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Employee Spotlight: Laurie’s 5 Year Anniversary

Written for Afishionado Fishmongers by: Laurie Starr

It’s hard to believe but this past January marked my five year anniversary at Afishionado. Time has flown, dragged, and sometimes, stood completely still (thanks, COVID). When I first started with this company I’ll admit, I really wasn’t sure what I was in for. I hadn’t even officially graduated from my Masters before I accepted the gig! All I knew was that I wanted to be in Halifax and work with fish and seafood (I had just written a big paper about yellowfin tuna, so I was pretty obsessed with tuna at the time). The job description seemed to check all the boxes.

I ended up spending most of my time in the fish van, then named Gertie, running around HRM like a wild woman trying to make sure all our chefs got what they wanted, when they wanted, with weekly trips to our processing plant, and the occasional oyster bar and outreach event thrown into the mix. Every day was an adventure with its own missions and sub-missions. This was the start of my long (and on-going) lessons in time management, prioritization, and problem solving.

Since then I have been upgraded to bear the official title of Operations Director – a recognition that still causes me to grapple with imposter syndrome. But as I passed my 5 year anniversary (the longest I have remained in the same place, professionally speaking) I have started to think more about what Afishionado and sustainable seafood means to me. Why HAVE I continued to stay on? There’s more to it now than simply wanting to be around tuna and live in Halifax.

In short, I believe in Afishionado.

I am proud of the work that we do to bring seafood to the forefront of the sustainable food movement and conversation and to afford ourselves a place at the dinner table (pun intended). A good chunk of my education and mental capacity has been allotted to studying the oceans. This field is often coupled with learning about the negative impacts humans have been having on our oceans; overfishing, pollution, habitat degradation, to name just a few broad areas. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with how many issues we seem to be facing and it is something that keeps me up at night. But another important lesson I have learned is that sometimes you need to pick your battles. If you try and fight them all you will end up drowning – or suffering insomnia.

But how can I use this knowledge for “good”? I believe that with education and knowledge comes a responsibility to share. 

It has been such a unique experience to witness the growth and development of a company from the beginning, particularly a company that aligns with my personal values and goals. To boldly state – the fate of the human world depends on the ocean’s persistence to thrive with life and abundance. To this end, I am constantly asking myself, what can I do to limit my impact? How can I contribute to a better, greener, more sustainable world?

Aside from trying to lead by example, I have found Afishionado to be a very good fit for me in this regard. Not only do I get to talk about two of my favourite things (the ocean and food) Afishionado has provided me with an outlet for my contribution to the sustainable seafood movement.

I try not to take it personally when people don’t seem to care about where their food comes from, but I do take it as a personal challenge to change their mind. Everything in life comes down to decisions and the choices you make; and if I am able to influence your habits to make the “right” decision I will consider at least part of my job well done.

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