Beth Ford Is First Openly Gay Woman To Run A Fortune 500 Company
The group’s latest financial results showed net sales of $2.9bn (£2.1bn) and net earnings of $66m for the third quarter ending 30 September, 2020. It also clocked $54m in year-over-year earnings and liquidity up 70%.
Ford downplays the significance of her accomplishment and in her words, she has “made it a priority to share the message that everyone benefits when we bring our authentic selves to all aspects of our lives, including work.”
“The Land O'Lakes Pride Alliance Employee Resource Group, exists to provide a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ employees and their allies,” she says.
“Through this, we represent Land O'Lakes' commitment to LGBTQ employees, customers and members; recognizing their contributions and value in the marketplace.”
Land O’Lakes also has been one of the only Fortune 500 companies in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis–Saint Paul) to celebrate Transgender Awareness for the last two years (was named a top-rated workplace by Indeed and place #23 on Forbes’ Best Employers list).
Ford accounted her experiences saying, "I’ve worked in many traditionally male-dominated industries throughout my career and each presented its own unique challenge in terms of who I felt I could – or could not – be in those roles. Overcoming those took confidence, trust, and the support and encouragement of those who knew me best."
When asked about diversity and inclusion she said, "With Land O’Lakes’ farmer-owned cooperative structure, our success is built from diverse perspectives. Everyone benefits when we bring our authentic selves to all aspects of our lives, including our work. Diverse voices are absolutely critical.
In light of the many divisions 2020 brought, it was especially important to re-examine and re-commit to D&I throughout our organization. And that’s what we did, all the while acknowledging there is always more work to be done.
I’ve also made it a priority to recruit and retain a diverse workforce. We make it clear that every employee is valued for exactly who they are. We expect our customers and employees to feel the same."
Finally, Ford shared her views on what defines success and how she intends to help the US, "As an executive with responsibility and oversight for a Fortune 250 company, performance is the bottom line, with a clear focus on the people who deliver that performance. In addition, we have a responsibility to advocate for our members and the communities in which they live and work.
That’s why one of Land O’Lakes’ most important initiatives is the American Connection Project. Broadband connectivity is critical for success and, as a champion for our communities and others lacking connection, we know our future success is dependent on it."
Her best advice to herself, "Go on life’s journey, being the “unique you” and caring about others’ success, as well as your own, because that will be your true legacy."