Can chickens change your life?
This is the story of a Parisian marketing executive who didn’t know chickens had feathers before a move into animal health. Food Industry European Regional Leader Christine Agnes writes about switching stilettos for sensible shoes.

Some years ago, I lived in Paris (France, not Texas). I was a mother of two young kids and worked as a marketer in a fast-moving consumer goods company. Although I spent three hours a day commuting, my personal and working lives were great fun.

One day, I was asked to lead a marketing and research and development team in the poultry industry. The position was based in the western part of France, deep in the rural farming area.

So, happy to start a new challenge, I moved with my family to raise my children in a greener environment, and get closer to my extended family who lived nearby.

I didn’t know what I was in for.

The office was next to the actual production facilities, which meant a lot of smells and a big shock compared to my cozy Parisian office.

I had entered a new world. A world in which a fast pace and immediate turnaround are the daily challenge in order to deliver the right quality and quantity of meat to customers on the very day it was prepared.

It was a world where urgency impacted every decision, making the poultry business entirely different from anything I’d experienced before.

I started to connect with farmers and discovered some extraordinary people, fully committed and engaged to their flocks and to their business. I realised what amazing stories hide behind the so-called "conventional chicken" – and that my work as marketer offered me the chance to tell these stories of hard work, pride and passion (all too often overlooked).

It was around this time that Elanco came calling, and I was invited to join the team in Europe. We wanted to showcase the value of conventional chicken products, with the farmer at the centre.

So step-by-step, we were able to show the positive impact of daily chicken production on the environment, communities and the economy. When the time came to name this initiative, ‘Proud of our Chickens’ seemed the perfect fit! 

Chickens have had a huge impact on my life:

  • I raise my kids in a small town close to the ocean and not in a big city

  • I switched from the food industry to animal health

  • I became an advocate of modern, sustainable farming practices

  • I don’t wear stilettos anymore! 

What really drives me today is helping people to see the value of farmers’ work. Without them, our countryside would be a very different place indeed.

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