Jeanne McCaherty - Cargill
Vice President/Regional Director, North and South Americas Texturizing Solutions
Jeanne McCaherty is Cargill Vice-President and Regional Director for North and South Americas Texturizing Solutions business. Jeanne currently has full responsibility for this business that manufactures, trades, and sells food ingredients that give finished food products texture. These ingredients include dairy cultures, food starches, pectins, seaweed extracts, xanthan gum, lecithin, and others.
Jeanne joined Cargill’s Central Research as a project chemist and has held a variety of technical and business leadership roles in the company throughout her career.
Jeanne has a BS in Chemistry and Biology and a MS in Biochemistry.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
A STEM education provides a solid foundation that is critical to compete in the global marketplace. STEM education helps drive technology advances in new product development and allows new business growth. When applied to corporate opportunities, technology can also reduce costs to keep existing businesses stay competitive. In the end, a STEM education is critical to generate a workforce that will create new business and ensure the competitiveness of our existing corporations.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
It is critical for a company’s senior leaders to truly embrace technology and recognize that it is a driver to efficiency, growth, and innovation. In addition, it is important for leaders to provide a forum for talent development and growth so they can retain top STEM employees. Proper recognition and incentives for STEM contributors are also important to have sustainable, robust programs.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
As leaders, we need to provide an environment in which women feel that they can contribute, grow, develop and succeed, without having to sacrifice other aspects of their lives. Companies must have a culture in which it is okay to choose a senior leadership path and also be able to balance other aspects of their lives.
What about STEM gives you passion?
I’m passionate about better serving our customers through the application of new technology. I love to be involved in the creation and commercialization of new products that bring differentiation to our customers. This makes our customers more competitive and ultimately makes Cargill more successful. Additionally, I love solving complex problems using technology. Analytical advances have helped us solve problems in ways we never thought possible even a few years ago in our products and our manufacturing processes. And the technology continues to get better and better every year.
How is your company innovating to promote STEM?
Cargill has applied a very disciplined career development approach that helps our employees define their career path. In the STEM workforce, a dual ladder allows employees to determine a leadership track or an individual contributor track. Employees determine their career goals and gaps in skills or experiences to achieve these goals. Overall workforce planning tools are then applied to assign individuals to new projects or businesses to fill these gaps. This not only is motivating for the employees but also ensures Cargill is maximizing the value these employees can bring to the company.