March President's Message

From Susan Littlefield, 2015 NAFB President

For many it's the sound bringing a meeting to order, but to farm broadcasters it's a representation of history. Commissioned by Ken Root (a farm broadcaster, past president and past NAFB executive director) the gavel is made with three distinct types of wood to represent the three NAFB regions; East is walnut, South is cyprus and West is pine. The handle is made of oak.

As I sat at our board of directors meeting in January, I noticed dings on the gavel, the darkening of the handle from years of use. The gavel has been a major part of our organization's history and if it could talk...the board room conversations and the range of discussions it could share. I sit here now and think about the hands who have picked it up to represent the NAFB, from our first female President Colleen Callahan, who now works for the USDA Rural Development, to Tom Brand, past president and NAFB Executive Director, and everyone in between. Each one of them has left their mark on NAFB, as they moved forward in their year as president.

So what will my mark be? It's a question I am exploring and continue to ponder. I have been re-reading Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton by Lee Ellis. He stresses making every step count in your journey in leadership. Ellis takes 18 months of captivity and turns them into strong lessons we as leaders can use. You don't have to be the head of an organization to read it. It's about putting service to your passions in the forefront. I am awaiting the mailman to bring me my next book, Leadership and Self Deception.

I am glad you're on this journey with me, as I will look to many of you for examples and guidance, sounding boards and someone to just sit back with, laugh and share stories. Who knows maybe I will find out more about those dings in the gavel! Until next time...I'll meet you on the roads traveled.