Carol Johnson, Chief Development Officer Alpha Gamma Rho
Carol Johnson, a seventh-generation farmer and Chief Development Officer of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, is raising her two children with her husband on the farm her grandfather homesteaded when she was in the sixth grade.
"Growing up I never really knew what I wanted to do but I knew that I wanted to live on the farm,” Carol said. “That was my goal."
Carol credits her former ag teacher with instilling in her that love of the ag industry. Carol joined the FFA in high school and would go on to serve as a state officer for the Arkansas FFA Association.
At the end of her senior year of high school, Carol was on track to attend the University of Central Arkansas. After consulting with her ag teacher though, she opted instead to attend Arkansas State University to pursue an ag degree. There, she was offered a full-ride scholarship to study ag business because of her involvement as a state officer and ag student. Carol says this was just the first of many opportunities that the ag industry opened up for her.
"My ag teacher ultimately changed the trajectory of my career path,” Carol remarked. “I will always be indebted to him for what he did for me through that."
During college, Carol became an Alpha Gamma Rho sweetheart, an honor bestowed female students recognizing their support and friendship toward the fraternity. She was also named Arkansas Beef Princess by the Arkansas cattle industry.
"It just goes to show you that you never know when you're involved in something in high school or college- what impact that's going to make on you," she said.
After graduating, Carol’s early career began in teaching as an adjunct at the University of Arkansas State in Beebe. Later, she worked for the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association and Arkansas Business magazine.
Each opportunity helped her learn about development, which eventually led her to her current role.
Carol’s career path allowed her to work in student development, community development and eventually in campus development at ASU Beebe. Carol was soon responsible for raising upwards of $22 million in funding for a campus project in her hometown of Heber Springs, Arkansas.
Carol decided to further invest in herself and set out to earn a doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on governance in law from the University of Arkansas. With this distinction, Carol’s most rewarding opportunity presented itself. Carol believes she was led to this opportunity by God. Serving as Chief Development Officer for the world's only agriculture fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, is a dream come true and a responsibility she takes very seriously. Not only has this position been an opportunity she’s benefitted from – it is also an opportunity for Carol to give back to the industry and community that has been so good to her.
"The better men that our fraternity makes helped make me the better person that I am today," she said.
Carol continues to be grateful for the many opportunities that have helped her get to where she is today.
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