Compared to our visit to California, this meeting was focused more on collaboration with corporate partnerships rather than the production agriculture. The student advisory team had the pleasure of joining leading agricultural companies, Caterpillar, Inc., BASF, Bayer CropScience and Syngenta. Not only did we present about AFA to nearly 30 business people during these visits, but we learned about their agricultural innovations as well.
Growing up in agriculture, it was amazing to me to hear about ways these organizations are transforming to meet producer and consumer needs. Not only that, but each of these companies has a global imprint. That alone makes them noteworthy industry businesses.
One valuable piece of these visits was relationships. We connected with these people on a personal level and in the future, this new network will serve not only for my career interests, but for those in my network. Many underestimate the benefits of relationships. When that first meeting is established and you begin learning about another person and their passions, pursuits and potential, you can share that with others. For example, I met a lady who is focused on sales recruiting in agriculture. Even though I am not necessarily interested in sales, I can kindle that relationship to help someone else in my network who many benefit from the connection. This quote pertains to this idea:
"It's not about what you know, it is who you know and how they know you."
To enhance these relationships built, I hand wrote personal thank you notes to each individual I met and talked to during my trip. Even though it took a little time and hand cramps, it will mean a lot to them in the long run. Thoughtfulness is an underutilized ability. Taking time to write these notes and send them through snail mail is a task often forgotten.
As you meet and mingle with people in internships, jobs, school or even in the grocery store, how are you building and growing those acquaintances into relationships? Remember, you never know who you can help or can help you in the future.