Notre Dame Riding

Martha Jo Willard


MJ was born in Missouri and raised in a small town. She attended the University of
Missouri, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Conservation (ecology) in 1971.

After University, failing to be accepted to veterinary school on the first two tries in the 1960s, she married and moved to Alabama where she taught elementary school as a substitute teacher. They transferred her to Virginia where she also got a substitute teaching position in a Junior High in Hampton, Virginia. They offered her the job if she earned a Master’s in Education, which she completed at the College of William and Mary, in 1973. Eventually, she was accepted into veterinary school at Tuskegee Institute. She also completed a BSc in Agriculture and the course work and defense of a MSc in physiology and pharmacology. She graduated in 1982. She applied for a position in Winnipeg, and worked in both of the emergency veterinary clinics, and then bought her own practice in 1986. She sold it in 2001. She worked for the new owners for 2 additional years. In 1990, she was accepted into medical school at the U of Manitoba. She graduated in 1997, got her license in 1999, and worked at Misericordia on the weekends, while continuing to work at her vet clinic during the week, and going through her pathology training (5-year residency) during the day.

After residency, she was hired by Westman Labs in Brandon in 2001. She worked as a
pathologist from 2001 to 2010. She moved to Yorkton, SK to run the lab there and then,
after breaking her back in a fall in the morgue, she took a position in Sydney, NS for six
months and then moved to Foothills in Calgary, AB. She eventually returned to
Winnipeg and worked as a family physician for the remainder of her career, from 2010-
2016, in inner city Winnipeg, concentrating on patients with complex medical issues..
She ran for MLA in Brandon West in 2007, and for MP in Brandon-Souris in 2008 and
Portage-Lisgar in 2011. She ran for MLA in Minto in 2015.

MJ has traveled around the world twice, gone to all seven continents, to Africa 8 times,
Antarctica once, and to several countries in South America. Her favourite place is
Antarctica. Her passion is climate change and politics.