MEMPHIS – The National Cotton Council has launched the Emerging Leaders Program, an effort aimed at ensuring the U.S. cotton industry benefits from a continuity of sound leadership.
The project, sponsored by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Monsanto, not only will provide participants with an in-depth look at the U.S. cotton industry infrastructure and the business and political arenas in which it operates but give them intense professional development training, including communication skills improvement.
"We are grateful to Monsanto for agreeing to provide financial support for this important endeavor," NCC Chairman Chuck Coley said. "This program will help identify and train those who are committed to taking on the challenges of guiding this great industry in the future. The Council relies on highly effective industry leadership to communicate cotton policy and issues to Congress, the media and other agricultural groups. That's why we need industry members who are willing to step up and assume greater responsibilities."
Dave Rhylander, Monsanto's marketing manager for the Deltapine cotton brand, said, "The cotton industry has always had significant involvement from farmers, ginners and the other segments. This program will help those volunteer leaders maximize the time they contribute to state, regional and national organizations while building a national network of emerging leaders. The team at Monsanto is excited to be involved with the program."
Among Emerging Leaders Program objectives will be to help participants gain a better understanding of: 1) the NCC's role, including its programs, policy development and implementation process; 2) Cotton Council International's role in developing and maintaining export markets for U.S. cotton, manufactured cotton products and cottonseed products; 3) the broad spectrum of issues that affect U.S. cotton's economic well-being; and 4) the U.S. political process. The program also will encourage participants to increase their involvement in these and other NCC activities.
This leadership initiative also will focus on helping participants improve their communications skills -- including presentation and business etiquette, instruction for engaging with the news media, and utilizing social media tools and tactics.
Each class will consist of eight to 10 industry members and class members will participate in three sessions during the year.
The first session will provide a NCC orientation, professional development/communication skills and a briefing on agribusiness. The second session will enable participants to see policy development at the NCC's Annual Meeting while the third session in Washington, D.C., will focus on policy implementation and international market development.
There is no age limit for program candidates whose primary livelihood must be derived from at least one of the seven raw cotton industry segments. Nominations will be made by one of the following: a certified interest organization, NCC officer or NCC director. Selections will be made by the NCC chairman in consultation with the NCC President's office and NCC Member Services.