The Women in North American Aquaculture Summit (WINAAS) will take place next week, on September 8. The virtual event, organized by Aquaculture North America, aims “to understand the road to equal opportunity in the industry”. Through a keynote and four panels, the day will address equal pay solutions, entrepreneurship, innovation, training, and mentoring. Both women and men in North American aquaculture are welcome to participate.
‘Shine Bright Like a Diamond’
What does Rihanna have to do with American women in aquaculture? Julie Kuchepatov, founder of Seafood and Gender Equality, will explain it in the keynote opening of the WINAAS, although in the presentation of the event the organization already gives us a clue: “all are thriving in industries dominated by men in leadership”. “I’m really excited to present at this inaugural event highlighting some of the incredible women working in North American aquaculture”, Kuchepatov commented on her LinkedIn profile.
“By the end of the event, we’ll understand the unique barriers women in the sector face, hear many uplifting stories, and learn some solutions that will give us all the courage to, as Rihanna sings, ‘Shine bright like a diamond’”, they say in the presentation of the Women in North American Aquaculture Summit. However, to shine, there is another indispensable element that goes hand in hand with courage: talent. For this reason, the first panel of the day will be dedicated precisely to the search for this talent under the title “Recruitment and mentorship”.
The discussion will revolve around keys to accelerating development and will highlight the importance of mentoring and how mentors can offer advice on navigating women’s careers and finding a work/life balance. “Women who have been mentored describe the experience and skills gained as essential tools for their professional lives”, the program highlights. That’s why guest panelists Kathleen Offman Mathisen, CHRO at Grieg Seafood Norway, Leah Stoker, Senior Consultant at AquacultureTalent, and Tina Garlinski-Gonsky, HR Manager, at Grieg Seafood BC, will answer questions about finding aquaculture jobs, recruiting interns and finding professional mentors.
Leadership, empowerment, and equity
‘Women in Leadership: “View from the Top”‘ is the title of the following panel in the event. Diane Morrison, Managing Director at MOWI Canada West, Briana Warner, CEO of Atlantic Seafarms, and Jennifer Woodland, CEO of Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood, will speak about bringing women together to collaborate on developing their leadership skills to create positive change in the future of women’s leadership in aquaculture. A panel full of women on the C-suite level, who will share with all attendees “their leadership journeys and stories and how they got there”.
This will be followed by a presentation by Jeanne McKnight, a well-known advocate for aquaculture and the blue economy, titled ‘Aquaculture Advocacy: “Empowering an Industry”’. The Executive Director of Northwest Aquaculture Alliance, who has a 35-year career in the global food industry that includes work on international trade issues, seafood and health promotion, and aquaculture advocacy, will share her experience with all attendees at the North American Women in Aquaculture Summit.
The event will conclude with a final panel moderated by Imani Black, Founder & CEO of Minorities in Aquaculture (MIA), which under the title ‘Building intentional dialogue and equity in aquaculture’ will bring together Natalie Abdo, Taja Sims-Harper, and Anoushka Concepcion, all MIA members, to share their experiences as women of color in the aquaculture industry. The dialogue, which will focus on the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in aquaculture, will also “identify impactful approaches that could advance diversity, equity, and inclusion as we continue to strive for a more sustainable seafood fishery”.
How to join WINAAS
The Women in North American Aquaculture Summit will take place virtually via Zoom Webinar on September 8, 2022, at 11:00 am ET. Registration for this Aquaculture North America event is free for all aquaculture professionals and provides access to watch the virtual keynote, all live sessions, and on-demand recorded content and product demonstrations. Those interested in registering can do so at this link.