by Jessica Brown
Ohio FFA Alumni
"Recently I celebrated 15 years of service with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. I reflected then, as I have numerous times, on my years in FFA at Ross High School in Ross, Ohio, and the impact FFA ultimately had on me and my future.
Looking back I can see how FFA prepared me for life and a career through my experiences in ag class, shop, SAEs, meetings, contests and achieving FFA degrees, including my American FFA Degree.
My current role at P&G is in the legal division, managing billing and intellectual property systems and processes for a global P&G legal team. I interact frequently with vendors P&G retains globally plus my co-workers around the world; therefore, my role is both internal and external facing.
Working for P&G has opened doors and given me many opportunities, including the chance to travel globally to speak and train on behalf of P&G. In the cases I’ve spoken to large crowds, those are usually the times I reflect on my public speaking preparation with FFA. (I remember fondly the early morning parliamentary procedure practices before school and the local bakery donut stops ahead of the practices.)
I also volunteer at the P&G annual shareholder meeting. In recent years I’ve spoken in front of hundreds of shareholders, employees and P&G executives. Have I been nervous before speaking? Yes, a bit in the past, but not any longer. My experience with FFA in leading meetings and in speaking contests, plus my real-world experience at P&G, has removed any remaining nervousness.
FFA gave me the confidence and poise to present myself and my company well at such events, and P&G has given me the opportunities to polish the skills I acquired from FFA.
Over the years I’ve been complimented on my public speaking skills and am always happy to receive the compliments or constructive criticism. The compliments come from people and co-workers who have no idea of my FFA background and other P&G speaking experience.
If someone had told me in high school that I’d be working for P&G in the role I have now instead of working at my family’s farming business, I would have told them they were crazy. Life has a way of happening to you and doesn’t always work out the way you think it will.
FFA opened doors and made me aware of opportunities I never dreamed of, which taught me to dream even bigger when I graduated college and joined the working world.
There are days I miss the farm; fortunately, I am still able to go and drive tractors on the weekends and of course be an advocate for agriculture at my family’s business. The farm and FFA will always be a part of me and have tremendously shaped who I am today."
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