What will the future workforce look like? How will technology continue to shape our work and leisure time? Will urban agriculture have an impact on meeting food needs in our cities? These are just a few of the issues addressed during the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2012 “Innovation & Change” two-day seminar, sponsored by Farm Credit Services and held in Chicago.
Over a two-year period the IALP class is attending 14 seminars covering current social, political, business and economic issues affecting the agriculture industry. At the “Innovation & Change” seminar, the group saw future computer technology in action at the Microsoft Technology Center. Center Director Adam Hecktman showed a video of Microsoft’s vision of the future and explained that many of the components of that vision are already being realized (see photo).
Speakers included Julie Benesh, Human Resources/Organization/Talent Development Leader, and James Sibley, Senior Organization Development Consultant, both from Rush University Medical Centers, who spoke on “Innovating the Workplace”; Donna Wiencek, President and Founder of Innovative Solutions Research & Consulting Services, who spoke on “Re-engineering a Corporate Culture: The Timing of Effective Change”; Dr. Evelina Tainer-Loesher, Director of Labor Market Information for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, who presented “Re-engineering Illinois’ Workforce”; and Abigayil Joseph, Chief of Staff of the Chicago Board of Education and her assistant, Kara Franz, who spoke about “Innovation in Education.”
Two featured speakers from the Edelman public relations firm world headquarters in Chicago were Travis Kessel, Vice President, Recruitment, who presented “HR Strategies for Embracing Digitally Connected Millennials,” and Christopher Hannegan, Executive Vice President of Employee Engagement, who gave advice on “Planning for and Adapting to Change.”
The seminar addressed urban issues beginning with a presentation by Brandon Johnson, Executive Director, Washington Park Consortium on “Farming in Chicago.” IALP participants toured “The Plant” on the city’s south side – a project combining adaptive industrial reuse and aquaponics to create Chicago’s first vertical farm built from a vacant warehouse in the “Back of the Yards” neighborhood. The seminar concluded in the Bridgeport neighborhood with a lunch and featured speaker Cook County Commissioner John Daley.
“The Innovation and Change Seminar is an important look at the future across a broad spectrum of public and private sector issues,” said Joyce Watson, Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation President. “This seminar gives our participants a chance to meet with innovators and those on the front line of creating change in society.”
The group was addressed by both Gary Ash, CEO of 1st Farm Credit Services and David Owens, CEO, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, who jointly sponsored the seminar.
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation was founded in 1981. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, comprised of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program. Candidates for the leadership program are selected during a competitive application process. Men and women 25 to 49 years of age working full-time in production agriculture or ag-related occupations are encouraged to apply. An on-line application for the Class of 2014 is available at www.agleadership.org.