Connie Banks: Syngenta Integrated Account Lead Dedicated to the Industry
Establishing new roots
In 1987 Banks began her career as a sales rep at Syngenta. She spent 25 years in that role, then assumed her current position as an integrated account lead. After moving 10 times in 14 years, Banks was ready to settle down in Texas.
“I really enjoyed sales, but now I’ve been able to have a larger role without sacrificing where I live and where my roots are,” says Banks.
As an integrated account lead, Banks calls on larger regional accounts as their sales and programs contact. Her purpose, though, is helping people.
“I love the opportunity to see someone different every day and be outside and help people,” she says. “I think of that as my role: to help people make money, whether it’s a retailer or a farmer. This is a service job and a problem-solving role. I like being the person retailers and farmers come to when they have a problem and being able to offer them advice and help. Helping them makes me successful.”
"I like being the person retailers and farmers come to when they have a problem and being able to offer them advice and help. Helping them makes me successful."
A Woman in Ag
Despite growing up in the fields, when Banks began planning her future, it was still unusual for a female to pursue a career in the ag industry.
“The first time I mentioned to my family I might go to college and major in agriculture, my mom said ‘No you won’t. You’re going to be a teacher,’” Banks says. “It was just very unusual for the time, but both my parents have always supported me.”
Throughout her career, Banks was often the only female on a team or in agricultural classes. This never discouraged her. In fact, she found it to be an advantage at times due to a “curiosity factor.” Mostly though, Banks found that it isn’t about gender. Instead, she chalks success up to credibility. Becoming a knowledgeable resource for her customers showed that they could trust and rely on her input.
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Banks’ upbringing on her family’s farm guided her decision to work in ag, but she encourages young women from all walks of life to consider a career in the industry.
“I would say the same thing to a young woman as I would say to a young man who is interested in ag,” she says. “It’s a great career, and just like any career, there will be lots of ups and downs. Sometimes, your biggest contributions are during the downs. It will be different every year. It will be different every day, but it’s a very satisfying career.” In addition to receiving innovator and leadership awards in her district, Banks is also an active member of several industry associations, including the Texas Agricultural Aviation Association and the Texas Ag Industries Association.
“I think it’s important to be involved in the industry—to understand the problems and opportunities,” she says. “The associations are how we represent ourselves in a larger sense. Agriculture is under scrutiny, so it’s important to present ourselves positively and work together to do that.”
Doug Kirkbride: Syngenta Agronomist Works to Help Growers Attain Their Goals
Invigorated by the science of soil, Kirkbride puts his knowledge to use to help growers and retailers.