UQ ChangeMakers in Singapore: Bethwyn Todd

Photo of Singapore at night featuring the Artscience museum with the text 'UQ ChangeMakers in Singapore: Bethwyn Todd'

Image: Unsplash/Zhu Hongzhi

Image: Unsplash/Zhu Hongzhi

From a dairy farm in Beaudesert to the metropolitan lights of Singapore, Bethwyn Todd speaks to Contact about her career journey so far and why she has chosen to be on the UQ’s ChangeMakers board.

Bethwyn Todd (Bachelor of Science, '93) is the President of FMC Asia–Pacific and currently resides in Singapore. Todd is a passionate leader and advocate for women in leadership, having risen from the ranks in a male-dominated industry.

“My whole life has been in agriculture in some form, but it wasn’t planned that way,” Todd said.

“I was never someone who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I was growing up, but I have just followed my instincts, seized opportunities that have come my way, been willing to take some risks and work hard.”

Photo of Bethwyn Todd in the garden

Bethwyn Todd

Bethwyn Todd

Todd's career has taken her to many corners of the globe, including Shanghai in China, before moving to Singapore.

“Singapore is such a great place to live and work – I enjoy the diversity of cultures living here,” she said.

Todd moved to Singapore to take the role of President of the Asia–Pacific region and Vice President of FMC Corporation in Singapore.

“It’s fantastic to be a part of a large corporation like FMC in Singapore.”

As a leading global agricultural sciences company, FMC provides innovative solutions to growers around the world with a product portfolio fuelled by market-driven discovery and development pipeline in crop protection, plant health, and professional pest and turf management.

FMC recently announced the launch of FMC Ventures, an investment arm focused on startups that are developing emerging technologies that could radically alter how products are developed, sold and applied.

“Our industry’s most pressing challenges are being addressed through advances in artificial intelligence, genomics, robotics, precision agriculture, biopesticides, synthetic biology and other innovations, and this is where our primary focus will be – investing in the future of agriculture,” Todd said.

As a passionate advocate for women in leadership, Todd has an abundance of advice for aspiring and emerging female leaders.

“I have so many examples where I’ve had to actively urge women to take the next step in their careers, when they thought they were not capable enough to do so.

“Without intervention, they would stay doing what they are doing and never reach their full potential so it’s important to take risks and back yourself.”

“I have a framed poster in my home which is the last thing I see when I leave the house: 'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone'.”

Todd attributes her successes thus far on doing just that – leaving Queensland, moving from public service to private sector, moving from regulatory to commercial roles, and leaving Australia.

She reflected that turbulent, chaotic periods – like we've experienced globally during 2020 – could provide growth opportunities for recent graduates.

“When times are challenging, it’s an opportunity to build resilience. And resilience is such a critical attribute to have throughout your career and life," she said.

“My advice to graduates is to face any challenges with courage, persistence, and perhaps some patience as well.”

After more than 20 years in the industry, Todd reflected on her biggest career highlight, and her response was humbling.

“My greatest satisfaction comes from developing future leaders. A moment that stands out for me was just last year, when I brought together the top 200 leaders in the FMC APAC region for a time of reflection, sharing, networking and development.

"Nothing is more rewarding to me than seeing people in my team do amazing things, and to be a part of developing superstars and leaders of the future is hugely motivating to me,” Todd said.

In August 2020, UQ launched a new way for alumni to connect with the University: the UQ ChangeMakers network.

Todd sits on UQ’s first alumni global board, where she has contributed to shaping the ChangeMakers program that will give our alumni the opportunity to join a global community of thought leaders and innovators.

“It’s so rewarding to be in a position where I can help increase the impact of alumni engagement and help enable UQ to invest more in teaching, innovation and discovery and to give more students the opportunity for a world-class education. That’s exciting to me.”

Photo of the solar-powered 'supertrees' at Singapore's Gardens by the Bay

Join your local UQ ChangeMakers network

Wherever you are in the world, we want to make sure you feel connected to your alma mater.

With almost 300,000 alumni around the globe, you have access to an outstanding community of thought leaders and innovators. In your region, you can join a network established by UQ alumni volunteers for alumni.

It is an opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals, be a part of a community and grow your personal networks. We have established networks in a number of regions, so please feel free to reach out to the leader of these networks, get in touch with the UQ Alumni office or enquire about starting your own.