“People deserve the dignity of work and providing for their families,” new TechnoServe board member Divyangana “Divy” Kumar

Meet Divyangana “Divy” Kumar, TechnoServe’s new board member. Divy brings her global expertise leading Food Solutions Americas at Cargill to our mission.

TechnoServe's new Board member Divy Kumar listens with an expression of positive interest as a group of dark-haired women wearing saris face her. The woman on the far right is explaining how the group is using new regenerative agricultural practices. TechnoServe works with farmers on sustainable livelihoods. This image was taken by TechnoServe staff on location in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

TechnoServe is honored to welcome Divyangana “Divy” Kumar to our Board of Directors. Divy brings her global expertise as the Managing Director, Food Service NA for Food Solutions Americas at Cargill to help advance our mission. Prior to joining Cargill in 2013, she gained experience in operations and supply chain management at the Aditya Birla Group. Divy holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Indian School of Business.

In this Q&A, Divy shares her values, career path, and what she hopes to bring to her role on TechnoServe’s Board of Directors.

Could you share the core values that guide your personal life and professional priorities?

My core values include staying true to my commitments and always striving to give my best effort. I firmly believe there are no shortcuts to success; hard work is indispensable. I welcome new challenges in the workplace and place a high value on collaboration. My aspiration is to lead teams that excel in delivering value, fostering personal growth, and finding fulfillment in the collective journey.

Can you share key milestones from your career journey that have brought you to your current leadership role at Cargill?

I’ve been fortunate to have a diverse career journey, encountering a range of opportunities that have shaped my professional growth. I started in operations and supply chain management in India and then delved into strategy and mergers and acquisitions across Southeast Asia and Europe. Then, I transitioned to leadership transformation in Europe and strategic pricing initiatives both regionally and globally. Currently, I am the managing director for Cargill’s North American food service business.

Every challenge I face is a unique test of my adaptability and willingness to embrace learning as a continual process. This journey honed my courage, conviction, and curiosity, bringing me to where I am today. Above all, I’ve come to appreciate the transformative power of a cohesive team, an invaluable lesson learned through collaboration with individuals across Asia, Europe, and the United States.

From your vantage point, what do you see as the role of the private sector in alleviating global poverty at scale?

Growing up in India, I learned quickly that wealth or poverty has more to do with the lottery of our birth than our potential. Business plays a critical role in addressing poverty. It can provide opportunities to unlock human potential. At scale, business also plays a vital role in the economy by providing products, creating jobs, and contributing to growth and development.

The private sector must do its part, but it takes collaboration with government, NGOs, and local communities to drive meaningful and lasting impact. 

Cargill is a family-owned company. Our purpose is to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way. Our work with TechnoServe in Côte d’Ivoire is a great example of business-led social impact. 

Together, we are creating a more sustainable cocoa industry that benefits producers, their communities, and the Ivorian economy. In just one project in the cocoa value chain, we have worked together to:

  • Create nearly 1,200 new jobs,
  • Increased incomes by nearly $1 million, and
  • Helped mobilize over $15 million in private sector finance.

What initially piqued your interest in TechnoServe, and what aspects of our mission and approach resonate most with you?

I love TechnoServe’s market-based approach to building inclusive business models.

People deserve the dignity of work and the opportunity to provide for their families—this is about unlocking the potential in every person.”

I also love TechnoServe’s emphasis on including women in its initiatives. As Melinda French Gates said, “A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman.”

As a business leader and mother, I feel a sense of urgency to address the systemic challenges our world faces from climate change, inequality, hunger, and so much more. Working with TechnoServe is just one way I can do my part to focus on solutions. 

As a new board member, how do you envision leveraging your expertise and network?

I am thrilled to be joining the board and am eager to learn from other board members and TechnoServe’s staff. My background is a mix of working in high- and low-income economies to address complex food and agricultural challenges. 

I have led complex go-to-market strategies in low- and middle-income countries. In my previous roles at Cargill, I have also worked with some of our largest customers, such as McDonald’s and Nestlé, which allows me to make connections across value chains and reflect a broad commercial perspective. I look forward to bringing this experience to the board and learning from others’ experiences.

How might this commitment to TechnoServe add value to your life?

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been born into a family that provided me with an ideal childhood, top-tier education, and a nurturing environment. Following my education, I had the privilege to work for esteemed companies like Cargill, which offered me opportunities to work and learn globally.

This commitment is my way of giving back to society, albeit in a modest way. I’m energized by TechnoServe’s approach to societal issues, emphasizing empowerment rather than just temporary assistance. Moreover, I’m thrilled to connect with the exceptional individuals within the organization, from the board members to the dedicated staff.

Beyond your professional pursuits, what are your passions or hobbies outside of work? 

I enjoy traveling, yoga, hiking, reading books, visiting my family in India, and having my extended family in India visit my family in the U.S. It’s always a joy to spend time with my husband and 3.5-year-old daughter.

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