Staff spotlight: Anna’s sights set on small business training

Born and raised on a cattle ranch near a small town in southeastern Idaho, Anna Pratt learned to drive on country back roads, charged purchases to a tab at local farm supply stores, and took part in the challenges and rewards of a family-owned business.

In other words, she’s no stranger to rural America.

A new member of the Center for Rural Affairs team, Anna is the Women’s Business Center director, and is excited about her new role.

“I am often amazed at the outcomes that result when like-minded people join resources and efforts for a common vision,” said Anna. “From my first interactions with the Center staff, I've seen that a common vision and passion for their work is evident. I'm thrilled to work with everyone at the Center, while continuing to strengthen the network of partners across the state that share our values, as well as forging new partnerships.”

In her role, Anna organizes, implements, and evaluates training and assistance efforts for rural entrepreneurs across Nebraska. She works with the Center’s regional business specialists and contractors to provide logistical support for programs and classes, and fosters relationships with borrowers and potential borrowers.

Anna’s varied skilled set makes her well prepared for her position.

“My background is in formal and informal education, and curriculum development, so I have a strong understanding of how education and training translates to practical skills,” Anna said. “I also grew up and worked in a small family-owned business and have an intimate understanding of the ups and downs of that way of life.”

She plans to take that knowledge and experience and apply it to different areas of her job.

“First, I have a lot to learn about how the Center runs, as well as other Women's Business Centers around the country, and explore the intricacies of my role,” she said. “Then, as I start to make goals for this position, I hope to enhance and build on existing programming and implement ideas that are creative, purposeful, and sustainable.”

The opportunity to help rural America prosper means a great deal to the new Women’s Business Center director.

“Rural communities are a crucial component to thriving agricultural, natural resources, and other like industries,” she said. “And, while I have enjoyed the benefits of rural America, I have also witnessed the complex issues that face its citizens in the 21st century. Helping to ensure a bright future for all members of rural communities is very important to me.”

When she’s not working, Anna loves to spend time out in nature with her new fiance, whether hiking, exploring, or riding horses and working cattle, and looks forward to discovering fun activities in her new home in Nebraska.

Anna can be reached at the Center’s office in Lyons, Nebraska, at 402.687.2100 ext. 1024 or annap@cfra.org.