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Women in Science: meet Diane Allan, Vice-President of Science at the CFIA

The CFIA has many exciting job opportunities where you could help to protect Canada's food, plants and animals. Watch Diane Allan's inspiring message for women and girls considering a career in STEM.

Women in Science: meet Diane Allan, Vice-President of Science at the CFIA – Transcript

My name is Diane Allan. I am the Vice-President of Science Branch at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

I first became interested in science when I was a teenager. I was exposed to a program called Let's Talk Science at the time. That's what really inspired me to see how I could actually contribute to advancing science for the greater good of Canadians.

I would say that working through regulatory organizations, and being in a science-based department, I really, I shine in that world.

I really enjoy understanding the science, doing the science and translating the science. That's what brought me to the role that I'm in now as the Vice-President of Science. So although I don't work in a lab everyday, I understand what they do in the lab.

When I started in the public service, there were much more men than there were women in the public service. I think the obstacle that I faced the most is, as an energetic and very passionate person, I came across as either competitive or dramatic. I think that did put a bit of a stigma on me.

Things have changed dramatically since then. I think we have a much more balanced approach, in terms of women versus men in leadership and management positions. But at the time, when I started 20 plus years ago, it was not that great.

I think that the current and future way of supporting women in science are really ensuring that women have the right support, whether it be mentors, coaches, advocates, people who are allies to them, to help them through their career path. That's something they do really, really well at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. We do have good tools and support mechanisms that exist for women.

It's really critical that we do that on a regular occurrence because, you know, women are exposed to different milestones versus what men may be exposed to, right?

They do take that nurturing side, and that kind of does put them in a bit of an awkward situation sometimes in their career path. By having the right allyship and mentors and coaches, you're able to help navigate women through the system.

The advice that I would have for women, currently and future in science, is just continue to be determined, persistent, and keep navigating to get your dreams accomplished.

Look at me: I'm the Vice-President of Science Branch, so it's not impossible. It is possible to get there. So just keep being persistent and keep having that dream. And follow through on your commitment.

[End of recording]

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