Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – Finding your path in life can be tricky. Even when you find your path, it’s rarely a straight line. And if that path isn’t necessarily to your liking or not aligned with your personal values, you may feel the need to find another one.

Kendra Wack understands that better than many. The Executive Director of FEAD (Female Entrepreneurs in Agri-Food Development) has walked down many paths in her lifetime. Growing up in a mixed farming operation in Saskatchewan, she believed her life would be one lived on the farm until her grandfather sold it when she was 15.

She decided to become an educator. While in university, she worked summers in the ag industry in chem sales, machinery sales, and marketing. She then landed a data administration position with the Global Institute for Food Security, where she worked with the team that unlocked the genome of the canola plant. She enjoyed the experience and realized that teaching wasn’t for her. She went back to school, got an MBA, and bought a dental practice with a partner in a rural community.

“I thought I was going to work with farmers, but I ended up fixing farmers’ teeth for about half a decade,” says Wack.

READ MORE: AWC West 2024: How a City Dweller Turned Cattle Producer Overcame Imposter Syndrome

finding your pathWhile grateful for that opportunity, she felt she was missing a big part of herself. She returned to the agriculture sector in management and leadership roles with another genetics firm. While there, she realized there was a gap between what she was doing and how she was raised as a community-focused individual. She had become frustrated with the firm. It had been exploring seed-to-fork efficiencies but showed a lack of understanding of the pipeline between primary agriculture and food processing. Rather than complaining, she decided to figure it out herself. She made the leap to FEAD, which is dedicated to empowering and advancing women entrepreneurs in the food processing sector.

“I would encourage everybody to always consider what you want to do and whether it’s aligned with what your values and who you are. You can absolutely feel it inside yourself when you have a misalignment within your career. So, I would encourage everyone to explore and make the jump,” says Wack. 

“You know more than you think you do.”

That will be the focus of Wack’s workshop at the AWC West 2024 conference. She’ll emphasize the importance of alignment between personal values and career pursuits, identifying your values as a person, and giving a strategic framework to identify the values of key stakeholders in your life. She believes it’s the best way to have tough conversations, coming at it from a point of understanding rather than conflict.  

RELATED: AWC West 2024: Leadership, Conflict, and Better Mental Health in Agriculture

AWC West is one of Wack’s favourite conferences. It’s a community eager to learn, willing to collaborate, and allows for great conversations, she says. 

“It’s just like coming back home.”

Learn more about her presentation on finding your path by visiting the AWC West 2024 website.