Ten Leaders to Know:Stacey Pellet (Full Profile)

August 14, 2023 | Ten Leaders to Know

Manager, State Public Affairs

John Deere

Birth City
Orange County, California

Current City
Atlantic, IA

How did you get where you are today?
The road to today has been filled with accomplishing many things I swore I would NEVER do. I have a degree from Texas A&M University in Ag Business and an MBA from Texas Tech University in International Business- so I thought the world was my oyster. Upon graduating college, I developed a written list of things I promised myself I would never do, including teaching for a living, leaving Texas or marrying a farmer. All three, as well as the other seven on that list, have been the best choices I've made. More than 3/4 of my almost 25 years at Deere have been in some sort of educational capacity. I absolutely love living in Iowa and marrying my farmer was my smartest decision. I have had several roles during my career that were far outside my comfort zone of knowledge or expertise - but those have been the ones that have enabled me to really grow. I didn't plan this road but have really loved the journey in getting here!

What excites you the most about the business you work in?
Agriculture is such an exciting industry right now. It is evolving rapidly with innovations in automation, autonomy, precision farming capabilities and seed genetics. The demand to not only feed the world, but do so in a sustainable manner, continues to grow exponentially each year. These advancements enable producers to yield more on the same amount of land, while simultaneously reducing water, chemical and fertilizer. Applying exactly what each individual plant needs, when it needs it and in a manner that ensures optimal nutrient uptake, while not overapplying unnecessary product, is a win-win for the producer, the environment and ultimately the consumer. This is a very high-tech, dynamic and progressive industry and I can't imagine being involved in anything else.

What do you see as the next big trend in your industry?
There are several trends on the horizon that are very interesting. Automation and autonomy are ones that people are likely already hearing about as machines become more technologically advanced. We are also moving toward the ability to understand, through automation and precision ag data, the agronomics of managing at the plant level. Producers used to make decisions such as how much seed, fertilizer or herbicide to apply by looking at an entire field as one unit. Then we moved to evaluating on a per-acre basis. And now, technology is advancing so we can begin to manage each individual plant. Think about that! 36,000 corn seeds per acre and we can manage each and every one as a single entity. Finally, the development of new markets for crops is really evolving, whether it is sustainable aviation fuel, new uses for corn, oil seed cover crops or whatever may come next - it is exciting to see what possibilities lie ahead.

Where do you look for inspiration or to generate new ideas?
There is inspiration everywhere if you are willing to look for it. By nature, I am a curious person - so if given the opportunity to learn something new, I will be a sponge. I ask lots of questions and enjoy collaborating with others. This environment, which often must be created, is where I find inspiration. Everyone has something to offer if you take the time to ask and genuinely listen to their answer. A million ideas may be running through my head at any given time, but they generally come to fruition after watching, learning from and interacting with others.

What does effective leadership mean to you?
Leadership can come in many forms. Someone who is positive, strives for excellence and inspires others is a leader. Additionally, individuals who are humble, serve others, and exude honesty and transparency are also leaders. Everyone has the opportunity to be a leader in whatever situation they find themselves in. Whether it's being the loudest cheerleader in the dugout, the captain of the team on the field, the quiet encourager in the office or the hardest worker in the pack - leadership is a choice. But it's important to also remember if others aren't following you, then you aren't leading - you're on a solo walk. Each of us have gifts that we can utilize to be a leader. I am inspired by people who both utilize their talents to lead, but also are humble enough to be willing to be led, As a leader, this is who I strive to be.

What is your favorite thing about Iowa?
There is so much beauty here! I love the different seasons and all that each one brings. Every time I think spring is my favorite with new growth, beautiful flowers and crops peeking out of the ground, I change my mind when fall rolls around with the stunning colors, outdoor activities and harvest. Then winter snows take my breath away and summer days are so perfect, they just make you thankful to be here. The people here truly are wonderful. Atlantic, the community we live in, has been a tremendous place to raise our family. Any activity you could hope to do is either available in our state, or only a short drive away. I have fallen in love with Iowa and truly feel like it is home.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Never say Never! If I had known I would do every single thing on my "I will never..." list, I'd have been more creative with something like "I will never be a millionaire". All kidding aside, saying "I will never..." really was a fear of the unknown - but the unknown has been a lot of fun. I have had the opportunity to do things, travel places and meet people I would have if I had stuck to my determination to "never". Try it - you will most likely surprise yourself and wind up loving it!

Why are you a member of ABI?
ABI is a tremendous organization to be a part of. They go above and beyond to understand not only our businesses, but our industries as well. This is important as they partner with us to grow, strengthen and develop our presence in Iowa. The ABI staff is very well known and respected with state leaders at all levels. The strength of Iowa depends on the health of the business community and the industries and customers we serve. Because ABI has members in all sectors, this enables them to be a strong, consistent voice at the table. We are very fortunate to have such a professional team advocating for and working alongside us in Iowa!

Who do you look to for mentorship?
In a general sense, I believe mentors are individuals who embody qualities I want to emulate in my life. Faith and family are my top two priorities, and I seek to learn from those who have effectively prioritized these areas, while still achieving professional success. I also watch as leaders advance in the ranks of their respective organizations. Those who remain true to who they were before they officially became a "leader" usually have character traits I admire and hope to develop. People who make you feel important, regardless of how busy they might be, also inspire me. Sometimes mentorship isn't an actual arrangement, but a relationship I work to develop as I know I will be a better person for it. I value my husband's opinion above all others and will always ask his advice. I feel very fortunate to have many people in my life who fulfill the mentor role for me,

As a business leader, what book would you recommend for personal or professional growth?
When I was in 6th grade, my dad told me that I would become what I filled my find with. And as has usually been the case in my life, my dad was 100% correct. If we consume positive and uplifting materials, we will thus become positive and uplifting people... and of course the reverse is true. The two professional books I hold in high esteem are classics: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The premise in both really focuses on our internal thought leadership. As I tell our children often, there is no story more powerful or influential over us than the one we tell ourselves. And - as a result, our success is a direct outpouring of the narrative running through our minds. Our efforts, work ethic, ability to overcome adversity, creativity and drive to achieve goals will improve tremendously if we have positive, constructive thoughts. Whether it is a book, podcast, movie, article, music or anything else that has the ability to influence us... I recommend it be one that is aligned with who you want to become.