The Colorado State University System welcomes Lauren Baer as executive director of Together We Grow, a consortium of interests from the business, education, government and nonprofit sectors focused on broadening the agriculture industry’s talent pipeline.
Baer brings to TWG nearly two decades of experience as a human resources professional and leader, primarily in the energy industry, an area in which she gained a deep understanding of both the challenges and opportunities related to building a more diverse workforce.
“Lauren is a proven leader who is deeply committed to this work and understands what it takes to collaborate effectively and build consensus,” said CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank. “We are excited to see what she and the Together We Grow team accomplish as they focus on producing the diverse agriculture workforce that our country needs.”
Before joining TWG in June, Baer most recently held the position of vice president for Human Resources and Community Investments at QEP Energy. Her leadership has been recognized in such publications as Profile, which highlighted her understanding of corporate culture, and the Denver Business Journal, which in 2020 named her to its list of the top women in energy.
Baer sees the executive director position at TWG as the “perfect intersection” of her professional experience and her interests in agriculture and sustainability.
“We recognize that addressing the challenges we face related to climate change and food security will take the ingenuity of a diverse workforce,” Baer said. “As we bring more people into this work and help them succeed, we are also opening up new possibilities for a sustainable future.”
Away from work, Baer is a committed gardener who grows much of the produce her family eats in the summer on the land outside her home in the foothills west of Denver.
The Together We Grow consortium includes 20 of world’s largest food and agriculture corporations – among them Nutrien, Kraft-Heinz, and Nabisco – 16 colleges and universities from across the country, and nearly two dozen government agencies and nonprofits, including FFA and the National 4-H Council.
With representatives from its member organizations, Together We Grow seeks to identify and share best practices in employee recruitment, hiring, training and other business concerns. It also sponsors research and invests in pilot programs designed to build an increasingly diverse workforce.
“This work is fundamentally about recognizing the need for creativity and innovation in finding ways to feed the world’s growing population,” Baer said. “It’s inspiring to partner with leaders who understand the need to increase awareness among youth about the exciting career options in agriculture and food while also building inclusive environments to help people from all backgrounds reach their goals.”
Baer works with TWG’s Board of Directors to plan the organization’s strategic direction. Chrystiane Junqueira, Bunge’s vice president for human resources, recently joined the six-member board, and board member Melissa Werneck, global chief people officer at the Kraft-Heinz Company, has become its chair.