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Jul 04, 2024

‘Be your company’s best analyst’: Q&A with the editorial board’s Mary Winn Pilkington

Tractor Supply Company’s head of IR talks trust, becoming an internal expert and the IR trailblazer who influenced her career early on

IR Magazine is proud to introduce its new editorial board. It is made up of 12 seasoned investor relations professionals from across the world, each working at companies in different sectors and of varying cap sizes, but with one thing in common: a passion for pursuing excellence in the profession.

Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing you to each of our board members, who will be working alongside IR Magazine to advise our editorial team about emerging trends, themes and issues facing the profession around the world. You may also hear from them on the IR Voice podcast or on our videos and you might read their words in our weekly Editor’s Picks newsletter.

This week, we speak to Mary Winn Pilkington, senior vice president of investor relations and public relations at Tractor Supply Company, the Fortune 500 rural lifestyle giant. You can listen to Pilkington talk all things IR alongside Kurt Barton, Tractor Supply’s CFO, on an episode of our podcast.

Mary Winn Pilkington, senior vice president of investor relations and public relations at Tractor Supply Company
Mary Winn Pilkington, senior vice president of IR and public relations at Tractor Supply Company

How would you sum up your approach to IR in three words?

Proactive, strategic and trustworthy.

Tell us about someone who has been influential or inspirational to your career

Early in my finance career, there was a trailblazer in investor relations named Carol Tutundgy who I always admired. When she presented me with my entry role in investor relations, little did I know what a profound impact she would have on my future. Carol made significant contributions to the development of IR as a strategic function, helping to set standards and practices that have shaped the field as we know it today.

To this day, the way Carol handled herself professionally as a strategic adviser to the executive leadership and board has been my gold standard on modeling behaviors and standards. Due to Carol, I found my passion and have been able to have an amazing IR career.

What’s the one piece of advice you always share with people joining the profession?

Be your company’s best analyst! This means having a deep understanding of your sector and your company’s business model, positioning and strategy – all critical in communicating with investors and to get the best relative valuation. 

Mastering these details, as well as staying closely connected with all business functions and the executive leadership in the company, will help ensure you have the latest insights that are relevant to financial markets. My experience is that the investor relations function is empowered to gather and analyze information across the company, which helps build credibility with the investment community.  

By being the go-to expert for your sector and company, you can more successfully communicate its value to investors, build management credibility and trust, and effectively manage market expectations.

Read more Q&As with members of the IR Magazine editorial board here

Garnet Roach

An award-winning journalist, Garnet Roach joined IR Magazine in October 2012, working on both the editorial and research sides of the publication. Prior to entering the world of investor relations, her freelance career covered a broad range of...