Members of the class came from all over Ohio for their first session July 18. After brief introductory comments from state Farm Bureau staff, the class members introduced themselves to each other via PowerPoint and Prezi presentations. Pictures and publicity photos followed.
Over lunch, members of the class received introductory remarks from Nationwide and the various departments of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. And, then we got down to finding our strengths as individuals and leaders with John Torres from the American Farm Bureau Federation. Some of us found the results to be eerily accurate! I really learned a lot about myself. I was particularly interested in the concept of focusing on one’s strengths and not the weaknesses. I think this will help me both as a leader and a mother. Why focus on improving weaknesses that will always be weaknesses when our potentials can best be met in focusing on our strengths?
The first evening we enjoyed a formal dinner and etiquette training with Katy Endsley. I am sure we all learned many interesting tips that will help us fine tune our fine dining habits in the future. I personally found the custom of breaking off only the amount of bread intended to eat to butter to be very interesting. We all learned tips that will help us at future dinner events.
After dinner, we adjourned to the suite where we continued to build friendships and learn about each other as classmates. We all spent time getting to know our fellow classmates. Quite a few of us also took this opportunity to call home to check on families and farming operations.
The next morning we were up and back in session before 8. John Torres continued with a personality workshop. It was fascinating to see how the results measured up to what we already knew about our classmates. Knowing the personality traits of our class members is helping us to understand how to best communicate with each other. Going forward, this will also help us in our daily lives as we return to our jobs and families. Now, I find myself analyzing my daughters, trying to figure out how to best interact with them.
We then adjourned for a tour of the North Market. Our hosts were Davis family members from the Blues Creek Meat Farm near Marysville, Ohio. They discussed their niche in agriculture and how they have tailored their business toward meeting the demands and needs of their customers. I farm near this business, and I hope to begin to market meat through them in the future! What a great opportunity to network with a neighbor! After our brief tour, we were dismissed for lunch on our own and to return to our homes.
I personally am looking forward to future sessions! I am very excited to continue to build my leadership skills and friendships in agriculture. I am very grateful for this opportunity.