Last week I found myself in St. Louis surrounded by some of the most talented and smartest people I’ve ever met. I was given the unique opportunity to serve as a judge at the 2014 Monsanto Sustainable Yield Pledge Awards and it was an experience I will never forget. On the ride there, I read the book Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. I highly recommend this book. It’s an easy read and packed full of little nuggets of advice. The one that really stood out to me is…
“Quit picking fights and go make something.”
I often see people on social media pick fights because I think they want to entertain themselves. I thought this was appropriate since I was on my way to Monsanto, one of the most misunderstood companies in the world. Before you jump to conclusions about my trip, I want you to know that this was a really amazing experience and I’m truly humbled that I was asked to be apart of it. I can honestly say that I am a changed person because of being able to spend time with folks who are passionate about what they do. So sorry internet….while you were picking fights, apparently Monsanto was creating some amazing things.
After I arrived in St Louis, I had dinner with my buddy Janice, the social media coordinator for Monsanto. Can you even imagine what it’s like to have her job? I love social media, but sometimes people just want to pick fights. Janice is pretty amazing at her job and I respect her for always giving people more respect than they sometimes deserve. She’s creative and that’s an important quality to have when running social for such a large organization like Monsanto. Janice doesn’t pick fights, but she makes good things happen everyday at Monsanto through her kindness and creativity.
On Thursday, I met the other judges and we were able to tour Monsanto. I knew that Monsanto was global, but I didn’t realize the amazing projects they were working on ALL over the world. Each year monsanto employees nominate their peers for sustainability awards in different categories. The projects are voted on by a select committee, the employees, and a team of external judges. Being a startup weekend junkie, I was totally geeking out learning about the different teams and projects that won in each category. Again, it was innovation and creativity at it’s finest. The judges were asked to select the team they thought captured the heart of Monsanto. It was a difficult decision because all the teams were very worthy, but I want to take time and share with you two of the projects that really stood out to me.
For example, check out this video about Isabella and her team located in Peru. The team’s efforts resulted in a total water saving of 17 million gallons in 2013.
And here’s the team that won the judges choice. This team was able to use 15 acres of land to provide vegetables to more than 150,000 students and provide nutrition education to students in India.
I loved getting to spend time with both of these teams and I felt so inspired by getting to hear their stories and know them better. So before you are tempted to join in the march against monsanto, maybe you should march yourself to your mind palace and think about what you can do to create something of value. The world has enough critics, it’s time to be creative.
And here is the rest of the story……