When reflecting on the defining moments of her career to date, Emma Ford recalls a time, fifteen years ago, when she noticed a poster on a wall at her university. Little did she know what a profound impact it would have on her future.
“It was for the John Deere Graduate Program and I thought ‘oh, if I could apply for that, and be successful at it, that would be a bit of a career dream’,”she said. To her delight, Emma realised that dream, successfully landing a graduate position which opened doors she could never have imagined. Her enthusiasm and passion for that job, and the many others she has held at John Deere since, including her current role as Director of Aftermarket and Customer Support, is contagious. “I have loved every second with the company and am very grateful to have worked here for as long as I have,” Emma said. A career at the company was a goal that was formed as a young girl growing up on a beef property in rural Victoria, which mainly used John Deere equipment.
“Throughout my career, I’ve had a number of invaluable experiences that I never could even have envisaged,” she said. “I think the excellent thing about the Graduate Program is just the variety it offers you. When you start, you’re given the chance to join a department, you’re assigned a buddy or a mentor in the organisation and that first graduate year was fantastic, and it’s a very memorable part of my time with the company.”
Emma believes the Graduate Program is ideal for ambitious, adventurous people who have a love of agriculture. “I’ve travelled to Germany, to India, through the United States multiple times and met with just wonderful people across the world that work for our company,” she said. “If you’re ready for an opportunity that will really stretch your capability, help you to explore new things, learn lots and work with really great people, it’s the right graduate program for you.”
Emma is also committed to John Deere’s mission to partner with farmers across the world to sustainably support and feed communities as the global population grows. “The work at John Deere is important for many reasons, but primarily, by 2030 we know there’s going to be nine billion people on this planet that need feeding and we feel we have a really critical role to play in that,” Emma said. “Ultimately, we help build tools for people who grow the best crops, harvest the best crops and use data and analytics to optimise that growing cycle.”
Emma said her career progression from Graduate to Director was the result of an inspiring and supportive workplace, and working towards a higher purpose. “We have lots of great opportunities here and lots of different skill sets that we look for, ultimately all you need is a passion for agriculture,” she said.