|OCTOBER 18, 2011 --
On September 15, the National Grange welcomed Michael J. Martin to the staff as Membership/Leadership Development Director. Martin, a native of Cummington, Mass., has been an active Grange member for over three decades.
Martin takes the position after the resignation of Rusty Hunt, effective Sept. 30. Hunt will be the Membership/Leadership director for his home state of Washington, a move that allows him more time with his family including a son, daughter and his wife, Jacquie.
Martin said he is looking forward to giving back to the organization that provided leadership experiences for him as the Master of local subordinate and Pomona Granges in Massachusetts. He also served as Membership Director and state officer of the Massachusetts State Grange.
As a young adult, Martin served on the National Grange Youth Team as National Grange Youth Ambassador.
“The leadership skills learned in the Grange are exemplified in community leaders across rural America,” Martin said.
He is looking forward to working with Grange leaders across the nation.
“The future of our country rests on the strength of our agricultural and rural communities,” Martin said.
Prior to joining the National Grange staff, Martin was a Cooperative Extension professional for 25 years and most recently served as executive director of the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund where he spearheaded the initiative to raise funds to support the 4-H youth development program in North Carolina.
Martin has experience as a 4-H youth development agent in Massachusetts, Vermont and Pennsylvania. He was an International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) Representative to Costa Rica, and also worked to establish and strengthen the 4-H youth development programs in the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Armenia.
Martin holds a B.A. from Oberlin College, and M.Ed. from Cambridge College. He earned a Ph.D. in Workforce Education and Development from the College of Education at Penn State University. Martin, and his wife, Wendy, reside in south central Pennsylvania.
Q&A with: Michael Martin:
What excites you about coming to work for the Grange?
“When I was growing up, there were two organizations that I was most active in, Grange and 4-H, so anything that I learned about leadership, teamwork, democratic process, parlimentary proceedure, I learned in the Grange. I learned in the Grange that a 14-year-old and an 80-year-old could work together as equals, and that’s a tremendous lesson.”
What is one thing that you are happy to bring to the table as the new Membership/Leadership Development Director?
“I bring a conviction to this position that the Grange is, ought to be, and can be a leadership development incubator, if you will, for small “d” democratic society. What you learn in the Grange makes you stronger as a leader in your community, in community organizations, your church, your fire companies, all of the volunteer organizations that make small town America operate.”
What do you expect to be the most exicitng thing coming up for you in the next couple of months?
“I am looking forward to meeting all of the new delegates at the National Grange Session, and reconnecting with faces, with friends that I’ve known for decades, and now be working together as partners. That’s really exciting to me.”
If there was one thing you wish all the Grangers in the country could do or would do to help grow membership, what would it be?
“One of the most difficult things that I believe for a Grange member to do is to step back from their role and see how they can help share that or bring new people into the organization and for many people that means giving up your role to someone new, taking on new challenges, they can carry on what will be new roles for them.”
How do you pitch the Grange?
“In my mind, the Grange is one of the oldest most repsected organizations for leadership development, community service, promotion of agricutlure and preservation of the knowledge and traditions of agriculture and homemaking in this nation.”
Why are those attributes so relevant today?
“All of the thigns we’ve been discussing weave together into the fabric that is community and one thing that this nation needs more than ever before is a sense of community at the local level, at the state level and at the national level.”
Any last thoughts?
“I am really looking forward to jumping in with both feet and I know I will be welcomed with open arms because I have such a long history with this organization and I look forward to helping it meet the challenges of a new century.”
Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com