Marissa Dunn is the new executive director of the Washington State FFA Foundation, a position that has been expanded to become full-time.
“FFA makes such a positive difference in the lives of its members regarding their personal leadership development and their future career success,” said Dunn. “One of our main objectives is to connect agriculture businesses and organizations with individuals in Washington FFA to create great opportunities.”
The foundation also places a priority on supporting agricultural teachers, Dunn said.
Dunn lives on a farm in Central Washington with her husband and daughter, raising apples, pears, hay and cattle. She grew up in Spokane County, showing sheep and competing at the state convention all four years of high school.
She was a state FFA officer and a national officer candidate. After high school, she worked a legislative session in Olympia for the Washington State Grange.
“The FFA is the organization that personally gave me such remarkable opportunities to learn, travel and develop leadership skills,” she said. “I want this organization to be very successful, and I want FFA to continue to make a difference in the lives of students across the state — just like it did for me.”
Dunn replaces Stewart Padelford, who held the position on a part-time basis for 6 1/2 years.
The foundation first began in the 1970s, but had been inactive for years, Padelford said.
Padelford said he wanted to get the foundation to the point that the position could be full-time.
“We were trying to re-energize it, and I think we’ve accomplished that,” he said.
Padelford’s last day was July 30, but he has been helping with the transition.
“I think she has all the necessary tools and skills to make the foundation grow,” he said.
Padelford is proudest of emphasizing career awareness for FFA members, building connections between FFA and the industry and developing a three-day program in the summer that gives students the opportunity to meet with ag leaders.
Dunn said financial support and volunteers are the foundation’s biggest needs for the future. Corporate and individual investments help continue leadership programs, state career development events and to support members and state officers travel to various events, including nationals, and purchase FFA jackets for members who can’t afford them.
“If anyone has the time and passion to help his or her local chapter, it makes a tremendous difference,” she said. “Anyone who can be available to help with career development events, fairs, scholarship applications, the state convention, leadership trainings, travel and/or additional resources, we’d certainly love to connect with them.”
Contact Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org