Colorado FFA President Emma Mortensen: Tips for Efficient 4-H and FFA meetings

A few things set Emma Mortensen, Brush, Colorado, apart from the crowd. She is lovely and kind in addition to being intelligent- she’ll be heading to Texas Tech University in the fall. She is fun to watch in the show ring because she possesses a natural grace and seriousness that shine through. She’s also poised and is spending time polishing her already professional and approachable personality spending a year serving Colorado FFA as the state president.

Mortensen, center, and the current Colorado FFA Officer Team.

Here are Mortensen’s tips for 4-H and FFA members (and parents, leaders, and advisors) for more efficient meetings.

Mortensen has a deep love for the FFA Parliamentary Procedure contest and her two years as a contestant, paired with her FFA experience in the Brush chapter under Ms. Shannon Baylie and now at the state level, have made her a deft and frequent participant in the parliamentary procedure process.


Mortensen, left, loves the parli-pro contest as a self proclaimed leadership junkie.

“The contest format is so high speed,” she said.  “It’s almost like an adrenaline rush for leadership junkies.”

Parliamentary procedure is not only her favorite contest, it is one of the most useful skills to have as an officer in FFA, 4-H or any other organization or business. It teaches young leaders how to run an efficient and effective meeting while making sure everyone’s voices are heard.

Participating in parli-pro contests, or even spending time at your local Farm Bureau or other ag organization meeting observing it’s use, is important for those who hope to seek leadership positions in the future.

“It gives you a ton of knowledge on the numerous types of motions and whether or not they require a second, and what kind of vote they require,” she said. “Another big part of parli-pro is discussion on the motions.”

As a leader in a club or FFA chapter, Mortensen suggests you clarify for members where the question is in the process, encourage discussion, and spend time reiterating what members are voting upon.

Great leaders always ensure their members have all the information before voting. As a FFA or 4-H leader, it’s key to help members discuss issues, understand the vote, and understand the second and discussion process.

Encouraging young members to become involved in parli-pro contests can help this process and pay off in the long run.

Leaders also need to be aware of how they present themselves during meetings. Mortensen suggests leaders should always be assertive and not afraid to get things done. They should be professional before, during and after the meeting, and be open minded.

“Leaders should encourage discussion among the members,” she said. “You will be the example of that so get it rolling.”

Most of all, she suggests, leaders should just be themselves. She suggests leaders get to know the members so that they feel comfortable discussing the motion and they understand what is happening and feel comfortable participating.

This is the first in a series encouraging leadership, a knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and highlighting young leaders like Colorado FFA President Emma Mortensen.


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