Former FFA Officers “Exert an Influence” by Coming Home
Lisa Ahrens Peterson and her husband, J.R., didn’t merely recite The Creed as FFA members. They’ve been living each day, for more than a decade, according these very words.
As a member of the Osage FFA Chapter, Lisa served her local chapter as reporter and president. She also served as: District Vice President, 1995-96; North Central State Vice President, 1996-97; State President, 1997-98; and National FFA President from 1998-99.
“All of my job opportunities were as a result of my FFA experiences, and the network of individuals I met through the years. I also believe that I advanced in my career faster because of the skill set I gained through FFA including leadership, public speaking and teamwork.”
“FFA helped me in college, as well,” adds Lisa. “As a result of my FFA experiences, I was selected for Iowa State University’s President’s Leadership Class. Approximately 30 incoming freshman were chosen and met weekly with President Jischke at his house. I got to know President Jischke very well, and he eventually recommended me for the State Board of Regents. Governor Branstad knew me from my State FFA officer days and recommended me to the Iowa Senate for confirmation. I spent the next 5 years serving on the board. It all began with FFA!”
FFA is a tremendous vehicle to teach leadership, provide personal growth opportunities, and prepare young people for a career in one of over 300 ag-related careers. Lisa said she’s amazed at the number of people she’s met who credit FFA to their success. One such individual is ISU’s Dr. Neil Harl, a nationally recognized expert on taxation, estate planning, business planning and agricultural law. Dr. Harl credits FFA public speaking contests for helping him cure his stutter.
Another individual Lisa met through FFA became her husband. She and J.R. met when they were both candidates for national office. Lisa was elected national president, and the National FFA Organization hired J.R. to staff Made for Excellence and the Washington Leadership Conferences. A few years after they were married, J.R. went to work for the National FFA Foundation as Director of Corporate Contributions. Lisa worked for Dow AgroSciences for one year, and then joined the Agri Business Group (ABG) as a senior business analyst. ABG became part of Adayana, and Lisa worked there for nine years.