Q&A with Jennifer Deitloff

Woman in a polka dot top and black jacket.Name: Jennifer Deitloff

Title: Vice President, Senior Associate General Counsel, and Chief Diversity Officer, Scoular

What is your background and how did you find your way into the agriculture industry?

I started my legal career at a multi-service law firm and after a few years, decided to move to in-house practice, joining the legal department at ConAgra Brands. Thereafter, I spent time at Link Snacks, and then joined the in-house team at The Scoular Company in 2017. Moving to an in-house role allowed me the opportunity to engage in more of a leadership role in corporate culture work, including diversity and inclusion activities both in the legal and ag industries.

Why is diversity important to you and your organization?

Our workforces should reflect the diverse demographics of the world around us. When we build diverse and inclusive teams, we all benefit in many ways. Our organizations will get stronger, more agile, and more innovative, and we will enhance our ability to attract top talent. For me personally, I have always gravitated to this work in some manner. I believe that when we intentionally build and invest in our own personal and professional networks, we expand our circles and our view of the world and become smarter, more empathetic, and more interesting humans.

What current diversity initiatives do you have planned or ongoing?

We formed our first diversity and inclusion counsel in January 2020 and thereafter rolled out our first formal diversity and inclusion strategy, from which will flow a lot of exciting activity. We will be kicking off a workshop series for our senior leaders focused on evolving our culture, where we will develop and enhance inclusive leadership skillsets. Plans for our second employee resource group is underway. We also have exciting learning and listening opportunities planned, including development of a pilot program aimed at engaging our employees in some of our more remote facilities.

In your opinion, what is the most exciting thing happening in the industry currently?

Innovation and the pace of change. Our industry is experiencing disruption and innovation at an incredible pace, with no sign of slowing down soon. This creates ample opportunity for new ideas and innovation, particularly around advances in technology and science, that not only change the way we think about food and ag businesses, but also more opportunity for companies to be engaged in meaningful ways to help solve societal problems related to hunger, nutrition, and the environment.

What is your vision for the future of agriculture?

I envision a world where we think of food and agriculture much more broadly and where organizations continue to look for meaningful ways to grow more diverse and inclusive workforces, as well as partnering with other organizations to create positive societal change. Given the exciting changes in the industry, how we think about the who and the what of agriculture is crucial. The work Together We Grow is doing around storytelling, pipeline, and inclusion will have positive ripple effects for both our current and future workforce.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about your organization or the agricultural industry?

It is a really exciting time to be in the food and agriculture industry. I am really proud to work for The Scoular Company as we continue to innovate toward changing trends and evolve our culture and impact on our communities.

About Together We Grow

Together We Grow is an agribusiness consortium with members that include major agricultural commodities companies, educational institutions, government agencies, and others committed to improving and expanding diversity in agribusiness. The consortium sponsors research and provides a platform to share best practices for building future workforce capacity; it will have its permanent home at the Spur Hydro building. For more information, visit twg.csusystem.edu.

About Spur: CSU System at the National Western Center

Coming in 2022: CSU System will open Spur, where innovative ideas and unforgettable experiences come to life at the National Western Center. Spur’s three buildings at the center of the landmark project in north Denver will ignite and fuel new ideas around water, food, and health and their impact on our lives and our world. Spur is where learning is open and accessible to all. Where researchers tackle the world’s most pressing problems around water, food, and health. Where art and culture challenge and surround you. Where rural and urban, local and global intersect. Learn more at csuspur.org.