By Tyler Dunkel
Sports Information Director
Forbes magazine lists 10 qualities that define a great leader. Those qualities are commitment, honesty, the ability to delegate, communication, a sense of humor, confidence, a positive attitude, intuition, the ability to inspire and creativity. Hot Springs High School senior Savannah Gillis embodies all of these, at such a young age, making her an up-and-coming leader in her community and with the New Mexico Future Farmers of America (FFA).
Gillis, a native of Arrey, N.M., grew up in the Hatch Valley, where her family has been growing the famous Hatch chile for more than five generations. Agriculture is a way of life for the Gillis family, which is why she sees herself one day being an advocate at the national level.
“Agriculture has been in my family for over five generations, farming chile,” Gillis said. “I was born into the business. I’m a firm believer that everything is agriculturally based. When you walk into a supermarket, everything comes from a farm. I do have plans to be in the agriculture industry and be an advocate for agriculture. I think growing up on a farm has taught me how to appreciate what you have, which is something my parents have instilled in me.”
Nate Wolf, Gillis’ FFA advisor at Hot Springs High School, feels that she has a bright future in agriculture.
“We try to encourage to all of our FFA members that the sky is the limit on whatever they want to achieve,” Wolf said. “Savannah is from a very unique situation because she grew up on a farm and knows where the food on her plate comes from. I think she has the leadership and public speaking skills, along with the motivation and drive, to be a big part of the agriculture industry and be an advocate.”
FFA is a dynamic youth organization within agricultural education that changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.
Being a leader is a quality Gillis has refined over the last few years as a member of FFA and that has not gone unnoticed by her peers. This past year, Gillis was elected as the District VI president and a State of New Mexico vice president. In that role, Gillis will travel this year to other chapters in her district and talk to other students her age about leadership skills and team building.
“I’m the District VI representative for the State of New Mexico and a state vice president for FFA,” Gillis said. “I started in FFA when I was in middle school and have continued to be involved up to this point. I mentioned to my FFA advisor that I wanted to be a state representative for FFA and he encouraged me. FFA has given me a solid foundation when it comes to leadership skills. I think leaders are going extinct in today’s world. We need to continue to groom leaders for the future, and the more leaders we have, the better off we as a society will be.”
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