Hometown: Jacksonville, AR
Title/Position: Minority Outreach Coordinator
Briefly describe your role:
As the Minority Outreach Coordinator, I lead the minority outreach efforts for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture (ADA) across the state. One of my main goals is to continue to be a trusted and reliable resource for landowners. I work to educate landowners about existing programs and services that are under-utilized by underserved audiences and connect them to resources so they can take advantage of those opportunities. Time has proven that having strong regional and national partnerships with other organizations doing similar outreach work is crucial to the success of my efforts.
Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
A: I’ve always found myself helping people. I wasn’t sure how that would take shape in my career, but outreach fits perfectly. This enables me to help people in ways that could be life changing. In the 18 years I’ve served as Outreach Coordinator, this work has not only opened many doors but has also been quite rewarding.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
A: I feel there is much power in knowledge. Getting people to come to the table and take advantage of what’s being offered can be challenging. In my opinion, another challenge for women involved in agriculture is farm transition (the physical and financial sides of it). Especially learning to manage farms that are inherited.
A great opportunity that I am seeing is more organizations seeking to assist women landowners. Arkansas Women in Agriculture is a great group to join because there many opportunities to network and learn amongst your peers (in the field and during the annual conference).
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: There are a lot of people I’ve met and respected during my career. However, I’d have to say my mother. As a little girl I remember my her telling me to “never be afraid of hard work.” Another thing she told me is that “my work is a witness to the God I serve.” So, despite what has or hasn’t gone right, I work hard so that I may be pleasing to Jehovah God.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: I’m going to go against the grain and say: 1) Learn the qualities of honesty and integrity. It will take you further. 2) To those possessing strong leadership skills, learn that it’s ok to play a different role on the team sometimes. 3) When you’re in the position to help someone move up in their career….help them.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: There are several things:
- I strongly believe in the phrase “An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” and I work hard to do the best job I can every day.
- A willingness to work with and learn from others
- Not being afraid to respectfully speak up for what’s right
- Respect for people. From the lowest to the highest.