Reflections from the 2019 Women in Ag Leadership Conference
By Cora Carpenter, ISU Women in Ag Student Assistant
As we begin the new near, it has been nice to look back and reflect on our 3rd Annual ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Leadership Conference. The 2019 theme was “Generations of Leadership.” As a college student attending the conference, I enjoyed listening to and learning from many successful people in the agriculture industry. I also enjoyed having the opportunity to network with women coming from several different career paths and stages of life.
It was an exciting year for me because my mom and aunt were able to travel down from Wisconsin for the conference. I loved being able to share more about the Women in Ag Program with them along with all the great things Iowa State Extension has to offer. Rena Striegel’s breakout sessions on succession planning was my mom’s highlight of the conference. Our family farm is beginning to transition into the next generation and the sessions included lots of helpful tips and advice for her and our family.
The conference was kicked off with a keynote address titled Path of Purpose Driven Leadership by Amy te Plate- Church. She is the director of Account Services at Look East. Her message included many great topics and helpful tricks for how to feel balance, grow and create mentorship programs, and continue to succeed in agriculture and beyond. Listening to Amy was truly inspirational for me. I really took away a lot from her message. She shared the importance of having mentors and being a mentor. As a student I have seen first-hand how important having more than one mentor in my life is.
I also attended Amy te Plate-Church’s session- Purpose. Priority. Plan: Your Leadership Map. Being in smaller breakouts allowed conference attendees, like myself, to work in small groups and have more networking opportunities. We shared experiences with each other and helped each other set SMART goals to help live out our leadership plan for 2020. I was able to hear the people at my table share their stories and what they do to be a leader in their community and our industry.
Other topics included strategies to help each other with farm stress by Anthony Santiago and Tammy Jacobs both of Iowa State Extension, Negotiation with Wendy Srnic from Corteva, and developing teams with Krisdeena Jansen of Iowa State University Human Resources.
The second general session included a panel of women sharing their career experiences in the agriculture industry. The panelists included Clara Lauritsen who manages Lauritsen Cattle Company with her brother. She is a younger professional who followed her passion back to her family farm. Another panelist was Monica Lursen who is a farmer at Lursen Farms and runs Lursen Trucking. She shared her personal experiences of having a 40-year dietetics career then suddenly being responsible for both businesses after the passing of her husband. Our other panelist was Leslie Miller who is the Vice-President of Iowa State Savings Bank and is a past Women Impacting Agriculture Recipient. As a college student I enjoyed hearing about their different experiences and how they maneuvered through several career and life challenges.
To wrap up the 3rd Annual ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Leadership Conference, Elizabeth Burns-Thompson shared with us her capstone address “Fitting In, Having Faith, and Finding your Passion.” She has been recognized as one of the 30-Under-30 leaders in our industry and is a lawyer and Manager of Cooperate Affairs with Renewable Energy Group.
This annual women in ag conference is a great place to come and build connections, gain new skills, and learn from others who are passionate about agriculture. The Women in Ag Conference is one of the highlights of my fall semester each year, and I am already looking forward to next year’s event!