An Interview with Sandy Slager: CEO of Walters Seed Company

The Lemon to Lemonade campaign began with a comment made by CNN anchor Don Lemon. Lemon ignorantly spoke about a woman being past their prime once they move on from their twenties and thirties. The Lemon to Lemonade campaign is all about honoring and lifting up women who are over 50 and still doing the most to make a change and spread positivity. 

At Gardenuity, we reject the idea that women over 50 are past their prime. There are countless extraordinary female leaders who are well over 50, so we are turning Lemon’s comments into lemonade: lifting up women who are leading the charge for change. Gardenuity is lifting up women over 50 to prove to the world that they are not and will not ever be “past their prime.” 

The woman we are honoring today is Sandy Slager. Sandy Slager is the CEO of Walters Seed Company.  Furthermore, she is one of the newest partners of Gardenuity, as her company will be supplying your gardens with microgreens! 

We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak with and learn from Sandy, and we hope you enjoy reading about her as much as we have loved getting to know her.

Tell me about Walters Seed Company. 

Walters Seed Company was started by Sandy’s father. The idea began due to the addition of seed packets as gifts to accompany perennial purchases or for use as promotional premiums with a partnering nursery. With almost every order, a free seed package was given out. Thus, the seeding company broke away from the nursery in the seventies to become Walters Seed Company. In 1996, Sandy purchased it with another family member and moved off the original farm, where they specialize in packaging private label brands. 

What was your career like before starting this business?

Slager began her career as a personal assistant to a president in the restaurant industry. After she had children, she worked part-time at her father’s nursery business, Walters Seed Company, as well as supporting her husband in the heating and cooling industry. However, once her children had been loved, learned, and grown, she went back and purchased a portion of the seed company to run.  

How do you balance your career with your mental health?

She enjoys the challenge of her career. Every day boasts something new and exciting. When you run a small business, you get to do a lot of jobs. On a day-to-day basis, Sandy does anything from machine repair to ordering seed to pay roll to line up mechanics. This large variety of things helps her to enjoy herself and her life as a career woman. 

Who is a woman that you look up to?

It is unusual to have women working in the agricultural business. In Sandy’s father’s perennial nursery, the majority of workers were male. However, there were several relatives of hers who did their own thing in the agricultural industry and excelled. One was her Aunt Rose Walters – heavily involved in the tissue culture lab of her uncle’s perennial nursery, Walter’s Gardens. Furthermore, she had a female cousin who was in charge of the media and advertising of Walter’s Gardens and another female cousin who did the accounting and finance. 

What would you say to women who believe they are past their prime?

Sandy doesn’t think that anyone is ever past their prime. She asks, “why should you feel any different than you did at age twenty?” Slager believes that the way that you feel is the most important thing, as well as being content and happy with who you are and how you fill your life with things that bring joy. 

Tell us about your personal wellness journey and practices.

Sandy has a strong faith, which has served as a comfort to her since she lost her husband to cancer. She finds it interesting that there are so many Bible references and passages that allude to sowing and reaping and growing crops and provisions for your family. She is happy that her career aligns with that. 

The power of herbs and botanicals?

Gardening can be achieved at so many different levels, so it is a very life-affirming industry. Some take it to an elementary level or a nuclear level and everywhere in between. Gardening gives the opportunity for everyone to have or enjoy something. Furthermore, taking the time and the patience to grow food and to know where your food comes from is a super important part of life.