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Teaching Ag Sales at The University of Kentucky.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? 

13 graduating seniors, 11 juniors, 1 sophomore and 1 non-traditional student. 26 students that changed my life. 26 students that challenged me to think, to listen, to learn, to communicate, to level-up.

These students set the standard high, a group I won’t soon forget, and I can’t wait to watch them thrive. I LOVE these 26 students, their passion, their humor, and their willingness to stretch. I work to inspire and empower others; and these students inspired and empowered me, they were just what I needed.  

No lie, it was A LOT of work. I chose a course book, wrote a Syllabus, created a curriculum, developed assignments, planned the time, and pivoted along the way when I thought I needed to.  Remember, doing hard things always makes life richer.  

I finished the semester with a lengthy evaluation, that was both required and anonymous, for each student to provide feedback on the class content, assignments, and of course, me. If you’re in an organization or team and NOT doing these kinds of evaluations and 360-degree reviews, you should be.

 “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

If I would have written out a specific outcome that I was seeking at the conclusion of the semester, other than the student outcomes, I don’t think I could have asked for more satisfaction than this particular feedback,  

“The content in this class pushes you outside of your comfort zone in many ways. From the sales presentation to the sales ride a long, they both force you to push yourself personally and professionally. Mrs. Findley is also an amazing representation of this as well as she expects a lot from her students because she wants them to succeed. She is very motivating and insightful.”  -AEC320 Student, Spring 2024

I don’t want it to be easy, but I do want it to be fair. Comfort zones are for living rooms, not for living. We need more in-person and less virtual, period. We need more listening, and less talking, more coaching and less telling, more motivating and less comparing, more COMMUNICATING and less noise. 

The students were hungry to learn, a little apprehensive to try something new, and ultimately, they were 26 super cool human beings that are doing their best to find the clarity, confidence, and connections they need to thrive. 

One more thing, when asked about the most important aspects in choosing an employer, the student feedback is rich, and the most repeated word is culture. If we don’t know by now that we simply MUST be investing in developing our people from a soft-skills and workplace culture perspective, we will continue losing them to employers outside our industry who do. 

I am beyond grateful for this opportunity that I wasn’t looking for! I don’t hide my criticism of higher education failing to adequately prepare young people for the transition from student to professional.  This opportunity was a wink from God saying, put your money where your mouth is young lady. So I did. And I will. And I hope you will too, in whatever way you’re called to do so, no matter your role, or your age.  

Clarity. Confidence. Connections. Culture. Let’s live it.  

LIFE: Living Inspired, Fulfilled & Empowered

Inspiration comes from loving other people. Fulfillment comes from serving other people. Empowerment comes from respecting other people.

AEC 320, Spring 2024. The class that will always be first to me! 

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