Who are you?
My name is Mallory (Wittstruck) Shoemaker and I am the Director of Marketing for Central Valley Ag in Beloit, Kansas.
Originally from Nebraska, I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I earned my bachelor’s in Agricultural Journalism with an emphasis in news-editorial and public relations.
My husband, Clint, and I have two children, Colt and Emma. My husband works for Guaranty State Bank & Trust. We live in north central Kansas where my husband grew up, and while we don’t farm full time, we do have a small cow/calf operation and raise corn, beans and alfalfa.
How long have you worked with cooperatives?
I’ve worked for farm cooperatives for 12 years and counting.
Describe your role.
After six years of being an “one-man shop” for all communication efforts, I’m very thankful to be part of a talented team of six now at Central Valley Ag. With our team, I help manage the direction of the creative, strategic and tactical execution of campaigns while overseeing internal marketing efforts. We serve the cooperative’s four divisions and multiple support teams in communicating and promoting the CVA brand and value proposition. Every day is different, with opportunities to get out from behind the desk, and that is exactly why I love it!
What do you enjoy about working with cooperatives?
Cooperatives were first formed to help producers do what they couldn’t do on their own, or what they realized they could do better together, and that remains true today. As I have always been passionate about agriculture and being an advocate for the farmers, the cooperative system is a foundation I strongly believe in. Being part of a cooperative, you get to be bigger than yourself and I enjoy playing a part in something so important as feeding the world.
When did you join CCA? Why?
I joined CCA in 2021 when I first learned about the association. I wish I knew about it sooner! I have a great desire to learn, and I want to continuously improve. I see CCA as a great way to develop professionally while networking with other marketing professionals. It’s a bonus that we are all co-op minded.
Did anything surprise you about CCA upon joining?
I wouldn’t say I was surprised with CCA after joining, but I do appreciate the vast knowledge and talent that this group represents. I look forward to connecting with more of you as well as sharing ideas to bring back to our members.
How has CCA supported you in your career?
Finding dedicated time to focus on yourself and your professional development can be difficult to make a priority. I appreciate that CCA brings so many educational opportunities directly to me whether it be a connector group, committee, workshop or at the annual institute. I try to participate as much as I can, but if I’m not able to able to attend I know I can look back at webinars or reach out to the subject matter experts.
What are your hobbies and interests?
My family is very important to me, and I’m blessed to be in close traveling distance to both my family and my husband’s family. You will most likely find us on our Kansas farm with family or visiting my family in Nebraska on the weekends.
So many interests to include but top mentions are my faith, family, playing sports (basketball is my favorite), traveling, reading, cheering on the Huskers, Chiefs and Royals. And I’m a die-hard Amigo’s (fast food) fan.
Do you have a “bucket list”? What are some of the things on that list?
Traveling and learning go hand in hand for me. If it’s a place I haven’t been, I want to go and experience it. I hope to make many memories with my husband and children exploring!
Give us something about yourself that is surprising or that most people don’t know.
I love history and really enjoy diving into my family history. I don’t think I’m too interesting, but I am proud of where I come from. One thing that is unique about the Wittstruck family is that we were part of the early settlers in Lancaster County, Nebraska. There is a Wittstruck Road and Wittstruck Creek named after my ancestors because of the Wittstruck homestead. Our farm has been in our family for more than 100 years, and we have had a Wittstruck serve on our local cemetery board for the past 8 generations with my dad being the current board member.
What advice would you give to professional communicators just starting their careers?
Become a jack-of-all-trades. Learn about different channels, strategies and tactics. You may lean into a certain area through your journey, but it’s helpful to have a base understanding of the industry as a whole.
And learn how to communicate the successes and failures of those channels through the data received. Often, I’m discussing strategies with non-marketing professionals, and it is helpful if you can translate the story in a way that they can receive it or see the ROI.
I’d love to visit and network with other CCA members so feel free to email me at Mallory.firstname.lastname@example.org