Jamie Farmen: UW Alumna '10 & Lobbyist

Welcome to the Alumna Interviews series! Each week this semester, we will feature a different UW Alumna who is working as a successful woman in her field. Here is our first Alumna, Jamie Farmen.

Her Campus: What is your current position? How long have you held it?

Jamie Farmen: I am currently the Government Relations Coordinator for the South Dakota Retailers Association. I have been here almost ten months.

HC: How did you end up in the position?

JF: Previously, I worked for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture as public affairs manager for three years. I was looking to get more involved in lobbying and the legislative process, so when this job came up, it seemed like a good move to me.

HC: What are your duties?

JF: Right now as the Government Relations Coordinator, I assist with lobbying efforts; we have 3,800 members throughout the state. Because our legislative session is only two and a half months, throughout the rest of the year I distribute information through social media and email about legislative sessions. I also monitor the federal government and lobby for our business interests. This year, since it’s an election year, I will be working on voting records. We compile this information to decide which candidates we will contribute to through our Political Action Committee; we want to contribute to business-friendly candidates. I’m really excited to have come on board with them.

 

Jamie testifying the before the South Dakota Senate Commerce and Energy Committee in support of House Bill 1084. The bill clarifies what wages are used to calculate workers' compensation benefits when an injured worker holds more than one job. The proposal received unanimous approval from the committee and passed both chambers. It was signed by the Governor and will be in effect on July 1, 2016.

 

HC: Where are you from originally?

JF: I originally group up on my family’s cattle ranch, in the Cactus Flat area of South Dakota

HC: How did you end up at UW?

JF: I wanted to go out of state and see something different – my parents had gone to South Dakota State and many family and friends went to University of South Dakota. UW had a really good reputation, and in high school I was interested in attending law school, if I ended up going in that direction. After I graduated from UW with my undergrad, I went to work at the Laramie Tourism Board. I did take the LSAT, but decided I wanted to make money rather than go back to school.

HC: What degree did you obtain from UW, and what years did you graduate?

JF: So I obtained a Bachelor’s in Communication with an emphasis in Marketing in December 2010.

HC: How did your experience at UW help you get to where you are now?

JF: Well I took a few internships with the University of Wyoming while I was there and I think that hands on experience was invaluable. I worked with the news and media team through the college. Also, the Communication department gives awards to outstanding Communication alumni and I wrote features about them. It was helpful to write not only news, but also the feature story – it’s a very different writing skill. That was a really good experience to learn, and that I enjoyed that work, too. When you do those actual internships in different positions, it gives you more of a feel if you’re going to enjoy it in the field when you actually have to go to work.

HC: What is the best advice you can offer a woman going into your field?

JF: I think going into lobbying or any government relationship position – or communication field – I think taking public speaking classes is really important. I think that’s a skill I learned at UW that is really important. It is important to speak to the public and not be nervous. In my position I lobby legislators one-on-one, and work with committees, and lobby in a public setting. Being able to get your position across in a public setting is very important. Of course, writing well is also an important skill to have. Public speaking is the skill that made me nervous – even now – it’s something to practice and do and that’s what makes you better.

HC: If a current UW student in your field had more questions about your journey to success, would you be open to talking with them? If so, what is the best way for them to reach you?

JF: Oh yeah! That would be great. Email would be best at [email protected]

HC: Is there anything else you would like to share?

JF: I think the University of Wyoming’s reputation precedes them and they have a great communication department, and I really enjoyed my time. They really set me up for success.

Jamie on her wedding day with husband Tony and mini goldendoodle, Ruby.