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Executive Director Blog - September 2020

Executive Director’s Pen

by Peggy Meyer

This month’s article is just a little different … It shares a side of me that many of you may not know. It will give you some insight as to how I have responded this pandemic.

Some of you may know that I grew up in a family business, Coomer Seeds, in Woodburn. For those of you that don’t have a farming background, our family sold corn, beans, wheat, and oats to local/regional farmers. Many of you may have had Coomer Seeds crops in corn chips, cereal or maybe soybeans in tofu – I’m really not sure how many products our corn, soybeans or wheat were in, to be honest! My family continues the traditional and my brothers are now 4th generation farmers.

As a farmer’s daughter, my work ethic was instilled at a very early age. My parents not only ran a business for over 30 years, but they also farmed over 1,000+ acres for the majority of my life. I’ve been told that my mom hauled corn from the field just a few days after I was born and I was in my car seat right next to her – being born in September (prime harvest season), I have no doubts that it’s true! I remember being a little girl and wanting a “rub-a-dub doll” and being told by my dad that after harvest was done that he’d make sure that I got it. Well, you guessed it, after the combine loaded the last grain truck; I was “rewarded” for my work with the doll from Toys R Us! It’s funny that is my first memory of payment for working – if you call riding in the grain truck work. At 4 years old, it was for me.

From a very early age, my parents insisted that we have a strong work ethic. It really wasn’t a choice, we just knew that hard, ethical work was expected not only of myself but my four other siblings. Much of my work life, I have used the “under promise, over deliver” and “pride in your work” approaches. Maybe it was just my parents, being a farmer’s daughter, or being raised in a family business (or a combination of it all) truly gave me the skills to persevere through this pandemic.  I realized at a very young age that there are things that are beyond my control – weather was the first one that I learned! It doesn’t make it any easier to cope, but I learned that you work hard when the sun is shining, and prepare for the next day during a rainy day. I look at the pandemic just like the weather - we have no true control over it and how we react to it is how successful we will be when it’s over.

When the pandemic started, we didn’t know how far reaching it would be to all of the segments of our life. I approached the early days of the pandemic like my dad would have … I worked on items that I hadn’t had time to complete and got a lot of the items checked off, and got prepared for our next meeting, event and course, then … BOOM … Everything Was Cancelled … Stay at home order by our Governor and life as we knew it stopped.                             

We sure have had several “rainy days” throughout the pandemic and we have all experienced challenges. We hear from our Associate Members how hard it has been to work through this pandemic. Our apartment communities are experiencing their own set of challenges working to keep both their staff and their residents safe. We are all working through them as well as we can!

We have been preparing for our next steps at the AAFW-NEI too. As with many of you, our plan has been modified, reevaluated, updated and then reviewed again. We have taken this time to help us prepare to help all of our members emerge from this unprecedented time in our lives. There are some new features for our Associate Partners to be featured, and we are putting the final touches on our NEW website, that will be launched in the coming months.

Please let there be no doubt that we are here to deliver quality education, networking, online leads, support and help all of our members move past the pandemic and adjust to create even more value to your membership. We’ve all heard it, the future is going to “just look different”. We are so excited to continue working with you and your staff – I know that I have truly missed seeing everyone and all of your smiling faces. Here’s to more sunny days!

Thank you for believing in the AAFW-NEI and what we can give you as a member. We are continually looking for ways to increase membership benefits and if you have an idea, please don’t hesitate to contact Hope or myself.

Peggy with her dad, Jim
Peggy with her dad, Jim
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