Women in Ag Leadership Conference goes virtual for 2020

The fourth annual Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Leadership Conference addresses topics that are timely and challenging. The conference features speakers ready to share leadership knowledge and skills participants can apply to succeed in farm or agribusiness careers. This year’s conference is Nov. 30, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Dec. 1, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The conference is a virtual event sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America.

This year’s conference theme is Leadership in Unprecedented Times. A veteran of crisis communication, Eileen Wixted of Wixted & Co. will present a workshop the afternoon of Nov. 30. She will engage the audience in preparedness activities that can help minimize business disruptions during a crisis.

Miriam Erickson Brown, president and CEO, Anderson Erickson Dairy, is the keynote speaker on Dec. 1 at 9:30 a.m. She’ll be sharing her experiences of leading a food company through a global pandemic. As the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Kayla Lyon will discuss the challenges of leadership following the derecho, which swept through Iowa in August. The storm devastated and closed parks across the state. The afternoon conference session will focus on cultivating diversity.

Philomena Morrissey Satre, director of Diversity + Inclusion, Land O’ Lakes Inc., will offer insights into supporting a diverse workplace. A panel of two former Women in Ag Leadership Advisory Committee members, Zoami Calles-Rios Sosa and Jittaun Floyd, will share insights on working in agriculture as minorities. The capstone speaker, ISU Extension and Outreach farm and agribusiness management specialist Melissa O’Rourke, will help put 2020 in perspective and poise the audience to move into 2021 with grace and optimism.

Once again, the ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program will honor Iowa’s Women Impacting Agriculture during the conference. This honor highlights and celebrates women’s unique contributions to a safe and plentiful food supply while enhancing Iowa’s agricultural systems.

“I’m proud of the conference advisory committee’s work to give attendees an opportunity to discuss many current events in 2020 and gain new leadership skills to help them head into 2021 with confidence and optimism,” said Madeline Schultz, program manager for women in ag.

The virtual conference will offer networking opportunities. When registering for the conference, participants can choose to post their name, email and bio or message to the password protected website.

“Registrants can check this site often to connect with others who are attending the virtual conference to say ‘Hello’ to people they’ve met before or new people who share their interest,” Schultz said. “Another way we’ve built networking into the virtual event is our breakout rooms before, during and after the conference sessions. We want people to have fun and meaningful conversations in small groups, just like they would around a face-to-face conference table.”

The mission of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program is to improve the quality of life in Iowa by providing research-based educational resources and programs that expand agricultural business, improve natural resource management and support the community of women in agriculture.

The Women in Ag Leadership Conference Online registration is open at www.regcytes.extension.iastate.edu/womeninag/. Cost for the conference is $30. Attendance scholarships are available. For questions or additional information, contact Madeline Schultz at 515-294-0588 or [email protected].