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Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership

Alumni Profile: Holly Blakey, Agricultural Communications

Agricultural Communications alumna, 1994
Alumni Profile: Holly Blakey, Agricultural Communications

Holly Blakey, executive director, Oklahoma FFA Foundation

Tell us about yourself.

My parents raised my brothers and me to love God, love agriculture and love the OSU Cowboys! Going to OSU-Stillwater was an automatic for me and I never applied to any other school. We raised cattle and several row crops while I was young on my father's home farm in Tonkawa, but the farm crisis of 1983 forced my family to sell out and move to my mother's home community of Morrison. We then transitioned our operation to hay and cattle. It was there that my brothers and I became actively involved in the FFA. It transformed my life and I have attended the Oklahoma state FFA convention every year since I was in the 7th grade.

My degree in agricultural communications has afforded me many wonderful career experiences. Even while a "stay at home mom" raising my three girls, I was able to stay engaged in many professional projects which transferred to a very full resume when I was ready to return to a full-time position.

What is your favorite part about your job?

Working for the FFA is absolutely the best job I could have ever dreamed of having. It culminates many of my skills from marketing and managing projects to public speaking and event planning. My most favorite part is getting to talk about FFA chapters, students and advisors all day with folks that share my passion for seeing Oklahoma FFA continue to succeed. Showcasing the impact the program makes on so many is quite easy. I get to work with industry professionals across Oklahoma who share a passion for supporting the leadership development and career success of our members.

How does your agricultural communications degree help you in your career?

The agricultural communications degree I earned serves me well across all of my responsibilities. Having a basic understanding of all facets of the Oklahoma agriculture industry is invaluable as well as the specific public relations skills I focused on with my electives. Although I do not utilize layout and design skills on a regular basis any longer, I do have an understanding of good design and photography that helps as we develop and carry out our many marketing pieces and strategies. I am most grateful for a degree that allows me to work with people in our industry but until recent years, I worked mostly in education or healthcare marketing. I had the interpersonal and communications skills from my FFA background and then coupled with a premier communications degree and skill set that was attractive to employers. I would do it all over again!