Sure Champ Leaders “Made” by Attending Youth Conferences

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi is credited with saying “Leaders are made, they are not born.” This summer, 10 young livestock enthusiasts had the opportunity to make memories while becoming leaders for their breeds and states. 

Members of the Sure Champ® Leadership Team attended the National Junior Angus Association Leaders Engaged in Angus Development (LEAD) Conference, National Junior Hereford Association Faces of Leadership Conference, American Junior Simmental Association IGS Youth Leadership Conference and the American Junior Maine-Anjou Association National Youth Leadership Conference on scholarships provided by Sure Champ.  

Brooke Davis, Lowell, Indiana, and Rachel Smith, Osceola, Nebraska, attended the LEAD Conference in Indianapolis. They each shared their perspective on the event that includes industry tours, motivational speakers and leadership and life skill workshops. 

“Going to LEAD in my home state was a remarkable experience. I had the opportunity to go to places that I have never been before. We went to Fair Oaks Farms, Horstman Cattle Company, Sunrise Sunset Farms and Sankey Angus. We toured some of the best Angus genetics in the breed right here in Indiana. We also had industry breakouts with Elanco, Cargill, and Corteva where we learned more about how the ag industry impacts our daily lives and how the impact is not only on a local level, but globally as well,” Davis said. 

“I have attended LEAD every year and it was an honor to be able to attend again. LEAD is an incredible educational opportunity, as well as a great time to spend time with new and old friends away from your cattle for a few days. This year we toured four farms including Fair Oaks. It was interesting to learn more about the swine industry as well about the dairy industry, as I raise beef cattle. The differing ways that cattle are used for dairy versus beef was really cool to learn more about,” Smith said about the tours. 

Smith enjoyed the motivational speaker, while Davis put into practice new leadership skills on the spot. 

“I also enjoyed listening to this year’s inspirational speaker, John Beede. He has climbed the tallest mountain on every continent and taught us Angus juniors how even when things seem tough, you must climb on to achieve your goals. I highly recommend that if given the opportunity, every junior should attend LEAD at least once. Thank you, Sure Champ, for the opportunity!”

“During these days I had many great leadership opportunities. The leadership workshop sessions made me push myself into being placed in leadership roles and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I made even more connections with my peers throughout the Angus breed from all over the United States. At LEAD you really make great connections with people you never thought that you would encounter,” Davis said, “Thank you, Sure Champ, for this great opportunity to go to the 2021 LEAD conference in Indy!” 

Haley Mouser, Testrike, Minnesota, is one of four young leaders who represented Sure Champ at the Faces of Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City. She shared her experience at the NJHA event that opened and closed with dynamic keynote speakers Kelly Barnes and Aric Jackson. 

“As someone who is passionate about public speaking, simply listening to their styles while presenting was just as impactful as the words coming out of their mouth. Kelly left us with the challenge to “be to get”, but also to show up in every situation as a student and to not forget about the butterfly effect, which illustrates how the seemingly unimportant, habitual aspects of our daily lives can have the largest impact of all. On the flipside, Aric taught us about the four leadership and personality styles and the advantages and disadvantages that come with each. When a true leader walks into a room, they can discern which style everyone falls into by asking the right questions, “style-flex” into the missing link, and communicate with each individual specific to their style. Both men challenged my thinking and the views they brought to the table on what a true leader is and how to become one are still at the forefront of my mind weeks later,” she said. 

Mouser said in between the keynote speakers, the days were packed with tours of Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma National Stockyards, along with educational talks that ranged in topics that covered feed efficiency research, meat quality and composition tasting panels, Ag Communications overview with Dr. Ruth Inman, and a question-and-answer panel with Oklahoma Youth Expo  

“If I were asked what the three most memorable words from the 2021 NJHA Faces of Leadership were, “be to get” would be my ready response. Because of these three words and the clever way keynote speaker Kelly Barnes instilled them in the participants, I am reminded on a daily basis of all that I learned during my time in Oklahoma City. “Be to get” when standing alone is easily confusing, yet all it needs is a different perspective and the picture soon becomes clear; be to get and one day you just might get to be,” Mouser explained. 

Other Sure Champ Leaders who attended Faces of Leadership include: Dellana Muck, Caledonia, Illinois; Sarah Beth Callicot, Only, Tennessee, and Alisha Klemme, Plymouth, Wisconsin.  

Hallie Hackett, Texarkana, Texas, attended the Simmental IGS Summit. Tyler Loudon, Creston, Iowa, Mikayla McDonald, Perry, Georgia, and Devin Morton, Stratford, Oklahoma, attended the Maine-Anjou National Youth Leadership Conference. 

“The caliber of young people we have on this year’s Sure Champ Leadership Team is second to none. They represented their breeds and our brands well, and I know they each learned valuable lessons and networking skills at their respective events. We believe in the future of young people and want to help build their leadership skills as a way to help them #preptowin in life,” said Jessie Judge, Marketing Brand Coordinator for Beef and Show Livestock, who has coordinated this program for the second consecutive year. 

At Sure Champ we understand leaders are made, and this is one way to continue to make sure they are made in the best way possible to lead the future of agriculture. 

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