Andrea Wenham (BA’02, MA’03) came to UBC with her sights set on a career in the public sector. This year, she celebrates her 15-year anniversary in the Public Service of Canada.
Wenham is the Deputy Director for the B.C regional office at Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada where she works to understand and resolve the issues of regional stakeholders from the agriculture and agri-food sector.
“I manage a team of eight industry development officers and provide them with strategic guidance in conducting their work,” said Wenham. “One of our most important roles is to meet with industry stakeholders and attend industry events, and report this intel back to Ottawa to make sure that regional perspectives are taken into account when making policies and designing programs.”
Although Wenham’s role primarily involves providing strategic guidance to her team, she is always most excited about taking part in the Ministerial Outreach programs.
Wenham and her team are responsible for organizing and accompanying the Minister of Agriculture, currently the Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, on government trips in the region. Her last trip was before the pandemic in July 2019, to B.C, Yukon, and Alberta.
Wenham says that she was drawn to the public service out of a desire to contribute. Her favourite classes at UBC were ones that involved international trade and labour issues; both areas that she’s worked on in her career.
“I wanted to play a role in helping to develop public policy, and studying economics helped me develop strong critical thinking abilities, as well as an understanding of both the importance and the limitations of data to inform policy,” said Wenham.
She credits the BA and MA programs at UBC for allowing her to build a strong skill set that has helped her throughout her career.
“Even though I’m not working as a research economist, I still regularly use the knowledge and skills that I learned at UBC,” said Wenham. “I believe that a good understanding of economic principles is extremely useful for people working in a diverse range of fields.”