July 21, 2014

Establishing a network

Bryan Brower, USGC-DCBy Bryan Brower, US Grains Council Intern

With Corn Congress this past week, I got the chance to catch up with some of the folks from the Nebraska Corn Board. During a conversation with Don Hutchens at dinner one night, we got on the topic of making connections and establishing a network for yourself. He reiterated how most of the time all it takes is putting yourself out there, whether that is holding the door open for someone, striking up a conversation on the elevator, or offering to take a picture for a stranger. What I have come to realize is that has been my approach in a nutshell to this entire experience.

I have made it two-thirds the way through my internship here in D.C. and it has been quite a ride. The weeks have flown by and it seems like I was landing at Reagan National just yesterday and now I only have a month left here. The credit (or fault) of this is the U.S. Grains Council, for there hasn’t been a dull day yet. We are less than two weeks away from one of our semi-annual board of delegates meeting which ironically enough is in Omaha, where I call home. It has been increasingly hectic as we get closer and closer to the meeting at the end of July. The good news is I will be going to Omaha to help staff the event, which makes mom happy as you could imagine. I really am looking forward to seeing my parents and my dog while I’m home for those two days.

Aside from all the preparations for the Omaha meeting, I’ve been working on my project which is making the arrangements for a team of nine individuals we are bringing to the United States from Taiwan. The purpose of these trips are to bring in end-users from various areas of the agriculture industry and give them an opportunity to meet with producers and agribusinesses. This team will be attending programs in Nebraska, Iowa, and New Orleans, LA for ten days in the middle of August. It’s been really interesting working with our agribusiness partners, state check-off organizations, hotels, transportation services, and country director in Taiwan to coordinate all the logistics so that the team can have a successful trip. It is definitely easier said than done making all the arrangements for this team but it’s good experience having to plan something down to the minute because it forces you to consider all contingencies.

I can’t begin to fully explain all the ways I have been challenged during my time here, both at the U.S. Grains Council and with living in D.C. I have learned a lot about myself, it seems like I’m thrown into the fire so to speak with every experience yet come out the other side thinking that wasn’t that bad. Aside from the all the experience I am gaining through my work with USGC and all the fun I’m having here, what is most rewarding about this experience is it’s forced me to better understand myself, who I am, and what I want to do in life. Nothing like being in a different time zone from all your friends and family back home to give you perspective on what’s truly important.

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