Breaking Barriers: Pilmico Celebrates Women who carve the future of food and agribusiness

As March comes to a close, Pilmico is proud to celebrate the spirit of Women’s Month by casting the spotlight on two inspiring women who help make a positive impact in the food and agribusiness industry. From the farms to the laboratories to the offices, they have carved out their unique paths to a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This month, they shared their experiences and how they combined their interests with their chosen career.

Kate Ellano is a Continuous Improvement Engineer under the Quality, Safety, Health, Environment, and Process (QSHEP) department in Pilmico.

However, the journey hasn’t always been smooth for Kate – balancing the demands of time and prioritizing has taught her to be flexible and proactive. “Balancing these demands necessitates careful prioritization, effective time management, and clear communication with stakeholders,” she shared were the keys to successfully handling her job.

Jessa Leigh Mordeno is a Senior Quality Assurance (QA) Analyst at Pilmico. 

From an aspiring accountant to a metallurgical engineering student and ultimately a chemical engineer – through many career aspiration shifts of Jessa, she was dedicated to pursuing her passion for science and technology. Initially, she was torn between a college degree in accounting and engineering, but her scholarship with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) steered her toward Chemical Engineering. Over time, Jessa discovered that this was the right path for her, and resonated with her aspirations more deeply. “It wasn’t until my second year of college that I envisioned myself as a Chemical Engineer, realizing the alignment between my academic pursuits and my future aspirations,” she recalled.

Jessa finds fulfillment in utilizing her engineering skills to make an impact on the world. She mentioned that one of her hardest challenges at work was transitioning to new equipment and technology. “It demanded additional time and effort,” she shared, “but through collaboration, perseverance, and commitment to learning, we overcame the obstacle.” Today, she feels rewarded that the equipment still continues to fulfill its purpose effectively seven years later.

Aside from Pilmico’s engineers, our veterinarians also play a significant role in caring for our farms and upskilling livestock farmers nationwide. Dr. Michelle Guingon, also known as Doc Mich, chose a different path than her peers, who usually worked at companion animal clinics. Instead, Doc Mich entered the swine industry, where there are only a few female veterinarians because of the physically demanding nature of the job. “Few people choose this path (in the swine industry), but I was drawn to the challenge, and it also provides me with an opportunity to meet different livestock farmers around the country,” she said. 

Doc Mich is not one to shy away from any challenges. As a Veterinary Services & Training Specialist, one of her responsibilities is to conduct workshops and seminars for livestock farmers. Although public speaking was not her forte, she overcame this obstacle to deliver the message of Pilmico’s Diamond Program more effectively. 

Kate, Jessa, and Doc Mich are three women who found successful careers in STEM and are making positive contributions to the food and agribusiness industry. As more and more women break barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields such as manufacturing and engineering, their achievements underscore the limitless potential of women in any profession. This Women’s Month, Pilmico proudly acknowledges  Kate, Jessa, Doc Mich, and other talented engineers and veterinarians, and celebrates their invaluable contributions and all women shaping the future of our organization.