When new leadership comes into an organization, questions start flowing like water with anticipation of what is next. In a few short days, Janelle Booth will begin her role as the new CEO of SDARL. While each day will bring something new to learn about this new leader, here’s a peek behind the scenes with answers to questions inquiring minds want to know.
What can you tell us about your family?
I’m a fourth-generation South Dakotan. My parents are Dan and Cathy Booth and I grew up near Timber Lake. My fiancé, Troy Lindskov, is originally from Isabel and does electrical engineering work at surface mines across North America. We’re excited to join my family cow-calf operation and will make our home on the ranch near Ridgeview. My sister lives in Tucson, AZ with her family and my brother and his wife are currently stationed in Belize.
What is something people don’t know about you or that you experienced that makes you a better qualified person in the work you’ve done?
At the onset of 2018, I was ready for a career change and decided to embark on solo travel before starting a new job. Over the course of two years I backpacked through Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Greece, Ecuador, Brazil, and Chile. Between trips I worked with my uncle and cousins on their family wine grape and fruit packing operation in Lodi, CA. The experience of long-term travel made me more patient, resourceful, and appreciative of things we tend to take for granted in life. It was a rare gift to have the opportunity to spend that amount of time in so many different environments and I’m grateful for the lessons I learned.
How did you hear about programs like SDARL that made you start the REAL program in Montana?
There was a recognized need for natural resource leadership training in Montana, and legislators and other stakeholders were familiar with programs in the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Washington State. Montana State University committed to housing the program and I was tasked with building the framework as part of my role with MSU Extension. The director of Extension at that time originally hailed from Texas so my first call was to the Texas Agricultural Lifelong Leadership (TALL) program. I then learned about the IAPAL group (International Association of Programs in Ag Leadership) and quickly connected with other states. Lori Cope (former SDARL Program Director) was an incredible resource and shared her wisdom and encouragement as we were building REAL.
What gets you most excited about coming home to South Dakota?
Family. I’ve had an amazing 15 years in Montana but nothing beats being home!
What do you see as a special strength you bring to the SDARL Family?
I’m energetic and truly enjoy connecting with people. Also, my Montana friends can attest that I’m a huge promoter of South Dakota’s people and places.
How do you think other jobs you’ve had have prepared you for this position?
My role as founding director of REAL Montana gave me a solid appreciation for the work that goes into the development of these programs. In the role I am wrapping up now, Government Affairs Director at Montana State University, I’ve had an immersive education in politics and networking through my work with the legislature and our federal delegation. I’ve learned through these jobs that just about any hurdle can be cleared with good communication.
Do you have any new ideas that you are excited about bringing to SDARL?
I’m excited to build upon existing connections and create new ones, and to share the experiences I’ve gained in Montana. Agriculture touches everyone’s lives and there are limitless possibilities for leadership in this area.
Booth will be based out of Timber Lake. Her first day at SDARL is March 20 and her first official event is the SDARL Graduation Banquet and Auction. The event takes place March 25th in Fort Pierre at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center Museum. Join SDARL gradates, alumni, friends, sponsors, board members and staff in welcoming Booth and congratulating SDARL Class XI. The event and auction, which includes virtual bidding, is open to the public. Check out more information regarding tickets and the auction here.
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