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Regina Coleman
Class of 2019

Name: Regina Coleman

Hometown: Grew up in Brinkley then moved to the Coleman Family Farm near Holly Grove

Title/Position: Executive Director Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation

Briefly describe your role: My role is multifunctional in that I am responsible for carrying out the Foundation’s program of boll weevil eradication in the administrative activities and in the field operations to ensure we maintain a weevil-free environment in the state. I oversee the field staff’s activities of mapping, trapping, and grower relations to ensure that all cotton fields in the state are recorded and trapped. I also oversee the invoicing and receiving of grower assessments, and work with the Arkansas State Plant Board issuing Ginning Certificates. I am responsible for the administrative side of the business handling the financial matters and public relations for the organization. I work with other agencies and organizations on behalf of ABWEF. Additional responsibilities include serving on the Advisory Committee for the National Boll Weevil Protection Fund Board and the Technical Advisory Committee for the National Boll Weevil Eradication board, both which are part of the National Cotton Council.
Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
The cotton industry has always been a part of my life. My dad was in cotton warehousing in Arkansas from a very early age. My granddad grew cotton and peanuts on his farm in Mississippi. My dad raised cotton for a short time on his small farm in Mississippi too. After my husband Larry and I married and moved to the family farm I became 100% involved in agriculture. It became much more than just a job – it became a way of life. I knew I wanted to do something to help the farming industry and was fortunate enough to begin a career with the Boll Weevil program. I wanted to be a part of this program because of the benefits the growers would receive from the accomplishments of the program and because, having always been interested in history, I knew we would be a part of history in eradicating the Boll Weevil from our state.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
Women in ag are more common today than twenty years ago and are recognized as valuable contributors to the industry similar to the way men are recognized. We bring new ideas and views based on facts that are beneficial to the ag industry. I believe the challenges are not gender based today, but are based on our knowledge, experience and value we bring to the industry. The greatest opportunities are being able to help benefit agriculture and farmers. My greatest opportunity was and is to help the cotton production in our state by eradicating the boll weevil.
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: My parents were the first to encourage me that I could achieve any and all goals in my life. My mom was one of the strongest yet kindest women I ever knew. My dad was one of the smartest businessmen I have ever known. They instilled in all five of us girls that you can do whatever you set your mind to and you can do it with knowledge, grace and integrity. Combining Dad’s knowledge of business and the cotton industry with Mom’s strength and character gave me a firm foundation in achieving my goals.
My husband, Larry, has been supportive and has inspired me to “go for it.” Early in the beginning of my career with ABWEF, he had to take additional responsibilities of the home and children since I had to work longer days than with a traditional job. Through it all he always encouraged me in achieving my goals.
Martha Ahrent, one of my Arkansas Farm Bureau friends, inspired me when we both served on the Arkansas Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and Board of Directors. She was one of the greatest women in agriculture and taught me to believe in myself and to believe in my positive contributions to agriculture, not just as a woman but as a valuable contributor to the ag world.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: Always believe in yourself and in what you are doing. If you believe in yourself and love what you do, it's easy to achieve your goals.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: Hard work, dedication, believing in what you are doing, and willingness to go the extra mile while taking a chance are the components for success. Twenty years ago I started my career with ABWEF as a field supervisor. Today, through hard work, dedication to the foundation’s mission, believing in what I was doing, and willing to go the extra mile has given me the chance to lead the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation as the Executive Director. I appreciate my Board of Directors giving me the opportunity to serve in this position and to continue help benefit the cotton industry in Arkansas.
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