FFA Gave Her The Competitive Edge

Leadership, career success and personal growth are all goals listed in the FFA mission statement.

For Lisa (Ahrens) Peterson those FFA goals became reality. Peterson credits her success in part to her FFA background. She’s served as both the Iowa and National FFA president and for the past six years she’s co-hosted the National FFA pre-conference shows on RFD-TV.

“We have a half hour show prior to each convention session and we talk to guests about what it’s like to have 50,000 students, parents and advisers in one place at one time,” Peterson says. “It’s an energetic production.”

Peterson (’02 ag business, agronomy) also met her husband, J.R., through FFA. Together they have two children, Ethan who will be three in August and Anna, who will be one in July. After she graduated in 2002, Peterson worked with another company for one year and then took a job with AgriBusiness Group (ABG). She says she could not have made a better choice.

ABG, now known as Adayana, is a consulting firm. Peterson says the company provides a plethora of services to help agribusinesses position themselves competitively. She says her degrees in agricultural business and agronomy prepared her for the job, but she would have never guessed she would find something as exciting and fast-paced.

“It’s an incredible company,” Peterson says. “We help with training, branding, research and strategy and the company’s president is a former FFA national officer.”

One of her most intense projects dealt with a company that separated from a regional cooperative and needed a marketing plan to establish a separate identity. It was her first major branding project and she spent one year with the client.

“We get involved when a company has pain and they don’t have time or the expertise to solve the problem,” Peterson says.

Now that Peterson has two small children, she’s cut back her hours and works on internal communications, but she hasn’t slowed down. This year she and her husband moved from Indianapolis to Clive, Iowa and also took time out to travel to the Winter Olympic games in Vancouver.

Returning to Iowa reminds Peterson about her college career. She says one of her most memorable moments was her service as a student representative on The Board of Regents, State of Iowa. She served five years and was on the board when they interviewed Iowa State University’s current president.

“I was on the board when we were in the process of hiring President Gregory Geoffroy,” Peterson says. “It was fun, but a little odd. It also was challenging because the Regents run a multi-billion dollar system and as a college student it was daunting to look at those numbers, but my voice and my vote were important.”

Peterson says, “participating in FFA allowed me to travel the world and pursue a fulfilling career.” Today, she continues her involvement with FFA and encourages high school students to take advantage of the opportunities the program provides.