KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ninety-two junior members from 22 different states and Canada all gathered in Billings, Mont., for the 2022 Faces of Leadership conference, hosted by the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) on August 3-6. The theme of the conference was “Sky’s the Limit,” hosting tours of Hereford operations in the big sky country, inspirational and educational keynote speakers, sessions hosted by the NJHA Board of Directors, tours of the iconic Public Auction Yards (PAY’s) and fun adventures that included white water rafting on the Yellowstone River.
A highlight of the event was hearing from legendary owner/operator of PAY’s, Joe Goggins. He fielded difficult questions posed by the Hereford juniors about the future of the industry and the best ways to continue to be progressive and forward thinking. “We have made cattle on the North American continent much better,” said Goggins. “If you outwork your competition then the sky’s the limit for this generation moving forward.”
Insightful leadership lessons were also provided by the keynote speakers. Amanda Radke kicked off the first afternoon, with an emphasis on being leaders in the industry and sharing our ag story with the public. “More important than your passion is to find your purpose,” said Radke. “Passions can change, but your purpose will not.” This purpose driven life was emphasized in the tours of the Hereford operations.
The first evening was spent at Mohican West Polled Herefords, Laurel, Mont., where junior members had the opportunity to see MOHICAN BLUEPRINT 69B. The next day hosted tours of ORIgen, Billings, Mont., where juniors saw the different ways the company manages bulls and provides opportunities for seedstock and commercial producers. Following this the attendees traveled to L Bar W Cattle Company, in Absarokee, Mont. There they heard from McKenzie Johnston of Nebraska, before exploring the cattle on a hayride. This operation provided high quality viewing of Line 1 Hereford females as well as a strong line of F1 Hereford-Angus cross cattle.
The NJHA Board of Directors had been preparing for the event for the months leading up to the days in Montana, and hosted workshops throughout the week for the attendees. Workshops ranged from a personality test to assist with determining their different leadership strengths, as well as the different lessons that assist with change and learning your individual habits, rituals and patterns.
The closing keynote speaker, Cheryl Mitchell, joined the attendees during the entire event, participating in each tour and activity, as well as coaching the NJHA Board of Directors on the proper way to host their workshops. By attending all of the different aspects of the conference, she was able to bring highlights of the week into her keynote, using the white water rafting as an analogy, the tours as learning material and the speakers as inspiration.
“Your mind is the most powerful organ that you have,” said Mitchell, as she emphasized the importance of being a good leader and taking care of your body, mind and spirit, in order to lead others. “It is where you win and lose every decision, every choice in your life. From the minute you get out of bed, you make 35,000 decisions each day all within your mind. So how are you using it and strengthening it?”
The Faces of Leadership conference is supported by the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA) and the Rick and Bonnie Coley-Malir Endowment. The 2023 conference will be hosted in Malir’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Stay tuned for more information regarding next year’s conference.
The National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) is one of the largest, strongest and most active junior cattle programs in the country. Over the years, members of this association have gone on to earn international and domestic respect as models for youth organizational success. The NJHA, through its extensive educational programs, continues to lay the foundation for the beef industry’s future leaders. The traditions of the past coupled with the energy of today’s board of directors have created a progressive approach to further develop a meaningful and educational association focus.
–National Junior Hereford Association