Our team met up with Aimee Hood, Regulatory and Scientific Engagement Lead at Bayer, to discuss finding a STEM career with impact, her path to a career with Bayer, her current work, and more.
1) In 2019, the Net Impact Conference is focused on widening the lens to tackle tough challenges like climate change and food insecurity. What's the best way for the next generation to do that?
I love the concept of “widening the lens.” Don’t we all learn and grow more when we push ourselves beyond our boundaries? Climate change and food insecurity are major challenges that my colleagues and I think about every day at Bayer. Tough challenges require creative and innovative solutions. I think the most important skill for the next generation in light of these global challenges is critical thinking. Too often today, the reputation of scientific innovation is threatened by emotional campaigns based on fear—not science. Take the time to learn about important topics from credible experts. Challenge your friends and family to do the same and question them when they are sharing misinformation.
2) Our Net Impact members from over 400 global chapters are really interested in corporate citizenship and how corporations are striving to make the world better. In what ways is Bayer focused on creating a more just and sustainable world?
We know that one of the biggest global challenges we face is food insecurity. By 2050, there will be almost 10 billion humans on this planet. At Bayer, we want to help ensure a safe supply of food, now and in the future. We will only be successful if our solutions also protect the environment and improve the quality of life of farmers and their families. From talking with farmers, I know that our products have changed their lives, land, and harvests for the better. For instance, I’ve visited with farmers who have been able to reduce their insecticide applications by more than 90% because of seeds with GMO technology that are able to more effectively resist pests. This is amazing to me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
3) What has surprised you the most in your work with Bayer?
A couple of things – first, I am amazed every day by the people that I work with. They are creative, brilliant, inspirational and purpose-driven. Also, even after 20 years, I learn something new every day. I am constantly learning new things about agriculture, farm life, breeding and other technical aspects of my work. I also embrace new ways to be the best leader, communicator, and mentor that I can be, and I am so grateful that Bayer encourages an environment where I can learn from others and emulate the best.
4) What advice do you have for young women looking to go into STEM careers?
Don’t be afraid to seek out coaching from those that you admire. Leaders I work with love to mentor others who have similar passions. Also, don’t avoid change – embrace it. Twenty years ago, when I started as a process engineer working in a lab, I would have never dreamed that this would be my job. I had a boss who saw a strength in me that I hadn’t yet realized and together we created an entirely new role for me focused on bridging the communication gap between scientists and broader audiences. I thought he was crazy and that I would fail miserably, but now I could not imagine doing anything else!
5) In 20 words or less, what is your one piece of advice for emerging impact leaders?
Be open to new challenges; often the best personal development comes out of opportunities that sound the most intimidating.
Aimee Hood is the Regulatory and Scientific Engagement Lead at Bayer. She works with a team of scientists to engage with the scientific community about the safety and benefits of Bayer’s portfolio of products. Aimee is a STEM advocate and is a member of Project Lead the Way at St. Dominic High School in St. Louis. She has a degree in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Follow Aimee on LinkedIn and Twitter.