Nicole Barlass Director of Member Relations Dairy Business Association Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin
What education are you bringing with you to this position?
I have a Bachelor of Science in agricultural education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up and still help on my family’s dairy farm in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. When I was young, I was actively involved in 4-H and FFA, worked part-time during college for several agribusinesses and have stayed very involved in agriculture through my professional career.
Previously, I served as a Wisconsin state FFA officer in 2002-03 and as Wisconsin’s 59th Alice in Dairyland in 2006. I am a member of the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. In 2009, I was in the final four for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Discussion Meet and an Excellence in Agriculture finalist in 2014.
What territory will you cover?
This position will have me focused primarily on the growing membership throughout the state of Wisconsin; however, my work may stretch beyond Wisconsin’s borders.
What are your new responsibilities?
I will be leading the association’s charge to grow our organization and identify how we can best support and provide value to our members. My responsibilities will include day-to-day member engagement and recruitment for both producer and corporate membership.
What previous positions have you held?
I was the agriculture education instructor and FFA advisor at Milton High School in Milton, Wisconsin, for eight years, and I recently worked as the executive director for SWAG (Southern Wisconsin Agricultural Group) for 14 months.
Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
My family has greatly impacted my career. They have taught me the value of hard work and long hours, as well as my mentors. I have had some great mentors in my professional career who have supported me and provided me with many valuable lessons. Building and nurturing relationships has been one of those lessons and will significantly benefit me in this position.
How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
Working as the director of member relations will allow me to bring together producers and industry representatives for the betterment of Wisconsin’s dairy industry. Networking and collaborating within the industry will be the key to success.
Why did you choose this company?
The Dairy Business Association (DBA) is a dynamic organization focused on supporting and protecting Wisconsin’s dairy industry. I am very impressed with the staff that I will be working with and look forward to using my contacts and experiences to grow this association.
What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
My primary goal for this position is to grow DBA’s membership and create better programming and engagement opportunities for members. It’s all about having members see value in their membership, and that is what I am focused on achieving. PD