Young, female talent driving Halifax seafood business

Young, female talent driving Halifax seafood business

< Back to Articles | Topics: Guest Post

The next time you’re about to sink a fork into a succulent scallop or a fillet of Atlantic cod at a Halifax restaurant, you might think about where it’s come from and who helped to bring it to your plate.

The chances are pretty good that a couple of recent graduates at Afishionado Fish Mongers are part of the supply chain.

Afishionado is a Halifax-based small business that’s bringing sustainable, low-impact fishing traditions back to the restaurant industry and to the dinner plate. The company is already supplying over 30 restaurants in Nova Scotia, and a growing number more across Canada, with fish and seafood caught by select Nova Scotian fishers.

The CEO at Afishionado Fish Mongers, Hana Nelson, attributes the company’s growth to the skilled and dedicated graduates she’s hired. She says they bring passion and knowledge that she can’t find anywhere else.

“The graduates we’ve hired are really enthusiastic about this sector, they have the most up-to-date training, the ability to be really adaptable, and access to the latest research, says Hana. “Their energy, skill-sets and knowledge help propel us forward.”

Hiring recent grads was made easier for Hana by the Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) program, a provincial salary incentive that helps small businesses, start-ups, social enterprises and non-profits to hire recent grads for permanent, full-time jobs. GTO offers 25% of a grad’s first year (35% if the grad is diverse) and 12.5% of a grad’s second year salary to eligible employers in the province.

Hana hired Laurie Starr with her freshly-minted master’s degree from Dalhousie’s Marine Management program. Laurie began as a product specialist focused on delivery and led some marketing events, including the Catch-of-the-Week Program. Two years later, she’s been promoted to Manager of Operations.

“Laurie is so passionate and knowledgeable about seafood issues and the local researchers who are exploring these topics,” says Hana. “She’s also interested in food-culture and supporting local restaurants. As a wholesale business we want to align with the values of the restaurants we serve, and Laurie’s work is an important component of this equation.”

“There is a lot of problem-solving in this role, which I enjoy tackling,” says Laurie. “As a young person I feel that recent grads like me choose not to waste time in a work setting. We thrive in hands-on environments related to what we’ve studied. Millennials contribute to very productive workplaces.”

Hana credits Laurie’s advancement in the company to her initiative, and her can-do attitude, as well as her willingness to do what needs to be done.

“She is so organized and detail-oriented, but also sees the bigger picture,” says Hana. “Having a grad like this in the sector brings us top-notch systematic skills that I, as a business owner don’t possess to the same degree that a grad does.”

Learn more about how the GTO program can benefit your company at novascotia.ca/GTO. Applications are always turned around within 5 business days.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Guest Post

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