Crystal Mathews Steen - 2008
Crystal Matthews Steen

2009 Winner

University of Florida

About Crystal

What are you doing now? I am a Senior HR Business Partner with Textron, a multi-industry Fortune 500 company. My first role had responsibility for leadership and organizational development at a military aircraft plant. Today I manage global talent development at our business unit that manufactures turfgrass maintenance equipment.

How did the W.D. Farr Scholarship help you achieve your goals? The W.D. Farr Scholarship not only enabled me to finish my PhD as a first generation college student who worked my way through school, but allowed me to do some really meaningful research that I was passionate about along the way. My dissertation was a study of Volunteer Leadership on the U.S. Beef Industry, and I like to believe that W.D. would have been intrigued by and proud of this body of work.

What is your advice for student to be successful? Begin your graduate studies with the end in mind.  For me, completing my PhD was about passion and persistence.  What kept me driving and going was the vision I had in mind for how I could use this research and this degree to make a lasting contribution to the industry that I’m so passionate about serving.  You are more likely stay on track and remain focused when you have the vision of the end goal in mind.

What do you think was W.D. Farr's most important trait? Vision. W.D. Farr was a visionary leader for our industry, and I am thankful for his leadership, legacy and impact.  He saw things differently, and was always looking for a better way – for production, for profitability, and to care for our natural resources.  Because he was willing to act upon what he believed in, W.D. Farr shaped the future of the beef industry while providing leadership over decades that has contributed to his lasting legacy.