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Women in Agribusiness Summit 2019

September 25-27

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

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2019 Women in Agribusiness
Demeter Award of Excellence Recipients

Three exceptional women in agribusiness have been chosen to receive the 2019 WIA Demeter Award of Excellence. The award recognizes those who have achieved excellence in their field or demonstrated an extraordinary contribution to the agribusiness industry.
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Sandra Hulm
VP Procurement, Conagra

Sandra Hulm, of Omaha, Neb., is vice president of procurement for Conagra Brands, one of North America’s leading branded food companies. She has a long and storied career in the food industry, which first saw her rise through the ranks at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). “Sandra Hulm is a driven leader who is passionate about excellence, people and results,” said Michelle Vandevoorde, Hulm’s mentor, former manager and customer, in her nomination letter.

At Conagra, Hulm has led mission-critical projects, including managing more than $800 million of annual commodity spend and acting as the project lead for Conagra’s Integrated Margin Management program. In her current role, she and her team manage $1 billion in annual material spend, along with Conagra’s Risk Management and Materials Operations teams. Throughout her career, Hulm has been recognized for developing and inspiring the people around her. “Sandra is always focused on making people better and building trust,” said Alex Fox, a colleague at Conagra. “Her leadership changed the way I think about building a team.” Hulm also is a board member with Ardent Mills, NIOP, Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council, and Women in Agribusiness.

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Linda Tank
SVP Marketing Communications & Facilities, CHS Inc.

Linda Tank, senior vice president, marketing, communications and building services with CHS Inc., in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., has been an advocate for women in agriculture for more than 30 years, and is well versed at putting their stories into writing – whether it be in the company’s magazine, read by 235,000 growers, or establishing university endowments to transform ag education, or creating nationally-recognized brand advertising campaigns to leverage the cooperative’s farmer-owners' investments.

She is a partner in a fourth-generation family farm and champions youth leadership through organizations such as FFA and 4-H, and has held leadership positions with the Agriculture Council of America and Minnesota State Fair Foundation. “She sees herself as a ‘connector’ and supports her (heavily female) team visibly and behind the scenes, serving as a positive role model for women and girls working to gain respect and trust for their leadership capabilities across the entire ag supply chain,” said Annette Degnan, a colleague and long-time direct report staffer who wrote her nomination. Her background lets her “bridge the gap between farm and consumer, representing all that is good about American agriculture,” continued Degnan.

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Susanne Wasson
President, Crop Protection Business Platform, Corteva Agriscience

Susanne Wasson is president of the Crop Protection Business Platform for Corteva Agriscience. Through her decades in the sector, she has become “one of the most accomplished, celebrated and admired women in agribusiness,” said Rajan Gajaria, her supervisor and nominator, who also noted that her leadership, agricultural business savvy, experience and keen vision were instrumental in helping to successfully launch Corteva at a most critical time. Her current role places her as the top woman in a business platform role within the new 21,000-employee company.

'Of the many things that Susanne does best is her ability to listen, learn and relate… It gives her a unique perspective and that speaks well of her unique leadership skill set,” said Trent Inman, national strategic account manager at Corteva Agriscience. “She has walked in all our shoes, so now as president of the Crop Protection Platform, she understands firsthand the challenges and frustrations of selling. She cares deeply, too, not just for our needs, but for the needs of our customers.”