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Women in Agribusiness Summit goes global;
Success in Minneapolis followed by Barcelona event in February 2014

Beth Ford of Land O'Lakes, one of the keynote speakers at the Women in Agribusiness Summit, speaks to attendees on the 'mission value' of a career in ag.


BOSTON (10/31/13) – For the nearly 450 women in agribusiness who gathered at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, Minn., last week for the 2nd annual Women in Agribusiness Summit, the motivational messages for paving their own way in the industry were clear.

“Be your own advocate, be tenacious and don’t let other people push you off your path,” said keynote speaker Ilene Gordon, CEO of Ingredion Incorporated. Gordon encouraged those women who were looking to move up the ladder to have a plan and stick with it, and if that fails have a plan B and a plan C. “Sometimes, opportunity knocks. And sometimes, we have to do the knocking,” she said. “For women in business, I promise that in the days to come, there will be new opportunities; but don’t wait, bang your fists on the door and make it happen.”

Gordon joined keynote speaker Beth Ford, executive vice president, chief supply chain and operations officer at Land O'Lakes, Inc., who stressed the “mission value” of being involved in ag. “This is about the greatest purpose,” she said to a ballroom filled to capacity with women from throughout the agribusiness value chain. “This is about feeding the world.”

Ford spoke of the growing global food needs that are creating soaring demand in ag careers, noting that the way women lead make them perfectly aligned with the challenge to grow the productivity of the agribusiness industry. 

This year’s Women in Agribusiness Summit provided twice as much content and three times the number of speakers than the debut event last year in New Orleans. Women representing 165 agribusiness-related companies joined in the interactive break-out sessions and panel discussions.  The event’s twitter feed (@womeninagri) was abuzz with inspirational comments heard during the event, and in fact, the hashtag (#womeninagri) trended in Minneapolis during the prime conference days.

“This was a conference that was very different, like no other I have attended, in the way that it was set up to fully engage everyone in the conversations,” said Marcella Szymanski, Ph.D., agriculture, biotechnology and textile trade policy deputy division chief, U.S. Department of State, a speaker and event attendee. “I was just drawn in to the whole conference and even plan to model the one I organize after this one.”

European women will now be able to share in the experience of the Women in Agribusiness Summit at the February 3-4, 2014 conference at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona, Spain. This global event will feature topics that are specific to European women in ag and also highlight core topics, such as recruiting and advancing women in agribusiness, innovation in agribusiness, skill development, and conversations with today’s ag leaders on women’s pathways to leadership.

“The main take away for me from this conference is that women are just as vital of an asset in agribusiness as good ground is to farming – we are limited in supply but lucky for agribusiness we can raise new, more, great women leaders and advocates for our industry,” said Gina L. Sheets, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “I am recommending this Summit to my entire team, our partners and women in our business!”

The goals of the Women in Agribusiness Summit series, hosted by HighQuest Partners, are twofold: to make the agriculture and food sectors career destinations for today's talented women, and to provide tools for women to become informed leaders in the industry. Learn more and register for the Barcelona event at www.womeninageurope.com.

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CONTACT: Michelle Pelletier Marshall
PR/Media Manager
978.887.8800, x117


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