By Emily Green
As Monsanto’s Director of Millennial Engagement, Vance Crowe, MA ‘10, has no easy task. Vance was hired to help Monsanto join the collective global conversations about food, agriculture and the environment. He works to create a transparent environment where millennials can share their questions and concerns about Monsanto’s business practices. In a climate filled with many preconceptions, it can be difficult to bridge the cultural divide and engage young professionals in his company’s work. Luckily, through his understanding of cross-cultural negotiations, Vance is well-equipped for the challenge.
Vance first came to Seton Hall after spending two years in Kenya with the Peace Corps. During his time abroad, he took interest in the complex issue of poverty eradication. It soon became clear, however, that significant progress could not be made without first eliminating corruption. After returning to the U.S., Vance sought to find a solution to this issue at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. It didn’t take long before he discovered a new approach, through the insight of none other than Dr. Zheng Wang. Vance quickly became entranced with studying how to positively impact the way that groups of people interact. Through Dr. Wang’s Cross-Cultural Negotiations course, he realized the importance of trying to understand why people believe what they believe. While theory-heavy courses may be a bit dreary, Vance stresses that it’s crucial to truly internalize the ideas of the theory. By understanding the concepts, you can create your own theory about the way the world works and utilize it to influence your own approach to inciting change.
Throughout his career at Seton Hall, Vance co-wrote several articles with Dr. Wang about the application of cross-cultural negotiations. He highlights the importance of fostering great relationships with both your professors and peers. Vance cites his peers as a significant influence on the development of his skills, treasuring the opportunity to interact with different cultures in the comfort of the classroom. He was able to shift theory into practical application by developing a network of friends from across the globe.
When transitioning into your career field, Vance advocates looking beyond prestige to consider opportunities off the beaten path. It’s important to seek responsibility through opportunities where your skills are truly needed. His own career path was shaped by unexpected opportunities, from an internship on an international news show to a shift to the private sector. During the interview process, Vance feels that there is no greater virtue than curiosity. Ask insightful questions that demonstrate your genuine interest, and try to understand the company’s underlying virtues. As Monsanto’s Director of Millennial Engagement, Vance relays his company’s virtues to new audiences. While there is still much work to be done, his skills and passion for understanding show promise that he will be able to bridge the cultural divide to shift the young public’s perception.