Welcome to the 4th Annual Women in Ag Leadership Conference

Hello Friends!

On behalf of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the conference advisory committee, I would like to welcome you to the Fourth Annual Women in Ag Leadership Conference. We are delighted to bring women in agribusiness, women in farming, students and all interested people together in a virtual format for 2020.

The conference theme is Leadership in Unprecedented Times. I’m proud of the advisory committee’s work to bring you a conference that reflects the world we live in, today. Our remarkable speakers are ready to share leadership knowledge and skills you can apply to help you succeed in your farm or agribusiness career.

A veteran of crisis communication, Eileen Wixted, will present a workshop on Monday afternoon. She will engage the audience in preparedness activities that can help minimize business disruptions during a crisis. Miriam Erickson Brown, Chair and CEO, Anderson Erickson Dairy, keynotes our conference on Tuesday morning. 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 and surprising trends during COVID-19 and the of derecho which devastated and closed parks across the state. The Tuesday afternoon conference session focuses on nurturing diversity. Philomena Morrissey Satre, Director of Diversity + Inclusion, Land O’ Lakes Inc. will offer insights into supporting a diverse workplace. We are pleased to bring you a panel of two former Leadership Conference Advisory Committee, Zoami Calles-Rios Sosa and Jittaun Floyd, who will share insights on working in agriculture as minorities. Our capstone speaker, Melissa O’Rourke, will help put 2020 into perspective and poise the audience to move into 2021 with grace and optimism.

Once again, we 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.

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.

Our Leadership Conference Advisory Committee helps guide the conference activities and outcomes. The committee’s goal is to offer a women-centered program that replenishes spirits and deepens aspirations to lead within families and across the global agricultural industry.



Specifically, our conference objectives are to:

  • Encourage women to believe in themselves and the power of life-long learning,
  • Facilitate opportunities for connections with other women that inspire individual leadership journeys, and
  • Share practical knowledge and skills that women can directly apply in their farm, rural, or agribusiness career.

We know how much you accomplish every day. That is why we are especially pleased to offer this opportunity for renewal as you network and learn with others. I would like to thank everyone who volunteered time to prepare an inspiring virtual event. Enjoy the conference!
Sincerely, Madeline Schultz