I believe anyone can be a leader and an advocate for their cause, all it takes is a willingness to step forward and speak out. When I was first accepted into the PAL program I was very excited, but also concerned that I might be getting into more than I was capable of doing. I thought that certainly the other participants were much more qualified than I; they must already be great leaders in their states. When I got to New York and met the other class members for the first time I soon discovered that they were just like me. Although we all came from different areas of the country and different farming backgrounds we all share the same passion for Agriculture and want to make a difference for our industry. We were all nervous during our first interviews (Johnna never lets you get too comfortable). We all had the same fear of saying or doing something stupid in front of the camera. The more we practiced, the better we all became, and the more confident we were in our abilities. I believe that is one of the main purposes of the PAL program, take ordinary people and help them gain confidence in their own ability to tell their story. Whether that is in front of a TV camera, meeting with an elected official, speaking at a town hall meeting, or sharing information from you computer. PAL helps ordinary people who have a desire to make a difference gain the confidence to do so effectively.
So if you want to make a difference for agriculture and are willing to step forward and speak out, PAL may be a great opportunity for you. It won’t be easy, but it will certainly force you to get out of your comfort zone, and it will help you grow in ways you never knew you could. Let me share a few of my experiences and some of the things I learned.
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Skills and Experience
- Shooting, Editing, and Sharing Videos
- Telling My Story In a Way My Audience Will Understand
- Responding to Negative Messages About Agriculture
- Communicating My Message Through Traditional Media
- Speaking and Giving Public Presentations
- Understanding and Influencing the Political Process
- Identifying Stakeholders and Building Coalitions
- Developing and Evaluating Policy Language From Both Sides of an Issue
- Effectively Sharing Information Using Social Media