Hometown: Damascus, AR (currently live in Huntsville, AR)
Title/Position: Communications Specialist
Briefly describe your role: As Communications Specialist, I help create and coordinate communication and marketing efforts across our association. Farm Credit of Western Arkansas provides financing for farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners across 41 western Arkansas counties. Because I support each of our 24 branch locations, two days rarely look the same for me. A few of my responsibilities include managing our social media channels, designing marketing materials, participating in outreach events, and sharing the stories of our members.
Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
A: My career path has taken me down a road I didn’t expect as a child or even as a high school student. I grew up on a small cow-calf operation in Damascus, Arkansas and was drawn to the farm, but never thought I would choose agriculture as a career. When I enrolled in an agriculture education class and joined FFA in the ninth grade, I realized how deep my passion for ag ran. I went to college knowing I wanted to study agriculture, but first chose pre-veterinary medicine. After spending a year as an FFA state officer and seeing the need for agricultural awareness, I discovered my true passion and began working towards a career in agricultural communications. The most rewarding part about my career today is telling the stories of our farmers and ranchers. As society becomes further removed from the farm, it’s more important than ever to give agriculture a voice and to support those who are involved in production agriculture. That’s why I love Farm Credit – we’re able to assist farmers and ranchers as they work to feed and clothe our world.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
A: It’s no secret that women are not considered the norm in the world of agriculture. Because of that, I think the greatest challenge for women in ag is proving ourselves as capable. Thankfully, we’ve made huge strides in recent years, and we keep seeing the number of female producers and agriculturists grow. As long as you have confidence in yourself and your abilities, you will be able to prove the value you bring to the ag industry. I believe the greatest opportunity in agriculture is the unlimited possibilities when it comes to careers. Whether it’s farming, business, financing, science, communications or something else that sparks your passion – you can find your fit in ag. Women have no limits when it comes to a future with agriculture.
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: My grandparents have very much impacted my life and career. My grandmother was the epitome of what it means to be a strong woman. She took care of the house and family, but was never afraid to jump up on a tractor or milk cows. She played a vital role in their dairy operation, but also managed to cook three meals a day, raise two children and stay active in her church. I’ve always been in awe of how gracefully she handled each responsibility and the kindness she showed every person she met. My grandpa has had an equally large impact on me. He didn’t come from a farm family, but found his love for cattle and was a successful dairy farmer for over 30 years. Even at 82-years-old, he’s still out on the farm every day and doesn’t slow down. Growing up, he never left me out of activities on the farm or treated me any differently because I was a girl. He’s one of my biggest cheerleaders and pushes me to live a life that is pleasing to God and leaves a positive impact on others.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: Get involved! Finding an organization that fits your passions is one of the best things you can do to achieve your goals. Arkansas Women in Agriculture, Arkansas Farm Bureau and Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association are a few that have helped me build lifelong relationships with people I share common interests with. When you find a group that fits you, focus on creating meaningful relationships and never underestimate the power of each connection you make. Remember people’s names and get to know them personally. The world of ag is small and there’s a high probability you will connect with them again in the future. You never know who will become a friend, coworker or professional resource down the road.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: Any success I’ve had, I would attribute to the people I’m surrounded by. From my family, to my peers in agriculture, to my coworkers, friends and husband – they have believed in me and saw something special in me when I didn’t see it in myself. My high school ag teacher is a prime example of someone who pushed me to be involved in things such as showing livestock and public speaking that originally made me uncomfortable. That initial discomfort helped me find something I now love and pushed me towards the career path I’m on today.