Shelly (Lammers) O'Leary, 1997
University of Wisconsin-Madison
I am married to Josh O'Leary and live in rural Waupun, Wis. I'm currently self-employed as an advanced director and trainer with Pampered Chef.
Hoard's helped me to land my first full-time job as communications specialist at East Central/Select Sires (where I interviewed, selected and worked with summer interns of my own.) It taught me to be resourceful and independent. This was key when figuring out what copy/photos could be useful in the months ahead finding suitable people/companies to interview for the topic and coordinate more than one stop if traveling a long distance. We were always on the lookout for photo opportunities for the "photo file" . . . and we did all of this before cellphones, tablets, the internet and digital cameras.
As part of my job, I helped discern which letters from readers and press releases might be valuable editorial. One day while I was going through the incoming mail, I discovered a press release encouraging college-age ag students to apply for scholarships for international agricultural exchange programs. I contacted the organization for more information and ended up being selected to live in Switzerland with a host-farm family for six months (and I won a scholarship, too.) That decision to live in a foreign country with a family I'd never met and learning about their methods of dairy, beef and crop agriculture was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I learned so much throughout my time there - from Ewing Row, Steve Larson, Marlene Brunner and Corey Geiger (editorial staff). In my subsequent full-time job at EC/SS, I found myself modeling Corey's leadership and work ethic frequently, whether working with customers, co-workers or advising my own summer interns. One of the things I most respected about Corey was the way he owned up to a mistake if he made one. As a young adult who might have preferred to keep quiet and admit my ball-dropping later in a more private setting, I was impressed, and I respected him for simply being candid about it.