The new chair of the American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership committee is a familiar name to the organization. Isabella Chism, who has served as the vice-chair of the committee was recently elected to serve as the chair for the next two years. Chism succeeds Sherry Saylor of Arizona.
“It’s a responsibility and challenge that I both look forward to and have been a bit hesitant of, only because there are big shoes to fill. Sherry is a different type of leader than I am and will be and I believe that that’s the way it should be, but that gives you a little bit of hesitation as you’re looking ahead, but I am excited for what’s ahead of us.”
The Women’s Leadership program provides women with leadership training, communication skills and networking opportunities to, among other things, build trust in American agriculture. Chism said the work of Farm Bureau and her committee is paying dividends.
“We just recently heard that because of going through this pandemic and the break in the supply chain that farmers are now the number one trusted voice with farm women being just a touch above that, and it’s been a long time since the farmer has been the respected and trusted voice. So, that is a real plus and also part of the work that we continue to do, building that trust with the consumer.”
Two key Women’s Leadership programs are the biannual Women’s Communication Boot Camp and the annual Women’s Washington D.C. fly-in, from which Chism says better leaders emerge.
“When you have peer on peer training and peer on peer development like that, you have a comfort level that stretches you. That is our entire goal, just to give women that awareness of who they are, what they have available to them, and then help them to develop those strengths as best they can to be those strong advocates that we already know that they are in the home.”
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