President and CEO, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Headquarters: Arden Hills, Minnesota
Education: Undergraduate Degree, University of Notre Dame; MBA, New York University
My Philosophy: Financial performance is the outcome of effective strategies, well-executed by an engaged workforce.
Fueling performance and growth
Land O’Lakes, Inc., operates in one of the greatest growth industries of our era. As we work to embrace the opportunities and expand our global footprint, we know we will need to leverage the expertise of a diverse, talented workforce that can drive our next level of growth in the rapidly expanding industries of agribusiness and food production. Diversity and inclusion also reflect our values. We are dedicated to creating an inclusive culture in which everyone—regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or cultural heritage—is treated with respect and dignity.
As a Fortune 200, member-owned food and agriculture cooperative, we are strengthened in many ways by building a culture of diversity and inclusion. From a market perspective, it is vitally important that our workforce reflects the diversity of our customers, communities, and other external stakeholders. Leveraging the diversity of our workforce also fuels innovation and new ideas, a key to success in our increasingly competitive global marketplace. We rely on the power of diverse perspectives and differing points of view to help us compete and excel in an industry of continuing transformation and change.
At Land O’Lakes, our diversity strategy is an enterprise-wide priority that includes a number of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Along with our senior management team, I regularly participate in ERG events to engage in the strategies and celebrate progress in the important work that they are pursuing. In fact, all employee performance goals include the responsibility of making our workplace more inclusive. These groups enhance our workplace through networking events, personal development opportunities, communications initiatives and special celebrations designed to enhance cultural awareness and improve our ability to compete in a global marketplace.
We were honored last year when our diversity efforts were recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). After reviewing our programs and policies for their annual Corporate Equality Index, which serves as a national benchmarking tool for corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees, HRC scored Land O’Lakes a perfect 100.
Our focus on diversity and inclusion also extends to our member cooperative network and the programs that encourage the development of women leaders. While agriculture has historically been a male-dominated industry, today approximately 30 percent of U.S. farm operators are women, a number which continues to grow.
To help women learn, grow, and develop leadership skills in our industry, Land O’Lakes hosts an annual Women in Cooperative Leadership Forum. The forum brings together female leaders from throughout our cooperative system for personal development sessions, briefings on key issues, and networking opportunities.
Our enterprise-wide goals for diversity and inclusion represent an ongoing journey which unites our values and strategy into a powerful asset for the future of Land O’Lakes. Most important, building a diverse, inclusive workforce is a powerful component of the business strategy at Land O’Lakes, Inc., helping us transform our culture and develop a world-class workforce.