Monday, February 5, 2018

Fifty-One Participants Graduate Young Dairy Leaders Institute Class 10!

Young Dairy Leaders Institute Class 10's Phase 3 training drew to a close on Saturday, rounding out three full days of intensive leadership and communications training.

Saturday morning's session was led by YDLI alumna Bonnie Burr, entitled "Charting Your Course for Resilient Farm Policy." Burr laid the groundwork, providing an overview of how policy is formed and effective strategies for letting your voice be herd, as well as covering the legislative process. Next, the class broke into teams, which each being assigned an actual proposed bill related to agriculture. Their job was to build coalitions within their team and then testify their position at a mock Ag Committee hearing. The teams all had fun taking sides and coming up with some interesting personas, but the point of the exercise was lost on no-one - it is important (and sometimes, very rewarding!) to get involved advocating for agriculture's position and opportunities, and being an active part of our nation's legislative process, whether it is at the local, state or even national level.

Teams work with a little help from Advisory Committee members to understand their assigned bill and craft their position and testimony.

Bonnie Buhr works with a team during her session on policy.

Advisory Committee members Tyler Ribeiro, Matt Nuckols and Seth Johnson were happy to serve as "senators" during the mock Ag Committee hearings.

Class members Ariane France (ON), Regina Grover (MA) and Erin Carter (WI) testify during the mock Ag Committee hearing

Brandon Thesing (MN) makes a strong case during his turn to testify, while classmate Ellie Fleming (WI) looks on.

After lunch, the last of the Phase 2 presentations were given. More outstanding projects were reported on during this session, and here are just a couple of examples: hosting a golf tournament benefiting the Great American Milk Drive; organizing a Dairy Night during a local minor league baseball team's game, and setting up a series of radio interviews with dairy industry professionals and farmers to help educate the general public a little more about exactly what our industry is all about. It was exciting to see the enthusiasm and pride everyone felt in completing their projects, and also to see that many of the projects were repeatable, and will grow and continue on in the future. In total, YDLIers reached several thousand people through the course of their Phase 2 project work, and that number is sure to be amplified as they continue to go out in the world.

To bring the training to an official close, a perennial YDLI favorite speaker - Ty Bennett - came to present his message on the power of influence. With his interesting and inspiring stories, Ty helped the class understand what leadership is all about, and how they can increase their level of influence and engagement with those around them, whether it be consumers we are trying to educate, professional colleagues, or friends and loved ones.

Ty Bennett speaking to the class during their closing session.
All of the great work this class has done over the past 12 months has to be celebrated! After the closing session, the group headed up to Rustler's Rooste and had a chili cook-off overlooking downtown Phoenix, followed by a great barbecue dinner and conversation with their classmates, many of whom are finishing their YDLI experience with many new lasting friendships.
Team "Chili Chili Bang Bang" poses for a quick photo before staring the chili cook-off at Rustler's Rooste! (l-r) Maggie Seiler (WI); Patty Gilbert (NY); Regina Grover (MA); Adam Geiger (OH), Mandy Schmidt (CA) and Holley Weeks (NY)
Photo © Holley Weeks
And the winners are......"Team Fantastic Four"! A portion of the team is pictured here with Donna James, representing the evening's sponsor, Allflex USA: Aaron Harris (PA), Donna James, Michael Azevedo (CA) and Ellie Fleming (WI)
Photo © Amy Yeiser Leslie

YDLI Class 11 applications will be available this summer! To learn more about Young Dairy Leaders Institute, or to add your name (or someone you know) to the list to be notified when applications are available, visit the Holstein Foundation web site.

Congratulations to our YDLI Class 10 Graduates!

  • Carolyn Abbott, NY
  • Michael  Azevedo, CA
  • Tera Baker, MI
  • Alexa Cabral, CA
  • Erin Carter, WI
  • Andrea Dicke, OH
  • Mary Faber, IL
  • Ellie Fleming, WI
  • Kelsey Flowe, NC 
  • Ariane France, ON
  • Lyndsey Frey, PA
  • Adam Geiger, OH
  • Patricia Gilbert, NY
  • Regina Grover, MA
  • Maija  Haggith , WI
  • Courtney Halbach, WI
  • Aaron Harris, PA
  • Amanda Hauck, IA
  • Melanie Herman, FL
  • Heather Hunt, CT
  • Rayne Ives, NY
  • Marco Antonio Juarez, MI
  • Mitch Kappelman, WI
  • Corey Kayhart, NY
  • Brandon Kruswick, WI
  • Jess May , NY
  • Amanda Mitcheltree, NC 
  • Benjamin Newberry, GA
  • Katherine Nissen, WI
  • Michael  Oosten , CA
  • Alena Pacheco, CA
  • Jessica Peters, PA
  • Jacob Pieper, PA
  • David Pyle, MD
  • Nick Randle, NY
  • Lindsey Rucks, FL
  • Mandy Schmidt, CA
  • Ashley Sears Randle, NY
  • Shannon Seifert, MN
  • Maggie  Seiler, WI
  • Pete Serne, MI
  • Rebecca Shaw, PA
  • Daren Sheffield, OH
  • Brandon Thesing, MN
  • Alejandro Torres, MX
  • Amanda Waite, PA
  • Emma Watry, WI
  • Holley Weeks, NY
  • Shawna  Weller, PA
  • Lindsey Woodrum Redish, FL
  • Amy Yeiser Leslie, PA




Saturday, February 3, 2018

YDLI 10, Phase 3 - Day 2: Understanding Opposing Viewpoints and Embracing Your Leadership Journey

There was no time for sleeping in or getting off to a slow start on the second day of Phase 3 training for this YDLI class! The class had the opportunity to participate in discussion with Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary, and organization with the mission statement, " To protect farm animals from cruelty, to inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and to promote compassionate vegan living." Moderated by Dr. Wes Jamison, several class members asked questions about Baur's personal position on a variety of topics, as well as the goals of his organization. It was a lively yet respectful conversation, and the group was able to gain a greater understanding of the core values and areas of concern for those individuals and organizations who are championing the animal rights movement. 


Dr. Wes Jamison & Gene Baur

Aaron Harris (PA) and Melanie Herman (FL) ask questions to Baur during the opening session.

YDLIers discuss how to craft effective messages to connect with consumers. (L-R) Amy Yeiser Leslie (PA); Lindsey Rucks (FL); YDLI Advisory Committee member Jolene Griffin; and Brandon Kruswick (WI)
After lunch, the class shifted gears and the focus was on preparing for the next steps in their leadership journey, which for some may include serving on a local, county, state or national board of directors for an organization that is important them. Pete Kappelman once again took the mic and started by explaining the basic duties and responsibilities involved with serving on a board. Next, the class split into groups and practiced dealing with some real-life scenarios that they might face while serving on a board. The afternoon closed with some more inspiring Phase 2 reports.


Corey Kayhart (NY) reports out for his group during Kappelman's session


Amy Yeiser Leslie (PA) explain her groups' position on the activity during Friday afternoon's session
At dinner that evening, the Holstein Foundation recognized the 2018 YDLI Distinguished Alumni Leader, Nate Janssen from Illinois. Nate was a graduate of YDLI Class 4. One alumni is recognized each year for the who has made noteworthy contributions and applied skills gained during their YDLI experience for the advancement of the dairy industry. 


2018 YDLI Distinguished Alumni Leader award recipient Nate Janssen with Holstein Foundation chairman Pete Kappelman and Holstein Foundation Administration/Holstein Association USA CEO John M. Meyer
Also honored at the Friday night dinner was Matt Nuckols, YDLI Advisory Committee member from Virginia. Matt was a member of YDLI Class 7 and has severed on the advisory committee for the past three classes. His leadership on the committee will be dearly missed!


Outgoing YDLI Advisory Committee member Matt Nuckols shares some parting words with the group.
Saturday is the final day of Phase 3 training, and will focus on empowering YDLIers to affect public policy and increase their own personal influence, capping off with YDLI Class 10's graduation and a final celebration.

Learn more about Young Dairy Leaders Institute or add your name to the list to be notified when Class 11 applications become available at the Holstein Foundation web site!

Friday, February 2, 2018

YDLI Class 10 Kicks off Phase 3 in Phoenix!

Over 50 YDLI Class 10 members are back in Phoenix this week for Phase 3 of their Young Dairy Leaders Institute training. Over the past 12 months, participants have been working on a variety of projects back in their home communities, and now they are back together in Phoenix to complete their YDLI training.

Several YDLIers came in a little early to enjoy a pre-conference tour on Wednesday. The group spent a beautiful day touring around the Apache Trail and exploring a small piece of the Sonoran Desert. The tour included stops at a few historic mining towns, as well as a beautiful cruise around Canyon Lake. 






The program officially kicked off on Wednesday evening with a poolside Welcome Reception. The group enjoyed some delicious local cuisine with plenty of time to re-connect with their classmates and catch up on what everyone has been up to for the past year. YDLI Advisory Committee member Laura Daniels capped off the reception with a few activities to help get everyone "remember their why," and get in the right frame of mind for the training sessions starting the next morning. 

Holstein Foundation Programs Manager Jodi Hoynoski welcomes the group back to Phoenix

Laura Daniels catches up with some of the class members during the welcome reception

"Leading Out Loud" was the first classroom session held on Thursday morning, led by Joan Horbiak, a seasoned media communications advisor with over three decades of experience. The focus of her session was building on the skills the class learned during Phase 1, and helping them put more advanced techniques into practice, preparing to respond to the difficult questions sometimes posed by consumers and media. Horbiak shared several strategies to help class members navigate interviews with confidence and tell dairy's story proudly and with ease, regardless of the situation - followed up by some on-camera practice!

Courtney Halbach (WI) takes the stage

Brandon Thesing (MN) navigates Horbiak's tough questions


One of the most fun things about Phase 3 is hearing all of the exciting and positive things that YDLI participants worked on back in their home communities over the past 12 months. Every class member shares a five-minute summary of their Phase 2 experience during sessions spread out across this week's agenda. YDLIers have completed a variety of assignments, including making contacts with local government officials and media outlets, making a presentation to a community organization, and completing a personal advocacy project. Every class member had an interesting story to tell, and projects covered a variety of areas and activities, from organizing "refuel with milk" stations at athletic events, to creating "cow pen pal" programs for elementary school groups, to spreading a positive dairy message through social media and blogging - and more!

Alexa Cabral (CA) presents on her Phase 2 activities



Next, Wes Jamison led his first session for the group, called "Navigating the Shoals of Professional Conflict." The focus of his workshop this afternoon was building teams and creating effective environments for them to work in. The group also discussed different types and sources of conflict that can occur in professional work environments and how people can work together to come up with positive resolutions. 

To round out a full day, Pete Kappelman, Chairman of the Land O'Lakes board of directors, YDLI alum and current member of the Holstein Foundation board of trustees, provide a keynote after dinner titled "The Dreamers, Doers, And You". Kappelman covered some key fundamental principles of leadership, rooted in the "three P's" - purpose, passion and preparedness. He shared with the class stories from the path he has taken through his life and provided a healthy dose of inspiration to every person in the room to go out, pick a goal and try to make a difference.

Young Dairy Leaders Institute would not be possible without the support of many generous sponsors - thank you to all who are helping develop future leaders for a vibrant dairy community!

YDLI Class 10 Platinum Sponsors


YDLI Class 10 Gold Sponsors

YDLI Class 10 Silver Sponsors: Dairy Management Inc. and Farm Credit Northeast Ag Enhancement

YDLI Class 10 Bronze Sponsors: Ag Inspirations, LLC; COBA/Select Sires; GEA Farm Technologies, Inc.; Merial, Ltd.; and Paul Mueller Company

Stay tuned over the next few days for more Young Dairy Leaders Institute news! Learn more about Young Dairy Leaders Institute or add your name to the list to be notified when Class 10 applications become available at the Holstein Foundation web site.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

YDLI 10 - Phase 1, Day 4: Focus on Communication and Planning for Phase 2!

The final day of YDLI 10 Phase 1 training wrapped up on Saturday in Phoenix. The opening speaker, Mark Mayfield, got the day started on a high note with "Momma Told Me There'd Be Days Like This - Finding Stability in Stressful Times". Mayfield got the group laughing with his humorous stories, while several great tips to help address and manage stress in our everyday lives.

Mark Mayfield
Next, YDLI alum Michele Ruby took the stage to lead a workshop called "You've Got a Story Worth Telling," where the focus was on helping everyone develop their "core story" - the "why" of what we do. Whether having a conversation with a consumer in the dairy aisle of the grocery story, via a media interview or a presentation to a community organization, leading with your core story can help dairy producers connect with the general public in a meaningful and memorable way.

Michele Ruby & Adam Geiger

Michelle Craig tells the class her core story.
 After lunch, the group received some solid training on developing impactful presentations, lead by Laura Daniels and Kim Bremmer. The duo walked the group through the different learning styles people have, and how elements of each can be incorporated into a presentation to ensure that a speaker can connect with every member of an audience in a way that works for them. Participants learned the basic components of assembling a presentation, and worked on an outline for the community presentation that they will make as a part of their Phase 2 assignments.

Laura Daniels listens to ideas from Aaron Harris and Maija Haggith

YDLI Advisory Committee member Jessica Getty listens to her group during the presentation workshop.
Finally, the group re-organized into their peer groups and got down to business discussing ideas for their Phase 2 community projects. The room was full of energy and enthusiasm, and lots of great (and big!) ideas - we can't wait to see what this class accomplishes over the next 12 months!

Holstein Association USA CEO John M. Meyer speaks with one of the tables at YDLI.

YDLI 10 Class Picture
 The evening wrapped up with a closing banquet, and Mark Mayfield joined the group again for some final laughs.

The Holstein Foundation would like to recognize and thank the sponsors of Saturday's programs - John Deere; Dairy Management, Inc.; Land O'Lakes, Inc.; and Allflex USA.

To learn more about the YDLI program, visit the Holstein Foundation web site.

Friday, February 10, 2017

YDLI 10 - Phase 1, Day 3: Core Leadership, Product Innovation and Getting to Know Consumers

Paul Vitale took the floor again on Friday morning for his workshop - "Inspired Teamwork & Leadership." Paul walked class members through some of the key leadership essentials that are fundamentals of self-awareness and personal development, the foundation of being able to successfully lead a team. Participants were encouraged to establish a clear course of action, unite a common bond, be resilient through all of life's challenges, and develop a keen sense of ownership in the organization process. With his upbeat, positive attitude and high energy, Paul got the morning off to a great start!

Paul Vitale set the tone for the day with his high energy opening session.

Maggie Seiler volunteers for one of the exercises in the morning workshop.
 The next session was "Reinventing the Meal: Innovation 101" lead by Anders Porter, Vice President of Communications for fairlife. Porter discussed the story behind Fair Oaks Farm and the development of fairlife milk and other associated products. He also challenged the group to think about hot button items that are top-of-milk for many of today's consumers - traditional things like taste and price, along with health and wellness, food safety, and social values such as animal treatment - and think about how the products we sell today do to address the concerns around those items. The session wrapped with each table brainstorming ideas for everyday products that needed innovation, and then everyone shared what they came up with. We won't reveal any of the million dollar ideas here - but there were some good ones!

Anders Porter, VP of Communications for fairlife

Courtney Halbach shares her group's idea for a new innovation on an existing product.

 After lunch, the focus on connecting with consumers continued. Advisory committee member Jolene Griffin lead a crash course in "listening to our consumers", as well as helping the class identify techniques for addressing difficult questions and concerns that the public has about the way modern dairy products are produced, as well as their nutritional content. With that primer under their belts, the class took to the streets and ventured over to the Arizona State University campus where they had time to visit with a variety of students, professors, and other members of the consuming public to hear their opinions and perceptions of modern dairy production and products. The class reconvened to share their big takeaways learned, and this exercise will continue as a part of their Phase 2 experience.

YDLIers visit with students on the ASU campus.

Following dinner, the Holstein Foundation honored Melissa Greenbacker Dziurgot, a dairy producer from Durham, Conn., and YDLI Class 3 alum, as the 2017 YDLI Distinguished Alumni Leader Award recipient.

John M. Meyer, Holstein Association USA CEO and Holstein Foundation Administrator; Melissa Greenbacker Dziurgot 2017 YDLI DAL honoree; and Jodi Hoynoski, Holstein Foundation Programs Manager
 Laura Daniels closed with evening with an inspirational keynote on the importance of connecting with people who eat, encouraging the class to find common ground with members of their community and share their core values about why they are involved in the dairy industry and so passionate about producing a nutritious, quality product to feed the world.

Laura Daniels challenges the group to make that personal connection with consumers.
Special thanks to the sponsors of today's sessions and evening keynote: Cargill and Dean Foods Foundation.

Phase 1 continues tomorrow through Saturday evening - follow along with our blog each day for more highlights from YDLI! To learn more about the program, visit the Holstein Foundation web site.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

YDLI 10 - Phase 1, Day 2: Gaining Great Insight Into Ourselves and How to Work More Effectively with Others

YDLI Class 10 had the first of three full days of training sessions this morning. After a brief welcome and a few words of inspiration from the YDLI Advisory Committee, Jill Tomac took the floor to lead a couple of different sessions for the group.

The first workshop was titled "Breaking Through Performance Barriers" and focused on helping everyone understand their own personal motivations and how they see the world, and understanding how that "life orientation" might differ from their colleagues and family members. All participants took an assessment prior to arriving in Phoenix, and those results were reviewed, providing insight into personal tendencies under normal everyday circumstances, and also when under stress.

Jill Tomac speaks with class members during her session, "Breaking Through Performance Barriers"

Rebecca Shaw presents her groups key discussion points.

Aaron Harris describes the strengths and weaknesses his group came up with, related to their personality tendencies.




Mitch Kappelman presents on behalf of his working group.
 After lunch, where everyone got to sit with and get to know the members of their YDLI Peer Groups, the class re-convened for the afternoon session, "Communicate to Influence and Impact." Tomac built on many of the principles learned during the morning session, and helped participants understand essential behaviors to help them build trust and enhance the performance of those around them. Finally, the group learned tips to help navigate difficult conversations and improve interactions with their colleagues and peers.

Holstein Foundation programs manager Jodi Hoynoski spent some time at the end of the day reviewing YDLI Phase 2 expectations, covering the various assignments the class will complete over the next twelve months.

After dinner, Paul Vitale delivered a keynote talk - "It's Your Life - Dominate It." With a series of candid stories and examples, Paul encouraged YDLIers to challenge themselves to make the most of each moment they are given, and provided inspiration to strive for excellence in their day to day work and interactions. Paul will take the stage again on Friday morning for a workshop on teamwork and leadership.

Thanks to the sponsors of today's workshops and keynote: Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation and CHS Foundation.

Phase 1 continues tomorrow through Saturday evening - follow along with our blog each day for more highlights from YDLI! To learn more about the program, visit the Holstein Foundation web site.