Emily Mutch is the Tissue Culture Lab Manager at FIGR, a legal cannabis company whose recreational cannabis products are available in a variety of provinces across Canada. With a degree in Biology from the University of Prince Edward Island, and strong family history in farming, Emily is passionate about pursuing a career in botany and she is making her mark as a woman in two industries typically dominated by men: science and cannabis. As a PEI native, she has found a role that allows her to stay within her community while practising in a lab that is using cultivation methods that are on the cutting edge of the cannabis industry.
I chose my career path because… I’ve always wanted to work in science. My parents were very much into nature, so I spent a lot of time with plants growing up. As an adult, I had one professor in particular whose enthusiasm and mentorship really helped solidify that this is the career path for me. Fast forward a few years later, and now I’m working in one of the newest and most exciting industries in Canada in my home province of P.E.I.
My proudest accomplishment is… When I became the Manager of the tissue culture lab at Figr. It was unexpected but it really made me proud of the effort I’d put into my work.
My boldest move to date was… My boldest move was also my proudest accomplishment. I accepted the job offer for Manager of the tissue culture lab, but research is a tough area to work in, especially since plant tissue culture in the cannabis industry is so new. There are limited resources out there to help guide you, so we’re forging our own path and learning as a team what methods work best for us at Figr.
I surprise people when I tell them… Exactly what my job title is and what type of work I’m doing at Figr. Although plant tissue culture isn’t a new concept, it’s not well known or understood so people find it very interesting to learn about and I’m always eager to tell them.
My best advice to people starting their career is… Put yourself out there and apply for the job even if you don’t think you’re qualified. It’s never a bad idea to refresh your resume & cover letter and get as much experience as possible doing job interviews. If you are willing to put in the effort then you will do well.
My best advice from a mentor was… Always make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, and if you’re no longer enjoying it, then it’s time to move on.
Something that people always ask me about the cannabis industry is… My view on legalization. I strongly believe legalization will improve and regulate the quality of cannabis products available to consumers and I can already see that at Figr. Not only that, but through legalization, the opportunities for strong, reliable research will also be opened up and really increase our knowledge and ability to use cannabis to our advantage, both medicinally and recreationally.
“Always make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, and if you’re no longer enjoying it, then it’s time to move on.”
My biggest setback was… My lack of confidence in my own capabilities. Being young in any industry typically comes with a few doubts in yourself, but working at Figr over the past two years I find myself continuously growing as a woman in the cannabis industry – no pun intended.
I overcame it by… Pushing those thoughts aside and just constantly putting the effort into learning new skills and never being afraid to ask questions when I need help. Now, I get to take a leadership role and play an active part in planning the expansion of the Figr facility in P.E.I., which has been a tremendous learning opportunity.
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… The support and encouragement I’ve received from my colleagues in the lab, superiors at Figr and family members have been essential for my growth and success.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I am an avid gardener – yes I work with plants even in my spare time.
I stay inspired by… Focusing on the future and dreaming about all the possibilities that are ahead of both myself and Figr. We haven’t even scratched the surface of possibilities for this industry and I get to be at the forefront of it – growing, learning and innovating along the way.
The future excites me because… As a young woman in the science side of the cannabis industry, I feel there are so many opportunities ahead of me, which I’m extremely grateful for. My colleague and I have put a lot of time and effort into the research we’ve been doing in the lab, as well as the planning of our future lab and it’s very exciting to know what we’re headed towards.
My next step is… Getting all the final details sorted for our new, state-of-the-art lab at Figr, expanding our department and taking on all the new challenges that await us.