Somalia. Kenya. Jordan. Kentucky. The list of places where Charlee Doom has lived and worked is atypical. But her involvement in the National FFA Organization, she says, helped her achieve the premier leadership, personal growth and career success she experiences today as a member of the United States Foreign Service.
“My supervised agricultural experience and participation in the National FFA global experience program both took me overseas while I was in high school,” Doom says. “This developed a passion for international markets and, ultimately, a career in diplomacy and international development. FFA undoubtedly launched me into my passion for international agricultural development.”
Throughout her career, Doom has managed a variety of projects. She is credited with a $200 million integrated partnership assistance agreement in Eastern and Southern Africa for seed, biotechnology and fertilizer. Later, she created the International Donor Fisheries Work Group in Somalia. Today, she works across multiple industries in order to grow and stabilize the economy in the Kingdom of Jordan.
“The number one skill I learned through participation in various FFA events was the ability to talk to anyone – from a kindergartener to a head of state,” Doom says. “There isn’t a conversation I’m not prepared for. This has served me well throughout life and will continue to do so.”
Outside of communications skills, Doom credits her time as a member of the LaRue County FFA Chapter, and later as the Kentucky state FFA president, with helping her understand how to run a small business, how to dust off defeat, how to find adventures, and how to fit nine FFA members into a Pontiac Sunfire safely. As a former 4-Her, becoming a member of the National FFA Organization was a natural next step. However, it was her relationship with her FFA advisor that took her passion for agriculture to the next level.
“FFA is as much about the mentors you find as the other things you learn,” Doom says. “My FFA advisor, Misty, is now a lifelong friend. It might have taken me a decade to call her Misty instead of Mrs. Bivens, but not a day went by that I didn’t appreciate and value her guidance and friendship.”
As FFA celebrates its 50th anniversary of women being allowed membership, Doom has a lot of advice for members. Take every opportunity, she says. Talk to everyone. Introduce yourself to sponsors at events. Push your comfort zone. Ask question. Be curious. Join a team. Be bold. And always be relentlessly kind.