Motivational Speakers to Keynote Women in Ag Leadership Conference

Experienced ag leaders to share their experiences with leadership in Ames

November 11, 2022, 8:52 am | Madeline Schultz

AMES, Iowa – Two motivational speakers with leadership experience in the agricultural industry will keynote the annual Women in Ag Leadership Conference Nov. 29-30 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.

Amy Cronin, who raises swine in Ontario, Canada, as well as Iowa and Missouri, will share her experience growing her family’s operation and managing risks related to farming. Cleophus (Cleo) Franklin Jr., an experienced ag business executive and author, will share his passion for building robust business models and strategies for success.

The conference is in its sixth year and is hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Amy Cronin.Cronin is a Nuffield Farming Scholar and is investigating on-farm business risk management solutions around the world. She just recently returned from an 18-day agriculture tour in Africa, where she is working to learn more about risk management.

“It is important that we understand the differences in other parts of the world,” she said. “We must go in with an ear to listen rather than thinking we have all the answers. Only through working together and really listening together can we produce solutions.”

Cronin will present her keynote message Nov. 30 called “Changing the World One Step at a Time.” As a woman in agriculture, Cronin can relate to the joys and struggles of working in agriculture. She says there is no one right way to do anything, and life is about sharing, collaborating and doing the hard things to continue to grow.

She will also present a session called “Digging Deep So That We Can Travel Far,” in which she will encourage women to think about what is important to them and to take on new tasks.

“To be great leaders, we first need to understand who we are and what we stand for,” Cronin said. “Allowing ourselves to dive into opportunities lets us contribute to new roles in agriculture in a way that is impactful and meaningful.”

Cleo Franklin Jr.On Nov. 30, Cleophus (Cleo) Franklin Jr. will present his capstone message called “Partnering with Purpose: Building Meaningful Partnerships That Win!”

“Purpose is a belief that what you do matters and when you focus on what matters, the results can be transformational,” said Franklin, whose ag leadership includes over 30 years with brands like John Deere, Case-New Holland and Mahindra. Purpose is what gets you up in the morning and keeps you going in the evening. When we have clarity of purpose, our contributions are amplified and extended from our homes, the workplace, and throughout the communities where we live.”

Franklin’s global leadership ( books focus on his passion for providing personal and professional leadership development career pathways for anyone who is leading or aspiring to lead. He also founded Franklin Strategic Solutions (, a global consulting business, and Morningside University’s “Franklin Leadership Foundation.”

Despite growing up in the inner city of Chicago, Franklin’s love for agriculture was cultivated at a young age. Both his parents were raised on farms, and Franklin spent a great deal of time visiting his grandparents, who lived in a rural area, during the summer months of his youth.

“There were many strong, fierce and influential role models always around me,” said Franklin. “I am honored and excited to share my message with women leaders in Iowa agriculture.”

The two-day program features more than two-dozen speakers and multiple breakout sessions, including a welcome address from John Lawrence, vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach.

The cost to attend the conference is $90 for adults and $45 for students. A limited number of attendance scholarships are available by emailing

Register online at

For more information, visit the conference website or contact Madeline Schultz at or 515-294-0588.

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