A large majority of folks in agriculture grew up in the industry and learned valuable information from an early age. I was introduced into the industry late in my professional career, but I learned quickly that this industry satisfies many of my goals and also my insatiable curiosity.
I was able to start small with moving to a hobby farm and learning to care for chickens, goats, horses, and my beloved Mazzie, a miniature donkey. Some stories were successes, and some were lessons learned. Then a position in accounting came open at Culpeper Farmers’ Cooperative in Culpeper and I could combine my love of animals with accounting, which I saw as a win-win situation. Luckily for me, the team at CFC is always willing to teach, share their knowledge, and answer and endless supply of my questions. Together and because of these questions, we have been able to achieve some successes.
Then a coworker started discussing the VALOR program and asked me to read about it and consider applying. It seemed interesting and the coworker had positive experiences from it, so I figured I would give it a try. Even from the interview process, I felt a connection with these individuals. They seemed so willing to help and promote whomever they could in whatever endeavors they were undertaking. I realized that I needed a lot more knowledge of the industry in order to continue to be successful, so I needed to surround myself with knowledgeable people.
Fast forward a couple of months and we have attended our first VALOR session and had a wonderful opportunity to meet our fellow classmates. What a great group of folks in Class VI! We also had an opportunity to hear several speakers on campus. I even came to realize that my Leader Identity reached a new level each time I was forced to go outside of my comfort zone. Yet another example of risk and reward.
Soon we will meet again to share thoughts, laughs, and adventures. I am looking forward to it.