Anne Alonzo Has a Vision for Food and Agriculture
Anne Alonzo, the SVP of external affairs and chief sustainability officer of Corteva Agriscience, is working hard to combat global food security
By Cristina Merrill
If anyone knows food, it’s Anne Alonzo.
Alonzo has had a long and fruitful career in food and agriculture in the public, corporate, and not-for-profit sectors. Her résumé even includes a White House-appointed role as the administrator of the federal marketing agency for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). In this role, she oversaw a multibillion-dollar budget and a workforce of 4,300 people.
Today, Alonzo is the senior vice president of external affairs and chief sustainability officer of Corteva Agriscience, a publicly traded, global pure-play agriculture company. She joined the company in early 2020, motivated by its mission to “enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume, ensuring progress for generations to come.”
Alonzo leads a team of 123 people around the world and her role oversees corporate communications, corporate responsibility, government and industry affairs, and product advocacy. She is proud to actively work with Corteva Agriscience to address issues such as food insecurity and climate change and is eager to work with the company to meet its sustainability goals.
The way Alonzo sees it, visible leadership is about leading by example and listening, and it’s more important than ever with the presence of COVID-19.
“Visible leadership, particularly at this challenging point in time, means that as leaders we need to show up mightily to model the purpose and values of our respective organizations,” she says. “Over the past few months at Corteva Agriscience, I’m so proud of the visible leadership that we’ve displayed to our employees via listening sessions and the formation of a ‘journey committee’ investing lots of effort and time to put together company-wide plans for a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplace where employees can bring their full selves to work.”
Alonzo is also proud to be part of an organization that has prioritized employee health during the COVID-19 pandemic. She notes that more than 50 percent of the company’s workforce is working remotely and that Corteva Agriscience has put various security and safety measures in place. Additionally, Corteva Agriscience has been open to input in order to design a workforce for the future, according to Alonzo, who has been working hard to make sure she is perceived as anything but a remote leader.
“With a global workforce and, also being six months new to my company and role, I’ve strived to be present and accessible,” she says. “While a work in progress, I’ve increasingly tried to demonstrate empathy, openness, and vulnerability to those in my direct care and throughout the company. It is key that folks feel connected, significant, and listened to. I held listening sessions with my new employees and got to know them, their hobbies, and their families; I virtually interact with my employees constantly. If nothing else, these challenging times have really brought home how we are in this together, the necessity of not taking each other for granted, and the importance of finding ways to help and celebrate one another.”