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Tracie Eggers Distinguished Alumni 2020

Mentoring relationships at the core of Egger's journey

"I'm just trying to do my dream job in the middle of a pandemic," said Tracie Egger (B.S., Agricultural Communication, 1995; Ph.D. Agricultural Education and Curriculum & Instruction, 2009).

In the age of COVID-19, that dream job included daily Zoom meetings, but those meetings are still focused on helping others succeed. Egger is the leadership training specialist for AgReliant Genetics. She coaches teams, provides professional advice, and supports their leaders company-wide. Her work is all about helping others develop their potential and whole self, and it's part of why she was selected as a 2020 ASEC Distinguished Alumnus.

Tracie Egger coaches teams, provides advice, and supports leaders in her role as leadership training specialist for AgReliant Genetics. She has been a professional mentor throughout her career and has relied on her own mentors.
Tracie Egger coaches teams, provides advice, and supports leaders in her role as leadership training specialist for AgReliant Genetics. She has been a professional mentor throughout her career and has relied on her own mentors.

"I'm working my dream job, because I get to combine my love for agriculture and developing whole-hearted people," Egger said.

Mentoring others at AgReliant is a natural progression for Egger, who points out several mentors she has had throughout her life. In a way, she views helping others as a way to honor what so many have done for her.

Egger's mentorship journey began when she first stepped on Purdue's campus in the 1990s and connected with Dr. Mark Russell, then a faculty member in the Department of Animal Sciences. She had just transferred from Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois, where she judged livestock for two years.

"Dr. Russell valued the skills that I had and provided me with incredible opportunities to connect with people," Egger said. She recalls that Russell encouraged her to pursue several different opportunities to expand her knowledge and worldview.

Because of Russell's meaningful mentorship, Egger decided to take his travel course during her senior year. Little did she know this small decision would change her life trajectory. Through that course and conversations with Russell, Egger thought differently about her future.

Before Russell, Egger never considered graduate school as an option for her. But thanks to Russell's mentorship, Egger saw furthering her education not just a possibility, but something she could pursue successfully. She credits Russell with providing her with the confidence and encouragement she needed.

"I had gone to a junior college before Purdue and went to a small, rural high school. I did not think graduate school was for me," Egger said.

Russell was not the only mentor who made a difference for Egger. After earning her bachelor's degree, she went to Oklahoma State University. There, a trusted professor, Dr. James White pushed her to not just complete an agriculture-related internship for her master's program but write a thesis. He believed in her academic ability to do so.

From both Russell and White, Egger learned to never let her perception of what was possible limit her. This mindset helped her complete a master's degree and later a doctorate at Purdue. She has carried this lesson with her in every step of career and has shared it with many people along the way, even Purdue students.

Egger mentored several Purdue Agriculture students while working in the college's Office of Academic Programs. During her 20 years in the college, Egger developed countless meaningful relationships with mentees that were both personal and professional. She has left lasting impacts on students still at Purdue like Savannah Bordner, a junior agricultural communication major.

"Tracie has always pushed me to reach my highest aspirations and face difficult situations head on," Bordner said. "It has motivated me to be involved in activities that make a difference and mentor others as well. I still seek out Tracie's advice. She has been both an incredible mentor and friend."

Because of her own mentors, Egger has developed a leadership style that welcomes healthy striving and not always getting it right. She understands that she always has an opportunity to grow, and she has a desire to be better for others around her. A former mentee and Purdue Agriculture student, Samantha Bock (B.S., Agricultural Communication, 2010), saw this in Egger. It is exactly why Bock recruited Egger for her role at AgReliant Genetics in 2018.

Although Egger was not looking for a job change, Bock thought she'd be perfect for this role. Egger chose to dive into the uncertainty in the same way her mentors would've pushed her to do. Today at AgReliant, Egger is building profound relationships by mentoring and empowering her peers. Moreover, she gets to keep learning and growing herself.

"I just love my life," Egger said gratefully. "I don't feel like I've ever had a job, I've had relationships."

2020 ASEC Distinguished Alumnus Tracie Eggers

B.S., Agricultural Communication, 1995; Ph.D. Agricultural and Extension Education, 2009 Leadership Training Specialist AgReliant Genetics, Westfield, Indiana

Dr. Tracie Egger, is the Leadership Training Specialist at AgReliant Genetics in Westfield, Indiana. She develops and facilitates leadership training across the organization, including within the AgriGold and LG Seeds brands. By designing and implementing curriculum, she plays a critical role in supporting the continued development of all people managers in sales, research, production, and leadership roles. Additionally, she has been instrumental in leading strategy around the AgReliant company culture and is the immediate past president of the AgReliant Women's Network.

Egger began her academic path at Lake Land College, Mattoon, Illinois, where she was a member of their livestock judging team. After transferring to Purdue University, she received her bachelor's degree in Agricultural Communication in 1995. She earned her master's degree in Agricultural and Extension Education from Oklahoma State University, and then a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction through Agricultural Education from Purdue University.

Egger began her career with Purdue Agriculture in 1997 as a Purdue Extension Educator in Posey County, Indiana, doing both Agriculture/Natural Resources and 4-H/Youth Development programming. She was promoted to Extension Specialist in 2000. In 2001, she was named the Purdue College of Agriculture's Assistant Director in the Office of Academic Programs. In that position, she held roles, including pre-vet academic advisor, scholarship coordinator, director of career services, and most recently, the director of undergraduate recruitment and the Agriculture Ambassador program coordinator.

Egger is committed to providing outstanding learning and leadership experiences. She is passionate about helping others see what is right about who they are and how they can utilize their strengths to grow as professionals. She is an advocate of learning by doing through experiential opportunities and professional growth. In her role at AgReliant Genetics, Egger serves as secretary of the Indiana FFA Foundation Board, an education committee member of the AgriBusiness Council of Indiana, AgriNovus, Women in AgriBusiness, and is the company's liaison to the National FFA Organization and Agriculture Future of America Student Leader Organization.

Actively involved in the swine industry, Egger and her family have raised and shown Berkshires for more than 45 years. Egger enjoys judging youth livestock showmanship events and exhibiting breeding stock at national shows. Additionally, she enjoys mentoring and coaching FFA members who are participating in career development events and helping 4-H members with their livestock projects. She and her husband live in rural Carroll County, Indiana, and participate in several ministry teams at Delphi United Methodist Church.

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