Too Cool for Deja Vu

A year into the program with the inaugural VALOR class and there they are…calm, cool, collected, and utterly brilliant.  A true cohort team.


As we approach our sixth of 12 seminars at the end of next week, we will have fully completed the first of two years of whirlwind-like programming. We have traversed the state and are preparing for our national and international study seminars in the next year.  We have explored industry operations and learned much about ourselves and communicating with others.

This week, I reminisce about the start of interviews for this group.  The “what ifs” and “who’s who” that went into selecting a class and hoping that the way the group came together would be impressive and noteworthy.  The intent was to set the bar high, of course, as this was the chance to pave the way for the success and longevity of the program.

I spend this week offering professional development training to the new Virginia FFA Officer team in exchange for mutual support between our two programs.  It was here at Graves’ Mountain Lodge, this time last year, that we began the process of selecting the inaugural class.  To do so at the business of agriculture supporting family and College of Ag and Life Sciences Hall of Fame recipients, Jimmy and Rachel Graves, was a true honor.  FFA hosted our meeting space and meal for the interview and selection committee and we met prospective class members in this remote location free of cell service and daily distraction.

And so it began…industry influentials and reassurances to candidates that we were all very nonthreatening.  To me, it seems like yesterday.  A variety of individual candidates with an array of ideas, expertise, talents, and personalities.  Today, a cohesive and united group.

Where exactly did a year go?

To building relationships, growing networks, learning the ins and outs of our vast and powerful industry, and asking the questions that keep the cogs moving forward.

And so it goes.  Onward success.

Central Virginia interviews may call me back to this locale sometime next summer.  In the meantime, however, these guys are mine.

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