Kadeema Jean, winner of the 2019 Student Pitch Competition with Olds College, talks about how her experience turned into an incredible opportunity with the Innovation Team at UFA. As she gets ready to start the next chapter in her story, Kadeema shares what she’s learned from her experience at UFA.
An international student who felt like it was impossible to complete her co-op, obtained opportunities that she never thought would happen during a pandemic. I was hired as a project manager intern at Poplar Bluff Organics, but this opportunity was cut short and I had to leave in September 2020. After every storm there is a rainbow, UFA connected with me about an opportunity within their newly established innovation department. I remember this conversation going so smoothly as if I knew the people at UFA on a personal level. They really came in and saved the day and I was hired as an Innovation Student and became the first member of the Innovation team. I was excited, speechless and just grateful for this opportunity.
October 1, 2020 was the day I stepped into the head office for UFA, ready and eager to start my day with the team. I expected to start my tasks right away but instead I was brought around the Support Office introducing myself to a lot of people. The amazing part about this was that they already knew me because of the innovation day competition. It was nice to have this type of onboarding process where people were already aware of me. This opportunity has allowed me to face my challenges, improve my skills, contribute to UFA and be part of something great! My role at UFA involved conducting research, creating reports and templates and finding opportunities within the ag sector that would benefit the cooperative and its members. My other responsibilities included leading the test plan for the bird control project at our warehouses, research focus within the plant protein industry and carbon credits opportunities. Nothing in life is easy, neither was this role but I had an amazing leader who ensured that I understood my tasks and gave great advice. I consider her another mentor in my life because we established a personal and professional bond.
Besides my day to day work activities as an Innovation Student, I took the opportunity to delve into my winning pitch idea and enrolled in the Startup 101 course at Platform Calgary. I learned a lot from this course which I am currently implementing to move to the next level with my idea.
Through this internship I achieved many goals which included the completion of my BASc in Agribusiness from Olds College with distinction in highest honors, an extension of my work permit and an addition to my work experience in Canada. I am grateful that I was able to work with UFA and within the Innovation department. I know that I have made a positive impact and contribution as well as portraying through my work efforts that you need to go slow in order to go fast.
Thank you Kadeema and we look forward to hearing more from you in the future!