Unlocking Innovation through Mentorship: Where mentorship and innovation thrive together. By Dr. Casey Bradley

Once again, I find my best ideas inspired by the remarkable individuals I’m fortunate to know. This week, a serendipitous meeting with my esteemed colleague and friend, Nell Masey O’Neill, ignited a spark of creativity within me. Simultaneously, I’ve embarked on a new mentoring journey with WFA and begun Technical Sales Coaching this month. It’s as if the universe is urging me to intertwine the threads of mentoring and innovation, to weave a tapestry of growth and transformation.

In these moments, two powerful mottos guide me through the complexities of today’s world: ‘faithfully serving through science + heart’ and ‘to be the change in the world I want to see.’ These mantras remind me that innovation and people are at the core of everything I do. It dawned on me some years ago that I may not possess superhuman abilities to change the entire world singlehandedly, but I can affect change one person at a time, creating small ripples that will inevitably grow into tidal waves of progress.

The Sunswine Group, my brainchild, is rooted in a profound commitment to two primary services: pioneering research and development and mentoring or coaching professionals along their unique career journeys. As I often express to others, I dedicate my efforts to championing the causes that reside close to my heart.

The Power of Mentorship in Innovation

There is an abundance of brilliant ideas floating within the minds of our colleagues across the agriculture industry. These ideas, brimming with the potential for transformative change, often remain locked away, unheard, and unshared. Why does this happen? It’s a question I’ve pondered countless times.

The answer, I believe, lies in the realm of self-confidence. Many individuals, regardless of age or experience, grapple with the fear of embarrassment or the potential consequences for their careers when it comes to sharing their innovative thoughts. This isn’t a trait exclusive to the younger generation; it’s a sentiment I’ve witnessed during coffee breaks, across all generations.

Mentoring, I’ve come to realize, is a powerful tool to combat this hesitation and unlock the untapped reservoirs of innovation. It’s a pathway for individuals to gain the self-assurance they need to voice their ideas and bring about meaningful change. It’s not just a hunch; it’s a fact. According to recent statistics, an impressive 88% of mentees reported a substantial increase in self-confidence through mentorship.

In this newsletter, we’ll delve deeper into the transformative potential of mentoring, not just in bolstering self-confidence but also in fostering a culture of innovation within our beloved agriculture industry. As you read on, keep an eye out for this striking quote and statistic, highlighted to emphasize the profound impact mentorship can have on one’s self-assuredness.”

Meet Nell Masey O’Neill

Nell and I met early in our careers at AB Vista. I was in Technical Service and Nell was in innovation, but at the time AB Vista was still small and nimble and our roles intersected on different projects. Since that time, we both had children and developed a bond. Nell may or may not know this, but she has been an inspiration and guiding light for me, especially when I needed it the most. The conversation over coffee at IPPE one year is partly what inspired “Coffee and Careers in Animal Science”. The hardest thing I ever had to do in my career was to leave AB Vista and choose my family over career.

After my departure, not only did Nell continue to excel at AB Vista but she was quickly promoted to Innovation Director for AB Agri.  And let me tell you the projects she worked on and the products that came to market have been very impressive. Through her leadership roles she was able to take a variety of leadership trainings. But with another corporate restructuring it is AB Agri’s loss and your gain. She is offering her talents to all the agriculture industry and will be coaching executives and teams on innovation. Because innovation is difficult from a leadership perspective, but also filled with highs and lows depending on the success of each project.

I hope you take the time to connect with Nell on LinkedIN or learn more about her coaching program at https://www.nellmaseyoneill.com and become the change you want to see in the world!

Nurturing Creativity and Ideas

In our exploration of mentoring’s transformative power, we’ve already uncovered how it can significantly boost self-assuredness among mentees. Now, let’s delve into another facet of this remarkable process: nurturing creativity and ideas.


That same survey, which revealed the profound increase in self-confidence, also unveiled a remarkable statistic—skill development among mentees surged by an impressive 77%. But that’s not all. Mentoring doesn’t just contribute to personal growth; it also plays a pivotal role in enhancing employee retention rates.

For any organization, success isn’t solely about immediate sales but entails devising a strategic plan for sustained prosperity. This is where the cultivation of creativity and ideas comes into play. As animal scientists, it’s easy to equate innovation solely with the development of new feed additives or cutting-edge gadgets. While these innovations are undeniably vital, true innovation goes beyond that.

Innovation is about teaching ourselves to perform tasks better, more efficiently, and at reduced costs. It’s about reimagining processes and workflows, seeking continuous improvement, and fostering a culture of innovation at every level.

Reflecting on my own experiences, I recall instances when leadership primarily focused on implementing travel restrictions and departmental cuts rather than seeking cost-effective solutions or tapping into the creative potential of their teams. As a farm manager, I learned early on how to thrive in lean environments, finding innovative, cost-effective solutions without compromising the talent and potential of our workforce.

Concluding Remarks

As we conclude this first part of our journey into the world of mentoring, innovation, and the profound impact they can have on our industry, I hope you’ve found inspiration and insights that resonate with you. We’ve explored the critical role of self-confidence in sharing innovative ideas, the transformative potential of mentorship, and the importance of nurturing creativity and ideas.

In the upcoming newsletters, we’ll continue to delve deeper into these themes, uncovering more pearls of wisdom and practical guidance. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll explore the mentor’s role in fostering innovation. Remember, it’s our collective efforts, our commitment to mentorship, and our passion for innovation that will propel us toward a future filled with progress and positive change in agriculture. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

In the meantime, don’t forget to connect with Nell on LinkedIn or explore her coaching program at https://www.nellmaseyoneill.com. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world together.


LinkedIN Post:

🚀 Unlocking Innovation: A Call to Corporate Leaders and Innovation Directors 🚀

In the fast-paced world of agriculture, innovation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the lifeblood of our industry. It’s what drives us forward, fuels our growth, and ensures a sustainable future for agriculture.

But here’s the thing: the most brilliant ideas often remain hidden, unspoken, and undiscovered. It’s not because they don’t exist; it’s because sometimes, all it takes is a boost of self-confidence and the right mentorship to turn a spark into a blazing fire of innovation.

🌟 Did you know that 88% of mentees report a significant increase in self-confidence through mentorship?

That’s where you, our corporate leaders, and innovation directors come in. You’re the architects of change, the catalysts of progress. By fostering a culture of mentorship within your organizations, you can tap into the untapped potential of your teams and empower them to shape the future of agriculture.

🌱 Mentorship isn’t just about sharing knowledge; it’s about nurturing creativity, developing skills, and creating a thriving ecosystem of innovation.

So, I invite you to join us on this journey. Let’s make mentorship a cornerstone of our organizations, a driving force behind innovation, and a beacon of inspiration for the next generation.

🤝 Reach out to me or connect with mentors like Nell Masey O’Neill, who are making a difference every day. Together, we can be the change we want to see in the world. Let’s unlock the full potential of our industry, one mentorship at a time.


#Mentorship #Innovation #Agriculture #Leadership #BeTheChange”