Anne Thompson - From the fields of Yorkshire to the far flung fields of China and North America

All my early years were spent outside in the fields, I never wanted to be indoors

Growing up on a farm in rural Yorkshire, Anne Thompson spent her childhood weeding wheat or sugarbeet fields and helping with the harvest. “All my early years were spent outside in the fields, I never wanted to be indoors”, says Anne.

Having always been encouraged by her mother who, had she not been born in to the wrong generation, would have liked a career in sciences herself; Anne pursued a BSc in Biological Sciences from Birmingham University and a MSc in Technology of Crop Protection from Reading University. Her studies taught her a love of science and an understanding of how to gain answers to questions.

The combination of farming and science led Anne to a career in crop protection, joining Dow AgroSciences in 1982 as a Regional Technical Officer in the North of England. However, she did not remain in England for long, moving to Minnesota, America, in 1988. The move was certainly a challenge, with weeds and crops which she had never before encountered. However, the support of fantastic people in both R&D and commercial made the transition far easier.

“I loved every minute of it, and gained confidence in my own abilities to work anywhere.” She recalls.

Anne continued to travel with her work when she became the European Technical Development Manager and later BioExpert, spending many hours in field trials across Europe, the Middle East, China and North America. “I enjoyed working with many different scientists all working to a common goal - the successful launch of florasulam, still a vital product today.”

In 2002, Anne took on a People Leader role managing people in CPRD and Regulatory. Though daunting to begin with, building strong relationships with Regulatory authorities and influencers paid huge dividends in the negotiations. “Today, I enjoy mentoring new people and helping them grow,” she reflects, “to me, influencing agencies or organizations is the same as solving a scientific problem. You have an issue you want to resolve and you look at how to gain the best outcome possible.”

Similarly, Anne enjoys presentations, relishing the interaction with the audience. “Recently I gave a presentation on Dow’s AgroSciences to a women’s careers forum at Imperial College London and I gained a lot of satisfaction from talking to young people about the possibilities for the future.”

Yet a passion for the countryside and fresh air remains central to Anne’s life, with most weekends and holidays being spent outdoors cycling or walking with her husband.