Archived: Diversity Leadership: Melissa Harper, Monsanto

Melissa Harper

Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, Diversity & Inclusion and HR Compliance


Half of Monsanto‘s employees live outside the U.S., so understanding the challenges of a global workforce is critical. Decades of experience in strategic sourcing led Melissa Harper to the multinational agricultural company, and even though she doesn’t come from a farming background, she is “motivated by what it takes to contribute to the world’s growing population,” she said at DiversityInc’s Innovation Fest! (see video).

Harper has been a key player in developing Monsanto’s successful talent-acquisition program, which integrates recruitment with diversity, inclusion and employee engagement. “We had to transform from being very reactive and transactional to more strategic and proactive,” says Harper. “Our recruitment and talent efforts are very deliberate.”

Prior to joining Monsanto, Harper was Senior Vice President and Recruiting Manager for the Wealth Management Group at Wachovia. She has worked in human resources at Whirlpool, Allstate and as a consultant in the executive-search, strategic-sourcing and talent-acquisition fields. Harper began her career with the executive-search firm Spencer Stuart.

She sits on the board of directors of the YMCA of Greater St. Louis and is a member of the International Association of Corporate and Professional Recruiters. Harper earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago and an MBA from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management.

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