Jenny Fortier

Greenhouse Manager - Greenhouses Canada

I was born/grew up in: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

I now live in: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

I completed my training/education at: I completed a B.Sc. at Laurentian University, then an M.Sc. at Trent University and a diploma in sustainable landscape design from the University of Guelph

Describe what you do at work.

My job as a Greenhouse Manager is really varied - every day is different. The traditional part of my job involves our greenhouses. I work with our team to design and tweek environmental systems in our greenhouses in order to grow a certain crop and I also experiment with new growing techniques. Since I work for a small, entrepreneurial company that is still fairly new, I wear many different hats. In order for a lot of our projects to get started, I will meet with our clients to determine their needs, work with my team to create business documents like business plans, respond to requests for work and quotations for various jobs. I apply for grants to fund, represent our company at conferences and trade shows and just really help wherever I'm needed.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

What motivates you in your career?

My company's objective is to empower local communities, government, schools and individuals to have access to their own fresh food systems. I get excited that my work helps communities and individuals with food independence and security, cost savings, job creation, community strength, environmental and many health benefits. In terms of my career in general, I am always motivated to tackle new challenges. Working for a small business challenges me, gives me a lot of independence and opportunities to learn new skills.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

After graduate school I worked in ecological research for a little while. I enjoyed working outdoors but I didn't feel like my work had as much impact as I wanted, and I really missed interacting with people. I made a career move to work in science education, which I did for about 6 years. In that role I learned how to be a good presenter, how to learn information quickly and transform difficult concepts into something everyone could understand. I also learned lots of skills that weren't necessarily science based, like how to lead a team, manage finances, organize an event, manage projects and more.

During that time I also started a small business of my own selling native plants. I feel strongly about the importance of growing plants for wildlife and I was also really interested in being an entrepreneur. I've had my business for about 3 years now and am still really enjoying it as a bit of a side job. I recently made a big career move into the private sector and started as a greenhouse manager at Greenhouses Canada. I spent a bit of time volunteering as a board member at a local food co-operative and became really passionate about the environmental and health benefits of growing food locally. My role at Greenhouses Canada really gives me a chance to be a part of a local food movement in Northern Ontario.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I really enjoy doing anything physical and/or outdoors. At the end of the day I find that physical activity is really helpful in helping to reduce stress and a great way to spend social time.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Find what you enjoy. If you don't know what that is, then put yourself in lots of different situations to figure it out (volunteer, do co-ops, try out different part time jobs).

CurioCity Careers

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