Tara Krajewski never pictured her career path would lead her to agricultural manufacturing.
“I always had a focus that I wanted to work in sports entertainment,” says Krajewski, Creative Marketing Lead at Salford Group. “Agriculture wasn’t on my radar.”
After graduating from Conestoga College with an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration – Marketing, Krajewski began her career as the marketing manager for a luxury luggage company. Leading a team of two, Krajewski built shop-in-shops, organized plant tours, exhibited at trade shows, and coordinated photo shoots and in-store events.
“It was fun,” says Krajewski. “But I just never felt like it was the fit for me.”
Krajewski would later work for the upstart National Basketball League of Canada in its inaugural season, travelling with her team, booking in-game entertainment and managing social media, among many different roles in launching the brand.
But when she and her young family moved from Kitchener-Waterloo to a 50-acre farm in Salford, Ontario, she began looking for a marketing career closer to home that would offer a better work-life balance.
“[I was] trying to figure out ‘what’s the best step?’” says Krajewski. “I can’t be commuting; I can’t be travelling all the time.”
Krajewski came across a job posting in her new hometown at AMC member Salford Group and, after submitting her resume, called to speak with Marketing Manager Anson Boak to learn more about the position.
“He had me in for an interview the next day and I was like, ‘Let’s do this.’”
“This is a good fit for me in my family life, it’s close to my house and the role seems right up my alley and within my skill set.”
Though confident in her marketing skills, Krajewski felt intimidated at first going into an industry she knew little about, but soon found she was building her industry knowledge at a rapid pace.
“Being at Salford not knowing ag has not stopped me from being able to learn exponentially,” says Krajewski. “I never would have thought I would have learned this much – not just in marketing, but in agriculture from the people that I work with.”
Salford has tremendously benefited from Krajewski’s marketing experience from outside the agriculture industry. Though the company had typically emphasized finding candidates who have grown up around farming and ag, Brad Baker, Salford’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, notes ag companies must find ways to draw talent from other industries as the pool of farm-raised talent gets smaller.
“We went out of our comfort zone when we hired Tara, and we’re glad we did,” says Baker. “What Tara lacked in knowledge of the ag industry has been more than made up for by drawing on her previous experiences.”
Baker noted her expertise is helping to revolutionize Salford’s marketing efforts.
“Tara’s expertise in high fashion and sports management is helping Salford execute a premium brand strategy, develop key influencer relationships, and bring Salford’s social media presence to a level that is being noticed throughout the industry,” says Baker.
The average day for Krajewski, as Salford’s Creative Marketing Lead, is always different: one day could involve planning trade shows; another, curating social media content, connecting with YouTube influencers, or designing decals for new machinery.
Krajewski was surprised to learn how integral a role new technology plays in ag equipment – and how Canadian manufacturers in rural communities like Salford are among those leading the way.
“It’s exciting because we’re on [the] forefront of building new innovative machinery that no one has seen before and meeting needs of people all over the world in different types of environments,” says Krajewski.
“You see the Teslas of the world that are out there, and everyone knows who Tesla is, but there are things happening in ag that are on the same type of level.”
Krajewski also found she enjoyed the change of pace in living in a smaller community – something she’d never considered before.
“I absolutely love it,” says Krajewski. “I can never imagine going back to city life. I really love what I do and I love where I live and the sense of community.”
Long-term, Krajewski plans to continue her career in ag manufacturing while continuing to foster her skills in branding and digital marketing.
“It’s fun, it’s innovative and it’s changing,” says Krajewski. “There’s a lot on the horizon and being able to participate in that is exciting.”
“Keeping my career with Salford is something I can see for years to come.”
Krajewski’s advice to anyone looking to pursue a career in ag manufacturing is to be resourceful and learn as much as you can from others.
“I always say ‘no’s are free,” says Krajewski. “If you have a question, reach out to somebody [in the industry]. Everyone wants to share their experiences and see other people succeed.”
“That’s how I got my job at Salford. I called Anson and said ‘Hey, what do you do and tell me about this job. This is a good fit, I feel,’ – and it turned out to be.”