Current Job: Baker and Manager, The Natural Food Pantry
Current City/Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Education: Bachelor of Mathematics, University of Waterloo, 2002
Baking and Pastry Arts,Algonquin College, 2007
Anna’s Story: Anna thought she’d given up on her dream of becoming a baker when she enrolled in Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. Little did she know, her degree was just the first step toward starting the career she loves today.
Follow Anna: The Natural Food Pantry
Anna’s Career Path
Trust Your Instincts
When Anna Parsons was in high school, she dreamed of becoming a baker. But when she graduated from Glebe Collegiate Institute in 1997, she opted to enroll in a Mathematics degree at the University of Waterloo. After completing the program, Anna spent three and a half years working for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) as a financial officer. She enjoyed the position, but couldn’t shake the feeling that her heart was set on being a baker.
A year into her job at CNSC, Anna started a home cookie-baking business on the side. Soon, she was taking mail orders for classic goodies like molasses crinkles and chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin cookies. Discovering how excited it made her feel “pretty much flipped the switch in my brain that I needed to pursue it seriously,” she says.
Go Back to School
Within a matter of months, Anna had resigned from her position at CNSC and enrolled in Algonquin College’s Baking and Pastry Arts program. She started classes in September 2006, and also made a point of finding work in the industry—first as a baker at Isobel & Company, then at Bread & Sons Bakery. According to Anna, getting an early start in the job market was a huge benefit to her development as a baker. “You develop your skills a lot faster,” she says. “You can increase your confidence that way. And you make a lot of contacts.”
Combine Your Skills
After graduating from Algonquin in April 2007, Anna took a position as baker at Perth’s Little Stream Bakery. Eight months in, Anna was doing double duty as manager. In May 2008, she started working as baker and manager at The Natural Food Pantry and hasn’t looked back since. She loves the responsibility her job brings and that it enables her to combine her background in costing and scheduling with her passion for working with her hands and being creative in the kitchen.
Enjoy the Journey
It may have taken the better part of a decade to get where she is today, but Anna has no regrets about the path that led her here. She uses the math, problem-solving and time-management skills she learned at university every day on the job. And, she says, “the government work helped give me the confidence to do what I do now. I don’t wish I’d done anything differently because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t had those experiences.”
“Be open to new experiences and be aware every day of what’s happening around you. Things will come to you, whether it’s people you’ll meet or opportunities that will present themselves. If it feels right, just take it.”