The Non-GMO Project is thrilled to welcome Courtney Pineau as our Communications Manager. In this newly created position, Courtney will focus on public relations for national Non-GMO Month events (October), development and support for our Product Verification Program, and consumer education with an emphasis on social media.
In the ten short days during which this position opening was posted, we received nearly 40 applications from an impressive slate of candidates. People from all over the country were offering to pack up and move to Bellingham in a heartbeat for this opportunity. What a great affirmation of how important the GMO issue, and the Non-GMO Project, have become to many Americans! Fortunately for us (since we wanted someone who could start training right away) we found our perfect candidate right here in Bellingham.
Courtney's passion for sustainable agriculture is complemented by a background in the natural products industry, both on the vendor side (sales and marketing), and on the retail side (department manager). Most recently, she spent nearly five years in the non-profit sector while also earning an MBA in Sustainable Business with a focus on food systems. To top it all off, Courtney's warm smile and bright spirit make us truly excited to have her join our small, hard-working team.
Below is a Q & A to help you start to get to know Courtney. For those of you who will be in Baltimore next month for The Organic Summit, All Things Organic, and the Natural Products Expo East, you can look forward to meeting Courtney in person!
What interests you about working with the Non-GMO Project?
First and foremost, I am inspired by the work of the Project. Having worked in the natural foods industry, I have seen firsthand the value of the education and awareness work that the Non-GMO Project has undertaken. The labeling and verification of non-GMO foods is a major step towards enabling people to make informed food choices. I also appreciate that the Non-GMO Project is the product of a collaborative effort between leaders in the natural foods industry. As the hub for much of the engagement and collaboration around GMOs, the Non-GMO Project is helping to bring about much needed change.
I hold a core belief that healthy and safe foods should be accessible to all people. I recognize that this is a lofty vision, but I seek to make choices in my life that help to support that possibility for others in the future. I believe that each product labeled by the Non-GMO Project brings awareness to the issues concerning GMOs, opens dialog, and moves us one step closer to a food supply that is truly healthy and safe.
How do you feel your prior experience will help you in working with the Non-GMO Project?
My passion for food, sustainability, and community outreach began in earnest in my teenage years and has not waned since. For several years, I worked as a health educator before moving into the natural foods industry, where I worked in marketing and sales for several large natural foods companies. It was through this work that I learned that marketing could be a powerful vehicle for change. Many mission-driven organizations have an important story to tell, and communications and marketing can be incredible tools for helping to bring a story and a mission to life.
I have a strong interest in understanding food systems. This has led me to volunteer on farms, study models of fair trade at home and abroad, and to homestead my own small piece of land. In 2009, I graduated from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute with an MBA in Sustainable Business, with a focus on food systems. Understanding the complexity of our food system creates a foundation for understanding many of the issues pertaining to GMOs in our food supply.
For the past five years, I have worked for a large international non-profit as a marketing project manager. Through this work, I have had the opportunity to engage in all types of communications platforms. This experience has left me more excited than ever about communications as a means to educate, to initiate dialog, and to connect people with one another.
What is important to you about the work you will be doing with the project?
It is important to me that my work with the Non-GMO Project support communications and outreach activities that are open, honest, and inclusive. It is also important to me that we welcome all stakeholders, no matter what their viewpoint, to the conversation about GMOs: farmers, manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and consumers. From a broader perspective, it is important to me that my work contributes to a future where consumers can make informed food choices, and where all people have access to healthy and safe foods.