I grew up farming. My grandparents had a farm in Forest City, Arkansas. I would go there in the summers growing up. I started my career as an operations manager at Roadway Express in the late 90s. I felt very strongly there was a better way to lead people and that led me into what was then called “personnel management” with Roadway. Roadway was bought out, and I moved on to FedEx where I led the Corp Employee Relations Team and the enterprise diversity efforts. I was with FedEx Corporate for 16 years before joining Nutrien as director of Strategic Inclusion.
Why is diversity important to you and your organization?
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, in one of the less-than-nice areas. My neighborhood was not diverse at all. In the 1st grade, we were bused to a new elementary school as part of the desegregation of the school system. I tested into the optional program at the new school, and this was the first time that I interacted with kids that didn’t look like me. While I was very nervous at first and it took me some time to fit in, the experience expanded my worldview and shaped my life in ways I still appreciate today. As for why it is important for Nutrien and other companies, in a world that is growing more complicated with various challenges, all businesses need the collective genius of the best minds they can engage. Connecting people with possibilities makes us all stronger. Diversity and equity create not only better community but better business.
What current diversity initiatives do you have planned or ongoing at your organization?
Diversity was elevated to one of our “core values” earlier this year along with safety, integrity, and results. We are working to embed and enable an equity mindset within our team members at all levels. We will be focusing on five core opportunities: workforce, supply chain, community, industry, and society.
In your opinion, what is the most exciting thing happening in the sector currently?
Innovative agriculture solutions are some of the most exciting things happening that I see. From precision ag to carbon credits, there are many innovative solutions being brought forth to move the ag industry forward in a sustainable way.
What is your vision for the future of agriculture and food?
My vision for the future of agriculture is a future where there is equal access to the great opportunities within the industry. So many are unaware of the great careers available and the impact that those careers have on the world. As we provide more opportunities for exposure into the ag industry, maybe we will spark the mind of young people who will be the next wave of leaders and innovators in the industry and help solve some of the obstacles around food scarcity.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about your organization or the agricultural and food sector?
Nutrien’s goal is the feed 10 billion people, and to do that, we are working to create a Nutrien that is a great place to work for all, a leading provider of ag solutions, and a great steward of the global communities within which we work. To learn more about Nutrien, watch the video or visit our website.