Women in Ag Spotlight - Holly Smith

Posted by Orchard & Vineyard Supply on

Growing up in the Mojave desert, Holly’s interest in agriculture began early. As a member of 4-H and Future Farmers of America, Holly grew up dreaming of “a big world out there of all the possibilities that farming seemed to encompass!” Driven by the skills, independence, prosperity and the people involved, she has worked her way to Vineyard Manager at Gallo Vineyards. Holly has been with Gallo for 8 years and prior to joining Gallo, she taught Agricultural topics at high schools in both Paso Robles and Carpinteria, California.

When asked about her role models, Holly shared her belief that the wine grape-growing side of the industry is particularly inspiring. “The wine--growing side of the industry, as a whole, are pretty amazing people, willing to share wins, losses, friendship and a glass of bubbles. I love learning aside the others in the industry and appreciating the fruits of our labor, complaining about no water, frost, or other common troubles.”

Holly firmly believes that anyone—female or male—who can stand on their own two feet, and has the skills that suit the job, can succeed. “The proof is in the pudding if you can get the job done just as good as the next ‘guy’.  Sometimes it takes a little more convincing, and as in any business, it is who you know as much as it is what you know, and often women forget that. Relationship building is vital. I have recently started a ‘Grower Gal’ networking activity lunch that has been a hit, though, inviting other women in the growing side to network, learn, and have a good time because wine makers shouldn’t have all the fun!”

Holly is heavily involved in her community, working with the California Women in Agriculture organization and she is an Ag Advisory member for Paso Robles FFA, Shandon FFA, and Cuesta College. Holly’s dedication to giving back to the community, despite her busy work life, is something more people should try to emulate!

Outside of Gallo Vineyards and community work, Holly loves deep-sea fishing in warm climates, visiting the beach (or any kind of water), and diving headfirst into real estate investment out of state. Her favorite deep-sea fishing spots are Baja, Florida, and Costa Rica—all great places for sushi fishing!

Holly’s advice to other females currently in agriculture or interested in agriculture is simple: “Network, work hard, dream big, and don’t make excuses.” She has certainly lived by that philosophy and is a great role model for anyone in the community. Thank you for everything you do Holly!

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