John Deeres Rachel Bessonny is a Supplier Development Engineer

John Deere's Rachel Bessonny is a Supplier Development Engineer

 October 18, 2022

 Read time

Rachel Bessonny first joined John Deere via a summer internship, and she has never looked back.

After working with many teams across the business, Rachel is now a Senior Supplier Development Engineer.

Curious, resourceful and resilient, Rachel thrives in situations and roles where she can take a creative approach to problem-solving and work with others to find the best solution.

A career pathway dictated by personal and professional growth 

The path towards Rachel's role at John Deere was guided by the experiences she looked to gain in order to further her career.

Rachel focused on ensuring she gained a wide variety of experiences though cross-functional and even cross-divisional experiences.

After joining John Deere for a summer internship that she learnt about at the University of Illinois business career fair, Rachel joined the Supply Management Development Program after graduating. Rachel had rotations first in the company's Worldwide Logistics organization, then as a Production Buyer for the company's Construction and Forestry business in Dubuque, Iowa.

Working as a buyer helped Rachel realize that she thrived in the fast-paced environment that occurs when directly supporting manufacturing. "I knew that I wanted to pursue future roles in operations," adds Rachel. 

From there, Rachel took on a challenging assignment as a Quality Engineer in final assembly at one of John Deere's flagship factories, Harvester Works. Rachel describes this role as being very much out of her comfort zone, but it was a role where she was able to learn a significant amount.

"I was part of a diverse team that encouraged our strengths, and supported our weaknesses. This allowed for significant development in both technical and people skills. Working in a team that had a such high level of trust and collaboration allowed us to react quickly to critical production issues and make strong plans of action," comments Rachel. 

Rachel then moved to John Deere Seeding Moline and supported the organization as the Continuous Improvement Coordinator, focusing on bringing digital tools into the hands of their assembly teams. After becoming a Production Supervisor on third shift, before eventually moving into the role on 1st shift, Rachel has now transitioned into her current role as John Deere Senior Supplier Development Engineer.

This position takes all the skills and knowledge Rachel has learned from her previous roles and combines them into one role, supporting and developing John Deere suppliers to meet the needs of the business.

Partnering with suppliers and supporting customers 

Rachel describes her role as a consultant, who acts on behalf of John Deere while working with suppliers. In her role, Rachel draws on key strengths of problem-solving, communication, and persistence. 

"The goal is to support customers with more specific types of communication, joint action plans, and additional support from leadership to ensure that we see consistency with meeting delivery commitments," explains Rachel. "We recognize that the issues we see in our supply chains impact every downstream operation and by partnering with our suppliers at this level, we are best able to support our customers."

Collaborating with stakeholders both internally and externally presents Rachel with a variety of unique opportunities. This is why she believes it is imperative to be as transparent as possible, while working towards finding a common solution - "even when it may seem impossible," adds Rachel. 

Inspiring the next generation of manufacturers 

When asked about her favorite project she has enjoyed working on at John Deere, Rachel describes her experience as co-chair for Introduce a Girl to Manufacturing Day through John Deere Women in Manufacturing employee resource group. Rachel found it fulfilling to expose these young women to the countless opportunities afforded to those who pursue careers in manufacturing. 

"Showing the next generation that there are examples of inspirational women thriving with careers in operations, manufacturing, material flow, and more, was one of the most rewarding opportunities I've had during my time at John Deere," says Rachel.

Thriving alongside workplace friendships

Rachel's strong network and friends that she has developed over the years is one of the reasons she enjoys working for John Deere

"Working in the fast-paced manufacturing setting, it is important to have trusted peers to collaborate with and seek advice from to make decisions, sometimes with limited information. During my time as a Quality Engineer, I developed some of my strongest relationships and gained many my most trusted advisors. These are the people, mostly other women, whom I rely on for guidance both professionally and personally," says Rachel. 

Rachel is also proud to work for John Deere because she experiences the company values of integrity, quality, commitment, and innovation in action, every day. "Values are particularly key in the way we collaborate with our suppliers," adds Rachel.

Finding success in challenging roles

When looking to get women into more roles like hers, Rachel suggests experiential learning is key. Constant development means it's possible to advance, and it's rewarding to be successful in challenging fields. Rachel cites an example where she took part in John Deere's internal Production Supervisor Replacement Program. Rachel enjoyed support from managers and was able to participate in the program multiple times, and at several factories.

"This development opportunity arises periodically when Production Supervisors are out on vacation or for other extended absences. In each opportunity I was able to build my skills and grow my confidence," says Rachel. "Having this experience is what gave me an advantage when I applied and interviewed for the Production Supervisor role. These previous experiences were what enabled me to be successful right away when transitioning into the position."

Rachel encourages anyone, but especially women, to step outside their comfort zone and current skill set towards available learning opportunities. "You may discover a new passion for a different functional area and gain a better understanding of how to steer your career in that direction!" adds Rachel.

Don't be discouraged by rejection, don't be afraid to innovate 

Rachel has advice for women looking to work for John Deere or to pursue a manufacturing career: "Don't be discouraged by rejection. For every 'yes', you will probably get five people saying 'no' to you," explains Rachel.

Rachel also stresses the importance of working hard, being heard, and not being afraid to be an innovator who challenges the status quo. "These are qualities that make someone stand out, especially in manufacturing and technology-focused industries," adds Rachel.

Exploring new food and new cultures

Outside of her work with John Deere, Rachel is a self-confessed passionate foodie and explorer of new cultures.

"I love to grow vegetables in my garden to use in new recipes. Exploring a new city or even country through their cuisine is one of my favorite ways to get to know somewhere new," enthuses Rachel.

Inspired by Rachel's story and the support she has received at John Deere?

Women like Rachel are enjoying the new and exciting directions that a John Deere career can offer. 

Perfect career opportunities await at John Deere, so search the current job vacancies to find them.


Search jobs

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

Share this page:

  Linkedin     X     Instagram     Facebook     Press release 

Join our women's careers community