01 Sep Taking A Chance on New Careers with Lexi Marek
Taking A Chance on New Careers
“I don’t exactly know my career path but I know I want to stay in agriculture, I want to work with people, and I want to connect my passions with others,” was the goal written over and over again on Lexi Marek’s scholarship and college applications. It’s a good thing that Lexi didn’t have tunnel vision, because at the time of her graduation, her future dream job hadn’t even been created yet!
Lexi Marek is not only a sixth generation farmer from Iowa, she is also the Communications Manager for FarmHer, a relatively young business who works to highlight women in agriculture. A powerful and dynamic team, Lexi works with a team of six women that continues to exceed expectations with their out of the box marketing, storytelling and media content.
Five years ago, FarmHer’s president and founder Marji Guyler-Alaniz, created an organization whose purpose was to focus on the women of agriculture. After eleven years in corporate agriculture, Marji realized that there was a lack of representation of women in agriculture and so, armed with a camera, she went forward to do something about this.
What Marji started was more than a photo project – it became an, almost, overnight sensation. It became a campaign to share the stories of women in agriculture as well as recognize those women who are inspiring communities around the world.
How A Scholarship Changed the Stars
Heading home for the summer and working on the family farm was what Lexi had thought she would be doing after her internship at the National Pork Board. Thirty minutes into listening to Marji speak about her photography project and how it had grown to include a website and an upcoming clothing line, Lexi’s interest was piqued; she wanted in!
“I told her that night that I wanted to be an intern,” Lexi admits. Interns wasn’t something that Marji had necessarily been thinking of at the time but Lexi’s persistence paid off and after a thorough interview she was hired.
Shortly after being hired as FarmHer’s intern, Lexi interviewed for her biggest scholarship whose requirement was for her to “change the world.” She wanted to help connect with professionals as a student and build a mentorship for women in agriculture. She got the scholarship.
Putting two-and-two together, Lexi asked Marji if she could host an event for FarmHer, connecting women in agriculture from across the area.
“Looking back, it’s crazy,” Lexi says in disbelief over Marji’s approval of the event. An event that now sees over 1500 attendees at 11 events in 9 states. It proved that it wasn’t just important to Lexi but that it was a worthwhile investment for people across Iowa and the United States.
After 3.5 years with FarmHer, Lexi officially became a full-time employee for them one year ago by proving her job to be of valuable through her hard work and creative marketing tactics.
Advice On Finding Your Passion
To find what you are really passionate about can have many bumps in the road. You can be successful in many things, but find what you are passionate about and become successful in that.
Know your end goal so that you can figure out how to get there.
Your end goal doesn’t have to be when you’re 75 years-old, it can be next month, the end of summer or next year. Determine what that end goal is so that you can strategize on how to get there.
What do you want to have taken away, brought home or gained?
- Memories with your family
- Learning lessons
- Meeting friends
Before you get to passion, you’ve got to get to what YOUR success is.
Understanding what you define as success and what you want to achieve from your end goal, you’ll be able to apply your passion. That passion and success is defined by you, not anyone else.
Allow yourself the flexibility to change.
“You don’t even know what companies are going to be out there in three or five years,” Lexi explains the advice that she gave her youngest sister who is preparing for life after high school. If she had been focused on one specific job, she maybe wouldn’t have reached out to a small start-up company for an internship.
“Focus on yourself, focus on what you want to do.”
This is the famous quote that Lexi’s dad told her in the livestock competition ring after he found her worrying over the comments of naysayers questioning her expertise with her heifers because she had already been stereotyped as a “pig-girl.”
“When you go to a small company, people are going to question you. It was a new topic four years ago and people were a little uncomfortable with the topic… Ultimately it didn’t matter,” says Lexi about applying her father’s advice from 4-H to her position now.
One negative comment can haunt you for an eternity if you’d let it – DON’T!
The Future of FarmHer
Want in on a secret? Lexi had one for all of us where FarmHer is concerned:
FarmHer will continue webinars featuring conversations with women in agriculture, will offer educational resources on topics learned at FarmHer, and bring in professionals that want to connect with those people.
Lexi encourages you to connect with her and continue conversations with her on her Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Twitter, and her website. You can also follow FarmHer at their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and website to stay up to date on all events and merchandise FarmHer.
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