Hope Lewis: Thriving in Sales with Teamwork and Trust
Hope Lewis has been with Ag Leader sales team for 7 years, serving as a Territory Manager for Wyoming, Nebraska, and Western Iowa. Based in Gothenburg, Nebraska, Lewis and her husband manage their small cow-calf herd and grow corn, alfalfa, and prairie hay. Since they’ve acquired their farm, Lewis has been excited to prove the benefits precision technology can have on their operation.
From her first collegiate precision ag class to her role now, Lewis has been driven by her love of learning and her strong work ethic. Reflecting on her experiences, Lewis shares how skill, teamwork, and trust have grown a vibrant Ag Leader network.
Q: Can you explain your role?
A: My job is to develop the dealer network, to recruit and train them. I keep dealers connected with the company and help them to utilize tools we have available to them. I visit customers with dealers to model good sales behavior and make sure customers feel seen by the company. The core of my job is staying connected with dealers on a regular basis and helping them do their jobs well.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: I love visiting customers and helping them understand who Ag Leader is. It’s important to get them to believe in the brand by communicating what we offer and what we can do for them, but also showing them that we are farmers just like they are. I think I understand their perspective at a personal level since my husband and I farm, and we are putting SureForce on our planter this year! Part of connecting with customers is the ability to understand the needs and goals of their operations.
Q: What are some strengths you bring to your territory and to the TM team?
A: I’m a very detail-oriented person. I’m also tactful and analytical. I ask a lot of questions and I’m always ready to learn. These skills have helped me develop solid relationships in my territory. I have worked hard to earn the trust and respect of my dealers and customers, and I count that as a great accomplishment.
Q: Were you ever concerned about being a woman in your desired field?
A: In college, when I was taking pre-requisite classes, I was so focused on getting into what I was learning- and enjoying it – that it never occurred to me. When I finally realized I was invested in ag, I already had a fair amount of experience, and I understood I had to be at least “on par” with most of the guys. I didn’t worry about it at all; it was a non-issue. I also came from a very progressive area where gender roles were less pronounced, so it wasn’t something I ever worried about before.
Q: Describe what it is like working on a team with mostly men?
A: I don’t have any experience otherwise, so I have nothing to compare it to. In some cases, I’m held to higher standards and other times lower standards- which doesn’t always feel good. I spend a lot of time and mental effort to make sure I’m doing what any of them would do with my current skillset and experience.
Q: Describe your relationships with your teammates?
A: My teammates are all very helpful, and communicative. Every single one of them is willing to reach out and help if someone is in need. I work closely with another TM because we have similar territories, so we end up collaborating for customer and dealer events, as well as content for weekly dealer communications. We are always bouncing ideas off each other and asking each other for advice. This happens a lot between other team members as well. I think that’s a reflection that our team has good synergy. At the end of the day, we are united by the goal of showing the world who Ag Leader is.
Q: What is your advice for young women wanting to get into the agriculture industry?
A: Work hard and be good at what you do. Focus on that. Try to do what is right and fair for everyone. Being willing to do what is right is so important.
Q: What women have inspired you?
A: Karol Aure-Flynn hired me for my first inside sales job. Karol and a few others started a precision farming megastore. She trained me on the job and became a mentor and friend to me. Karol is smart, driven, and unafraid to give advice when it’s needed. Karol has modeled for me what it looks like to believe in yourself and then do the legwork to make things happen. It is inspiring to see her do things just because she knew that she could!
Q: What motivates you to continue to work in the ag industry?
A: I would be doing something else if I didn’t love my job. I love working for a company that I believe in—both the products and the people I work with.
This is one of the stories of the hard-working and driven individuals that keep the wheels of ag technology adoption and innovation turning.
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