Jessica Shade

This entry is part 71 of 89 in the series

Shade,-JesiccaJessica Shade

The Organic Center
Director of Science Programs

Years with company: 2 years

Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations:

  • PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley
  • BS in Plant Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz
  • BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career: I have had several mentors during my academic and professional career.  I have learned a lot from my current supervisory, Laura Batcha, the CEO of the Organic Trade Association, about strategic goal setting and strategy development.  My scientific knowledge is based on the expertise and encouragement of my PhD advisor, Ellen Simms. Additionally, Suzanne Schettler at Greening Associates mentored me early in my career as my supervisor at Greening Associates, a restoration company based out of California.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to dateI am proud of the growth of The Organic Center under my management.  In the last two years we have taken on seven new scientific projects, convened a Science Advisory Board with over 30 members, launched a new website which caused our web traffic to increase by over 350%, had a 469% increase in Facebook likes, conducted a crowdfunding campaign that reached 137% of its goal, and have been featured in a wide variety of media outlets.

Most challenging part of your job: The most challenging part of my job is collaborating with a diversity of stakeholders from different walks of life, with different viewpoints and priorities to create a common vision.  I work with researchers, industry members, consumers, funders, and a variety of other individuals who all have disparate priorities and ideas about scientific research in sustainable and organic agriculture.  Developing a unified set of goals can be challenging, but it is a fun process and the results are always extremely rewarding!

Advice for upcoming younger executives: Keep a positive attitude and learn to be flexible as new, unexpected issues arise.

Hobbies: Painting, sewing, hiking, pottery, and reading