Agribusiness and Applied Economics senior Haylee Zwick already has a job lined up post-graduation. In January, she will begin work as a grain merchandiser with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Still, she actively networked and continued to build her professional network while she attended Women in Agribusinesses’ recent annual summit in Denver, Colorado. Even with a job secured, she believes building connections and contacts across the county is integral in her continued success.
“I met CEO’s and Operations Managers and many other women in all stages of their careers who I can now go to for career advice and mentorship as I navigate my career path,” said Zwick.
Zwick shared that she relished the conference’s supportive tone and the willingness on the part of seasoned professionals to become mentors to those like her who are just getting started in the field.
“It was a very empowering experience,” Zwick said. “We have to support one another in this male dominated industry.”
Zwick was selected to be one of 12 student scholars to attend the summit where over 750 women in agriculture gathered last week to make industry connections and learn of the trends and issues facing the industry. Her attendance was sponsored by Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC. She and student scholars toured their 100,000 cattle facility which is one of the largest in the nation.
“In my internships and my upcoming job, I work on the grain side of production,” said Zwick. “It was exciting to see where some of those inputs are going – to feed hundreds of thousands of cattle.”
Zwick was also struck by one conference presenter’s ability to break down what she sees as the focus of her career aspirations: purpose, passion and permission.
“In a world of relentless excuses, I can see that I am going to need to give myself permission to pursue my unimaginable dreams and be open to those opportunities as I progress in my career,” said Zwick. “I want to find my purpose and passion and go all in in the ag industry.”
Hearing other executives share on their varied career paths was another key takeaway. She knows she will always measure her success by her ability to help farmers be successful as they face constant adversity.
“Being around producers and the industry motivates me and excites me and for what is to come,” said Zwick. "Between sessions on ag innovation, industry outlooks, and professional development this conference confirmed that excitement and passion. Adapting to change is going to be key for all of us in the agricultural industry, but through faith and support of one another we will undoubtedly continue to help feed the world.”
Women in Agriculture student scholarship applications for the 2019 conference in Minneapolis (September 24-26, 2019) will be accepted through June, 2019.