According to Anne Beihoffer, a person can learn a lot about leading a team from our equine friends. At one point in her career, she prepared a witty presentation sharing leadership lessons she learned from horse ownership.
“A lot of learnings are applicable – some of which may help prevent being labeled as the rearward anatomy of a horse,” she said.
Her favorites? First, when things don’t go as planned, it can get a little “western.” Second, stay calm – your horse follows your lead. Finally, cues and corrections don’t always have to be forceful, but they must be purposeful.
Anne got her start with the company working with Federal’s ammo product development team in 2008.
“I had been an avid hunter for years, but my eyes were opened to seeing the amount of science and technology put into developing ammunition, which I previously took for granted when pulling the trigger,” she said. Anne moved to Vista corporate in 2020 to lead projects with the eCommerce Center of Excellence to launch new eCommerce sites before transitioning to her current role as a Senior Project Manager in the IT department at Vista Outdoor.
Anne began her career with a desire to learn and experience all types of business. She has always loved Harley Davidson motorcycles and dreamed of working with the company, but instead got her start at a power company. She then moved to a financial/banking institution and then a major local retailer before finally landing at Federal for the manufacturing experience.
“I often reflect that if I had gone to work for Harley Davidson earlier, I would have checked the ‘manufacturing’ box and may have never found my way to Federal and Vista. I would have missed out on what has been the best part of my career. I’ve learned that I like having a goal to aim for, but I try to be open to opportunities and alternate paths for how to accomplish that goal,” she said.
And with her love for hunting – which she began embracing as a young adult – her position at Federal aligned well with her personal and professional passions.
“Hunting spoke to my soul in so many ways – a mentally challenging, outdoor activity; a source of healthy protein; a path to conservation to preserve the habitat and species I pursue. Hunting became an avenue for social connection, and I found I really enjoyed helping others who wanted to try hunting. It was nirvana to work for a company where my personal and professional passions aligned, and thus embarked on a journey to find the job at Federal,” she said.
Anne is involved with Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Minnesota Becoming an Outdoors Woman program. She is also a founding member of Women Hunting and Fishing and a hunting mentor for her best friend’s daughter who is faced with physical and intellectual challenges.
“There are many struggles in her everyday life. Helping her learn to shoot a crossbow and ultimately harvest game is miraculous. I’m proud and humbled to be a part of that,” Anne said.
Aside from her mentorship in the hunting world, Anne is also the heart, mind and soul behind inviting the Twin Cities Honor Flight to attend the annual Federal employee picnic, an idea that sparked after she had the opportunity to be a guardian to her WWII veteran dad on an Honor Flight. Years later, the veteran invites still stand strong: as an annual tradition, Federal welcomes veteran-focused organizations to the picnic to raise awareness of their organization.
“The trip had such an incredible impact on my dad and reinforced for me how critical it is for our veterans to know how much their sacrifices and service are appreciated,” she said.
So, for a person who grew up in a military respecting home, has worked with horses, loves hunting, mentoring others, and experimenting with her career, what might Anne Beihoffer consider her greatest adventure?
That would be an adventure that began on a fly-in moose hunting trip in Canada with her boyfriend at the time. The couple did a lot of calling, hiking, and hunting but didn’t see any moose. The hunt itself wasn’t the adventure of a lifetime, it’s what started on the boat heading back to camp to for the plane pickup. At that moment, her now husband, Jeff improvised a proposal he had planned to do over a harvested moose.
“He likes to tell people that he told me if I didn’t say ‘yes’ I’d have to walk home!” Anne said. That could have been quite an adventure, too, but in absolute truth, Anne says her 7-year-long marriage to her husband has been her greatest adventure.
“Being with him has blessed me with a bonus daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, which has been life changing,” she said.
Hunting is core for the couple, and each excursion brings a unique experience with different learnings, challenges, experiences, and connections. Anne specifically mentioned hunting in Africa was the most impactful. There, Jeff and Anne saw how hunting supports communities through harvested meat donations, and income to fund conservation and anti-poaching efforts.
It’s clear Jeff and Anne met their match, but not without some resources to make it even stronger. Anne is a big believer in the CliftonStrengths Assessment, personally learning to focus on leaning into and soaring with her many strengths, as opposed to focusing on “fixing” any weaknesses. But Anne was interested to see the assessment was also used as a foundation for premarital counseling. The couple learned a lot about each other, including the things that annoy each other most are simply overused strengths.
“Like when I put his ‘honey do’ list in a spreadsheet!” Anne said.
Perhaps that’s another takeaway we could pull from a horse: to really hit your stride, you might need to hold your horses on getting a leg up on the to-do lists – a lesson that will certainly be difficult for Anne, given her enthusiastic, wholehearted approach on life.
I’m just starting to read “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek because I gravitate to the “What” and “How” and often times miss the “Why” for what I’m doing.
Go-to meal when you’re cooking?
When my husband and I go out to eat he says it’s because it’s my night to cook (he does a majority of the cooking, yes, I’m spoiled!) I like making crockpot wild game recipes.
Advice to the younger you?
Faith over Fear – trust in God’s plan for you and don’t let fear hold you back; be confident in yourself because God created you perfectly to be exactly you, not someone else; pray more and worry less.
How you’d spend a day off with no obligations:
Even on a day off I like to do something of value. I’m an early riser, so I would drive to our land with a thermos of coffee, set up in a lawn chair just as it’s starting to get light and enjoy hearing the natural world wake up. Then I would work on clearing trails, splitting bonfire wood or some other outdoor project from my “to do” list. I would call and talk with a friend or relative, spend time with my husband and the kids/grandkids, and have some dark chocolate… because it’s good for you (wink wink!).
What decade do you love the most?
The 80’s – great music and I’m still inclined to want big hair.
What a person needs to be happy in your opinion?
Be happy with yourself and who you are. I’ve chased joy in a lot of ways and places, but true happiness starts from within.
Key “must do’s” in your daily routine?
Coffee – every morning!
Pray for someone.
I was an extra in two movies – Fargo and Beautiful Girls. It didn’t take any talent and Uma Thurman was the beautiful girl, not me, but it gave me insight into what goes into a movie production!
Beverage of Choice
If I’m being good, flavored water; if I’m not, diet Ginger Ale or diet Coke.
Favorite physical activity?
Hunting – it’s a workout with a purpose!
Who would you like to swap places with for a day?
A really good comedian – I love seeing people happy and laughing!
Describe your home office space.
It’s kind of a mess right now. My dad passed away last August and I haven’t finished going through all of his paperwork yet, so there are piles of files.
What fictional family would you like to join?
Swiss Family Robinson – Living on an ocean island in that awesome treehouse looks like so much fun!
Is there a lifelong goal or bucket list item you could share with us?
I want to find more ways to positively impact people. My mom and dad were great at doing that throughout their purposeful lives, and I aspire to be like them. As a first step I’ve started volunteering with the First Hunt Foundation to connect and encourage women to share their hunting knowledge, experiences and heritage with others on their journey to the hunt.