Mindy Bunselmeyer is the Illinois FFA Center Executive Director. She got to this position by first getting a B.S. and M.S. at the University of Illinois and teaching ag education in Monticello for eight years. She moved from a teaching position to a leadership position when she served as the District 4 Program Advisor for Facilitating Coordination in Ag Education for ten years.
FFA, formerly Future Farmers of America, FFA is a local, state, and national organization that provides a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education for each student in its membership.
Mindy’s professional life has always been about helping young people understand more about agriculture and themselves, whether that is directly, or by helping other ag teachers who are helping young people.
She and her husband, Mark and their son Gehrig and daughter Emery, live on a farm near Decatur, Illinois, where they raise corn, soybeans and horseradish.
Lindsay: What are your primary responsibilities?
Lindsay: What made you decide to pursue a career in this field?
Mindy: I was most inspired to become an agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor by my agriculture teacher, Mr. Richard Watson and my parents who were live long 4-H leaders. I saw the impact that they made and of course benefited greatly from the time they dedicated to me and other members. I wanted to give to others as they had given to me. While serving as an FFA officer at the state level, I was truly inspired to serve at the state level by seeing the impact those who served in my position prior to me had made and once again, wanted to give back and give more.
Lindsay: What three things stand out to you as skills that are vital for a career in this area?
Mindy: Open minded – open to ideas, looking for ways to keep us always keep us moving forward, open new opportunities for young people involved in agricultural education, open to news ways of doing things. Flexibility and problem-solving skills – when working with so many people and so many moving parts – there are bound to be times when things don’t always go as you have planned and being flexible, quick on your feet and able to solve problems is essential in this job and most likely any job. Friendly and outgoing – This is a people person job, God blessed me with the ability to chat with anyone, anywhere, on just about anything…all the time, so I love working with and meeting people.
Lindsay: What’s a typical day like in your job?
Mindy: That is what’s so great about my job, no two days are the same. Much of my time is working with our State officer team on coordinating events that they plan and put together, such as STAR conferences, chapter visits, speeches, state convention and so much more. I work a great deal with our teachers on programming and events that are offered to FFA members throughout the state. So one day, I am in the office all day working on those programming pieces and the next day we are out of the office putting on those events. Many times I am meeting with friends of FFA to talk about and represent our interests in agricultural education.
Lindsay: Do you think young people today should be considering careers in agriculture?
Mindy: ABSOLUTELY! I can’t begin to tell you the number of events that I have attained and research that I have read that we have so many opportunities in agriculture that are going unfilled by applicants with experiences in agriculture. Those opportunities vary a great deal in areas of the industry, it’s amazing how much opportunity is out there for young people interested in agriculture.