For Women's Equality Day 2018, we asked two members of our Leadership Team to put their thoughts down about what the passage of the 19th Amendment means to our company in today's world.  It's not an easy topic on which to write, which is why we're especially grateful to Jen and Kipp for taking on the challenge. 

Together, we are an ocean

by Jen Paragallo, VP of Marketing

In early 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) commissioned a report on the role of women in the seafood industry.  The results were pretty dismal. The seafood industry was perceived to be a male-dominated “boys club,” and a 2016 study of the world’s top seafood companies found only 9.1% female representation at the executive level, with the U.S. lagging behind at only 6%.  Wow...6%? In an office of 100 people, that’s six whole women.   

Here at Fishpeople, nearly half (48%) of professional staff are women, 44% of production staff are women, 66% of coastal operations management are women, and one-third of our Leadership Team are women.  I’m a perfectionist, and while I want those numbers to eventually be 50/50...or 60/40 (hey, a girl can dream, right?), I’m incredibly proud of the diverse team we have built. That’s why I urge women in any stage of their career to consider joining the seafood industry.  

I work at Fishpeople because rather than be frightened by the idea of challenging the status-quo of the multi-billion dollar, often opaque seafood industry, my colleagues and I are energized by the opportunity to shake things up and drive a sea-change.  We are in service to the oceans, to American coastal communities and to consumers looking for simpler seafood solutions they can trust. An internal motto of ours is “the best idea wins,” meaning that our next product name could come from a finance intern, or that my marketing team could dream up a solution to help us more efficiently submit expense reports (no, we haven’t cracked that nut yet, but this girl is still dreaming!). I love how empowering it is to know that–no matter who you are, in which department your headcount resides or how advanced you are in your career – your opinions matter.  Our mission to transform the seafood industry is a tall order, and the only way we’ll succeed is if we build a team of fearless fishpeople – men, women (and salmon!) who are all together swimming upstream, against the current. In the words of Ryunosuke Satoro: Individually, we are one drop.  Together, we are an ocean.  In my way less eloquent words: Ditto!  

Come join us in paddling against the current.  #swimupstream

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Creating a collective voice that advocates for change

by Kipp Baratoff, Co-Founder

Our Digital Marketing Manager, Kacy Rodriguez, asked me a simple question the other day, “What do we do as a company to empower women?” I stared at the question for a long time (it was over email, and I am slow reader). She wanted to know because Women’s Equality Day was around the corner. So, I then thought about it for an even longer time. As a straight white male, I felt awkward. Such a simple question, yet, I was struck by my own fear: can I answer this and be proud of the answer? I mean, this is a day that celebrates the capstone of a pivotal moment in our nation’s history: amending the constitution to no longer deny the right to vote on the basis of sex. That is a B.F.D., and in a good way, you know? I mean, do we at Fishpeople honor the proud legacy of those who activated change on that day in 1920?

Stepping back to take a quick review of the news headlines, it is easy to grow sullen and disappointed. Another church abuse scandal, another misplaced aggressive Twitter rant, another male celebrity reluctant to take accountability for his part in a #MeToo lawsuit…all current news is enough to make me wonder why so often power and the male gender seem to struggle to co-exist in a healthy manner.

What I can tell you is this: the world needs to spend more time focused on positive role models. More time feeling the love, ya know? A little more Notorious R.B.G. A little more Misty Copeland. A little more, [insert name you discover when you google ‘badass women’]. These women let us know that we are not alone in our quest to make a difference. They inspire us to be great people. After all, people are what make America GREAT…now and again and again. At Fishpeople, we have some amazing female leaders, and every day their work inspires me to do better. To be better. They drive change because they know what true leadership looks like, and they put that knowledge in to play daily.  But, don’t take my word for it, take theirs…

    • “Leadership requires hugs.” – Kelly Mendricks, VP of Supply Chain
    • “The guts to chase big ideas and courage in yourself and others to make it happen. Leadership is as simple as that.” – Angelina Skowronski, General Manager Garibaldi
    • “The roots of leadership come from mutual respect and creating opportunity for others.” – Jen Paragallo, VP of Marketing
    • “Good leadership provides reliable guidance to get things done as a team versus as individuals.” – Mallory Lewis, Supply Chain Manager
    • “Great leaders provide service and education to others.” – Karin Waible, Accounting Manager

At Fishpeople we are proud to seek equal representation for all voices on our team. Ultimately for us, recruiting, developing and retaining talent is about creating a collective voice that advocates for change. Our collective voice is stewarded by the common values of commitment, compassion, accountability, agility and finding joy in the journey. We are grateful for the opportunity to cultivate the practice of equality. We might not always succeed, but we continue to try, and that makes our company stronger.