Monday, December 2, 2013

This post is about passion for your dreams, agriculture and doing what you love

Before my high school prom - that awkward high school girl!
Six working weeks and six assignments to go in the nearly 2 year journey which has been my Executive MBA. I've been reflecting a lot lately on what this whole experience has taught me. (The six remaining projects may actually be an indicator I'm reflecting too much, but I like to believe I'm 'savouring' what's left!)

If there is one thing I've learned (and I do hope there is more than one), it is the power of being yourself and following your passion. Before even starting the program, I decided to own what I knew best - agriculture, youth, and to some extent, marketing. It's a little like the Strength Finder 2.0 concept, which if you're unfamiliar, brings focus to what you're good at rather than trying develop what you're not. Ignoring the little voice that said I was too young and too unqualified for Ivey, I highlighted the agriculture perspective I could bring to the class, which I was almost certain would be unique. Additionally, I'm young and I'm a woman and I can't hide behind either of those realities so I called them out.

Not only did it work, but it was just the start. I embraced my role as the corporate farmgirl. It wasn't just agriculture though, and I realized quick I had a broader range of knowledge than I had thought. Yet, it was never about being the smartest in the class. It has been about figuring out where I can contribute best, how I can make a difference and enhance the performance of those around me, whether they're a learning team, my colleagues or friends.

There was a time when I worried I wasn't "cool" because I lived on a farm. I had to do chores at night instead of hanging out with my friends in town. Even in high school, I couldn't go to movies on weeknights because we were never done milking in time for the early show. 4-H events were a refuge because I could talk about all the things my town friends never 'got' (or I thought they didn't care about), and I began to discover a world of opportunity, which even as a farmgirl, I didn't really know existed. I wanted to own an agri-marketing agency, because that looked cool on Melrose Place (seriously) and I liked agriculture. Then I was hired by Deere, learned the agri-marketing thing was done by many people and discovered the opportunities in agriculture in Canada and globally are even bigger still. I know I will have to choose a path eventually, but for now it's been surprisingly easy to continue following my passion and be successful doing what I love. So much so, it's exciting to think what could be next.

Driving home from bootcamp tonight, I was thinking about what a great month it has been. From personal to professional opportunities, like meeting the Prime Minister, my thirties really are proving to be impressive. But, the weeks ahead are even more exciting! That awkward girl in high school had no idea what was to come when she decided she wanted the leather Aggie jacket. Funny enough, my friends all did. Sometimes you just have to believe in yourself a little more. Anything is really possible.

Jen Christie with Prime Minister Harper
Meeting Prime Minister Harper following his recent visit to Ivey.