Illinois Agricultural Leaders Examine Leadership Skills and Perspectives
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2020 participants recently explored personal leadership skills and agricultural issues during a seminar held at Sprague’s Kinderhook Lodge in Barry, Illinois. The “Personal Leadership and Self Reflection Seminar” included presentations by several speakers over two days. The IALP is sponsored by the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation (IALF). The foundation’s host for the seminar was lodge owner, Andy Sprague, a 2012 graduate of the IALP.
Over a nineteen-month period, the class is attending 14 seminars covering current social, political, business and economic issues in the agriculture industry. The “Personal Leadership and Self Reflection Seminar” began with a visit of Randy (IALP 1984 graduate) and his son, Darren Sims (IALP 16 graduate) hog farm near Liberty, Illinois. Class members toured the facility to have a personal look at the farm’s daily operations, followed by an evening dinner and discussion sponsored by the Sims family with a presentation by Robert Rhea, a FBFM Association advisor and a 1990 graduate of the IALP.
The following morning started with a presentation by Larry Fischer, retired Vice President of Instruction at John Wood Community College, and a 1986 graduate of the IALP. He discussed techniques for writing, editing and presenting a professional introduction in a business setting. Alison Jefferson, Program Advisor for the leadership foundation, reviewed individual results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and implications for interpersonal interactions. She led the class members in understanding their own personality types and those of others they will work with and lead.
Chet Boruff, CEO of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) and a 1984 graduate of the IALP, provided information on “A Leader’s Approach to Effective Meeting Management.” Then, the Class of 2020 continued discussing personal leadership perspectives based on their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, again led by IALF Program Advisor Alison Jefferson. The first day of the seminar concluded with dinner and a “Fireside Chat with IALF Alumni”, which centered on how participants will build leadership relationships during their time in the program.
On the second day, the Class of 2020 continued discussing personal leadership perspectives based on their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, again led by IALF Program Advisor Alison Jefferson. The class explored more leadership skills and issues. Mike Elbe, President of John Wood Community College, presented “A Leader’s Approach to Effective Time Management”. Then, the Class of 2020 heard from Dr. Rick Ringer, Director of the Organizational Leadership Institute at Illinois State University as he presented on the topic of “Emotional Intelligence and Diversity”.
The final session of the second day was a panel presentation and discussion on “Agriculture and Consumer Issues.” Rodney Weinzierl, Executive Director of the Illinois Corn Marketing and Illinois Corn Growers Boards, presented perspectives on agricultural issues and opportunities that are important to grain producers. Jennifer Tirey, Executive Director of the Illinois Pork Producers, discussed how the animal agriculture industry is working to create more transparency with consumers. Beth Cash, Regional Vice President for the Eurest Heartland Region, a Division of Compass Group PLC, presented the consumers’ perspective on nutrition and food sourcing.
Following the panel, the Class of 2020 continued the conversation about leadership opportunities surrounding the current issues facing agriculture today. This final discussion provided the cohort with the opportunity to synthesize what they learned about their own personal leadership style with the needs presented by agriculture’s consumers.