Chief Procurement Officer & Head of Corporate Real Estate
Education: MBA, supply chain management, Arizona State University; BS, economics, Florida A&M
Company Name: Corteva Agriscience
Company CEO: Jim Collins
Company Headquarters Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Number of Employees: 21,000
Words you live by: “To whom much is given, much is required.” Luke 12:48
Who is your personal hero? Nelson Mandela
What book are you reading? Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson; The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights by Douglas R. Conant
What was your first job: Cutting lawns
Favorite charity: United Way
Interests: Listening to music (jazz) and following business news
Family: My wife, Deidre, son, Cole (14), and daughter, Morgan (10)
Technology, Transparency, and the New Norm
At Corteva, I’m honored to be leading a project focused on the “Way Corteva Works in the Future.” We have surveyed our global team to ensure we are providing the culture, technology, and workspaces our team members need to succeed. But I think one change is obvious: The global coronavirus pandemic has made us realize the power of remote working. This trend was apparent pre-COVID, but now it’s more than a trend. It’s the “new norm.”
Remote work is changing how we engage with others (more Zoom, more Yammer; less water cooler talk) and it’s changing how we measure performance. It’s also changing work protocols. Now, it’s common for coworkers to see kids, spouses, or pets while on a work call. And it’s normal for employees to have to manage around remote schooling, spouse’s competing meetings, and so on.
Technology is adding to the transparency of our lives. Ironically, it’s making us more “human.” In many ways, we are closer to our coworkers than ever before because we get a glimpse into one another’s everyday life experience. This new, flexible working style will change the face of corporate America, forever impacting how and where work gets done.
Running parallel to this increase in technology is a focus on racial equity and social justice.
In the United States after the death of George Floyd and the social unrest that followed, many companies have started to revisit their inclusion and diversity initiatives. They have started to realize the importance of not only including diverse talent, but also fostering a true sense of “belonging” so everyone can bring his or her whole self to work and add unique value.
In addition, companies have started to reexamine their role in society through key initiatives like supplier diversity, which ensures they are purposeful about providing opportunities to small and diverse businesses. A successful supplier diversity program can also have a positive economic ripple effect on developing communities around the world.
This is progress. There is so much potential and so many innovations, globally, that are trapped within individuals and businesses that have historically not been given a chance.
Corteva’s purpose is “to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume, ensuring progress for generations to come.”
Those who produce, farmers around the world, are diverse. And those who consume couldn’t be more diverse. After all, everyone eats! Companies need diverse teams and diverse suppliers to address the needs of the diverse global population.
In conclusion, the workplace is evolving quickly. It’s driven by a pandemic that no one saw coming and racial tension that recently returned to a boil. In the next five years, I believe the healthiest organizations will be the ones that embrace technology and the transparency that comes with it, and “lean in” to their internal and external inclusion and diversity initiatives. We cannot go backwards. We can only move forward—remotely, but authentically. Together.