Andrea Furber Card (Class 38)

Andrea Furber Card (38) joined the Francis Ford Coppola Winery (owned by Delicato Family Wines) winemaking team in 2020 as the director of winemaking. She has worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years and serves on the Alexander Valley Winegrowers board. A fourth-generation Sonoma County native, Andrea’s roots run deep for her family, with great grandparents who started growing grapes in 1879 in the far reaches of Alexander Valley until the imposition of Prohibition. Andrea graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in agricultural business and earned a winemaking certificate from UC Davis. She competes in logging sports – a sport derived from work in the woods, such as log chopping, throwing axes and cross-cut sawing – earning multiple championships through the years. She commenced from the California Agricultural Leadership Program in 2009. 

How did Ag Leadership enable you to make a greater impact in agriculture and beyond?
I like to believe that I have a lot more to offer and a lot more time to make a greater impact in all entities beyond myself, which I look forward to. My daughter and I work at our local food pantry together serving those in our community. My personal garden is shared with the West County Inter-Church Food Pantry, helping me ensure that nutritious foods will go to those in need. I am on a local outreach committee that hosts learning opportunities for community members, helps staff the food pantry and monetarily helps organizations that help others.

I recently returned from a service and learning trip to Pacific Grove, where I chaperoned and participated with nine youth. We learned about the local ecosystem, helped with beach cleanups and a dune restoration project extracting invasive and non-native species, and examined the activity of sand crabs as an indicator species for ecosystem health.

Within the wine industry, I am on the board of my local wine appellation, Alexander Valley Winegrowers. I have ongoing conversations about pushing sustainability at the winery, in the vineyard and at home. I am continuously reminded how important it is for females in a male-dominated industry to feel supported and I strive to have the women I encounter benefit from any experience that I can share.  

Increased self-awareness is a hallmark of Ag Leadership. What did you learn about yourself and your interactions with those around you?
Ag Leadership opened my eyes to realizing there was a lot to learn about myself and the world around me. It gave me the tools to gain self-awareness and the time for reflection and introspection. I participated in the program early in my career development, so it was a wonderful foundation. My classmates and alumni were living examples of people putting in the work.  

How did the program help you develop your leadership skills and abilities?
Ag Leadership expanded my capacity for listening and the ability to consider all sides, at the very least to know that other opinions and facts can and will be a part of every decision. Working on my public speaking was one of the hardest parts of the program for me, but it set me on a path for my career where there is less trepidation with more preparation. Media training was a hoot and set a wonderful basis for interacting with the media now.  

How has your understanding of your specific role as a leader changed?
My physical role as a leader and my thoughts about it have changed since the program. I have gained understanding that putting trust in my colleagues and staff and allowing them to be self-sufficient leads to better team dynamics and productivity.  With those around me enhancing their communication skills, my job is clearer and we are all more efficient. Giving autonomy, building up my team and managing up is now my focus. 

How has your view of the world around you changed and impacted your development as a leader?
I have always been interested in the world around us and different cultures. Ag Leadership gave me a new example of how to interact with foreign or local cultures different from my own. I now want to explore the worlds beyond the tourist destinations and dig deeper to understand the complexities within different communities. I do believe the world is a small and interconnected place if we just take the time to explore and understand. The wine industry is a luxury and my challenge has always been that it is not essential, but friends and family remind me that wine brings people together. Wine with a nourishing meal is one of the joys of life, so I remind myself that having joy in our lives is a necessity, as it can overflow into all areas of your life, especially being a leader.  

How will you continue to develop as a lifelong learner?
I love to be challenged and to grow and learn new things so the passion for lifelong learning will be with me always. I have a life coach that can literally help me through anything. I have a communication coach who helps me to remember to slow down so others can follow. I am in continuous leadership training sponsored through work and through my own interest. I continue to challenge myself to read every day. I choose to be open to learning new things from new people along the way.  

Why would you recommend Ag Leadership to others in agriculture?
What an amazing experience to open your eyes to your specific job/industry to a greater network of people who are experiencing similar challenges and triumphs. Then you get to experience new things together as an extended family and grow together. Ag Leadership has given me the core principles of what a leader can and probably should look like. It allowed me the opportunity for listening and growing and then reimagined for me a life full of learning well beyond my young years! Ag Leadership was truly a life-changing experience and a blessing.