Well, that was tough, but then again, so am I. The far-reaching effects of the pandemic didn’t seem to leave any corner of life unturned. When the world came to a grinding halt, I found myself floundering. I sat looking at 12 unused plane tickets for canceled flights and felt a new type of restlessness. Despite working on cutting down my travel schedule, I had still been visiting my trusty parking spot at the airport every two to three weeks. All of a sudden, I had nothing on my calendar, nothing on the horizon and I wasn’t sure what to do with these life-changing events.
It took months for that restlessness to fade. Surprisingly it was replaced with a new comfort that I hadn’t felt in years. The comfort of home. I came to realize that when traveling all of the time, you are always getting ready for the next time you leave. It’s like you’re never really anywhere. It wasn’t something I could have realized without a forced stop.
The FarmHer Life-Changing Decision
When I started FarmHer it was a passion project with no real clear path. That passion pushed me forward, with the determination that I would figure it out. I quickly realized that the only way forward when bootstrapping a business is to run as hard and fast as you can towards the goal. There was one person who cared enough to run that fast…me. Over the years a team grew around me and the path became clearer.
In 2015, RFD-TV approached me about doing a TV show and that became a cornerstone of our growth. Over the next five years, I ran hard and fast to farms for filming, events, speaking engagements, and anything else that would introduce people to FarmHer. Looking back, I had been moving so fast that life became a blur. I kept pushing a little harder and running a little faster and FarmHer grew. Now, here I sit with 125 TV episodes, over 20 FarmHer events around the country, hundreds of radio shows and podcasts, nearly 400 FarmHers photographed, and countless speaking engagements and conferences in the rearview, and the most amazing team I can imagine in front of me.
New Faces at FarmHer
Our team really kicked it into gear this year. This showed me that they can run just as fast, grow bigger and lean into FarmHer and the women we represent as readily as I have. Through running fast and working as a team, FarmHer has gained legs of its own. FarmHer is one of the lights of my life but sitting still last year proved I needed to make a change.
So, as I laid awake in the middle of the night clarity, I woke Tony up. This was just like I had when I decided to start FarmHer. Again, I told him I was ready for life to change. I began formulating how I could still live in the stories without running all over the country. We have spent the last year strengthening our team, making sure every part of FarmHer has a caretaker that isn’t me.
Erin runs all of the partnerships and keeps the business (and me) on track day-to-day. Jodi guides the digital. Chelsie gets creative, pulls it all together, and makes sure everyone sees all the stories. Tony covers all of the operations and technical areas. Michelle makes sure the merchandise lands on the right doorsteps. Ed does the EDiting (ha – I love a good pun). I get to live in the creative and tell stories. All the work in building a solid team has given me newfound freedom. And space so if I were to make a change and slow down…what would I DO?
From Coffee to a New Career
About the same time, the universe went to work and I had coffee with an old friend. He told me about a new role he was stepping into and asked about my interest in joining his team. Surprising myself, I immediately said I would love to talk more. Then went home and thought, wait, WHAT DID I JUST SAY?!? The more I thought about it, the more I knew that I said that because I was ready for a new challenge. I knew that FarmHer has its own legs now.
As I thought about the idea and learned more about the company and the position, I came to realize that this would be the new challenge I had been looking for. I wouldn’t have to run around the country like a crazy person to do it. I could hold true to my desire to stay at home more and still grow in this role. I realized that this is the opportunity to step into an agricultural organization and bring a mindset and focus with me that isn’t common across the industry. All of the experience I have gained from building FarmHer as a company and in turn meeting and understanding FarmHers across the country could be pulled together for a greater good.
I Said Yes!
After months of discussing and pondering, a few days before Christmas I took my next life-changing leap and said yes. I said yes to stepping into a leadership role at AgriSompo. AgriSompo is now one of the largest crop insurance companies in the U.S. I said yes to helping combine two great companies into an even greater one that brings risk management, stability, and security to hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers across the country. I said yes to personal growth, change, and potential.
The Future of FarmHer
Today, alongside the FarmHer team, I continue to play a role in telling the stories of women, food, family, and farming. I am showing myself, and other women who might be watching, that we can change, adjust, and grow in ways we never expected. We can learn, lead, and continue to redefine ourselves. We can take a different path than we expected. None of us just play one role in life…we’re professionals, producers, FarmHers, mothers, wives, sisters, and so much more. Now, I’ve expanded my role to include “professional FarmHer” which means I’m throwing a blazer on over my FarmHer T-shirt a whole lot more these days.
I’ve promised to give myself grace as I navigate this new normal. My new position is a challenge, but I’m reminding myself regularly that challenges are my specialty. I’m excited for what it will bring for me, what I can bring to AgriSompo and what I can continue to do to lift up women. I’m excited about the challenge this brings to our FarmHer team. Last year proved to me over and over and over again that life will change whether we want it to or not. Last year was tough, but so am I. So, get on the bus, accept the challenge, take the new road…you never know where it will lead you!