For being an invaluable mentor, sponsor, and role model; for unrivaled coaching of women early in their careers; and for encouraging other men to help women engineers advance in the industry.
Randy Sergesketter is a senior vice president and senior advisor at John Deere, where he’s worked for more than 40 years. He oversees crop harvesting product delivery and provides strategic advice and analyses for critical issues facing the company. As a top executive at Deere, Sergesketter has used his position to mentor and coach young talent and has long been an advocate for women to be considered for leadership roles within the company.
When he joined Deere, few women worked in the factory, yet he sought to create a comfortable work environment for all. His advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), particularly in a factory setting, began long before DEI became an important initiative.
As his responsibilities and authority in the company increased, Sergesketter made mentoring women and other diverse employees a priority. His influence extends globally, and he has mentored many women in management positions at Deere sites across Europe and South America and in Russia, Israel, and India. He also made it a priority to mentor men to become advocates for women in their organizations. Through advocating for women, he has removed obstacles and helped all understand that women can remove their own obstacles when they know leadership has their back.
Sergesketter partnered with other strong advocates for women and sponsored the development and implementation of an Engineering Development Program to identify the skills and experiences common to successful engineers. New employees complete three to four rotational assignments to learn about Deere products and showcase their skills and potential for engineering managers. An intended outcome was manager biases about women engineers quickly dissolved resulting in the percentage of women engineers on their teams growing from 17% to 30%.
He also is involved in the John Deere Society of Women Engineers (JD SWE), which comprises employees who are SWE members and support the Society’s mission to encourage women to pursue engineering as a desirable career. JD SWE organizes activities related to SWE and champions the benefits of membership.
Sergesketter holds a B.S. in industrial technology from Purdue University and is recognized as a distinguished alumnus. He also holds an MBA from St. Ambrose University. He is involved in his undergraduate alma mater in a variety of ways. He serves on the Dean’s Advisory and Strategic Manufacturing Council at Purdue and has been Deere’s key executive for Purdue for nearly 20 years directing significant budget toward innovative and groundbreaking programs that target underrepresented students and young women to spark their interest in STEM careers and opportunities.
He and his wife, Deb, are strong university supporters, as well as United Way, Field of Hope, and other local charities. Their daughter, Amanda, is a plastic surgeon resident at the Duke University Medical Center. Their son, Teddy, is an engineering graduate student at Purdue.