Education: Bachelor’s degree in animal science, Stephen F. Austin State University; master’s degree in animal science with an emphasis in reproductive physiology, Louisiana State University
What was your dream job and why? When I was a child growing up in a rural east Texas community, I knew I wanted to own my own business and work with livestock. What that would look like evolved when I entered graduate school. There, I gained two important things; a passion for expanding the small ruminant reproductive physiology and providing avenues for economically empowering women through agriculture. Both aspects are fueled by the fact that I am a wife, mother, and female entrepreneur in a male-dominated field. My educational achievements are significant as I was the first person in my family to attend college.
What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? My most fulfilling career moment was supplying high-quality caprine germplasm for KISAN II. This 5-year, $32.7 million joint program between USAID, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, and Winrock International are strategically employing our products to substantively and efficiently increase small ruminant meat and milk production for domestic and export consumption. This improvement of quality of life initiative embodies my passion for reproductive physiology, superior genetics, and the fundamental element of social justice achievable through economic empowerment.
What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? My next big career challenge is working with various industry partners, both public and private, to enter underserved markets. Through working with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, my company is co-hosting an inbound trade mission with participants from Kenya to directly promote American small ruminant genetics and our center’s technical capabilities.
What character traits do you feel have benefited you in your success? Throughout my entire educational and professional career, I have viewed every challenge as a puzzle that needs to be solved, piece by piece. No matter my dream’s size, I can achieve it one step at a time.
How do you spend your time away from work? I am an avid equestrian and have shared this with my children. On weekends, I enjoy attending horse shows with them and fostering their skills.
What advice would you give young women who are at the beginning of their careers? Surround yourself with people that dream just as big as you do. Seek out mentorship from accomplished women in your desired career field. Innovation and imagination will thrive when it is encouraged and nurtured.
Can you share how COVID impacted your business or organization? Projects and contracts significantly decreased during COVID, and commonplace industry supply chain interruptions became the norm. This situation meant our staff and I had to adapt and diversify our business model.
If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? My only item is extended international travel with my family. My husband is originally from Brazil, and I would love to share a first-hand experience of the vibrant culture and food with them.
What’s the last good book you read? It may sound trite, but it was “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. Sometimes we all need a reminder of how to relate to people.
What’s your favorite app at the moment? With the curated ability to find international connections in my unique field, it is LinkedIn.