The corporate headquarters of Cargill may be tucked away in a town of under five thousand people in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, but the Minnesota-based food corporation is a true global organization, present in over 70 countries and employing over 150,000 people.
The breadth of Cargill’s reach means the legal team needs to be comfortable working wherever there is business to be done—and that is almost everywhere. Since 2021, Jessie Collings-Baurier has headed up the global labor and employment law team. She has been with Cargill since 2011 when she joined as a senior labor and employment attorney. Prior to going in-house, she practiced at Dorsey & Whitney for seven years, primarily as a labor and employment litigator.
Collings-Baurier explains that working for a company like Cargill, with a strong people-first culture and commitment to doing the right thing, is one of the major reasons she loves her job. That culture transcends geography and business, and it allows her and her team to provide proactive advice to Cargill across the globe.
“I was always attracted to labor and employment law because I like people, and I enjoy helping others find the best possible solutions to complex situations involving people,” she explains. “Cargill is the perfect place for someone like me because the culture is fully aligned with my principles. The industries in which the organization operates are complicated, allowing me to help tackle complex issues from a people-first perspective.”
In 2017, Collings-Baurier volunteered to move to Cargill’s Belgium location to lead the Europe, Middle East, and Africa employment law team. While the position was a stretch, the strong people-first culture at Cargill made it much easier for her to adapt and concentrate on learning and development for herself and others. She explains that the time in Belgium was a tremendous gift to and growth opportunity for her personally, professionally, and most importantly, as a leader of people.
When asked what advice she has for developing lawyers, Collings-Baurier emphasized the need to be curious and flexible. “My experience has been that the more flexible you can be about opportunities presented to you and the more inclined you are to dig in and figure things out when you encounter new situations, the more likely you are to be successful,” she reflects. This perspective helped her during her time working in Europe, as well as upon her return to the United States just as the pandemic hit.
“Only a few months after I returned from Belgium, the COVID-19 lockdown in the US began,” she recalls. “We all remember what a frightening time that was, and employment law advice was so critical, especially in the early, confusing days of the pandemic.”
Collings-Baurier emphasizes Cargill’s people-first culture in handling the issues that arose during the pandemic, and credits that culture with the ability of her team to guide the organization on complicated issues in the most difficult of circumstances. As the world continues to adjust to a new normal, she especially looks forward to helping her team focus on new legislation in the US, Europe, Latin America.
“Jessie draws on her private practice experience and hones her focus on what really matters from a practical perspective and not theoretical risk. She has an understanding of Cargill’s values, and she thrives on input from diverse perspectives.”
—The Cozen O’Connor Team