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Spring 2007 - Leader

Destination Purdue > Spring 2007 - Leader

Leader acting on a national stage

By Erika White

The old saying goes, "Leaders aren't born, they're made." Ashley Woodward would probably agree, but she'dl ikely add that having a positive role model in her family has helped.

Ashley Woodward

Photo provided by Ashley Woodward

Ashley Woodward, a senior agricultural communication major from Noblesville, Ind. (right), poses with her grandfather, Paul Woodward. Paul, who had just been named a Sagamore of the Wabash, has been a role model of leadership for his granddaughter.

"Leadership is in my blood," the senior, agricultural communication major and national president of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) said. Literally. Her grandfather, Paul Woodward, held many leadership roles and was instrumental in creating his local 4-H chapter of Forest Hill. His 60 years of volunteerism was recognized at the 2006 Indiana State Fair.

Woodward said her grandfather's dedication has influenced her own pursuit of leadership since coming to Purdue from Noblesville, Ind. But Woodward didn't start her college career as a leader. Although she was a 4-H leader before going to college, she said she watched from the sidelines during her freshman year.

"That's my biggest regret," she said. "If I could start all over I'd be more involved in the clubs I'm in. You don't think about doing these things until you see the end of your college life in sight." After that first year, Woodward knew she needed to change things around. She became more involved in ACT during her sophomore and junior year. Her role grew and she won the presidency by campaigning to make a difference.

"I wanted to be part of a great organization and make it better in so many ways. I truly think my officer team can do it," said Woodward.

As national president, Woodward contacts agricultural communicators across the country. One of her major goals is to increase membership and the number of chapters. During her term Woodward and her team have accepted four new ACT chapters and are continuing to get inactive chapters back. "There are many students out there who don't know about ACT. I'm trying to get the name out there for students who are interested in promoting the education of agricultural communication," said Woodward.

"Ashley and other seniors here at Purdue have been great role models for the younger class involved in ACT; showing no limit with hard work and leadership," Tucker said. Woodward takes her role seriously. "I believe that leadership is being that person people look up to," she said. "I want others to come to me for advice."

Woodward remembers how she felt honored to be a 4-H leader by her grandfather's side and to follow in his footsteps and hopes the family tradition of leadership will continue. "He is admired by so many people; including me. What he has taught and showed me will stay with me forever."