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Gemma Clarke

Cope Seeds MD named in top 20 most influential women in seed sector

Gemma Clarke, Cope Seeds and Grain managing director, has been named one of 20 most influential women in the seed sector by Seed World Europe. 

The list, announced on International Women’s Day in March 2024, acknowledges and celebrates some of the many women who are making important leadership contributions within the seed sector.

To identify some of the most influential women in the seed sector, Seed World Europe asked all national seed associations in Europe and many other peers in the European seed sector to nominate women within or outside of their organisations who have driven the sector higher, exhibited leadership or otherwise were a source of inspiration and positive influence. 

Enthusiasm from the sector was overwhelming, with a an extraordinarily high number of nominations received – evidence of just how many incredible women are shaping the seed sector. 

“At Seed World Europe we are very passionate about placing the EU plant breeding and seed sector in the spotlight. An ever-growing part of the success of our sector comes from the efforts and contributions of women throughout our value chain.”

Cope Seeds & Grain strives to connect world-leading seed breeders to farmers and sustainable markets and Gemma Clarke has played a key role in that effort, becoming an agricultural seed specialist providing cereal, pulse and grass seeds, and more. 

Gemma has helped to build Cope Seeds & Grain into the UK’s largest organic seed producer, championing low input varieties and supporting regenerative farming practices.

She is confident she can continue to grow the business in line with Cope Seeds & Grain’s vision, ensuring farmers are getting the best varieties and advice for a new era in agriculture.

“As a business, we’re excited to be launching new varieties, new contracts, and new industry initiatives to help support British food and farming as we transition to a new subsidy framework and prioritise the environment even more,” she says.

The 20 most influential women in the seed sector list includes: 

    • Gemma Clarke, managing director at Cope Seeds & Grain 
    • Anna Fisyun: finance leader, BU East Ukraine, Lidea 
    • Anne Williams, head of protected crops at Bayer Crop Science
    • Anne-Marie Taché, head of field production, supply, and industrial operations at MAS Seeds 
    • Birte Boelt, professor in seed crops and seed technology at Aarhus University, Denmark 
    • Dolores Barranco, melon breeder at Sakata 
    • Franziska Löschenberger, wheat breeder in Probstdorf 
    • Hedwich Teunissen, managing director at CropXR 
    • Helene Guillot (Khan Niazi), managing director of the Agricultural Crop Licensing Platform (ACLP)
    • Laia Fitó, director R&D at Semillas Fito 
    • Mariana Silva Artur, assistant professor at Wageningen University 
    • Mariola Markiel, global sustainability lead & marketing manager Europe at Alta Seeds 
    • Merel Langens, global head of industry affairs, BASF | Nunhems
    • Milena Ouzunova, head of breeding technologies corn and oil crops at KWS 
    • Rupashree Dass, head of research at Computomics 
    • Severine Jeanneau – head of sustainable seed and plant health in Corteva Agriscience 
    • Svetlana Balesevic Tubic, secretary general of the Seed Association of Serbia
    • Szonja Csörgő, IP & legal affairs manager at the International Seed Federation (ISF)
    • Vanessa Prigge, potato breeder and R&D Project Manager at Solana Group 
    • Yolanda Huerta, vice secretary-General at UPOV