At The Helm

Dakota Hoben is a recognized leader on campus. And it’s not just because he was elected president of the Government of the Student Body. With four majors, the senior in agricultural business, international agriculture, economics and political science says he seeks out leadership opportunities to serve others.

“If you want to see things change for the better you need to be involved and be in a position of influence,” Hoben says. “In any leadership position it’s about giving back and as GSB president it’s about working for the students.”

The GSB position was something he pursued after a two-year stint as a GSB senator. He’s lightened his student load this year to meet those duties and engage his fellow students. His campaign goals include improving access to funds for student organizations, establishing financial literacy programs and improving dead week policies to reflect the purpose of the week, which is to prepare for final exams.

Getting involved and taking charge is something Hoben learned in high school and through his 4-H and FFA activities. His school was fairly small, which meant students could be involved in several activities.

Hoben says sometimes leading involves being in the right place at the right time. In 2007 he received the Governor’s Meritorious Life Saving Award along with 11 other Grandview high school students for their quick response after a tornado hit their hometown. As soon as it passed the boys began checking homes to see if anyone needed help. They found a 91-yearold woman who was trapped and was rescued by Hoben and four other boys.

“We happened to be where we were needed,” he says.

That sense of caring and service to others has continued throughout his college career. Hoben served on the search committee to select a new Iowa State University president and was one of 12 students nationwide to be selected for the International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership Program to study international trade and marketing in Panama and Columbia. He also is an active ambassador for the college helping recruit high school students. Hoben served as the alumni chair and says he enjoyed networking and interacting with alums.

Other leadership opportunities have taken him around the world. Hoben worked as a summer intern in 2010 at the Iowa Agribusiness Export Partnership in Des Moines. He helped plan and lead a group of agricultural entrepreneurs to China to explore business opportunities.

“You hear about the growing middle class market in China and businesses think they can go to China and start making money,” Hoben says. “But that’s not the case. The businesses making money now were there 20 years ago. It takes a long time to grow a business in China.”

As far as the future, there are no limits for Hoben. He’s especially interested in international agriculture and helping the industry navigate through global change.

Click here for Hoben’s brownie recipe