Kelli Jo Woodson
"I think one of the biggest challenges and the biggest benefits is that FCA is a smaller agency so it's somewhat like a family community….Overall, it's quite comforting."
"I began working at FCA in June 2010 after graduating from the University of Missouri with a master's degree in accounting.
"I first learned about FCA when I attended the Agriculture Future of America conference as an intern with Monsanto. I met a few of the examiners who were recruiting from FCA. I knew immediately that FCA was a warm place where I would be able to use the skills that I learned in school—accounting and finance—but also where I would get the opportunity to work with people and to make their lives better.
"I did not grow up on a farm, but I was in 4-H and spent a lot of time with kids who lived on farms. I also worked as a bank teller for a couple of years while I was going to college.
"For the past three years I have been part of a rigorous commissioning program at FCA, which includes classroom training as well as on-the-job training. The first two years, I was part of the Staff Development Division, where I spent a lot of time with trainers learning how to review loans and apply basic finance knowledge on the job.
"After two years, I moved to the Association Examination Division. There, I worked hand-in-hand with several examiners-in-charge. I had the opportunity to lead exams at associations, write reports, and learn the broader and more judgmental skills required for the job.
"A typical day means a lot of different things. When I am in the office, I keep up with emails, Daily News Clips, and other information related to current trends in the ag industry and the Farm Credit System. Other than that, my daily tasks vary. I also perform oversight duties for the association to which I've been assigned, including review of board minutes and follow-up with association management. However, I may also work on off-site exam tasks for other associations, attend training, or sit in on calls with other examiners or association management teams. It really varies, which is something I like about this job.
"For on-site exams, we are assigned a variety of tasks. Next week, I'll be traveling to an association to review its board and management oversight and its internal audit program. We also review loans on-site to evaluate credit risk and the association's loan servicing practices.
"Time management is the number one skill I've learned at FCA. When not employed full-time, it's easy to rely on someone—a teacher, a mentor, or a parent—to ensure you get things done. FCA, however, gives its employees the freedom to decide their own schedules. The flexibility is great; however, it's important that I know my responsibilities and deadlines and order my priorities accordingly.
"FCA has also helped me hone my communication skills, both verbal and written. Across the board, we communicate with many audiences—colleagues, senior management, and boards of directors at associations and banks. It's critical that we write deductively and speak concisely and clearly.
"My favorite part about this job is the work-life balance. I have the opportunity to work nine-hour days so I can have every other Friday off. I also have the opportunity to work from home about one day each week, which helps with commute time and general morale in my household.
"One of the really great benefits of working as an FCA examiner is that you get to travel to a lot of states, towns, and cities. Travel was pretty heavy my first two years—about 60 percent of my schedule—because we had classroom trainings as well as on-site examinations. Travel dropped to about one or two weeks per month during my third year. I usually know well in advance when I'm going to be gone.
"It's fun to travel and spend time really getting to know coworkers on exams. I think one of the biggest challenges and the biggest benefits is that FCA is a smaller agency so it's somewhat like a family community. You get to know people well, but you also have to maintain your professionalism and good relationships. Overall, it's quite comforting.
"We also have a great competency evaluation system for associate examiners. For the past three years I've had the opportunity to perform different tasks and be evaluated by my trainers. Now that I have completed all the tasks, I'm hoping I get to sit for the commissioning test. I can't wait to be a commissioned examiner—it's been my goal since the beginning!"
Updated September 13, 2013