Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/1037525

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Page 31 of 63

We Mean Business > 30 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N Fa l l 2 0 1 8 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m on a tractor. While that is true, there are farmers from all races and genders. But that initial impression of a farmer is very strong, and we are always working to ex- pand the understanding of farming and agriculture and the people behind them. DW: Is teaching your employees about unconscious bias key? AD: Absolutely. Here's a story illustrat- ing that: When I first came to the United States, I was part of the company's vege- table business. One day a field rep, a sales guy, drove into a vegetable field where there was a group of men, mainly Latino. He drove up to the group and greeted them politely. en he turned to the only white gentleman in the group. e sales rep asked, "Can I have a couple minutes of your time? I'd like to talk about our product." e white guy looked at him and said, pointing to one of the Latino men, "You need to talk to him. He is the owner of the field." at is an example of unconscious bias and how it exists in our organization. When you drive into a field, you expect the workers to be Latinos, but not the owners. at is a bias we are always work- ing to overcome. DW: How do you overcome it? AD: Like many companies, we have em- ployee networks, lots of training programs around unconscious bias, and programs for promoting women in leadership. But we have found the one piece that really made a difference is consciously working with our senior leaders on di- versity and inclusion in their business line. Fortunately, Monsanto is blessed with a unique set of senior leaders who automatically get D&I. Many have been influenced by their own experiences, as at some point in their career they have been expatriates working in India, China, Singapore, wherever. As a result, there is the determination here to have a diverse team. Our senior leaders own it. DW: About a third of your workforce is female. How do you ensure that a significant percentage of women are on leadership tracks? AD: e company very consciously makes appointments at the leadership level. If we feel we don't have enough women in a certain business area, we change that. Recently our chief information officer, Jim Swanson, went to Germany. He was sitting at a conference table with other team members and realized they were all male. Even though it was 6 a.m. St. Louis time, he called a woman on his team and said, "I need you to be in this call with me. I'm working at this table, and we're all white men in our 50s." We are also intentional by making sure that women are not just in finance or HR, but also in more male-dominated areas like R&D and commercial roles. is process has been slow, even rocky at times. It will never be a smooth journey. [Following Monsanto's recent acquisition by Bayer, Monsanto will be part of Bayer's Crop Sciences division. e division's new senior leadership team includes 12 men and one woman.] But as long as we con- tinue to be conscious and aware, we will begin to see more and more women in those sorts of positions, and as people get used to it, the numbers will only increase. DW: In your quest for diversity, is being situated in St. Louis, in the Midwest, a challenge? AD: Yes it is. Especially since we don't think of ourselves as an agricultural com- pany. We think of ourselves as a STEM company. I can't emphasize enough the value of technology in what we do. Farm- ing is a massively technological enter- prise, from the development of the seeds to million-dollar tractors to digital apps that monitor conditions in the field. We are very dependent on scientists and oth- er researchers. We're not going to find all the talent we need in the Midwest. We're competing with companies like Apple and Google and the other top companies in Silicon Valley for the best talent, which often means bringing in scientists from Latin America, China, or India. at challenge aside, having such an internationally diverse company also makes diversity and inclusion easier. Many of our senior leaders have been globally exposed, so they get diversity and inclusion better than leaders at an- other company who have never worked outside the United States. I would say our biggest challenge is in making changes at the middle-manage- ment level. Many of our middle manag- ers have never left the United States. is is where our training and employee net- works are putting their focus. DW: Given that immigrants make up a significant percentage of the agricul- tural workforce in United States, and at Monsanto in particular, does that influ- ence the company's political position on immigration? AD: I myself am an immigrant. I came to this country in 2009 and became a citizen in 2017. What I really appreciate about Monsanto, and this is true of Cor- porate America in general, is that we seek out the best talent and try to bring them in. Our success as companies depends on getting the best talent in STEM, and that often means people from outside the United States. Monsanto supports legal immigration and recognizes the need for additional workers coming from a talent pool outside the United States. We, along with other companies, want to be able to access the best talent in the world. is is a solution- oriented position; it's not about the poli- tics. It [hiring and advocating for access to immigrant workers] is about having a strong, robust economy—and it strength- ens the United States in general. DW X If we feel we don't have enough women in a certain business area, we change that.

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