Where did you go to college?
I studied political science in undergraduate school at the University of Oklahoma and organization development at American University in graduate school.
What is your job title and how long have you worked there?
My title is director of strategic relations at the U.S. Grains Council. I started at the Council in July 2014 as director of communications and transitioned into my current role in January 2018.
Why did you pursue a career in ag communications?
Ag communications found me! I did an internship at the National Association of Wheat Growers between my junior and senior years of college and was later asked to come back as their communications director. I stayed in that job for eight years, then worked as a contractor doing ag work and non-ag work for a while, then came to USGC and have been there nearly six years.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
These days my work includes ag communications as well as trade policy, trade education and strategy work with our overseas offices. It’s a very diversified portfolio, and I love being able to work in so many different areas and on so many different issues with really knowledgeable people. I also think ag communications was an excellent preparation for this combination of roles because it helped me see the big picture of the industry and also have a firm understanding that no matter how interesting your information is to you, if you can’t communicate it clearly to an audience, you’re sunk.
What’s one piece of career advice you wish someone had given you?
The best career advice I ever got was: have a go to hell fund, just in case you need to tell someone to go to hell, or they tell you to go to hell! The second best was about picking what to do next: do what interests you or your clients. The advice I wish I’d gotten was to dig deeper earlier into that the long line is between issues that fascinate you and work you like to do – that’s where the sweet spot likely is for your value and your enjoyment of your work.
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