Show Ring Lessons Pave the Way for Career

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By, Rhonda McMurry

Warren Mayberry is an ambassador for his company. As a governmental affairs director for DuPont, he is a fixture in State Capitols, industry conventions, socials and networking events. His territory covers seven states and he works diligently to connect with people in various levels of influence to promote the business of DuPont.

How did Mayberry learn the work ethic needed to tow the company line, be on point and be tolerant of others wherever he goes?

Mayberry credits his ability to deliver meaningful work for the world’s third largest chemical company, in part, to his days showing livestock. He says his experience in and around the show ring led him to where he is in his big-time career.

“You don’t know what you gain until you’re through showing,” he says. “If you take a step back from working hair and clipping, and reflect on the friends you made during that period, you can see what an impact showing can have. There can be only one blue ribbon per specie per class but every class is an opportunity to make a life long friend. Enjoy being in the moment but also take a minute to look at the big picture.”

Mayberry was raised in Texas and helped his grandparents with their small cow calf operation west of Houston. They taught him about livestock and he soon wanted to learn more.

“We were not big producers but rather a mom-and-pop operation with diversified crops, hay and pigs,” he says. “We were raising free-range pigs and chickens before it was cool.”

His involvement with FFA led him to serve in leadership roles and be active in competitions. However, Mayberry says it was showing livestock that gave him connections and friendships that have lasted to this day. On top of the experience, was the hard work completed in the show barn. He learned to get up early, finish tasks and be respectful of others; all things he needs to conduct his work with DuPont.

“In the show business, some people believe you should feed this way and some put certain additives into rations,” Mayberry says. “This allowed me to see how many opinions there are and I learned early on to transfer that to my own decision-making process based on experience, advice and research.”

Mayberry also learned to take initiative. In his role with DuPont, he covers the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Missouri and Puerto Rico. Just as he learned the order of caring for his steers was to feed, wash, then clip, he says he tackles his job in each state as need-based priorities. Sometimes the decisions are tough, but he grasped how to accomplish what’s first on the list by the repetition and hard work that also must be completed in the show barn.

Most importantly, Mayberry says he learned conviction. He says when he entered the show ring he gave the impression he was on the end of the best-haltered or best-driven animal in the class. Learning body language and how to work in a stage-like setting proved to be important to him now as a lobbyist because he’s had to master how to give a great speech and put forth the passion it takes to discuss a challenging issue.

And when his workdays are long and mega-busy, Mayberry says he refers to the skill of multi-tasking. When it was time to enter a show, his parents asked him to fill out the entry forms. This meant Mayberry had to be organized, cut a check for the right amount and pay attention to deadlines. He learned how to feed his pigs and steers and when to ask for advice on how to make them perform better.

“Practicing showing and learning how to feed transfers today,” he says. “You have to start with the subject matter then dig in and get to the solution. All of that I learned as a result of showing.”

When it comes to work ethic, Mayberry says showing livestock helps young people focus on how to work hard, learn responsibility, communicate and get along with others. He currently volunteers as a steer superintendent at the Fort Worth Stock Show, as heifer superintendent at the Houston Livestock Show and as an announcer at the State Fair of Texas. Mayberry says this is how he gives back to the industry that helped him pave a great career for himself in the ag world.

“To my fellow showman, always be kind and be at your best because you don’t know who’s looking at you in the ring,” he says. “You don’t know what message you’re sending to a brother, sister, neighbor or a future employer. Also be kind. This lesson comes along with hard work and both are certainly learned in the show ring.”

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