Editor’s note: This article is the next in a series of articles featuring the leaders of the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation.

The Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation provides support and opportunities for its members and student-chapter members alike. That was one of the reasons Lauren Brey said she joined the alumni organization after graduating in 2013 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It’s also a reason she serves as chairwoman of the association’s education committee.

The education committee helps to coordinate resources for students such as facilitating the scholarship process for student-chapter members. Brey solicits donations for the scholarship program, provides updates for the alumni newsletter and arranges for judges for scholarship submissions, said Chrissy Meyer, president of the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation.

Brey said she appreciates how alumni members stay connected with student members, providing guidance and encouragement. Alumni members also network among themselves.

“The connections benefit all of us in school and once we’ve graduated,” said Brey, who had been a member of the Association of Women in Agriculture while a student at UW-Madison.

Brey uses the relationship-building skills she has learned through the association – as well as through 4-H, FFA and other organizations – in her job as director of marketing and research at the Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. The cooperative was formed to give members a voice in Washington, D.C., as well as with customers and within their communities.

Brey coordinates the cooperative’s marketing programs as well as bimonthly newsletters and social-media efforts. She helps coordinate member travels to Washington, D.C., and monitors research programs affecting the dairy business. And Brey is a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association, the Cooperative Communicators Association, the Door County Farm Bureau and the NexGen Door County Young Professionals Network.

Tim Trotter, executive director of Edge Dairy Farmers Cooperative, said, “I’ve worked with Lauren for about five years and she provides tremendous value to members and staff. She shows the importance of building relationships. It comes naturally to her.”

Brey will be even more focused on relationship-building when she becomes director of strategic-relations and sustainability in May, Trotter said. She’ll serve as a liaison with several industry partners, fostering collaboration and continuous improvement in the dairy industry, he said.

Membership in the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation is a family affair for Brey. Her mother, Daphne Holterman, and sister, Taylor Holterman, also are members. All three were members of the Association of Women in Agriculture when they were students at UW-Madison.

The Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation’s mission is to advance the education of women in agriculture. The organization also supports the student chapter of the Association of Women in Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Visit awamadison.org for more information.

Lynn Grooms writes about the diversity of agriculture, including the industry’s newest ideas, research and technologies as a staff reporter for Agri-View based in Wisconsin. Email lgrooms@madison.com to contact her.