Jenna de Corte wears many hats; farmer and HR assistant are two of them
Jenna de Corte has always been known as a farm girl or the farmer’s daughter but this self-proclaimed country girl says she’s ready for more.
De Corte, who grew up on her family’s dairy and cash crop farm outside of St. Thomas, is making a name for herself as an up and comer in the Ontario agriculture industry.
When she’s not working as a human resource assistant for Dowler-Karn Limited, she can be found back home on the farm working alongside her family.
Tackling the two roles simultaneously isn’t always easy but de Corte is passionate about both of her careers and that keeps her motivated.
“I love that I am never doing the same thing,” the Fanshawe College graduate said.
As an HR assistant, de Corte spends her days working on recruitment, time and attendance, and handling employee issues.
She also helps out with health and safety, events, and marketing so her tasks are constantly changing.
“Working in HR you balance many hats. You are thrown many curve balls and you need to roll with them,” de Corte said.
Sounds a lot like farming, doesn’t it?
Having an industry job has exposed de Corte to a whole other side of agriculture.
It’s broadened her awareness on how complex the industry really is and it’s given her a sense of purpose she didn’t have before.
For the past three years, de Corte has learned new lessons and gained off-farm experiences that have shaped her into the confident woman she is today.
That wasn’t always the case, though. De Corte said she struggled to find her place in the ag world and gender played a role in that.
“I am not going to lie, there were a few years where I did not feel ‘man enough’ to even attempt to be a part of the agriculture industry,” de Corte said.
The most challenging part, in her opinion, was being overlooked and not given a chance simply because she was female.
“People tend to look over your shoulder to see if a man is around to talk to,” de Corte said.
“Many times I have answered the door at the farm to be asked if the owner or my dad was home. They do not even give me a chance to see if I could help. It’s hard and you have to fight a little harder.”
It took some time, and a whole lot of growth, but de Corte has come to realize that her voice, a woman’s voice, matters just as much as a man’s.
Joining the Ag Women’s Network was a critical part of this realization.
The support garnered from a group of like-minded women going through similar experiences was invaluable.
“It has really changed my life and my confidence. I feel that I have someone in my corner to support me and crush the stereotypes that still exist for women in agriculture,” de Corte said.
Being an AWN member has also inspired de Corte to reach out and offer her support. She knows what being overlooked feels like and she wants women to know they’re not alone.
“It may be scary but you need to put yourself out there and connect with other women and men in the industry. Ask questions; join networks and social media platforms. Strive to be that woman in agriculture you want to be!”