GET TO KNOW KELLEY...
Kelley Fitzpatrick, NutriScience Solutions has over thirty years of expertise in functional food and natural health products (FFNHP) including in the areas of regulatory reviews and submissions; scientific and consumer presentations, bibliographies, newsletters and articles; due diligence and feasibility studies, business plans and market trend. Her work has focused on building relationships between the agriculture, food and health sectors and promoting the health benefits of Canadian crop resources.
During her consultancy, she has worked to assist in the development and commercialization of numerous FF and ingredients, and NHP companies, and written over two hundred reports/documents for clients within industry, government, academia and NGOs. She has secured over $2.0 million in funding for her clients.
Kelley is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Bioscience Association of Manitoba and of two private food ingredient companies, and is a member of committees for the American Oil Chemists’ Society. She has published eight book chapters and fifteen articles specifically on Canadian regulation, the industry and the science of FFNHP. She has provided over 400 invited presentations in North America, Europe, Asia, Southern Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
Ms. Fitzpatrick has a Master of Science degree in Nutrition from the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg.
Q & A
Q: What is it like to be a woman in bioscience?
A: As a consultant working with numerous clients in the biosciences from researchers through to entrepreneurs, it is a great industry. The growth has been incredible – especially in my area of expertise that being agri-food and alternative proteins.
Q: Who are your women role models and not necessarily in science?
A: I love giving presentations on behalf of the Canadian agricultural sector. Prior to COVID, I was a Champion Speaker for Global Affairs Canada. I travelled all over the world talking about all the great things happening in Canada in the food and health sector. I always wanted to be Tina Tuner – her strength, talent and passion amaze me. However, I can’t sing (at all) nor do I have those dynamic legs for dancing so I “settled” at giving walking talks at podiums!
Q: Do you think there are particular structural roadblocks that impede the progress of women in science?
A: Innovation is incredible in plant-based, food technology, and animal alternative products. There was a record investment in North America in plant-based and food technology of $3 billion dollars in 2020 alone. But women founders continue to face challenges in both this industry and beyond, raising less than 3% of all investments in 2020. Many women professionals face a lack of mentorship. This is due a lot to the pervasive issue of a networking gap and lack of connection in the bioscience field. As a BAM Board member (and in-coming Chair), I am pleased that BAM is taking a leadership role in mentorship and providing opportunities for women to connect.
Q: Would you say that through your career, things have become better for women working in the bioscience industry?
A: Yes. I began working in agricultural sciences in the early 1990’s. At that point, ag was really dominated by men. There were very few women in leadership positions. There were a lot of women in direct science positions (i.e., field technicians, plant breeders etc.) but few were in managerial roles. The industry has progressed.
Q: How did you reach your level of success, given the sector’s gender gap, especially among leadership?
A: Hard work – not necessarily brains (!) but the ability to meet deadlines and keep going! I am known as one who delivers and can be counted on to ensure a job well-done. I never take on a project unless I feel confident that I can get successful results for my clients.
Q: What are the biggest obstacles you had to overcome?
A: I feel that I have to continue to have to prove myself and face bias that my male counterparts do not. This is getting better but we have a ways to go.
Q: If you had the option to give advice to a younger version of yourself, what would that be?
A: Chill, don’t stress the small stuff, consider the battles that are important to wage – they all aren’t! Don’t work 24/7 – work/life balance is really important. You don’t know everything and its ok to make mistakes – as long as you learn from them! Acknowledge and express gratitude to your mentors. Keep smiling and get rid of the perm!
LinkedIn: @Kelley Fitzpatrick