Women in Agribusiness: Stephanie Cole


When Stephanie Cole was a young girl growing up on a grain and livestock farm in Plainfield, IL, she knew she wanted to work in agriculture; in fact, she even knew that she wanted to work in the seed industry. That kind of laser focus has led Cole to a successful career with Mycogen Seeds division of Dow AgroSciencesas an account rep. 

Throughout her childhood, Cole participated in 4H, and later as a successful volleyball, softball and basketball athlete, all of which have given her the solid work ethic and skills needed to stay focused throughout difficult challenges in her career. 

While Cole was playing volleyball at Parkland College, she landed multiple internships, one of which eventually led her to a full-time position with Mycogen Seeds. According to Cole, “Internships are a great way to figure out your interests and, more importantly, what you don’t want to do for a career. I discovered that I didn't want to be behind a desk every day.” 

Cole went on to get her bachelor's degree in Agribusiness, Farm and Financial Management from the University of Illinois: “My brother worked in the Ag field as well, and I was able to see some of the potential for careers for women in agriculture,” she said.

13 years later, Cole is still with Mycogen and loves the relationship-based business of seed sales. 

“You have to love it, because sales is a 365 day a year job,” she described. 

Cole has been honored by her co-workers as District MVP two times, and has been awarded the Dow” Pinnacle award” for sales excellence as well as the “Relentless Pursuit” award.

According to Cole, her job requires a strong work ethic and a positive attitude. She loves being there as a resource for her customers who are making the important decision of seed selection, andshe works with agronomists, chemical experts, genetic specialists and others to bring a high level of service to her customers’ buying decisions. 

Cole has seen a big changes for women in the ag field, and hopes that her career and others will inspire her own daughter, who is 7, to become involved in ag. Her advice for women in the field is to “Be true to yourself, be confident, and surround yourself with good people who are influential and knowledgeable.” She explained that it also helps to have thick skin and a strong personality, traits that come naturally to farm kids who aren't afraid to get dirty or work hard.