By Melinda Lee, AgriPOWER Class IX participant

The second week of July started Session 1 of AgriPOWER Class IX. This was an exciting session because we met the other participants with which we will go on this journey and become better leaders in agriculture. Session 1 started with getting to know our classmates. From this, I learned that we are all very different, but we all have one important thing in common: our passion for agriculture.

Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau, and Keith Stimpert, vice president of organization, kicked off the day by welcoming us to the program. A highlight from the first day was touring Nationwide learning about the Farm Bureau and Nationwide heritage. Farm Bureau created Nationwide Insurance as a benefit to farmer members and since then it has expanded to meet more needs.

Next, Lindsay Calvert, director of leadership development with American Farm Bureau, joined us in Columbus to conduct a workshop on Strengths Finder, Emotional Intelligence and Myers Briggs. She discussed with us the results of tests we had completed prior to starting Session 1. We learned about our signature themes and dove deeper into those themes to gain a greater understanding of our individual talents. We also learned about our personality types through the Myers Briggs personality indicator. Each personality type is different and Lindsay guided us in developing a better understanding of how we approach certain situations.

To wrap up day one, we had an etiquette dinner with Katy Endsley where she provided us with handy tips to remember while dinning with peers and colleagues.

Marlene Eick of Herdmark Media joined us on the second day and discussed defining leadership, as well as gave us public speaking tips. During Session 2, we will practice what we learned from Marlene by giving 2-3 minute remarks on a topic we choose. Finally, Chris Baker with the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation joined us and talked about the importance of philanthropy.

I am excited to take back the information learned at this first session and apply it to my personal and professional life. All of us are participating in this leadership program as an investment in ourselves and it is exciting to know that we are gaining knowledge to apply to our everyday lives, especially while sharing our passion for agriculture.   

Session 1 blogs

Eric Reed is excited about implementing the “Building Strong Communities” project.

JD Bethel talks about the strong partnership between Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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