Kelsey Vance, Retail Sales Representative for Syngenta, uses math, science, and communications skills every day!  She loves her job because everyday is different and she gets to develop relationships with the farmers in her territory.  Does this sound like something you’d enjoy?

Kelsey obtained an Agricultural Transferable Degree from Illinois Central College, an Agribusiness and Agronomy Management Degree from Illinois State University, and is now maximizing those degrees with Syngenta.

Elizabeth: What made you choose this career path?

Kelsey: I was a senior, Dr. Spauldinretail salesmang assigned an agricultural sales ride along project. I rode with Ken, a Syngenta Salesman.  He asked if I had considered a sales career, I said, “no, not really.”  We visited several retailers and farmers cooked lunch for one group of farmers.  I had the opportunity to sit in a spray plane. Ken was a part of the farmers’ operations but he was also part of their family.  At the end of the day, he asked again if I would enjoy a career in sales. Without hesitation, I responded “If a career in sales consists of what you do, absolutely!” In June 2012, I started with Syngenta as Developmental Sales Representative. In May 2016, Ken retired and offered his territory to me, allowing me to move back home.

Elizabeth: What underlying sciences are behind your job?

Kelsey representing Syngenta on the left!
Kelsey representing Syngenta on the left!

Kelsey: Agronomy requires both math and science which play a large role in my career.  If you asked me ten years ago if I would have understood the life cycle of a nematode or been able to differentiate between the various species of foxtails I would have told you that you were crazy! However, the longer I spend in my career the more I learn and the more it excites me! While agronomy is very important, there is much more to my position than agronomy alone. You could be the smartest person in the world and still not be successful in sales. Sales requires communication and I believe communication is key to success in sales and several other businesses. Retailers and growers are very understanding if I have to call my agronomist or a technical expert to answer their question, as long as I get back to them with the correct answer. However, if I do not answer their call at all, or do not follow through with getting them the answer, they are not happy. I thrive on accuracy in a timely manner and follow-through!

Elizabeth: What stands out that helped you get to where you’re at today?

Kelsey: Growing up on my family farm with a loving family and amazing friends has without a doubt led me to where I am today! On the farm, I learned several life lessons at an early age like responsibility, patience, hard work and dedication. My parents taught my sister and me the importance of family, Church, morals and how to carry that on. My friends have been there for me through it all!

Elizabeth: Describe a “a day in the life of Kelsey”?

Kelsey: Every day my career is different, that is one reason why I love it! My favorite part of my job is spending time in the field with retailers and farmers, ensuring we are using the best crop protection program possible for their soil type, seed and geography. A large portion of my time is dedicated to business planning with retailers. As a sales representative, being an expert on your products takes time and patience. We have various training sessions, webinars and conference calls throughout the year to help us better understand our products. The new position I have accepted within Syngenta has given me the opportunity to work with the aerial applicators.  The airplanes allow us to spray several acres in a timely manner, which is crucial to certain diseases and insects. A couple weeks ago, I spent two days helping the pilots calibrate airplanes ensuring they were spraying the correct amount needed. The items I have listed above are merely a glimpse of what my days consist of.  While my career takes me several different directions my goal is to help farmers increase yields to provide food needed to feed our growing population.

Are you considering a career in agriculture yet?

EliLewis_Elizabethzabeth Lewis
Southern Illinois University student

Leave a Reply