Susanne Wasson is president of the crop protection business platform of Corteva Agriscience, leading the $7.2 billion business in the areas of profit and loss accountability, strategy, asset management, and research and development investment. A senior commercial executive with 32 years of experience in the global agriculture industry, she also is a member and past chapter president of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Education Organization for Women) and is chair of the Delta Delta Delta Foundation Crescent Fund Committee. She is on the board of United Way of Central Indiana, Agrinovus Indiana, Food Marketing Institute and the American Chemistry Council.
Something surprising: “I went to college with Garth Brooks.”
Admires most: “My grandmother who taught me so much about respect and philanthropy.”
Civic causes: “New Frontiers” campaign to build a new agriculture building at Oklahoma State University
Kip Tom is managing member of Tom Farms LLC, a seventh-
generation family-owned farming operation, and president of CereServ Inc. From 2019 to 2021, he served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, based in Rome. Tom also has been a crop-production consultant to various companies in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Today, he leads finance, strategy and production operations for Tom Farms and CereServ in the United States and Argentina. Kip‘s early professional role in Tom Farms was to serve as a production technician. Today, Tom Farms grows 17,000 acres of seed corn, corn and soybeans; it is a leading supplier of seed corn.
Kristina Lund is CEO of AES Indiana, leading a team of about 1,500 in what the company describes as its clean-energy transition. Under her leadership, the company is investing in new technologies to better meet customers‘ objectives of reliability, affordability and sustainability. It also is upgrading its transmission and distribution network with Smart Grid technology, and building solar and battery projects. Previously, Lund was AES‘ chief financial officer for Eurasia and Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, as well as chief product officer for carbon-free energy.
Favorite part of being a leader: “I love the experience of solving a complex problem with a team. It is exciting to see how people with complementary skill sets can create a whole solution that is so much more than the sum of the parts.”
Listening to: “Whatever our boys listen to, so a lot of hip-hop and rap these days.”
Walk-up song: “Let‘s Go Crazy,” by Prince
Mitch Frazier is president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, a not-for-profit focused on growing the agtech and agbioscience economy. He also has served as CEO of regional John Deere retailer Reynolds Farm Equipment and as a senior leader for tech organizations, including Salesforce and ExactTarget. Frazier began his career in public service. He led media relations for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels‘ economic development team and served in various U.S. Army Civilians leadership roles. He also served on active duty in the U.S. Army for five years, achieving the rank of sergeant.
Reading: “Brave Men,” by Ernie Pyle
Advice for young people: “Hard work and hustle are two critical factors for success. Both are 100% in your control.”
Admires most: Tech entrepreneur Scott Dorsey. “He set an example and demonstrated that a leader can be great at business and a great father.”
Michael Hooper has been president of Northern Indiana Public Service Co. since 2020 and is responsible for leading NiSource‘s natural gas and electric utility in Indiana, including its advanced energy and renewable portfolio strategy. Previously, he served as NIPSCO‘s senior vice president for regulatory and legislative affairs & strategy as well as senior vice president of electric operations and vice president of major projects. Hooper serves on the boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana and the Indiana Energy Association.
Something surprising: “I raise a few steers every year to help me stay connected to my [West Virginia] roots and satisfy a few customers along the way.”
Reading: “I‘m probably reading whatever‘s on MarketWatch
Advice for young people: “If you‘re not a little uncomfortable, you‘re not pushing hard enough.”
Donna Walker is president and CEO of Hoosier Energy, a not-for-profit power-generation and power-transmission cooperative providing wholesale electric service to 18 member distribution cooperatives in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. Walker joined the organization in 1995 and progressed to senior-level positions, including executive vice president and chief financial officer. She is a certified public accountant and previously worked as a business assurance manager for Coopers & Lybrand LLP in Indianapolis.
Hobby: “I started running about 10 years ago. … I‘ve now run more than 30 half-marathons, three marathons and one ultra-marathon. I‘m currently working on running a half-marathon in all 50 states.”
Advice for young people: “View rejection as ‘not the right time for you, yet‘ rather than a judgment on your abilities. Believing in the power of ‘yet‘ is key to being able to view challenges as ways to grow. It can transform not only the way we look at our mistakes, but others‘ as well.”
As founding CEO of Energy Systems Network, Paul Mitchell leads a not-for-profit that works to accelerate technology development and commercialization in the alternative energy and transportation sectors. ESN works with large companies, startups, universities and governments to develop and implement innovation pilot projects for new technologies and business models. Since its founding in 2009, ESN‘s projects have attracted more than $1 billion in investment. Key projects include the Battery Innovation Center and the Indy Autonomous Challenge.
Something surprising: “I was the lead singer of a rock band.”
Listening to: rock music (Broncho, Queens of the Stone Age, David Bowie)
Admires most: Mitch Daniels
Jeffrey Harrison became president and CEO of Citizens Energy Group in 2015 after serving the company in leadership roles that involved engineering, sustainability, market development, manufacturing and capital programming. He has worked in the utility industry more than 30 years, spending the first 13 years of his career with Indianapolis Power & Light. Harrison serves on the boards of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, United Way of Central Indiana, 16 Tech Community Corp., 500 Festival, Business Equity for Indy, Center for Leadership Development, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, and many other organizations.
Lessons learned: “Sometimes being a leader means knowing when to listen and follow the lead of others.”
Indiana love: “I have always loved the friendly people in Indiana. It is what has kept me here since graduating college. Hoosier hospitality is real.”
Worries: “I worry about those who struggle financially in our society and their ability to not just survive but thrive.”
Lawrence “Sonny” Beck is CEO of Beck‘s Superior Hybrids, where his business philosophy emphasizes quality, service and the importance of agronomic research to the future of the American farmer. Under his and his family‘s leadership, Beck‘s Hybrids has become the largest family-owned retail seed company and the third-largest seed brand in the United States, serving farmers throughout the Midwest and Mid-South. Beck has served on the Purdue Univerity board since 2013. He has served on the boards of Indiana Chamber of Commerce, American Seed Trade Association, Indiana Crop Improvement Association, a charter Indiana State Department of Agriculture Advisory Board, and Purdue Agriculture Dean‘s Advisory Council.
Favorite part of being a leader: “Seeing the plan come together that your team members have developed.”
Listening to: “Legends and Lies,” by Bill O‘Reilly
Advice for young people: “Study history. It repeats itself. Learn from it. Be ready for it.”
While growing up, Scott Tucker worked at Maple Leaf Farms, the family-owned duck business started by his grandfather in 1958, doing numerous tasks. These early experiences fueled his interest in becoming part of his family‘s business. Today, he serves as co-president of Maple Leaf Farms, North America‘s leading producer of ducks. The company currently employs 1,000 people at operations in Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and China, and is one of four primary breeders of White Pekin ducks in the world.
Something surprising: “I love to sing, but I don‘t do it in public very often.”
Advice for young people: “Be willing to start at the bottom and understand what people need to do at all levels of a business in order for it to succeed.”
Civic causes: Kosciusko County‘s local health foundation, K21 Health Foundation. It has supported the purchase of a previous YMCA for use by Baker Youth Club, expanded walking and bike paths across Kosciusko County, and contributed $1.5 million toward the construction of a community ice rink in Winona Lake.