New faculty profile: Karen Taylor
Karen Taylor is on a mission to empower students with essential financial literacy skills. She’s teaching business and economics in five different LFS classes, reaching those in first-year all the way to master’s-level professional programs.
“When I was teaching business and economics principles, many students started asking me about personal financial literacy so I now try to incorporate this into all my classes,” Taylor says. “This includes learning how to plan money for the future, use different types of personal investment vehicles, such as TFSAs and RRSPs, to understanding the Rule of 72 [an easy way to calculate how long it will take for your money to double].”
When it comes to finance, Taylor has a lot of experience. For the last two decades, she’s worked at three major banks, Farm Credit Canada, and had a short stint at the provincial Ministry of Agriculture. In her most recent banking position, she was Director of Corporate Finance for four years.
In addition, she earned a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University and an MBA, specializing in Agriculture, from the University of Guelph.
“Doing the MBA gave me an international perspective as we had people in the program from across Europe and South America. The MBA also gave me exposure to agtech and innovation, which I was always interested in throughout my banking career.”
Specializing in agricultural finance was enriching for Taylor. “I enjoyed the complexity of working with businesses that feed the world. I felt that I was able to make a positive difference,” she says. “Also seeing the passion that agribusiness owners and their families have for their operations was fulfilling. Many of their businesses were long-time family legacies and they’ve had to be adaptive to change in order to be successful.”
For the past eight years, Taylor has been teaching Agribusiness Management as an Adjunct Professor in the Master of Food and Resource Economics program in LFS. She’s always taken her students on several site visits in the Fraser Valley, granting students invaluable insights into the intricacies of the agriculture industry.
“They meet the owners and senior managers of agribusinesses and receive really in-depth personal tours so they can understand what it takes to be successful, while also shedding light on the challenges that face the agriculture industry. It’s a real eye-opener. Many students are surprised by the level of automation, sophistication, and the size and scale of operations.”
In Sept. 2023, Taylor became a Lecturer in LFS to teach additional courses in the first-year LandOne cohort, in Food, Nutrition and Health, and in the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics (MND) programs. For MND students, Taylor wants to ensure they learn foundational business skills as many will embark on entrepreneurial journeys as Registered Dietitians running their own business.
Agriculture runs in Taylor’s family. She grew up around livestock, as her family owned a hog farm and later purchased a broiler operation. Her two siblings are still in agriculture, with one working as a dairy farmer, and the other as a rancher and rural farm appraiser. Taylor also keeps laying hens and grows forage crops at her small farm in Langley.