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Stacey McCulloughAssistant Director-CPEDPhone: 501-671-2078Email: email@example.com
by Emily Smith - January 10, 2020
Kandi Williams, LeadAR Class 16, has been working in the agriculture industry for
over 20 years. Currently, she works for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in
collaboration with Silas H. Hunt CDC as an Extension Program Aide. Kandi serves individuals
and communities all across Southwest Arkansas.
Over the years, she has received numerous awards related to service including the
USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service Award, the And Justice For All Award,
and the UACCH Random Act of Kindness Award.
Kandi attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is the proud mother
of two daughters and one son. For Kandi, leadership is inextricably tied to community
and economic development. We asked her to reflect on her LeadAR experience and how this experience impacts her life today. We’ve shared some of her
I work as the Outreach Coordinator for the "Keeping it in the Family" Sustainable
Forestry and African‐American Land Retention Program (SFLR). As the KIITF Outreach
Coordinator, I provide one‐on‐one assistance, outreach education and technical assistance
to farmers and landowners.
I was seeking a way to maximize my networking and communication skills in order to
help address major issues in the counties that I serve. I was searching for professional
development training that would allow me to grow as a person, test my self‐confidence,
and engage in new activities that would help develop my outreach efforts and technical
assistance that I provide. That’s when I turned to LeadAR.
LeadAR was an amazing, life‐changing experience for me. Each session left an impact
and desire to bring sustainable resources to the communities where I live and work.
For me, the Rural Health session held in Mena had the biggest impact. It inspired
me to look more closely at the prevalence of mental issues in the state. In my profession,
it’s important to meet clients where they are at in order to help them accomplish
My most memorable experience was the National Study Tour and the Florida homestay.
During the Florida homestay, we were hosted by Erin Freel and her husband Rob Mann.
It was an amazing experience to get to know Erin and learn about her accomplishments
revolving around healthy living. She shared her journey of losing over 100 pounds
and the journal she kept to inspire others. She is a real estate agent and owns a
marketing firm all while actively participating in Ironman Triathlon competitions
throughout the country.
It’s important to be a team player. Lead by example, be innovative, don’t take all
the credit, and be willing to empower others in setting and accomplishing goals.
Being an inspiration to others is the leadership quality that I admire most. If you
are able to encourage people to believe in themselves, you can make a greater impact
within the community.
Normally people are surprised that I am the mother of three amazing college students.
We all go through life’s challenges. I have found when life doesn’t work out as planned,
have a backup plan and be ready to get back up and try again. When life gets hard,
take it moment by moment and know that hardships won’t last forever. Just focus on
the simple things that you can control. Establishing healthy routines and lifestyle
habits can help you more adequately prevail over adversity.
Great leadership will teach people of all ages and backgrounds how to have a voice
and input within their own communities. The Cooperative Extension Service is an organization
that has tools and resources available to make people feel inclusive and proud to
live within the great state of Arkansas.
LeadAR was an fantastic investment filled with activities that developed my leadership
and communication skills. As a result of LeadAR, I feel confident in my ability to
build thriving communities.