Thriving communities share certain characteristics, as noted on pages 26 through 28. The most important of these characteristics is people with vision, leadership skills and vested interests. Does that sound like the distributor reps you know? It certainly rings true for me.
As a distributor rep, you convey your vision for your community with your words, actions and attitudes. As you share a positive vision of your community, you encourage individuals and families to remain in, promote or return to rural communities. It’s how you actively help your community thrive.
It’s common for distributor pros to take a leadership role in their home community. They work in a defined territory or service clients from a single location. So, they have the opportunity to influence how their community is seen, how it develops and what its future holds. They act on this opportunity because they have a vested interest in its health, in helping it thrive.
On a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis, what are they doing? Many use the same skills that they use to advance their careers to better their community. They serve on church councils, other local boards, are active in the chamber of commerce or take leadership positions with civic groups and youth organizations. Some coach youth sports, serve as an FFA or 4-H advisers, or otherwise mentor kids.
Distributor reps tend to be natural community promoters on many levels. They help their kid(s) or others fit a show animal. They coach hopeful barrel racers and calf ropers. They contribute to the long-term benefit of the kids and the community. Likewise, they sign up to help raise money for the community, possibly for a new expo center or other community attraction. They take part in county commissioner meetings and may grill burgers at the fair to support a fundraiser.
Distributors reps are generally outgoing, business-savvy individuals. We find them encouraging others with entrepreneurial spirit to see business and tourism opportunities and act on them. Many significant companies began in small towns. Bentonville, Ark., for instance, has grown from a farming community to the home of the world’s largest retailer thanks to Sam Walton, a man who, like many of you, truly understood the relevance of good distribution.
Distributor reps, as a group, embrace new technology. They tend to be heavy users of the Internet, smartphones and related technologies. These same technologies offer greater opportunities for individuals and families to enjoy rural America, its lifestyle and communities. This is particularly true when the technologies allow individuals to live wherever they want while maintaining an interesting and well-paying career. These are positions that don’t require people to physically be present in an office. Instead, it’s more important to be able to connect otherwise.
Your contributions – your vision, leadership and vested interest – make a difference in your community’s ability to thrive. Are you using your skills and abilities to make a difference? Are you encouraging others to do so too?
Pat Hansen, APR, is the principal of Hansen Communications in Kankakee, Ill. For more than 20 years, its team has helped agricultural clients excel with branding and integrated marketing communications. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.