Co-Alliance Blog > March 2022 > Women Moving the Co-op Forward

Women Moving the Co-op Forward

March 11, 2022

The women employed by Co-Alliance shoulder a lot of responsibility within our business. Some are responsible for ensuring residential propane tanks are set safely and fully operational, others pay the many bills to keep our locations running, some are responsible for dispatching trucks, or training local fire departments on grain entrapment rescue or even reviewing all legal contracts that accompany a $1.4 billion dollar cooperative.

We’re honored to employ so many strong women that bring a lot of insight, creativity, collaboration, and determination to the table. This week we’re highlighting a handful of ladies who keep this cooperative running full steam ahead.    
 

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Name: Merie Sharp
Title: IT Software Support/Trainer
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
I’m actually a city girl but after 36 years of working for the co-op in 3 out of our 4 divisions, I’ve learned a great deal about agricultural and have much respect for our farmers and our ag industry.  The technology, that is ever changing, is amazing!  In my newest role with Co-Alliance Cooperative, I’m enjoying getting to meet my newest co-workers and helping them get off to a great start with our company.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
My mother was a great influence in my life and she taught me that beauty was on the inside and with God in your heart, you can do anything!  Remember Psalm 138:3 “When I called out to You, You answered me.  You made me strong and brave.” 
 

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Name: Teri Dunlavy
Title: Credit & Finance Manager
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
I have been in agriculture for long enough, I don’t even think about being a “woman” in agriculture, I just think about holding a position with a career in agriculture.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
My advice would be to get to where I currently am in your career thought process, own/hold a position in the field of agriculture as the best person for the job.  You can create a glass ceiling so to speak, be a victim or take your knowledge, the doors opened by the women who entered them before you and head on through with confidence in your abilities, ready to make your mark!  Always be open to learning but stand firm in your beliefs if they stand backed by facts and faith.

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Name: Danielle Baumer
Title: Agronomy Support (but formerly, I’ve done everything from HR to entrepreneurship to accounting and a lot of things in between)
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
When I first joined the Co-op several years ago, someone mentioned to me as a warning that the Ag industry was heavily dominated by men. To be honest, that thought had never crossed my mind before that moment, and especially not in terms of a threat. Coming from a strong line of successful women and having watched amazing women in many roles that may have conventionally be held by a man (farming, entrepreneurship, etc.), it was never considered a barrier. Occasionally in life, I’ve had to prove myself and sometimes it has seemed as though it was especially difficult because I was a woman or a mother, but I think with enough hard work and grit, you can prove yourself in even the most challenging of situations. Oh, and they were wrong with the warning– there are some fantastic people here at the Co-op!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
Always have a backup plan in case your first plan doesn’t work and remember that with enough determination, grit and work, you can do anything you set your mind to. You may not know what you want to do with your career and THAT’S OKAY! No one says that the degree that you attain is what you have to retire out of and no one says you have to attain a degree in order to be successful in the first place. I know many people who are nearing retirement and still aren’t sure what they want to do “when they grow up”. Job shadow and intern every chance that you get to help figure it all out.
 

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Name: Mary Rose
Title: Accounts Payable
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
In my short time here (9 months) I have learned that there is a lot more then corn in Indiana. It is a very big and nice change from my previous employer. There is truly a " team " atmosphere with not only my department, but with many of the people that I interact with daily.  
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
One piece of advice that I would offer to a young lady starting out would be: Listen more than you speak. You are stronger than you think, don't let anyone tell you differently.
 

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Name:  Tracy Kinnaman
Title:  Human Resources
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
What I love most about working in Human Resources for nearly 25 years is helping employees.  Being there to support, guide and listen can be very rewarding and sometimes difficult but it’s all part of what we do in HR and I wouldn’t change a thing. 
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
I would tell them the same things I’ve always told my daughter, be your own advocate and surround yourself with others that support you and you in turn support.  Having a support system in every aspect of your life will be more valuable than you will ever know.  Whatever you’re passionate about, embrace it, you can do whatever you put your mind to!

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­­­­­­­­­­­­Name: Macey Orme
Title: Energy Marketing Specialist
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
Being a part of the Co-Alliance team has allowed me to seek opportunities while staying close to the agricultural roots I was raised on. As a member of both the marketing and energy team, I enjoy being able to develop our brand and create campaigns that offer industry insight to our farmer-owners, customers, and agricultural advocates.  
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
There’s no comfort in a growth zone and no growth in a comfort zone. So, seize any opportunity that may scare you because 9 times out of 10 you will have made the right choice.

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​Name: Julie Lamberson 
Title: Safety and Risk Coordinator
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
As a part of the safety team, I get to be outside, visit a variety of branches and every day is different. I enjoy being an educator, so this job feels like my perfect niche. 
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
Knowledge is respected in a male-dominated field. Find a trusted coworker and ask questions, lots and lots of questions. The more that you understand about the business that we are in, the more opportunities you will have. Utilize every opportunity for continuing education to grow in your career at the co-op. How we do things, why we do things, how markets work….our coworkers are experts in their field and they love to share their knowledge! Don't try to be a man. God made us all differently to bring balance to the world. Focus on the strengths and perspective you bring to the table. 
 

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Name: Paula Fry
Title: Energy Admin Manager
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
Being a part of the Co-Alliance team is the best part of my job, hands down!  Every day I work with some of the best people in the business that also happen to be great human beings.  Being a woman in my role, I just hope to set an example for those around me and especially other women to be the hardest working person in the room.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
One piece of advice I would give a young lady about to begin her career.  To always stay true to who you are, in your successes as well as in your challenges.  
 

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Name: Keryn Stoelting
Title: Marketing Coordinator
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
Arriving at Co-Alliance with a non-ag background, I was challenged to learn the industry by spontaneously visiting  ag centers and asking questions. With my logo polo as my shield of courage, I walked into my first location, and proudly introduced myself as Keryn in Marketing from Avon. The gentleman employee looked me up and down, and hooking his thumbs on his Carhartt bib straps informed me, “We don’t need any make-up here”. 
I could’ve given up that day, but I was determined to persevere, to understand how I could fit in to this essential industry as a female marketing professional.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
It’s ok if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. Keep trying different things – inspiration will come.
 

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Name: Bridget Daniell
Title: Energy Administrative Assistant Supervisor
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
As part of the energy department, the ever-changing markets and demand keep the job interesting.  There are always new challenges to keep you on your toes. 
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
Keep an open mind about potential job opportunities.  You may end up in an industry in which you never imagined yourself but have it turn out to be a fantastic experience.
 

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Name: Cathy Logan
Title: Greenfield Store Manager
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
It is Great being a Part of an Agriculture Team!  I have never really thought about gender in agriculture as I selected the field I wanted.  We all decide to adapt to what needs to be done at any given time of day either at work or home involved in Ag.  At my job I am involved energy, livestock, lawn/garden, and retail.  There’s satisfaction in having the product and information our customers need.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
Have faith in yourself, be open to new challenges, listen, and enjoy the new learning.  Volunteer in your community and follow through.  It takes all of us working in Agriculture and I am proud to be a small part of it.
 

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Name: Lauren Taylor
Title: Digital Marketing Specialist
Talk to us about being a woman in agriculture:
I enjoy the freedom and trust that is given. You are encouraged to come up with new and creative ideas and run with them!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young lady just about to begin a career?
Surround yourself with people who you aspire to be.
 
Hey, before you go, make sure you watch this video of another super woman working at Co-Alliance. Linda Adair wears a lot of hats both at the co-op and also as a devoted mother and daughter:

Posted: 3/11/2022 4:24:40 PM by Lindsay Sankey | with 0 comments


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