Agriculturists at heart — AgriPOWER Session 1 blog

by Linda Ayres-Louiso, AgriPOWER Class VIII participant

Session 1 of the AgriPOWER Institute Class VIII began on 7-22-16. This was an awesome experience for me. When I first signed up for AgriPOWER, I knew the program had something to do with expanding our leadership skills, but that was all I knew. I was a little hesitate at first, but the meeting quickly got underway so there was no time to fret. The first item on the agenda was an introduction of the out-going Executive Vice President, Mr. Jack Fisher as well as the incoming Executive Vice President, Mr. Adam Sharp. Then it was time to get to know each other through three minute presentations on our background, family, and interests. It was exciting to see such a diverse group of people who shared my passion for agriculture. Regardless of age, location, or background it became clear that we were all agriculturalists at heart. Networking with all the class members became my favorite part of the session. I felt a sense of comfort knowing that this group of capable, caring individuals will become the leaders of tomorrow.  

We were then given an overview of the OFBF departments, leaders, and a tour of the Nationwide building. After a long, jam-packed day, it was time for an elegant dinner accompanied by business etiquette training. Katy Endsley did an admirable job in teaching us formal dining manners as well as the proper way to facilitate introductions. 

Day 2 of this session was just as eventful. We had training by John Torres on our personality styles, strengths, and emotional intelligence. I learned that the personality you are born with is the personality that you will always have. One can be taught knowledge and skills, but natural inclinations will never change. Towards the end of the session, we had to give a speech that we had prepared. The tips Mr. Torres gave for public speaking made this assignment less intimidating than usual.

By the end of the session I had made new friends, obtained a greater understanding of my personality style, and most importantly, felt a burning desire to become a better leader in my home community. Melinda Whitten did an excellent job of keeping us on track and accommodating our needs. I look forward to what she has planned for us in the upcoming sessions.

Read more from other AgriPOWER Class VIII participants:

Session 1 blogs

Jan Shannon talked about how AgriPOWER participants come from diverse backgrounds but share a passion for agriculture.

Nathan Vandenbroek shared how participants discovered what drives their strengths and how to mange their weaknesses.


Linda Louiso of West Union is participating in AgriPOWER Class VIII. She supervises the single family housing loan division in Hillsboro and is involved with the family’s grain and registered Angus cattle operation.

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