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Cheryl Morley is president of the Animal Agricultural Group, Monsanto Company, St. Louis. She is responsible for managing all aspects of three businesses: Monsanto Dairy, Monsanto Choice Genetics and Monsanto Protein Technologies.

How did you become interested in the agriculture industry?

Cheryl Morley
My early career was in the food industry. I was working at the NutraSweet Company, another Monsanto division, when I transferred to the Agricultural Group in St. Louis. I did not know much about the industry but was very interested in plant biotechnologyŁ I have found agriculture to be fascinating because of its complexity in terms of the issues and opportunities from farm to retail in the U.S. and globally.

What are the key stops you have made in your career path?

I believe the key roles I have held were in finance, strategic planning, brand management and business development. These roles provided me with broad skills, which prepared me for general management.In addition to agriculture, I have worked in the pharmaceutical and food industries. These are very different industries, and the experiences also have broadened my thinking.

What is your advice to achieve success in this industry?

My advice, whether in the ag industry or others, is to take assignments in areas that you have a passion for. People who are passionate about the work they do are engaged, are great continuous learners and deliver excellent results. Always look for opportunities to enhance or learn new skills, demonstrate your value and network with others to find new opportunities or new things.

Is this the direction you originally thought your career path would take?

I never expected to be in the agricultural business and really had a lot of misperceptions about the industry. I do not think the agricultural industry does a great job of promoting itself. The industry is incredibly interesting and one that opens a number of doors to other industries and opportunities. My entry into agriculture was unplanned but has become one of the best "unexpected" things that has happened in my career. AM

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