There are many mentors I have that have helped empower my voice, teaching and guiding me to share boldly and proudly about our rural life.
Three of them were able to join me for coffee at no other than Starbuck’s during my time in Hutchinson, Kansas for the #140conf Small Town event. When you live 97 miles from Starbuck’s or any form of pop culture on the North Dakota prairie like our family does, Starbuck’s is a treat.
Starbuck’s with true friends is an even bigger deal for me. Debbie, Janice, Val and I all met on Twitter. Debbie of Life on Kansas Cattle Ranch has 5 kids, runs a working cattle ranch while her husband has a off farm career. She also wear flip flops while feeding cattle.
|Debbie of Life on Kansas Cattle Ranch
Also important to know, Debbie actually had 5 kids in less than 5 years. She’s a hero of mine. When I think life is crazy, I just have to think of Debbie to know I can keep going! She has a strong passionate voice. Her kids are teenagers and two are in college now. I can only hope and pray my kids turn out like hers…and my rural life is a success like hers while keeping my sanity.
|Janice of JPLovesCotton
Janice who many call JP often has her “social media persona” defined for her by others because of assumptions. She’s the red head that works for Monsanto. Sound devilish? The absolute opposite is true. JP’s career working in public relations has connected her to people like me because she has a passion for farming. She’s a city girl that loves rural. JP is true to who she is on her blog JPLovesCotton. It’s all about…cotton, agriculture, technology, travel, food and connections. She’s kind. She has energy, enthusiasm, a strong will and she empowers me to share my voice. She can debate. She’s open minded. Her career doesn’t define who she is but it opens her thinking to a broader perspective. I respect her because of it. She also makes me laugh until I cry.
|Val of Wag N’ Tales
Val, my fellow North Dakota prairie mama, is a friend I would have never known if it weren’t for social media. There are very few people that can get in car together for 1500 miles, share a hotel room, laugh and cry together and still like each other when it’s all over. Val and I seem different in many ways yet we are cut from the same cloth. She’s smart as a whip, extremely intuitive, a fighter like no other mother I’ve ever seen and bold in a quiet, strategic manner. Val, despite 1000 things going around her from her farm to her family, went with me to #140conf. She empowers me in more ways than she’ll ever know. (And she also has the coolest blog giveaway this month on her blog. It’s pink. It’s big. It’s for fighters. It’s in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. If you comment, you enter. So be sure to stop by Wag N’ Tales.)
|photo credit Jerry Hirsch
I can talk agriculture, farm families and food daily in my professional career. But to tell my personal story is…personal. It was more difficult than I had imagined to actually sum up our story in 10 minutes with no aids for the #140conf and still make it seem meaningful and relevant. My husband watched me on streaming video. He knew I was more nervous than I normally would be when I speak. He also sweetly pointed out when I got home that I flipped my hair too much. I love an honest man.
|I was totally jealous of Jeff Pulver’s matching glasses to his shirt. Photo credit to Jerry Hirsch.
I was empowered by the #140conf by the many new faces I connected with to share more boldly and to engage more often. And it was thanks to a few women that sat alongside of me in a Starbuck’s in Hutchinson, Kansas that I can thank for giving me added motivation in helping me to share for story.
Who helps you empower your “voice”?