Women in Poultry: Giovana Nicoletti

Learn more about Giovana Nicoletti, Quality Coordinator for Aviagen Latin America
calendar icon 31 January 2022
clock icon 5 minute read

Giovana Nicoletti earned a degree in Food Engineering from the University of São Paulo, with a specialty in Business Management and Lead Quality Auditing (ISO 9001). As Quality Coordinator for Aviagen Latin America based in São Paulo state, Brazil, Giovana’s main focus is to ensure that Aviagen’s production operations consistently maintain the company’s standards of excellence in biosecurity, as well as bird health, efficiency and productivity. Here she explains her passion for making a difference in her community and her world, and how that passion has led to the important role she plays today in assuring the quality of world’s supply of poultry breeding stock.

What is your background and how did you come to work in the poultry industry?

Being raised in Brazil, a country with rich cultural and socio-economic diversity, I’ve always been interested in helping people. For that reason, I wanted to pursue medicine or a related field where I could help improve the quality of life for low-income people. I eventually opted for Food Engineering to fulfil my dream of working with the food supply chain and especially to develop affordable, nutritionally rich foods. During college, I participated in a research group with a goal to improve the way of life for those living below the poverty level. As part of this project, one of the campus buildings was transformed into an arts and crafts area where people made handcrafted items by using coconut husks as fibers, and then selling them for profit. For the edible part of the coconut, we worked to find alternative culinary uses as a substitute for more expensive ingredients. That was an inspiring project for me, and it made me realize that, by thinking creatively, “out of the box” so to speak, people who believe in what they are doing can truly make a difference for others.

Before graduating, I served as a Meat Product Development intern at Korin, a Brazilian organic, antibiotic-free poultry production company. When my internship was finished, I was hired, and after roughly two years, I accepted a position at Aviagen as a Junior Quality Analyst. After some time, I was promoted to Quality Coordinator. Similar to my experience back at the university, I now have an opportunity to make a difference for people at all socio-economic levels in my country, by doing my part to provide them with a quality, secure and affordable food source.

What individuals or organisations in poultry have you found particularly inspirational?

Korin was particularly inspirational as the company that put me on the career path I follow to this day. There I enjoyed participating in the development a variety of products (from coffee roasting to ingredient lyophilization). Later, Aviagen allowed me to engage at a global level, giving me insight into the large size of the poultry industry, as well as its impact on society as a safe and low-cost protein.

When did you come to Aviagen and what inspired you to work there?

I started my journey at Aviagen in 2012. After working at a poultry production house, it was amazing and educational to visualize how complex the entire production chain of the poultry industry is. Genetic selection plays a key role in producing a safe, nutritionally rich protein, while keeping the cost low. That’s fascinating to me, and it’s also incredible to see and understand the immense underlying logistics involved.

What’s unique about your role?

Managing quality and compliance can be both unique and challenging. Because my responsibility is to uphold our company’s high-quality standards, it sometimes becomes necessary to stand my ground, always analyzing facts and data and presenting neutral and logical reasoning for my actions and decisions.

Describe a typical day for you?

Our company is committed to continuous improvement, and for that reason, much of my time is devoted to internal auditing of our quality and biosecurity. Other regular tasks for me include data analysis, documentation management, collaboration with other departments, preparing reports for Brazil and Latin America, training and support.

What are the main challenges you face?

I enjoy the challenge of strengthening the quality of our production facilities and maintaining them at the high standards set by Aviagen. Doing so is important to maintain the inherent quality and well-being of our chicks.

What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had in poultry?

The most unusual experience I've had in this field was a company trip to Hungary, where we visited an Aviagen KFT hatchery in Hungary. There I was able to exchange ideas with people from different parts of the world and learn from best practices that are different but equally as effective as those we apply in Brazil.

How have you overcome any challenges as a woman in your field, and what advice would you give to other women?

There are many challenges faced by women working in a place where it was uncommon to see women only a few years ago. To overcome these challenges, I have learned to keep a professional profile, focus on problem resolution, and stand up for my viewpoints when necessary. I would advise other women to be bold, daring and assertive, and because knowledge is power, always have the data and information to back up your ideas.

What does the future of poultry genetics look like?

I feel the future of poultry genetics will continue on a course of steady improvement in animal health and welfare, with a special focus on strengthening immunity/disease resistance.

What are you most excited about in the next 5-10 years regarding the poultry industry?

I find it invigorating to be part of an industry that is on a continuum of advancement in quality and product development to meet ever-evolving and expanding market needs.

What keeps you entertained when you’re not on the job?

When not on the job, I like to read, travel, hike and spend time with my family.

What’s next for you?

I always strive to do my best, and in the future plan to engage more with my colleagues in Peru, Argentina and Colombia on their quality systems. I am fulfilled when my hard work is recognized, and feel that my career is on a path of growth and development. From a personal perspective, my ongoing challenge and priority is a good work-life balance.

Sarah Mikesell

Editor

Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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