James Andrew Kwon
Cynthia S. Nazario-Leary
Miki K. Tomita
Melissa Ann Zeman
Ashley Michelle Stokes
Christina Yumi Zimmerman
My life both personally and professionally has been enriched by my participation in ALP. By learning about and experiencing diverse aspects of Hawai‘i agriculture and culture I have gained a tremendous amount of confidence on a professional level. I feel more well-rounded and in-tune with issue affecting our State and Nation. Most of my goals were met, especially in terms of understanding policy and learning how to communicate with representatives in local and federal government, as well as the processes involved with policy making. I would have liked to participate in more exercises such as negotiation or facilitation during class-time. I am not totally confident in my skills in those areas, even after completing the course.
The Ag Leadership Program has opened my view of Agriculture and Natural Resources and how it is all interrelated with people. How the resources can be used properly over the long term without misuse. My participation in the Program and at the same time being the President of the Orchid Growers of Hawai‘i, a commercial grower association, has allowed myself to meet other leaders in Agriculture and promote all facets of Ag in Hawai‘i weather Small to Industrial or Organic or Conventional. The visiting of the different sites were most enjoyable but I felt I would have liked or needed more on the Leadership training such as activity based lessons or hands on type. Leadership has improved for me and there is a lot more to learn.
Participating in the Agricultural Leadership Program has made me realize the potential of my position to work collaboratively with other agencies as well as the constraints of being a part of a regulatory entity. What has been most beneficial has been meeting the many people within agriculture that are leaders already in their own professional lives. Each of them represent a part of what I would like to achieve in my own career. My main goal through this program was to be exposed to different sectors within agriculture and learn more about the needs of these sectors and what is being done to meet those needs. I was hoping to have a little more seminar sessions on collaboration and conflict resolution, practice through exercises, perhaps, to assist in my confidence in dealing with any volatile issues, as that is where I definitely am lacking. Overall, this was a wonderful experience that will help me grow in my current position.
Christina Bauske Zimmerman
This program has provided me with many advantages, from more confidence in my area of work, and in group situations, leadership situations, and with improving my communication experience both understanding styles of communication to working towards facilitation and better listening. I have grown in my understanding of different agriculture systems, different crops and distribution systems in Hawai‘i, and in how natural resources and agriculture can co-exist and provide advantages for each other. I feel blessed to have had a great group of classmates and now know that there are people on each island I feel confident in calling with questions, or just to get their opinion on an issue.
ALP has given me a greater understanding of agriculture and food systems in Hawai‘i. Appreciation of the basic needs and challenges facing the agriculture and food industry — land, water, labor, marketing, opposition — will help me in future projects or negotiations. Through the relationships with class members and people met during site visits, I feel confident to pick up the phone and call when issues arise, and that I have increased my professional network to be more effective in the natural resources field. I had hoped to engage the class in more discussions related to conservation issues. Overall, I truly appreciate this opportunity to spend time with class members, site visits, alumni, and meeting legislators and congressionals.