My name is Holly White, and I am so thrilled to be a part of the first group to participate in the Advancing Ag Future Leaders Program.
When I first heard about the program, I couldn’t wait to apply. At the time of my application, I was working as a Manager of Agricultural Services for my local government. I was growing tired of my commute from our farm in Rolling Hills, AB and looking to develop a new career path.
I have always been fascinated by learning about how demographics and personality types can influence teamwork and communication in the workplace. As a manager of a multigenerational team, I learned to understand how demographics and personality types affect how different generations interact and communicate in both positive and negative ways. I became fascinated by the various personality assessments systems such as SDI, FACINATE, DISC and Meyers Briggs. By better understanding different aspects of my personality and others I was able to identify sources of conflict, areas of potential miscommunications and the importance of various personality types working together to create the best possible outcomes. I learned it is important to embrace conflict as different viewpoints most often create incredible finished products.
I developed an interest in trying to find ways to incorporate the skills I was learning as a manager in a very diverse workplace into the family farm to increase communications and help members understand how to work as an efficient high functioning team. I have realized that many family farming operations could benefit from learning to apply common business practices into their operations, such as regular business meetings, job descriptions, standard operating procedures, team building, succession/transition planning, strategic visioning, goal setting, creating training/mentoring plans and a formal review process. Many of these practices help to establish expectations and create common goals to guide business practices and decisions and reduce conflict. These practices are essential in working towards increasing profitability and improving the strength of family farms for future generations.
When I heard there was a program that would hook me up with a mentor to help coach me in achieving my goals and provide funding to pursue learning opportunities I jumped at the chance.
I was honoured and so thrilled to be picked for the Advancing Ag program. The program partnered me with Dana Thomsen from MNP. I am very fortunate for the opportunity to be paired with Dana and MNP as I have access to a whole team of individuals with unique perspectives, experience and education. Dana and I have identified areas for personal growth and educational areas to pursue and develop a road map for success. I look forward to participating in the program and working with Dana and her team to achieve my goal to learn how to help family farm businesses members learn to work together to achieve business and personal success.