Keynote speaker Mark Sanborn said leadership  is about discovering potential and possibility.

Hundreds gather to share ideas at new leadership forum

Buckeye Farm News

Mark Sanborn, a nationally recognized speaker and author, kicked off the first-ever Ohio Farm and Food Leadership Forum with a message that resonated with Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission to forge a partnership between farmers and consumers.

The question, Sanborn argued, is not “How do farmers educate consumers.”

“It’s ‘How do we engage them.’” And, as he later cautioned, “There’s no way to trick people into trusting you.”

Likewise, he said, many organizations fall short by simply focusing on achieving their goals.

“A better question is ‘Are we pursuing our potential?’”

Sanborn added that leadership brings out potential that people didn’t know they had.

“It isn’t just about being focused, it’s about creating shared focus,” he said.

Ohio Farm Bureau developed the forum by bringing together more than 20 organizations to help develop leaders within the food and agriculture industry. The event offered sessions in general leadership, board development, technology and current issues and provided numerous opportunities for attendees to network and share ideas.Cutlines and creditPhotos by Galen Harris

Bill Bakan of Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery explored the perception of farmers by stripping away a pair of old work clothes to reveal his suit and tie.  Bakan uses social media to engage consumers about farm life and to promote his business.

County Farm Bureau leaders, from left, Danielle Burch, Annie Auck and Rose Hartschuh learn about program opportunities for the coming year. Melanie Wilt of Wilt PR used this visual to discuss her roles as a professional communicator and her connection to farming.  She encouraged farmers to be authentic when presenting themselves to the public. 







Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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