Diversity, equality, strength, passion, inclusion, and integrity—who says we cannot have it all. With International Women’s Day just around the corner, I cannot help but feel a buzz in the air as companies around the industry elevate their teams and honor a global celebration to define and evolve what today’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements women are capable of giving to us all.
Mucci Farms is one such company honoring its team members and we, as advocates, support their voices and their vision this month. Please join me as we take a beat with Sharron Barnier, Vice President of Finance; Samantha Bering, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable; and Mary Catherine Stevenson, Offshore Supervisor, to hear the stories and insights that they bring to their experiences, the company, the industry, and the global conversation.
“The industry is constantly changing, evolving, and growing, so I am definitely not bored,” Sharron says, articulating her passion for the work she does. “One story I love to tell, and have repeated several times since I’ve started with Mucci Farms is how, during our first meeting, I told ownership that ‘I can’t be bored.’ They have lived up to their promise of that never being an issue!”
Sharron has been with Mucci Farms for nearly two decades, joining the company just about 19 years ago. During this time, she has been able to see the story for women change as much as the industry itself.
“I have been on the financial side of the greenhouse industry for most of my career and have seen the small mom-and-pop greenhouse operations turn into conglomerates. Just the technology alone that has been developed specifically for the industry is impressive,” Sharron tells me when I ask for her reflection on how the industry has changed in terms of diversity and opportunity for women since she entered the space. “I have seen more women invested in operations that were once male-dominated. Today, you see women in many supervisory, managerial, and executive positions and it’s great to see.”
When it comes to setting herself and others on the path for growth, Sharron expresses that everyone has to start somewhere. The best action is simply to begin.
“Even though you may be starting at the bottom, it helps you to succeed in achieving growth in your career. There is a lot of knowledge that is gained from growing through the company and learning the many facets of the operation and being a team player,” she adds.
“I have seen more women invested in operations that were once male-dominated. Today, you see women in many supervisory, managerial, and executive positions and it’s great to see.”
Sharron Barnier, Vice President of Finance, Mucci Farms
As she passes the conversation to Samantha, you get a strong sense that these women understand themselves well and know where to find inspiration and opportunity where others may not.
“I’ve seen the industry explode and create countless opportunities that didn’t exist before. From working on the floor or in the greenhouses right up to managerial level, it’s amazing how many different roles are needed today,” Samantha shares with me.
These seeds of growth have taken hold for women especially, but have also expanded overall diversity as those raising the bar emerged from every walk of life, country, and background.
“Our local region used to be family farms offering summer work in the fields, so it’s nice to see farming become a year-round industry through greenhouses,” Samantha adds. And I imagine that this changing of the guard, of expectations, of faces, is what helps to put Mucci Farms on the map even more impactfully.
It is all about mindset as well. With eight years at Mucci Farms, Samantha is building her own story one day at a time.
“I appreciate that no day is the same, and my passion is driven by seeing how quickly the company has grown and expanded. It’s always motivating to work for a successful organization,” Samantha says, adding in her personal advice for those coming up in the industry or looking to challenge themselves and create opportunities for personal growth. “This advice is not just for women, but for everyone—work hard and believe in yourself. If there is a position you want and there are professional development opportunities like a course or certificate that can help you increase your chances, do it. It shows initiative and self-motivation.”
Mary Catherine has that same energy of ambition and enthusiasm as she looks to today’s women leaders as well as tomorrow’s.
“My advice is to take ownership of your position and learn everything about it. In this business, many departments are interconnected, so you will learn and grow quickly if you take time to understand how all of our teams work together to deliver for our customers and consumers,” she says. “The industry has changed so much from the small family farms to very large businesses. Mucci Farms itself is very diverse, employing Temporary Foreign workers from Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, Colombia, and the Philippines, many of whom have been with us for more than 20 years. Combined with our local diversity, it makes for a vibrant team and some interesting potluck events!”
With a rich 18 years working at Mucci Farms, Mary Catherine has loved working in this industry since her first day of work in 2003, where she kicked off her career as a bookkeeper.
“My advice is to take ownership of your position and learn everything about it. In this business, many departments are interconnected, so you will learn and grow quickly if you take time to understand how all of our teams work together to deliver for our customers and consumers.”
Mary Catherine Stevenson, Offshore Supervisor, Mucci Farms
“And this was when we had just a small 20-acre site. Along with the books I learned about Health and Safety, Food Safety, and production. My passion is driven by the impressive growth of each department that now has specialized teams,” Mary Catherine concludes, looking far down the line and imagining what Mucci Farms can achieve and impact next.
These women are more than just leaders in their sectors, they are witnesses to the immense shift happening on every dynamic level of commerce, progress, and transformation today.
Their stories leave me hungry for more, and more we can have. Samantha, Sharron, and Mary Catherine will be sharing their voices with us all, quite literally, on Mucci’s Spill the Greens podcast airing on March 8.
So, let’s listen together.
And let’s stand for change.