By: Linda Derber
Many of you are probably not aware of the event World Dairy Expo. In short, it is the place where my passion comes alive. World Dairy Expo has it all: learning and networking opportunities, the best grilled cheese sandwich in the state and most importantly, cows.
World Dairy Expo is an international trade show for the dairy industry that began in 1966. This event is held every year in Madison, Wis. As the saying goes, World Dairy Expo is, “Where the dairy industry meets.”
This year, over 77,000 people attended WDE, with international guests from 94 countries. During the week of the show, the Alliant Energy Center is buzzing with conversations about new innovations, technology and, let’s not forget, cows.
If it isn’t clear by now, I love cows. I grew up on a dairy farm in Omro, Wis. We raised Holsteins and Ayshire cows. My childhood was filled with working outside on the farm and playing with the cows. I spent the better part of my summers training my own cows to show at the county fair each year. I have also had the privilege to show my cows at WDE in 2008 and 2010.
This year I had the opportunity to work in the media room with the public relations and marketing representatives of WDE. I acted as a gatekeeper for media outlets that wanted to get pictures and stories about the show, registered media outlets and made sure they had everything they needed to get their stories out on time. I was also asked to write press releases about cattle show results and edit copy and layout of the daily paper that was produced during the show.
Working with the media provided even more opportunities for me to learn about the industry and even get some offers to work with publications as a freelance writer. I never imagined my passion for cows would have paved a path for my second passion of writing and event planning.
The most important lesson I have learned at WDE is that you have to put yourself out there and make yourself visible, and most importantly network. World Dairy Expo was the perfect place for me because everyone there is just as excited and passionate about the dairy industry.
So when you find your passion, talk about it. I guarantee there are others who are just as passionate and would love to talk to you about an opportunity for your passion to become your career.