mills and Land O’Lakes prior to leaving the US. However, when I moved to France, I had the unfortunate discovery of learning my diploma was not valid here. Luckily, I was put in touch with a poultry agricultural engineering company from Minnesota that was looking to expand to the French market, and my new career in AgTech began.
It ended up being a great adventure that lasted for 12 years and led me to travel to over 40 countries around the globe. I definitely feel fortunate to have met so many people from so many different cultures; it has enriched my life in innumerable ways and I have made some great friends along the way! It was also a formative experience in growing a scale-up into an international business, with all the joys and challenges that represents.
After that, I worked for a British company with a portfolio of innovative animal health products, to help develop their market share in the US. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about upstream part of the ag industry and in some ways, rediscover my home country after so many years away.
Why did you join Connecting Food?
I joined Connecting Food in order to combine my passion for Food and AgTech. When I initially discovered blockchain a few years ago, I immediately thought of its potential to bring more traceability and transparency to the agrifood industry, so I was very excited to discover there was a company just down the street from me who was doing just that. I also wanted to relive the experience of helping a young company growing into a global organization – and I’m happy to say we are well on our way!
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
First of all, it’s great to be part of a team of people who are so motivated around a common cause – bringing transparency to our food systems.
Second, I spent so many years traveling around the world speaking to farmers and producers, and often felt frustrated with the reputation farming got as being bad for the planet, mistreating animals, etc. Farming is a 365 day per year job, and 99% of farmers do it because of the passion they have for their land/animals, yet it is the 1% of bad eggs that get all of the media coverage. So it is very gratifying to me now in my role at Connecting Food to be able to showcase all of the positive things the agricultural industry is doing for both people and the planet.
It is also well-known that today’s average shopper is disconnected from where their food comes from and how it is produced, so I really enjoy being able to reconnect consumers to a product’s origins. This is particularly important during times like the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought to light the food supply chain gaps and increased consumer mistrust in the industry.
What is a typical day like for you at work?
Working for such a fast-growing company, it’s hard to describe a typical day. In fact, I would say the only thing that is typical is that I end up wearing a lot of hats! So that can mean meeting with future and existing clients and potential partners, collaborating with colleagues, researching appropriate tradeshows/conferences, replying to inbound leads, translating materials into English, interacting with the media & our English social network channels, etc - the common objective throughout it all though is furthering our international growth.
How can people reach you?