Women In Forestry

Diverse perspectives: Q&A with FPInnovations’ Alana Prashad

February 29, 2024
By Jennifer Ellson Avatar photo
Presented by:
Wood Business
Women in Forestry

From broadcasting to forestry, Alana Prashad’s diverse journey brings unique insights into the challenges and opportunities for women and diverse professionals. With a rich academic background and extensive experience, Prashad shares exclusive perspectives on diversity, career pathways, and the evolving landscape of the industry.

CFI: What career path led you to the Ontario Strategic Partnerships Lead position with FPInnovations?

I’ve been Ontario’s Strategic Partnerships Lead for FPInnovations since 2021, and my role is to maintain a strong relationship with partners in Ontario.

Before joining FPInnovations, I worked for Innovation Norway for 17 years and gained experience with CCS, fuels, and infrastructure electrification.  I started my career at Canada’s first all-digital TV station in 2004.

In terms of education, I hold a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in broadcasting from Toronto Metropolitan University, a master’s degree in energy management from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole et des Moteurs (IFP School), The Norwegian School of Business and the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris.

CFI: What inspires you to continue working in forestry? 

I am proud to be part of an industry that can address big challenges that society is facing and has sustainability at its core. This sector is full of people that truly inspire and stimulate me.

CFI: Do you find there are certain challenges or hurdles for women to enter or stay in the industry? 

Champions and advocates who recognize the power of diversity are creating positive change from entry-level positions through senior leadership and boards.  However, as with most natural resource sectors, there is history to overcome before parity is achieved across the entire forest sector and we see equal opportunity for everyone.

As employers create inclusive environments and discard unacceptable behaviours in their workplaces, women joining the sector today will be ideally positioned, with the necessary experience, to seize opportunities.

CFI: What can companies do to attract and support women or other people with diverse backgrounds and to advance them into leadership?

Encourage mentorship and start early by finding those women looking for internships in universities or technical colleges. This fosters inclusivity and paves the way for new ideas, innovation and offers opportunities for novel problem-solving approaches.  Diverse ecosystems are the most resilient.

 CFI: What advice do you have for those considering a career the forest industry, or those in the industry looking to advance? 

The forest sector needs more than just foresters. There is a host of competencies required from chemists to finance and data analysis to robotics. Certain jobs in the forest sector require a specific set of skills and competencies, however, the broader sector offers exciting opportunities for everyone.

Working in the forest sector offers a chance to positively contribute to society and address some of our most pressing problems, shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the brightest and most inspiring minds.

This article is part of CFI, Pulp & Paper Canada and Canadian Biomass’ Women in Forestry series, an annual celebration of women in the industry. Find more content here and follow us on social media with the hashtag: #WomeninForestry.

Remember to join us for the Women in Forestry Virtual Summit on Mar. 8 at 11 am ET/8 am PT! It’s FREE to register. Sign up now!