Ebonie Raby connects community and career at Nutrien

Published: Mar 11, 2024

Ebonie Raby is the Community Relations and Investment Senior Advisor at Nutrien , based in Geismar, Louisiana. Her openness to new opportunities has resulted in her building strong connections with the community.

Ebonie was featured in September 2023 as part of the “What We Do” series. In this interview, she shares more about her personal story and how it has influenced her professional journey.

Meet Ebonie Raby, Community Relations and Investment, Senior Advisor

How did you learn about Nutrien?

As a community member, I attended the City Council meetings before joining Nutrien as an employee. During those meetings, the residents of St. Gabriel expressed their desire to increase Nutrien's investment in the community and provide more employment opportunities for local workers. It was during one of these meetings that I heard Adam Diamond, Director of Government and Industry Affairs, and Richard Holder, General Manager at the Geismar Nitrogen Facility, address the council and audience members. They acknowledged that although the company was making progress in these areas, they still had more work to do to gain the community's trust. I was impressed by their transparency and honesty, as I had never personally witnessed a company openly admitting that they could do better. It was a powerful moment that left a positive impression on me.

When did you begin working for Nutrien?

After attending a City Council meeting, I found a job advertisement for a Community Relations Advisor position at Nutrien. The company was looking for someone with local roots and a commitment to the community. I was intrigued by Adam and Richard's description of the company's values and integrity. I applied for the role and was offered the position in September 2022. Working for Nutrien has been an enriching experience and I especially enjoy contributing to programs that increase training and employment opportunities for diverse individuals in the local community. I support resiliency in the community by promoting food security and local and post-secondary scholarship initiatives. Communicating these programs and resources to the community through Nutrien is fulfilling. My passion for this work drives me, and I approach my responsibilities with enthusiasm and dedication. I believe that this is a natural gift of mine.

image-20240311083223-1What does building community mean to you?

I was raised in Minnesota by a single mother of three, and it was definitely challenging. At a young age, I experienced food insecurity, housing instability, and other difficulties. However, during those tough times, I learned the true meaning of community. Our local community provided us with resources without judging my mom or our family. It may sound strange, but I never felt like we were lacking anything because we had what we needed - food, love, shelter, and safety with the community's help. My mom taught us to face adversity with integrity instead of running away. I learned that people do their best given their circumstances, and our circumstances don't define us. Community members and my family made me feel safe when I was vulnerable, so it is crucial for others to feel safe around me as I work in the community. This is where my commitment comes from.


How do you participate in building community?

When I hear the word “community,” I think of it as an opportunity to give back and make a significant impact. One of my proudest moments was donating to the Bridges of Hope organization in Minneapolis, MN. This life skills program helped me overcome my childhood trauma and equipped me with valuable skills for a sustainable life. This program has made me a confident and accomplished woman and mother.

I recently traveled to Minnesota and had the opportunity to meet with Mary Jo Winston, the CEO and life coach who made a significant impact on me during my time with the Bridges of Hope program. Thanks to Nutrien's donation matching program for employees, I was able to present her with a $500 donation from Grow Our Community. I expressed my gratitude for her positive influence on my life and my son's future. She helped my family start a new chapter in our lives through the Bridges of Hope program.

What has your career path been?

I approach my career with an open mind and always welcome new opportunities. In 2012, my son and I moved to Louisiana, where I continued to work in education at the Special School District. While there, I worked with hearing, visually-impaired and special education students at the Louisiana School for the Deaf & Visually Impaired. I also oversaw the Family Engagement program for the Special School District, including the Department of Corrections. As a result of this work, I became fluent in American Sign Language.

Outside of work, I am an advocate for education and community initiatives. I often served as the voice for those who could not speak up for themselves. Through my community involvement and advocacy, I was introduced to the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) and was asked to become a member. I am also an Ascension and Iberville CAP committee member, Community Awareness Emergency Response (CAER) member, Chambers of Commerce member, and in the 2024 cohort of Leadership Iberville.


What messages do you share with the youth you meet through your work?

Every experience has something to offer, such as learning new skills, learning from others, and discovering more about yourself. It is also essential to have confidence in yourself, aim high, avoid getting too comfortable, and recognize that what is right for you may not be suitable for others.

These are the values I instill in my son, Christian. He motivates me to strive for a life where his experiences are different from mine growing up. Every day, we say together, “I will have a successful day,” to stay positive.

What do you love most about your job?

I am grateful for my colleagues at Nutrien, who demonstrate genuine care and support. They inquire about my son and take time to interact with him whenever he visits the office. Some of the engineers even offer to talk to him about their jobs, which is very meaningful to me. This gesture helps to expand his career options and demonstrates how much they care about my family.

Another significant aspect of working for Nutrien is the availability of Employee Resource Groups. I appreciate the company's message that values and celebrates diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I joined the Black Employee Resource Group (BERG) as a co-chair to be part of a welcoming and inclusive community of peers and allies.

What is a fun fact people may not know about you?

An interesting fact about myself that many people may not know is that I played in the orchestra from fourth grade through high school. I even traveled to New York to perform in a concert with the Louisiana State University Youth Orchestra. I love spending quality time with my son and being a football team mom when I'm not working. Additionally, I enjoy watching and attending football games!!