Emily Getty Learns How to Create Positive Change in the Food System

Growing up on a farm in Upstate New York helped shape Emily Getty’s work ethic and determination to make things better.

sustainable food system leadership

Getty is a global corporate social responsibility leader at Elanco, a global animal health company that develops products and knowledge services to prevent and treat disease in food animals and pets in more than 90 countries.  She helps create pathways for employees to connect with social causes, including food security and the human-animal bond.

The daughter of dairy producers, Getty shares a passion and purpose of communicating the realities of agriculture with integrity to food consumers worldwide. She graduated from Cornell University and has worked for a variety of agricultural companies, including Heifer International and Stonyfield.

“I’ve always wanted to make a difference,” says Getty, who lives near her family’s farm in Saratoga County, New York. “Growing up in that context changes the way you think about what you want to do. Food production is who I am.”

In 2018, Getty completed UVM’s Breakthrough Leaders in Sustainable Food Systems Professional Certificate, a three-week program that develops visionary leaders to help tackle solutions to the social, environmental, diet, and health impacts of the food system.

She enrolled in the food system leadership course while working for Stonyfield to help better understand how she could help support New England’s dairy industry, specifically farmers dealing with the challenge of low milk prices.

“The program helped me communicate what we at Stonyfield were doing as a company,” she says. “It helped me learn how to communicate the moving parts in the food system that were contributing to problems at the farm-level.”

Using Her Experiences and Senses to Set a Positive Tone

Getty’s family farm stewards over 4,000 acres and is milking over 2,000 cows. Her experience on the farm helped prepare her to take a more global approach to the food system.

“I try to be thoughtful about inclusivity, and I’m fearlessly motivated. I’m fast moving.” says Getty, who describes herself as passionate and endlessly curious. “Agriculture production in the United States is heavily embedded in systems, and my upbringing forced me to think about things in this way.”

In her current job at Elanco, she’s focused on looking forward and creating positive change.

“One of the key lessons I learned at UVM was that leadership isn’t just about leading by example, but leading by using all of your senses,” she says. “A lot of my work is about engaging employees about what they care about. I have to slow down and sense what is happening with employees. My job is to support our purpose-driven culture with positive energy and influence without authority.”

The best part of her job? Doing something that matters, she says.

“I’m able to empower people to make a difference in their own community,” she says. “It feels good.”

Learn about UVM’s Breakthrough Leaders in Sustainable Food Systems Professional Certificate

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