By: Jordyn Prior
Wow! Where has time gone? How has a year passed already?
When I first found out I was accepted into the program, I knew there would be numerous opportunities to network, gain knowledge and grow as a person and an agvocate, but I had no idea that what I would experience would be so much more…
Below are some of the highlights of my Advancing Ag mentorship:
1) My relationship with my mentor, Janine Paly. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model and agvocate to look up to, ask questions and indulge in agricultural related conversations. Janine is a contact and a friend that I will stay in touch with long after this program is completed.
2) The friendships that have been formed with other mentees in the program. I have had the privilege to attend several conferences and really get to know the other mentees one on one. These are the types of connections that each of us will value for years to come.
3) The opportunity to attend and speak at the Prairie Cereals Summit through the Advancing Ag Essay Contest – this was an AMAZING experience and opened up so many doors to speak at other events including the Catalyst Conference and an Agricultural Education Forum in Sherwood Park.
For those that are just entering the program or curious about joining, I have four pieces of advice for you:
1) Push yourself outside of your comfort zone – this is where the magic happens. One of the biggest takeaways I’ve learned during this program is that the greatest educational and personal growth experiences occur when you start to feel uncomfortable. I had the opportunity to attend a high-end marketing conference known as “The Gathering” in Banff where professionals like the Marketing Director of Yeti, Skittles, MacDonald’s, Tim Hortons, the Founder of Hot Wheels, Spotify, Coca-Cola, GoDaddy etc. presented and were available for intimate conversations. While I was intimidated by these leaders and their accomplishments, I pushed myself to interact and ask them what advice and tips they might have for agriculture. I know have direct contact to some of these leaders and the opportunity to work on some unique social media strategies for our industry moving forward – all of which would not have been achieved had I not pushed myself to make these connections.
2) Have confidence in yourself, your objectives and what you want to say to others.
3) Jump in headfirst and seize every opportunity! Whether it’s an introduction to a new person or presenting at a conference, every step forward you take, is going to give you an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. I also really love the saying, “you only get out of it what you put into it” because it’s very true for this program – the amount of effort you put in is directly related to the amount of gains you’ll make.
4) No question is a bad question (I thank my mentor Janine Paly for this one!). Make sure to take full advantage of having a mentor – they are there to support you so don’t be afraid to pick their brains and take advantage of their networks.
A huge thanks goes out to the Advancing Ag Coordinators, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions and staff and the sponsors that make this program a success! The Advancing Ag Program has been nothing short of AMAZING and I can’t recommend it enough to others whether you’re in the ag industry or just curious to learn more about the cropping sector.
That’s a wrap!