My name is Leilani Butler and I am a first year Agricultural Systems Management major. I would like to introduce myself and share a bit about my goals and leadership experience because I have recently submitted my application to become an honors society leader for the Cal Poly chapter. I have held various leadership positions in clubs and organizations such as being the President, County Ambassador, and Biosecurity Manager of the Crystal Springs 4-H Farm as well as being the Vice President of the San Mateo Fair’s Junior Fair Board. Even so, I strongly believe that leadership is not simply a position or a title of authority. Rather, it is the goal to positively influence and mentor others, the work ethic to continue even when obstacles arise, and the courage to step first and lead the way.
Through my involvement in the local 4-H club where I grew up, I began mentoring others and showing them the skills and techniques I learned from others. For example, I was twelve the first time I had shown a younger club member how to perform a general health check on the turkeys we were raising at the farm. It was greatly encouraging when I saw the same child teaching his friend how to perform health checks about a week later.
While many of my leadership experiences were positive and motivating, I still had to overcome my share of obstacles and setbacks as a leader. For instance, I had recently led a group project in which my fellow group members and I were to create an educational display for the Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering Department. We encountered various challenges because our project perimeters changed several times and the faculty members advising us throughout each had their own ideas about what the end product would be. Ultimately, it was decided that our project would be a fully programmed weather station; the same weather station that is now in the department’s lobby for students to view. While the experience was challenging at the time, it gave me the opportunity to demonstrate a strong work ethic that would not be discouraged by setbacks and other changes.
Perhaps most importantly, a leader must have the courage to take the initiative and enter unknown territory. The most obvious example of this in my life was when I decided to join my high school’s business club, a club that was entirely made up of males. While the only other female I had ever seen at one of the club meetings turned and walked out as soon as she saw a room full of guys, I came week after week eager to discuss business strategy and management techniques. Though I may have appeared to be out of place to some, I felt as though I was exactly where I belonged at the time because I was participating in a club that was interesting to me even if it was not the typical territory for females at my high school.
To conclude, I would like to share my career goals and how they relate to my enthusiasm towards leadership. I want to manage a large agricultural operation and I would prefer to work in the production portion of the long journey from the field to the table. I am currently enrolled in courses such as Crop Science because I would like to manage an operation that deals with grains or possibly fresh produce. I want to apply my leadership skills to my career in order to interconnect producers, post-harvest storage facilities, and companies involved in agricultural trade. By improving the communication and transfer of information among these groups, I hope to promote sustainability and increased productivity in the agricultural field.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and I look forward to connecting and collaborating with other honors society members.
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