The annual Advancing Women in Agriculture western conference is set to take place in Calgary March 11-12.

Erin Romeo, national Dekalb marketing lead for Bayer Canada’s Crop Science Division, will be part of a panel of women discussing both sides of maternity leave — how to plan for success for those planning a maternity leave and employers who have women leaving on maternity leave.

Erin Romeo

We asked Erin about what she plans to talk about and why she’s become known as an authority on the topic.

When did you first begin speaking on this topic?

At legacy Monsanto there was a forum where we discussed maternity leave. It was put on by our intent organization called WISE — Women in Science Exchange. I was asked to be a member of the panel to talk about issues around maternity leave and discussing being a manager of employees taking maternity leave. I’ve had a number of employees go on maternity leave, so they asked me to talk about what it’s like to prepare employees and have then return to work.

Can you give us a sneak peek at what you plan to discuss?

I call it Celebrate and Stop Talking. If an employee is about to take parental leave, they’re nervous to tell the employer. They’ve been keeping the pregnancy secret for 10-12 weeks, which is a scary time in the family as they wait to see if the pregnancy will be successful. I have yet to meet a manager who is not excited for them. But then the manager starts thinking about transition immediately. I counsel the employer to remember they have 4-5 months to really think about the transition. In that first meeting, take the moment to celebrate and don’t talk about transition right away. Recognize that there is a terrified employee who has just told you about their pregnancy and you need to take time to celebrate that.

The Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference is created for every woman who is passionate about agriculture and food, whether you are a university student studying agriculture, producer, rancher, entrepreneur, representative of a grower association or corporate agribusiness. AWC is for women who want to enhance their family life, community, career, and industry through:

  • communications and coaching
  • mentoring and networking
  • financial management and independence
  • health and balance of life strategies
  • career planning, and
  • setting goals in all areas

For full info on the Advancing Women in Agriculture western conference visit advancingwomenconference.ca/2019west/.

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