Women have always fulfilled critical roles at Tyson Foods – women who work the farms day in and day out to provide food for the nation, women at the forefront in animal care and welfare, the girls in K12 schools we feed today who will lead us into the future tomorrow.
During the month of March, we’ve commemorated Women’s History Month, celebrating the vital role women have played in our business and our personal lives. On International Women’s Day on March 8, we found opportunities to #ChoosetoChallenge the world around us, to call out bias and inequality. Our Women’s Business Resource Group (BRG) – a consistent internal driver for an inclusive environment and gender diverse workforce – has shared impactful stories of women in our business who feed the world each day through various internal events, narratives and panels, acknowledging the importance of supporting women in the workplace.
Many of our WBRG members shared personal reflections about inspiring women who have helped pave the way and impacted their own journeys – both personally and professionally. Women who were resilient, who weren’t intimidated by dreams, limitations or glass ceilings. During Women’s History Month, we can all learn from that collective spirit.
Sara Imming, Sales Account Executive
I am one of eight girls. I am a daughter of a dedicated science teacher and charismatic military leader. Growing up in a house with seven sisters was fun and filled with a lot of personalities.
Despite a 17-year age gap between the youngest and the oldest, my family is very close, and I attribute that solely to my parents. They were always very involved in our lives, which made us girls very engaged in each other’s adventures, successes and growth.
My mom was a working mother, even with eight girls at home; that set the pace for me. I saw how much joy teaching brought to her, and I wanted that, too. I knew that no matter how many children I had, I also wanted to have a career. I knew I could do it because of her.
As we got older, my parents always asked us what we wanted to do with our lives. They always reassured us we could do anything, even if it sounded a little crazy. My mother empowered us, and we have continued to do that for each other into adulthood.
As the youngest, I not only had the opportunity to watch and learn from my mother but also my seven sisters. They showed me that no matter what obstacles you face, you can always overcome. I rely on them daily for their guidance, knowledge, tenacity and friendship.
While reflecting on Women’s History month, I want to thank them for helping make me who I am today. Having a mother dedicated to her work and family, brilliant sisters and a father who has always empowered his girls to go after whatever they want is a gift – a gift I plan to pass on.
Samantha Edwards, Analyst Customer Sales
I continue to be inspired by my maternal grandmother.
My grandfather has battled illness and many major medical events throughout my life, and I’ve watched my grandmother always put his healthcare first. Even in the most desperate times, she is strong for him, herself and our whole family. She has always been quick to reassure us that everything will be okay.
My grandfather’s medical episodes are more frequent in their older age, and he’s much slower to recover. There are even more challenges for her to overcome in this pandemic world. They live very far away from all family, so she is left to handle everything by herself.
She has had her own health setbacks as well but has never let that keep her from missing a beat in my grandfather’s care. They are still living in the same house they’ve lived in for the past 30+ years, so my grandmother keeps up with the house and maintenance on top of managing doctor’s appointments, medication regimens, therapy sessions, meals, shopping and researching the best care for my grandfather.
She has made many modifications to their home to make it comfortable for my grandfather. Her determination, selflessness, resilience, and thoughtful, persistent care are what motivate me to be more like her every day.
Barbara Masters, VP Regulatory Policy Food & Agriculture
Dr. Elsa Murano is an incredible woman, scientist, leader and person. She fled from communist Cuba with her family and ultimately found her way to Florida. She was encouraged by her mom to attend college and make her best life. Elsa exceeded her mother’s aspirations for her and received her Ph.D. in food science and technology.
I experienced Dr. Murano’s leadership and got to know her as a friend and mentor while she served as the US Undersecretary for Food Safety.
Some of her accomplishments include decreasing the rate of E. Coli O157:H7 illnesses by 42% and introducing greater regulation for contamination control. Dr. Murano went on to serve as the President of Texas A&M University where she provided free tuition for low-income students. She currently serves as the Director of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture.
Dr. Murano has received many awards for her work and her vision, including induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She has been successful because she always had a vision of where she was going – and she shared that vision and spread enthusiasm through collaboration and teamwork.
Dr. Murano believed in me and helped me become the first female FSIS Administrator in an organization that was 100 years old. She is willing to stand up for what she believes in, and I am grateful for the opportunities she provided myself and so many others.
Our culture of awareness and continued embrace of equity, inclusion and diversity creates an environment for women to live, work and thrive within the Tyson Foods family. As we all move forward together, it’s critical to seek out and brave and diverse people who challenge the status quo to make our world a better, more inclusive place.