"The 4-H program taught me the skills of hard work, communication and building relationships."

Years in 4-H

B.S. '06 Politics & Government, Illinois State University


Associate Director Local Government & Political Affairs, Illinois Farm Bureau

Favorite 4-H Projects:  Swine

How did 4-H contribute to your leadership skills today?

It taught me to communicate. My career is all about relationships and honesty. I learned these skills in 4-H. I learned the skill of communication in the swine barns. I learned how to listen to others ideas and perspectives. I was constantly talking to people of all ages about politics. It made me understand that even people in our own "tribe" have different perspectives.

Did 4-H instill a career path for you?

4-H introduced me to ag issues, which helped me with my current career at Illinois Farm Bureau. It also introduced me to many individuals I work with today.

What advice do you have for someone who is interested in your career path?

Get to know as many people as you can. It's not about who you know. It's about who knows you. I was fortunate that when a job came open at Illinois Farm Bureau, Adam Neilson reached out to me and I was offered the position. 

What advice would you give a current 4-H member?

Never question a person's motives. You will never truly understand where a person's point of view comes from, so be open to listening and "hearing" their thoughts. Be honest. Your word is all you have.

Why should young people join 4-H today?

Hard work, relationships, family and friendship.