Seed World

Peter Marshall Showed Others How to Work

Germination put out the call for nominations to identify some of our industry’s most important mentors who have played a role in helping the next generation develop their skills. We had three main criteria: they be a person who’s demonstrated proven mentorship skills; they be at least 55 years of age; and they be retired from their main seed industry job. Here’s the sixth of who we selected for 2022.

Age: 69

Location: Ontario

Known for: Showing people the “how” of their work

Peter Marshall was a very important figure in Lucy Reed’s career development and certainly also in the development of many others in the areas of regulation of plant products of biotechnology, seeds and crop protection products.

“He has ultimately influenced a great part of the seed sector in Canada. As a senior regulatory manager for Monsanto Canada, Peter modelled the behaviour of a mentor to many who worked with him as a colleague in the regulatory sphere,” says Reed, regulatory affairs lead for Bayer Crop Science Canada.

“He showed us how to work, from the considerations needed for a submission, to meeting with colleagues in the field, to building consensus on policy with a diverse group of external/ internal stakeholders. Through good humour, precise knowledge and a sense of curiosity and pragmatism that focused on the big overarching goals of our work, he taught us to provide growers with the tools they need to successfully grow crops.”

Marshall provided tacit inspiration to those who worked with him and were learning the job, Reed says.

“He had trust and confidence in the abilities of others to grow and gave advice when it was needed and space for people to learn as well, allowing new people he worked with to find their way, which is the mark of a great teacher. I’m sure I’m not alone when key learnings he offered still guide how I do my work today.”

Marshall retired from Monsanto in 2015 after a full career bringing some of the first novel plant products through the regulatory process in Canada, and successfully bringing through numerous others over the years and being a key voice in how they should be stewarded into the future.

Marshall learned a lot of career lessons over the years, but a major was to ensure transparency as a company.

“If you’re right about something, then fine, but if you’re wrong, admit it. Sometimes people want to go down with the ship, but I just couldn’t understand that because you’re just forfeiting your credibility with your stakeholders,” he says.

For more Mentors Who Matter visit:

How Rick Turner Never Lost Focus on the Grower

How Daniel Perry Ushered in a Quiet Revolution of DNA-Based Seed Testing

How Cathy Breadner Makes People Want to be Seed Analysts

Plant Breeders! Do Your Work With a Collaborative Spirit, Says Harvey Voldeng

Never Stop Learning and Nourish Your Network, says Plant Breeding Legend Bryan Harvey