The deep appreciation and commitment you all have for Extension’s mission has never been more apparent to me than it has been over the past few weeks as I transition into my new role as interim chair and director of Extension. I am grateful for this common ground of living and breathing the land-grant mission we share.
As with most changes in life, one wonders what’s next. I, too, often wonder the same thing. It’s good to be curious. And sometimes it’s really good to take a fresh look at things. My first priorities are to listen to you and to learn from you. I don’t have all of the answers for our statewide Extension system, but I do want to hear your thoughts on how we ensure that we are strategically meeting the needs of Ohio citizens. If you’re comfortable sharing your ideas in writing, please email them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org); and if you prefer to share them face-to-face (or Zoom to Zoom), I am more than willing to listen that way too. If you prefer the latter, please contact LaVerne Castle (email@example.com) to schedule some time with me. I commit to being as transparent as I can with you about any questions or points of discussion you bring to the table.
I also ask you to take some time and reflect as we enter the autumn season. Reflect on your own goals, reflect on your chosen profession, and reflect on the impact you are making. We have the ability and tools to change the lives of Ohioans in multiple ways – be it youth in 4-H, farmers with crop questions, a family trying to preserve their garden harvest, an individual struggling to feed family, or a community working together on a strategic plan. Every aspect of our work is important. If we focus on the interactions we have that make a positive impact on the communities we serve, we will be a stronger organization through this transition.
I hope that you all take some time to step away from emails and task lists to join me at Farm Science Review next week. The interactions we have and the connections we make at this iconic farm show are critical to our work in Extension. And while we say “farm show,” this really is a well-rounded educational event that showcases the wide range of our Extension programs and our ability to meet Ohioans right where they are.
As I close, I am humbled and honored to serve you in this new role. My promise is to represent you – and this organization – to the best of my ability. I hope you will join me in continuing our work to fulfill the land-grant mission that unites us.