“We have to have a voice:” Brenna Mahoney on diversity and consensus

On May 6, the Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) announced Brenna Mahoney as their new general manager.

Mahoney, who brings a unique resume to the post, joined RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney to discuss the position, as well as mentorship and part of her leadership philosophy.

One of the biggest positives to KAP, and what Mahoney is excited to move forward with as she hits the ground running in June, is the diversity around the table.

KAP represents 21 commodity groups in Manitoba, and Mahoney thinks that her ability to bring people together will fill KAP’s need to bring those groups together.

“The policy landscape is changing rapidly. The amount of work and effort that the staff have to put into, for example, submissions, is astronomical,” she explains. “So I think that the more we can align with our members, and the more we can align with our growers who we are representing, and listen to those growers, and get that information, the more successful we’ll be.”

It’s one thing to bring those 21 commodity groups together, and it’s another to actually reach a consensus when it comes to decision making. How does one reconcile some of these really hard, fast, political lines when it comes to some of these issues? Mahoney says it comes down to communication, and being able to have those tough conversations.

“We have to have a voice. Not having opinions and not having something — and I mean there are specific policy issues that are coming up, that if KAP doesn’t say something, our voices aren’t heard — then the decision makers can say and do whatever they want,” she explains. “And I think that’s a really strong message that we need to bring to those diverging audiences, and say ‘hey, we need to be driven by commonalities.’ I think there’s a lot of common ground that people have.”

Mahoney adds that of course there won’t be consensus on every single issue, but “the more we listen, and the more we speak to some common ground, the more we recognize that if we don’t have opinions, and we don’t submit to something that is related to our position, or the general position, then we’ve lost.”

Check out the full conversation between Mahoney and Haney, below:

Related: KAP announces new general manager

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