Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 6th Annual Women in Ag Leadership Conference
November 29 to November 30, 2022


Click on the days below to view the schedule

Nov 29
12:00 pm Onsite Check-in Begins

Networking and Refreshments

1:00 pm Concurrent Session A: Iowa State University Tours

A1: Student Innovation Center with Media Experience
Hosted by Rachel Faircloth, Event Coordinator, and Danielle Orris, Manager of Media Production

Create your own agricultural public service announcement in the digital media Makerspace at the Student Innovation Center on campus. The center is open to all Iowa State students to collaborate, create, and innovate. The building includes dedicated spaces for each college, classrooms, study rooms, and makerspaces. The Student Innovation Center is the nexus on campus where all Cyclones are invited to innovate through experimentation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas.

A2: Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering
Hosted by Michelle Soupir, Interim Associate Dean, and Lindsey Hartfiel, Graduate Student

Experience the river model, bio reactor models, and other conservation, research, and demonstration spaces in the Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering. Meet women in the department who are influencing the vision to offer world premier service to society through innovative engineering and technology to sustainably advance agriculture, industry, and living systems. You’ll also visit the water analysis lab and learn about the department’s artwork inspired by Iowa’s natural landscapes.

A3: Feed Mill, Poultry and Turkey Farms
Hosted by Anthony Ewing, Feed Mill Manager
Ben Drescher, Animal Science Farms Director, Jessica Menke, Poultry Farm Manager, and Tanner Volkmann, Turkey Farm Manager

The Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex is entering the final stages of construction. The state-of-the-art facility will focus on furthering the university’s mission of teaching, research, service and extension while producing feeds for ISU livestock and poultry teaching and research farms, as well as providing a hands-on experience for students. International outreach through trainings and certifications for industry professionals has already begun. Closed-toe shoes and provided hard hats are required. Dress for the weather.

The hallmarks of the Robert T. Hamilton Poultry Teaching and Research Farm include dedicated spaces for teaching and research. A welcome center features one-way viewing glass where tour participants can see first-hand examples of Iowa egg production systems. Opened in spring 2020, the new poultry barn supports the number-one-egg-producing state in the nation.

The Stanley L. Balloun Turkey Teaching and Research Facility was opened in the spring of 2022, becoming the only facility of its kind focused on turkey production at a major university. The facility provides students with state-of-the-art equipment for research that addresses current challenges and helps advance Iowa’s turkey industry which ranks 7th in the nation.

A4: Steam Tunnels and CALS History Walk
Hosted by Mike Murray, Director of Engineering for Utilities Distribution, and Nicholas Scott, Museum Security & Education Program Assistant

Did you know there is a sprawling network of subterranean tunnels built to house pipes that deliver high-pressure steam to campus buildings? Step below the surface to explore the passageways that have been around nearly as long as the university. The tunnels expanded as the campus grew, protecting pipes that take steam from the power plant to buildings — primarily for heat and hot water. The first steam tunnel was constructed for Marston Hall about 120 years ago, and the most recent addition serves the Student Innovation Center.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Art and History Walk will take you through Curtiss Hall to see artwork such as ‘Do You Know What’s Inside This Flower’ and ‘All The Way Home.’ In the Agronomy Hall Courtyard, you’ll see the ‘Janus Agri Altar.’ Our guide will also show you the ‘George Washington Carver’ art outside of Seed Science. Dress for the weather and be aware the tunnels may have wet floors and dusty surfaces.

A5: Equine Program, Horses and Barns
Hosted by Peggy Auwerda, Associate Professor and Extension and Outreach Equine Specialist, and Nikki Ferwerda, Associate Teaching Professor and Equine Farms Manager

Come see the award-winning herd of Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred broodmares housed in the historic barns on campus as well as the newer Equine Learning Center constructed south of campus in 2014. Up to 15 students work at the horse barns which house as many as 80 horses. Learn about the experiences students gain through the farms and the 10 undergraduate and graduate courses in equine science offered by the Department of Animal Science. Dress for the weather.

3:00 pm Refreshment Break

3:15 pm General Session One

Leading with Grace and Growth
Presented by Laila Hajji Down

We can all afford to walk in more grace. Leading with grace and in the spirit of growth will lead to more transformation in us as leaders and in those that follow us. But how exactly do we do that? What does it look like in practice? Join former National FFA Officer, Ag Sales Rep, and professional speaker Laila Hajji Down, as she shares an engaging, energizing, and thought-provoking session on how we lead with grace and enable growth in ourselves and others. Come ready to laugh, think and grow, and, most importantly, walk away with tangible strategies to improve how you lead yourself and others.

4:15 pm Refreshment Break

4:30 pm Concurrent Session B: Intensive Workshops

B1: Leave a Legacy through Leasing, Conservation and Succession
Presented by Catherine Delong, Melissa O’Rourke, Jingyi Tong, and Kitt Tovar-Jensen

As a farmland owner or manager, the decisions you make greatly influence the future of agriculture in Iowa. We’ll share insights gained from the 358 responses to our farmland ownership and management survey. The team will offer information and resources to help women meet the challenges of improving lease arrangements, implementing new conservation practices, and preparing the next generation to succeed in agriculture. Bring your questions, discuss your concerns and accomplishments with other women, and leave this workshop with a renewed commitment to a lasting legacy of equitable land access, healthy productive landscapes, and generational transition.

B2: Discover Your Leadership Strengths
Presented by Lora Leigh Chrystal and Jennifer Leptien

Presenters will help participants recognize their innate leadership talents and provide tools to develop those talents into strengths. Whether you are taking charge in an agribusiness, in the dairy barn, or around your farm family’s kitchen table, you can use your own personal leadership strengths to improve your communication skills, understand group dynamics and lead authentically. Instructions will be provided to registrants to complete the CliftonStrengths™ online assessment prior to the workshop. Plan to bring a printout of your top strengths to the workshop.

B3: You’re Not Alone: Fields of Wisdom Abound Through Mentoring
Presented by Gayle Coon and Keli Tallman with guests Jamie Benning, Erin Cumings, and Denise Schwab

Have you ever felt like you are alone trying to navigate the abundant career fields in Iowa’s agricultural landscape? Sign up for this workshop if you are a woman seeking mentorship or if you are a woman wanting to support others as a mentor. Participants will engage in a supportive space that both encourages mentees and honors and fosters the collective wisdom of seasoned agricultural professionals. Through guided small group activities and discussions, participants will learn how to seek and offer career advice and promote the benefits of mentoring relationships and strategies. Please answer questions in the workshop registration drop down boxes to help us plan a meaningful experience for everyone.

B4: Some Straight Talk About Farm Financial Statements
Presented by Nancy Brannaman and Leslie Miller

Increasingly lenders are using the information from farm financial statements to determine risk and set interest rates on customers’ farming operations. The only sure way for you to know if they have the best and most accurate information is to understand how that information is put together. This workshop will help you understand your numbers and use them to advocate for your farming operation. In addition, you will learn financial benchmarks that tell you how your operation compares to your competition.

6:30 pm Networking Dinner

Committee Welcome
Networking Activity

8:00 pm Program Concludes

Nov 30
7:30 am Onsite Check-in Begins

7:30 am Refreshment Break

8:30 am General Session Two

Opening Remarks

University Welcome
Presented by John Lawrence

Keynote: Changing the World One Step at a Time: Presented by Amy Cronin
Presented by Amy Cronin

When we think about leadership, it can be daunting, overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. Amy Cronin is a passionate leader, agricultural advocate, farmer, mother of six, government appointee and business owner. She can relate to the idea of walking the tightrope and yet, has embraced the juggle of life with a determination to make the world a better place for the next generation. Her leadership journey has been one that embraces continuous learning, collaboration, and doing hard things. Join Amy as she shares ten lessons she lives by through stories of joy, struggle, passion and perseverance.


Women Impacting Agriculture Recognition
Presented by Marilee Jones, Monica Lursen and Lisa Scarbrough

We are excited to honor four amazing women who are who are making positive changes and creating a more sustainable Iowa by improving economic resiliency and stability; conserving natural resources; and being influential agricultural leaders, family members and community volunteers. We’ll highlight their accomplishments through pictures and videos. Each honoree will share her story, goals, and encouragement for other women in agriculture.

10:30 am Refreshment Break

10:45 am Concurrent Session C

C1: Managing Your Cyber Ecosystem
Presented by Doug Jacobson and Megan Wheelock

With increased reliance on sharing personal data through a variety of online platforms, farm and
agricultural business managers are asking how their data is being protected by other businesses and how they can secure their own data. Learn practical steps and best practices you can apply today to prepare for cybersecurity threats. In this workshop, you’ll increase your cybersecurity literacy and gain skills to proactively manage your cyber ecosystem to reduce the risk of economic losses. Yes, you can reduce the risk of production disruptions, lost or mismanaged decision-making data, identity theft, malware attacks, and physical system failures.

C2: Digging Deep So We Can Travel Far:
Presented by Amy Cronin

Have you ever taken the time to stop and really think about who you are, what you want, and how you are going to get there? We all have dreams and aspirations to be better, climb the ladder, or experience life to the fullest. Each day we are faced with many problems to solve and we often make decisions in isolation. Join Amy as she journeys with you through an interactive session, challenging you to really dig deep in order to discover what you stand for, what matters most to you. You’ll learn by aligning your core values with your decision-making process, it can lead to deeper happiness, greater fulfillment, and ultimately, help you achieve your dreams.


C3: What Makes a Leader? Lessons Rooted in Farming for Generations
Presented by Patricia Dyar

So, you want to be a leader. Or maybe you don’t think you are a leader. During this session you will learn attributes of a leader and the importance of having a personal board of directors. Patricia will share her career journey from a small, 120-acre dairy farm in northeast Iowa to a role early in her career working for Farm Credit Services during the farm crisis in the 1980’s, as well as several executive roles at John Deere Financial, both domestically and internationally. You will walk away from this interactive session with three implementable actions to reinforce your leadership skills and goals.

C4: Panel: The New Rules of Remote Work
Presented by Melissa O’Rourke (Moderator), Andrea Arias, Karen Grote, and Nancy Brannaman

The pandemic expanded a trend towards more remote work. Now, women in agriculture are finding new opportunities for remote work and figuring out how to succeed in the post-pandemic environment. In this session, you’ll learn from professionals with lots of remote work experience both prior to and after the pandemic. You’ll discover how to lead a team remotely, deal with internet issues in rural areas, maintain visibility to colleagues, and plan your work at home to prevent distractions. Bring your own questions and wisdom to this session and connect with others to make working remotely a better experience for everyone.

11:45 am Networking Lunch

1:00 pm Concurrent Session D

D1: Agricultural Carbon Markets
Presented by Alejandro Plastina and Alexis Stevens

The carbon market presents many challenges including aspects of the measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) systems, and understanding contractual agreements. Join us to learn what a carbon credit is, how it is created, and the state of carbon markets today. We’ll dive into the science of carbon sequestration and discuss potentially qualifying farming practices. Learn about the value and risks of carbon credit markets to farmers and the considerations for those thinking of entering into carbon market opportunities.

D2: Incorporating Chaos Theory into Your Strategy
Presented by Lisa Shimkat

Chaos is a normal part of our world! One way to define Chaos Theory outside the scientific world is that it is the impact of surprises. If you are running a farm business, agribusiness or other organization, you are trying to manage surprises and expect the unexpected. Defining and strengthening your strategy can help make you a better businessperson. Learn how strategic planning has changed and how it is just as important to plan your exit as it is to plan the start.

D3: Ignite Your Spark: Activating Your Leadership Styles
Presented by Magan Lewis

Time is one of our most valuable resources, so we need to be wise investors. Start leading by example and invest in activities that not only bring value to your organization, but value to YOU. You are in the driver’s seat. Focus on the construction zones that continually polish your big rocks and spend less time taking those detours that end up being a distraction. Different situations call for diverse leadership approaches, be ready to pivot and step outside your comfort zone. Let’s grow together!

D4: 5 Unconventional Health Tips that Make Health Simple
Presented by Alexa Schirm

If you feel like health is confusing, overwhelming, or even impossible, you’re not alone. But health doesn’t have to end here. Getting healthy is easier than you know. Join ISU alum and creator of the Living Well podcast, Alexa Schirm, as she breaks down the complexities we’ve attached to health while presenting you with five unconventional yet extremely practical action steps you can take to make health simple.

2:00 pm Refreshments Break

2:15 pm General Session Three

Panel: Insights on Board Leadership
Presented by Ann Wolf (Moderator), Michelle Book and Susan Tronchetti

Board members with hard-earned experience will offer insights gained through serving on agricultural, community, business and non-profit boards. They will discuss the important oversight and mission-driven roles of board members. You’ll learn how board members can focus on strengthening the role of the organization in the community and becoming servant-leaders for the common good. The panel will share stories about the value of women’s involvement in community leadership.

Capstone: Partnering with Purpose: Building Meaningful Partnerships That Win!
Presented by Cleophus Franklin Jr.

Purpose is a belief that what you do matters and when you focus on what matters the results can be transformational! 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. Purpose takes us from laying bricks to building castles. It is the difference maker! Join us and listen to Author/Entrepreneur/Ag-Executive, Cleophus P. Franklin Jr. as he shares how to partner with purpose and build advocacy platforms that win!

4:00 pm Program Concludes