Be All That You Can Be

As I write this, three of our employees are in Colorado for their first session in the Farm Credit System’s Leadership Development Program. This is our latest group of employees to go through this training; the first group graduated in Phoenix, Arizona on April 10, and we have others who are in the middle of the program or waiting in the wings to go (it’s a two-year program).

I’m very proud of all of the staff members who have committed to participating in this program, and—as I learned at the graduation a few weeks ago—we have been well represented by this group of outstanding individuals.

The Leadership Development Program (LDP) helps train our future leaders—there are seminars devoted to personal development, management skills, and Farm Credit System and financial industry issues. It is a comprehensive program, and the employees that we have sent so far have excelled, as I heard great stories both from their instructors and their peers throughout the System.

I know that the LDP isn’t for everyone. Not every one of our employees wants to be a manager. But, no matter what position you’re in, and what your future goals are, I think it’s always important to make training a part of your job. We’re all leaders in our individual skills—whether you’re in customer service, sales, or administration—I truly think that our employees are the best in the field. But, as we all know, the world keeps changing around us—the only way to continue building our skills to handle those changes is through a commitment to training and lifelong learning.

I often ask myself “Bob, what do you want to be when you grow up?” (Note: I don’t often say it out loud!) I obviously love what I’m doing now, but I know that I want to continue challenging myself, and continuing to grow, both as a person and as a Farm Credit CEO.

In April, I began a program called Leadership Maryland. My fellow classmates are a very impressive group—leaders from around the state, from fields as varied as education, city developers, law firms and construction companies. Sometimes, when I look over their resumes, I wonder why they let me in!! I suspect that I will learn as much from my peers in this group as I will from the scheduled seminars.

If you want to learn more about the program, you can read all about it at But I think their mission says it all: “Leadership Maryland is designed to broaden the base of leaders through the development of individual interest, statewide knowledge, and leadership ability that can be applied with power, influence, and authority for the greater good of Maryland.”

I fully expect that this learning opportunity will be for the greater good of MidAtlantic, as well. Feel free to ask me what I’ve learned and how I’m applying it when you see me—it’s always good to put the classroom time into real world applications!

I know that training takes time, and it means extra work when you get back to your office. But I fully support taking that time. I think it’s important for us as an association, as well as for all of us as individuals.

After all, we can’t be the best if we don’t keep up. Ask your manager what training opportunities are available for your development—and share what you’ve learned with me! I promise that I will do the same.

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