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DAA: Nancy E. Lange

Nancy E. Lange

, | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2012

Nancy Everett Lange began her 30-year career with Eli Lilly and Company in 1981 as a sales representative for agricultural chemicals with its Elanco division. She has advanced through management positions that reflect both her scientific knowledge and expertise in human relations. Today, as senior director of global recruiting and staffing, she leads the company’s human resources recruitment activities. Currently she and her team are supporting recruiting efforts in many of the 125 countries where Lilly has business. Lange grew up in Indianapolis, unconnected in any way to agriculture. At age 12, she boarded a bus to Tipton County, thrilled that the $1 hourly wage for detasseling corn was double her babysitting income. She would detassel corn for the next 10 years, becoming a crew boss and paying for college with her earnings. She also became interested in hybrid corn, so when it was time to declare a major at Purdue, Lange chose Agronomy, not entirely sure what it involved. She discovered she enjoyed the subject, worked as an undergraduate research assistant and was named Outstanding Senior Woman (now the Flora Roberts Award) when she graduated in Soil and Crop Management. Lange was responsible for Lilly’s U.S. recruiting and staffing until she was given her current, global assignment in 2010. Roughly half of her years at the company have been in human resources, but she has moved back and forth between the business and HR. “Working in discovery, development, regulatory, and medical — this helped me to understand the bigger picture of the company,” she says. “I saw the value chain of the products. I am familiar with many divisions of the company, which has been a benefit to me.” Lilly recognized her outstanding leadership in 2000 with the highest honor given to an employee, the Chairman’s Ovation Award. Lange and her husband Thomas have three children, two of whom are Purdue graduates. She also is active in their church, and her tutoring at a local elementary school has led her to further support a family for whom English is a second language.