Have you ever come across a cool opportunity but hesitated because you didn't think you could do it?
I've been there and done that. Though this year, I promised myself that I would be fierce and to chase after anything and everything that I wanted in life. And I think that I have done just that. Let me tell you a little story that illustrates this point.
I remember coming home to the farm after working at my office job in Guelph and checking my LinkedIn account. I saw that there was a message in my inbox, but I thought it was spam. I opened it anyway. It said that FLARE, a Canadian women's fashion magazine and Fido, a phone service provider were teaming up to do a Go Get Featured contest to celebrate go-getter women. Winners would get $1,000 towards their passion project and be treated to a couple days in Toronto. I thought to myself, that's kinda neat. I then carried on with my night. About a week had passed and I thought to myself, I think that application is due. I checked and sure enough it was due that night at 11:59pm. It said that applicants could write a short essay or submit a video. It was about 10pm and I thought to myself, I might write up something and submit it for fun.
I wrote about working toward my dream of taking over my family’s beef cattle farm. In my pitch, I talked about my dual life in the country and the city, working part time in agricultural communications and raising cattle alongside my family. The contest asked applicants to explain what our “it” was for the chance to win $1,000 toward a passion project. My “it” was to launch a mentorship program for women in agriculture through the Ag Women’s Network. Second to that, was a hope that my story would help spur dialogue and bridge the gap between rural and urban communities. I poured my heart out in the application and hit send.
About a week later, I got an email from the organizers of the contest saying that I have been selected for a Skype interview to discuss my application. I thought to myself "holy crap!" I didn't even save the Word document with my original application and I was trying to remember all the details that I had said. I immediately messaged Jen Christie and said that I needed her number to call her. I called her and said, I hope you won't be mad but this crazy thing just happened and I may have mentioned creating a mentorship program for women in agriculture with the help of the Ag Women's Network. Jen wasn't mad. In fact she was thrilled. I told her not to get too excited because I might not get selected.
When I had the interview, the interviewers said, your application stood out to us. I said well I guess that's a good thing because I'm here. They thought it was cool that I was from a farm and were excited to hear about my passion project. I remember getting off the phone and jumping in the air. A day or so later I got another email saying that they wanted to have a second Skype interview with me. After getting all the technical glitches sorted out, they told me that they would like to offer me a spot to be featured along with eight other women from across Canada.
I could hardly believe it. Who knew that a girl who grew up on the back gravel roads in a farming community in Perth County would be able to win such an opportunity.
A few weeks later, I spent a few days in Toronto alongside other influential women participating in a photo shoot and being filmed about my passion project and the pride that farmers take to produce food for Canadians. The full feature comes out on September 19th on FLARE.com.
While all this was happening, Jen had approached the Ag Women's Network Leadership Team to see who would be interested in working with me to create the mentorship program. Jen told me that Joan Craig had offered to help! I was thrilled. It has been a wonderful journey working with Joan as she too is passionate about mentorship. From dinner dates to emails, phone calls and Snapchats it has been a blast to get to know her and create a team approach to this incredible opportunity that we are proud to bring forward to the AWN membership.