Roberta LeBlanc, P.H.Ec.
Soon after receiving a Domestic Science Degree from the Université de Moncton, I joined both the national and provincial Home Economics Associations. I began my career as Promotion Officer with the NB Department of Fisheries. Four years later, I became Sector Manager.
In 1985, my husband, young daughter and I moved to Ottawa. In 1992, I took the Philosophy & Practice of Home Economics course from Ryerson before joining OHEA. That granted me the exclusive right to use the professional title and designation PHEc which helped me gain employment with the Ontario Pork Marketing Board, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
It seems to me that we have struggled and wrestled with the term Home Economist since forever. What a shame that such a great profession has had a difficult time defining and maintaining its value in the job market. Consumer Studies, Human Ecology and other terms are used to try to capture its essence, but as the world begins to recognize that life-skills management are crucial to personal and family health and independence – ‘home economics’ seems to be relevant now more than ever. With our holistic approach, I sense that we are beginning to have our renaissance moment. We could lead the way in mining and positioning product relevance, teaching how to apply nutrition understandings in practical applications, improve sustainability and food security within households and balance personal finances and debts.
And on a global level, Home Economists do well to support each other and the profession, for which I am forever grateful. The network is alive and well and we are all the richer and add more value to our jobs and communities because of that. So let’s continue to sport our PHEc designation so that we and others can find each other and recognize ourselves for what we are, where we come from and the skill-set that we bring to the table.
As a Home Economist in business, the PHEc designation gives me the credibility in the arena I ply my trade in, which is the very challenging business of styling food for the camera.
When I arrived in Canada, I sought out a local Home Economic Association -THEA. Mary Adams welcomed me warmly with open arms. From there, once I started working at General Foods before it became Kraft and now Kraft Heinz, I joined OHEA and was grateful to all those ahead of me who had toiled for countless hours on successfully gaining the OHEA designation with the then provincial government in 1989.
I have always been able to count on numerous colleagues for guidance in my professional and board roles; and I think that as a professional group, we are unique in our nurturing and caring roles.