Young Leadership Panel 2021

posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Interns stand with the young leaders panel members.
Even though our interns are coming to the end of their internship experience this summer, we wanted to take some time to feature the unique personal development opportunities our program offers that makes an internship with Iowa Select Farms stand out above the rest. One such event is our Young Leadership Panel.

Each summer the new class of interns gets to hear from a few of our young leaders within the company—those who recently graduated from college, are early in their careers and have already been promoted into production leadership positions.

“It’s one of our most popular development opportunities we organize, because the interns are so close in age to our panelists,” said Madeline, internship program coordinator for Iowa Select Farms. “Many of our panelists were interns themselves, joined Iowa Select Farms after graduation as junior finishing supervisors, day one leads, breeding specialists and a whole host of other opportunities we offer graduates of two-year and four-year programs.”

A panel member laughs
Many of the panelists talked about the value of the company’s Leadership Program, which helps provide the opportunity and development for advancement. At any given time, there’s 70-plus employees from the gene transfer centers, multiplication, gilt developers, sow and finishing team rotating through the program. Recently, support departments like maintenance and accounting, have been added to the mix.

Allie, the manager of Stumme Sow Farm, graduated with an animal science degree from Iowa State University in 2014 and began working at Qualley Gene Transfer Center. A year later she joined the Iowa Select Farms Leadership Program and moved through different roles at Rout, Cadillac, and Kramer sow farms before earning the manager position at Stumme.

“There are no instant results in the swine industry,” said Allie. “You have to stay focused and realize your efforts will pay off in 20+ weeks, not 20 hours or even 20 days. You can’t let one bad day affect the days to come. Every day is a new opportunity to get better.”

Alex, our sow retention specialist who is also a former intern-turned farrowing department head, told the current intern group that programs like this one can open a lot of doors. “I’ve met a lot of great people, stayed friends with the others in my intern class, and most importantly, got my foot-in-the-door with a great industry and company.”

An intern asks a question.
He also had some observations for those just starting their careers. “Develop a strong work ethic, never think you’re above a task and respect others,” said Alex. “And listen to people with more experience, they can help you get better and grow.”

Trent Myers, who was recently promoted from a finishing supervisor to a finishing supervisor lead, said he appreciates how the culture at Iowa Select Farms feels like a family. Trent had wise words, saying “respect is earned, not given, and to not be afraid to dig in right away and work hard to succeed in the company.”


The panel sits at a long table at the front of the room.