Member Spotlight: Alicia Heun, APR

Ever since Alicia Heun was 17, she dreamed of mixing her two passions to form a career. Today, Heun can confidently say her 17-year-old self would be proud of where she is today.

Heun serves as the director of communications for Landus Cooperative, the sixth largest grain company in North America. Landus Cooperative touches nearly every step in the ag-supply chain by assisting in marketing seed, agronomy services, grain marketing offerings and the global marketing of the Dairy Nutrition Plus product line—a patented soybean meal.

Although most people are searching for their next move, or a way to move up, Heun is living for the moment and passionate about learning new things and fortifying the company's communication programs.

Heun spoke with Ashley Dalsing, co-chair of the Central IA PRSA newsletter, about her journey within the agriculture sector of public relations.

How long have you been with Landus Cooperative?

I joined five years ago when the company was called West Central Cooperative. I was able to oversee the merger campaign in which the company then became known as Landus Cooperative.

What are your daily tasks or key projects you work on?

Our marketing and communications team serves as an internal, full-service agency for our company of 600 employees located in 26 different counties. I oversee the strategy and direction of our team of five. We execute on events, printing and mailings, a quarterly member magazine for 7,000 members, a weekly employee newsletter and all things related to brand management.

My week can include anything from training a new community ambassador, working with my boss on our budget, taking photos, managing vendors, writing memos with human resources, assisting with customer events or consulting with our CEO.

Wow, impressive! Was this a part of your dream growing up?

If 17-year-old me saw what I do today, she would probably say I’m living the dream. I have always wanted to be in public relations, specifically within the agriculture industry. I love that every day is different and that I work in a competitive industry that is constantly evolving and changing.

Let’s back up, tell me about your career path from when you graduated to now.

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a major in journalism and mass communications with an emphasis in public relations and a second major in public service and administration in agriculture. I literally had the longest major in the graduation booklet listing.

I also received my Master’s in Business Administration from Iowa State, cohort class of 2012.

Right out of college, I went to work for West Central Cooperative in the Ralston, Iowa, office. At that time, the cooperative was managing a biodiesel business called Renewable Energy Group (REG). About six-weeks after I joined, it was announced REG would roll-out into its own company. With that announcement, I transferred to REG and moved to Ames to work in their new headquarters. At REG, I gained a wealth of marketing, grassroots legislative advocacy and financial experience. During my seven years there, the company grew from 35 employees to 300—and went public.

Have you received your APR?

Yes, I received my APR in June of 2017. The process was clear-cut, and there were many helpful people along the way—specifically, Iowa’s PRSA chapter APR leads as I asked questions and set up my panel.

I definitely recommend earning your APR because after several years in the industry, I felt real-life examples of strategic decision making and consultation aided me to be comfortable with my taking the test and presenting. It helped me focus on my trade and identify my strengths and weaknesses.

Sounds like you’ve already accomplished a great deal! What would you like readers to know about you?

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband working on our acreage. We also have a goal to visit every national park together—we have about 20 under our belts already, including three in Alaska! When we travel, we like to stop and sample at local breweries.

To see more of Alicia’s accomplishments, connect with her on LinkedIn.

Job Opening at Landus Cooperative!

Landus Cooperative has a paid position open for a summer internship. This is a dynamic position suited for sophomores-seniors interested in building their portfolio, assisting in event management and writing for the company magazine and internal newsletters. Interested? Apply here

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