Ellie Symes, CEO and founder of the Bee Corp, earned a Master of Public Affairs degree with a concentration in Information Systems from the O’Neill School. She grew her love for beekeeping by starting a beekeeping club at Indiana University while she completed her bachelor’s degree in environmental management. Right out of school she started the Bee Corp, a benefit corporation focused on improving honeybee pollination for one-third of crops grown in the U.S.
“The mission ‘lead for the greater good’ spoke to me, as I was motivated to build a career solving environmental problems,” said Symes. “I loved that the school taught how to solve these problems across the public and nonprofit sectors. As I was going through the program it also started to layer in more classes and content around the private sectors as well.”
Named to the Forbes' "30 under 30" list for enterprise technology in 2021, Symes was also given the Rising Star Award at TechPoint’s annual Mira Awards in 2018 and chosen for the AgGrad "30 Under 30" list in 2020.
Symes currently serves on the Agrinovus board. She has spoken at several industry and international conferences, including the Almond Conference, Forbes AgTech Summits, Apimondia International Beekeeping Conference, World Ag Expo 2020, and the Forbes 30 under 30 Summit.
“I have learned a ton from running this company for the past six years,” said Symes. “My proudest accomplishment is the team we’ve grown and how much progress we’ve made with helping growers and beekeepers. Winning an NSF SBIR grant allowed us to discover the need for the product and build the product. When we completed the accuracy R&D milestone, that was a very proud accomplishment.”
When asked what advice she has for for students pursuing a career in public and environmental affairs, Symes said, “Have an open mind to all of the different ways social and environment problems can be solved. I think every issue has solutions across nonprofit, for-profit, advocacy, and policy avenues. All four working together can be the best way to solve some of our greatest challenges.”