Luisa F. Castro
…the ALFH program provides an outstanding opportunity to learn important leadership skills, to see a diverse assortment of agricultural operations and farming practices, and closely related support industries, and to develop valuable lifelong agricultural industry relationships to help further their future agricultural leadership activities and the success of Hawai‘i agriculture.
This program will help you grow as a leader and develop life-long relationships with other key leaders in the agricultural sector in Hawai‘i. By program completion, you will be a more vocal, confident spokesperson for your commodity and agriculture as a whole.
I am definitely more aware of and educated about current ag issues such as GMO vs non-GMO, organic vs non-organic, etc. and feel more confident when such conversations arise. I would say that the Ag Leadership Program is an outstanding, rewarding program that I am extremely proud to be a part of. It will open your eyes and broaden your knowledge of agricultural issues across the state. You will make life long friends and gain an invaluable resource of support!
The program has increased my knowledge about agriculture, made me aware of the impact that policies at the national and local level can have on agriculture, introduced me to agricultural leaders and other educational resources, opened my mind to the possibilities for Hawai‘i, made me well aware of some of the barriers to success in agriculture and generally provided me with a good skill set for facilitating positive change in both my work place and for agriculture in Hawai‘i. Donna’s leadership classes were priceless and I find myself using the tools she taught us on a regular basis.
Ag groups to improve relationships and minimized misunderstanding or misinformation. We have to approach different opinions with an open heart and respect for one another. I cherish the knowledge and friendship gained in this Ag Leadership course.
(Hawai‘i Island Seminar, October 2008)
Thong Teng Neo
On a self-interest level, I really enjoyed the travel component of the program, especially access to the farms we visited and the farmers we were able to meet. Not too many residents of our state ever get this kind of experience and you have to be in this type of program to do so. It is definitely a program that gives back what you put into it. …It is a program that gives you the tools but you must be ready to learn, not just be an observer or follower. It is a program where you will hear a lot of people’s opinions but you must be able to discern the truth behind the stories. …You will get more out of this program by being prepared for each meeting, whether it be with your classmates, the farmers, or with the industry leaders you will encounter. Try to leave your judgments of people behind or how you think the world really functions.
My participation in the Ag Leadership program has strengthened my leadership skills that I use everyday in the work environment I am in. The National trip was a once in a lifetime experience. If not for this program, I would have never experience Washington D.C. to the level I have. Meeting the delegates was an honor and a privilege.
Meeting our politicians on both a state and national level has also changed my perspective. Before the Program I wouldn’t have known how to approach them with an issue. Now I have had personal contact with them or their assistants and would have no reservations about getting in touch with them.
Being in the program has made me feel more confident in everything that I do. …I find myself wanting to be more aware of everything and everyone around me…wanting to engage in conversations with people. This is something I never liked doing in the past. I find myself to be more understanding and wanting to be on “common ground” when dealing with decision making and looking at things with a broader perspective. …I feel proud and grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a participant of the program which has changed my life in so many ways. It is a life changing experience that gives you tools to mature professionally and personally. …You learn to look at things with a broader perspective and it gives you the tools to be more confident in everything that you do and makes you want to be engaged and be more aware of what is happening around you.
Participation in the ALF program affords a unique experience to grasp the ‘bigger picture,’ the critical issues and multitude of opportunities facing agriculture in Hawai‘i, nationally and globally. Exposure to the political and legislative process puts people into the halls of our state and national capitols and encourages immediate and future involvement in the process. The critical skills of strategic thinking, planning and facilitation provide invaluable tools for increased productivity, creative solutions and new opportunities. A person gets as much out of the class as they put into it…ALF, a super, profound and incredible life experience.