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RancHER: Chelsea Good

Published on 24 October 2019
Chelsea Good

Chelsea Good is the vice president of government and industry affairs and legal with the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA).

She represents livestock auction market interests in federal, state and industry policy discussions, which includes working with LMA leadership and industry partners, members of Congress and regulatory agencies.

She also educates LMA members on compliance with laws and addresses market-related legal questions.

How have your experiences working in your field influenced your growth, personally and professionally?

GOOD: Working in a field I am passionate about has positively influenced my career and personal growth. There is something special about the hard-working, down-to-earth individuals in production livestock that makes them enjoyable to be around and work for. Livestock auction owners are running businesses and do not have the time to watch the Federal Register for rules that could affect them negatively, which is where I come in. The combination of a communications background and legal training helps me advocate on their behalf.

I work harder and longer because I believe in this cause. I also have built relationships with leaders in different roles within our industry. These people help me better evaluate challenges and solutions from different lenses. Many of these relationships have resulted in long-lasting friendships as well.

What roadblocks have you run into, and how have you overcome them?

GOOD: At times, policy change takes longer than ideal. Our government system was set up in a way to make changing laws and regulations burdensome. This is helpful when someone wants to change a law that would negatively affect animal agriculture but frustrating when our industry is fighting for positive changes. In these situations, I have to focus on doing something every day that advances the long-term goal. I also set smaller goals along the way, so progress is still visible.

Who has influenced you in your leadership role? Why?

GOOD: Jackie McClaskey hired me at the Kansas Department of Agriculture and is someone from whom I learned a lot. She is a passionate advocate and a direct communicator. She also does not care who gets the credit and empowers others with the tools to make a difference. In doing this, she increases her impact exponentially. I hope these are traits I am able to emulate in my career as well.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

GOOD: Life isn’t fair. Sometimes that works to your benefit, and other times it works against you. However, no good comes from focusing on the times you are slighted. Rather, all you can do is work hard and put yourself in the best position for the chips to fall your way.

What advice would you give to other women in your field?

GOOD: There are some pieces of advice that apply to all people. Making genuine connections, learning a subject matter well and always following up as promptly as possible when you agree to do something are the fundamentals. Learning to communicate clearly, particularly in writing, is an important, often overlooked, skill regardless of career path.

For women in particular, I’d encourage them to not focus too much on being a woman in a sometimes male-dominated industry. Data shows many women have a tendency to underestimate their worth. Don’t be afraid to take a seat at the main table, speak up when you have a good idea, ask for what you want, and aspire to meet challenging goals. Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In is a great read for women who are not always comfortable taking these steps.

On the other hand, women who are naturally confident and outspoken have to unfortunately be aware that at times this will have to be managed to avoid being seen as bossy with a gender bias. I wish this wasn’t advice I felt needed to be given, but know I benefit from adjusting my style to be more strategic and delicate in certain circumstances.

Big picture: In my experience, once most people see you are competent, they are welcoming regardless of gender.

How do you balance your job with family and/or personal time?

GOOD: I love what I do so much that it has become part of my every day, whether I am in the office, traveling or at home. I may be reading agriculture news on a Saturday and, while technically working, this is probably something I would do regardless of the job. Work and personal tasks become blended rather than balanced.

However, it is important to pay close attention to yourself and recognize when you need to take a break from work and do something else that recharges you. For me, this is golf, exercise, live music and time with friends and family. I am more effective at work when I am bringing my best, full-energy self to the job.

What is the best part of your day?

GOOD: I am a morning person. I love to wake up early, get in a workout, plan out my to-do list and tackle one difficult task before email, meetings and calls start to pull me other directions.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do on the job?

GOOD: I am results-oriented, so for me inaction is more difficult than action. However, it is sometimes the right answer. We have some challenges in our industry for which there is not a good policy solution with consensus. In these situations, the right thing to do is slow down, take in all the information possible and have additional discussion about the next steps. While this may not be my preferred pace, it is an important tool to have in the tool belt.

What is your ‘North Star’? One guiding principle by which decisions are weighed?

GOOD: I call this the “front page test.” When weighing a decision, I ask how it would look if it was on the front page of the newspaper. I do this even with small decisions that are highly unlikely to ever garner attention. If it wouldn’t play well on the front page of the paper, then take the other road.  end mark

PHOTO: Chelsea Good. Photo provided by Chelsea Good.