ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Building and honoring leaders continues to be paramount at the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA). The Outstanding Leadership Award was created to honor a NJAA member who embodies high character and holds a profound passion to serve as a leader within the junior association. During the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS), Ellie Kidwell was selected as the 2022 Outstanding Leadership Award recipient in Kansas City, Mo.
Kidwell, of Walhonding, Ohio, was presented with a trophy and awarded a $2,000 scholarship. Instituted in 1994, the Outstanding Leadership Award was created in honor of Jim Baldridge – a lifetime member and supporter of the American Angus Association – to recognize an honorable youth leader. By displaying a distinct initiative to lead by example, Kidwell embodies the qualities the award was designed to recognize.
“Ellie is an outstanding leader within the association and continuously leads by example,” said Lindsay Grimes-Hall, Ohio Junior Angus (OJA) advisor. “She pushes herself outside her comfort zone and takes advantage of every opportunity afforded to her to meet new people and gain new experiences in various facets of the industry.”
Kidwell said it is due to Grimes-Hall’s mentorship that helped mold her into the leader she is today. Additionally, she said there is an incredible reward that comes with pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and getting involved. Her advice to junior members is to take advantage of every opportunity the NJAA offers and find a mentor.
“I’d say the biggest thing for getting me involved was having a mentor to push me, because initially I was afraid to go talk to people,” Kidwell said. “But getting involved in youth contests and attending activities is how you meet people, and you need somebody to push you to do that.”
Kidwell displays leadership through various areas in the junior association and her community. In 2021, Kidwell served as Miss American Angus and currently serves as president of the OJA. In her leadership roles, her goal is to always make a positive impact.
“Winning the award was incredibly special because I didn’t know it was going to happen,” Kidwell said. “But the highlight of my week [at NJAS] was getting to see everybody that makes up the Angus family.”
Kidwell is an animal science senior studying at Kansas State University and plans to attend veterinary school after graduating. Additionally, Kidwell wants to continue working with juniors in the OJA. She intends to grow the state’s mentoring program and eventually serve as the junior advisor. As she embarks on a new chapter, Kidwell hopes to continue influencing Angus youth beyond her years as a junior member.
To learn more about the Outstanding Leadership Award or other NJAA programs, visit www.angus.org/NJAA.
— Sierra Walter, Angus Communications