Saturday, February 28, 2015

YDLI 9 Day 2 Recap: Developing Communication Skills and Learning about Consumer Perceptions

A big part of YDLI Phase 1 is always the communications training session, this year lead by David Pelzer and Michele Ruby from DMI. The group worked on crafting their core stories that communicate the values of why they choose to be a part of the dairy community and what their role is, and then the focus shifted to communicating key messages and handing difficult questions from the public. Several class members were put in the hot seat and took the stage to answer questions from a "reporter" on camera in front of their peers. It is said that the greatest opportunity for personal growth occurs when you step outside your comfort zone, and this was certainly achieved for many on Friday morning!

YDLIers got the morning started by crafting some fun "dairy bumper stickers" using a variety of cards they had to choose from.

Mark Chamberlain, OH, takes the mic to practice telling his story.

Michael Johnson, MN

After lunch, Jamie Vander Molen from DMI presented a session on developing your personal brand and using a variety of social media channels to tell dairy's story to consumers. Participants were able to split into a few breakout sessions to focus more closely on areas they were interested in, including getting started with Facebook, Twitter, blogging and Instagram, how to grow your audience to increase your social media presence and  how to answer difficult questions online.

After the classroom session, YDLIers had a chance to put their newly learned skills to use in the field, doing consumer interviews on the Arizona State University campus. Working in small teams, the group had the chance to have conversations with over 200 people, from students to university professors, learning more about their perceptions about how food is produced in this country, how they believe animals are cared for by farmers, and more. An eye opening experience, it helped to reinforce the importance of having these conversations and really connecting with the public who consumes the food that our industry produces.

The evening closed with dinner and an inspiring keynote presentation by Laura Daniels, whose message revolved around telling your own story from the heart, and how those personal stories are the connection between the dairy community and consumers, and science-based facts should only play a very small role in that story.

Laura Daniels, YDLI Advisory Committee member and keynote speaker

The Holstein Foundation would like to thank the organizations who sponsored today's program:
Check back on our blog daily to keep up with YDLI Class 9's Phase 1 experience, or if you are on Facebook or Twitter, follow along with #ydli9! Learn more about YDLI or sign up to be on the mailing list for YDLI Class 10 applications at the Holstein Foundation web site!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

YDLI 9 Day 1 Recap: Understanding Behavioral Styles and Leadership Inspiration

Phase 1 of YDLI has a strong focus on developing individual leadership skills, and the first day of our Class 9 Phase 1 program reflected that emphasis. The first official session was entitled "Create a Leadership Oasis using Behavioral Styles to Influence Others" lead by Marnie Green of the Management Education Group. All participants had the opportunity to complete a DiSC Workplace Profile assessment; the majority of the workshop was spent covering the different styles and understanding how individual styles impact a person's ability to influence others, and how recognizing the styles of those around you can help you relate and communicate more effectively.

Marnie Green speaks to the class about personality styles during Thursday's opening session.
Michael Goeldi, IA, talks to the class about the defining characteristics of his group's style.

Wayne Worden, NY, shares the results of his group's discussion about what their personality style can contribute, what worries them, how they are commonly misunderstood, and tips for working with people who have that style.

Michael Johnson, MN

Abby Bauer, WI
After lunch, the focus shifted to a broader leadership focus, with Paul Vitale leading a session titled "Legendary Leadership in Action." Key take-home messages from this workshop included the importance of effective listening and connecting with others; developing an attitude for service and becoming an inspiration for others; and eliminating the fear of failure while setting a tone for success, recognizing growth opportunities and becoming more resilient during setbacks.
Paul Vitale speaks to the group during Thursday's session.

Amber Horn- Leiterman, WI, discusses her ideas with a partner during one of the group exercises.

Londa Johnson, MN, plays along with an exercise using a tube of tootpaste to demonstrate the point of how important it is to carefully consider what you say before you speak - once the words are out there, they can't be put back in!
After taking some time to review many of the objectives participants will be expected to complete over the next 12 months during Phase 2, Paul Vitale took the stage again to speak about developing Community Support and Partnerships, skills that will be key during the Phase 2 experience. Some of the main concepts from this portion of the meeting were the importance of properly identifying and researching your target audience, maximizing the tools at your disposal, making the most of your budget, properly positioning yourself against competitors, and sharing your news with the world.

After a long day, the class had a chance to unwind with dinner and a hypnotist show that had everyone laughing in their chairs.

The Holstein Foundation would like to thank the organizations who sponsored today's program:
  • "Create a Leadership Oasis Using Behavioral Styles to Influence Others," by Marnie E. Green, sponsored by CHS Foundation
  • "Legendary Leadership in Action," by Paul Vitale, sponsored by Deere & Company
  • "Community Support & Partnerships," by Paul Vitale, sponsored by Cargill
  • Dinner & Hypnotist Entertainment sponsored by Allflex
Check back on our blog daily to keep up with YDLI Class 9's Phase 1 experience, or if you are on Facebook or Twitter, follow along with #ydli9! Learn more about YDLI or sign up to be on the mailing list for YDLI Class 10 applications at the Holstein Foundation web site!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

YDLI 9 Phase 1 Kicks Off in Phoenix with Pre-Conference Dairy Tours & Welcome Reception

Over 50 young adults from across the U.S. and Canada are in Phoenix, Arizona this week participating in the ninth class of the Holstein Foundation's Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) program.

On Wednesday morning, many class members took advantage of a pre-conference tour option to enjoy seeing two Arizona dairy farms in the Casa Grande area: T & K Red River Dairy and Shamrock Farms.

Red River Dairy was the first stop, where Tom Dugan and family milk over 11,000 Holsteins in two barns, on land that was previously owned by John Wayne. The dairy operation, spread over 550 acres, has many interesting features, including a double-77 parallel parlor, an extensive grain operation, farming 13,000 acres, rolling their own corn on site. The farm has 3,400 calf hutches and at any given time has over 2,200 calves on milk.

A section of the double-77 milking parlor.

Amber Horn-Leiterman visits with owner Tom Dugan walking through the basement section of their parlor.

YDLIers enjoy some Arizona sunshine, a welcome reprieve from the frigid cold many areas of the country are facing this week!

A portion of the youngstock area at Dugan's Red River Dairy

Shamrock Farms was founded in 1922, and today is home to over 9,000 milking cows, which they milk twice a day in two double-50 parlors. The milk from these animals is used to produce a variety of different dairy products, including bottled milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, heavy cream and more, which can be found across the continental United States, including restaurant chains Subway and Arby's. The dairy is comprised of both a conventional and organic operation, and actually had Arizona’s first USDA-certified organic dairy operation, the milk from which is used to provide local stores with bottled organic milk and sour cream. 

Milking parlor at Shamrock Farms
YDLI class members learn more about the Shamrock Farms enterprise.

A good time was had by all on the pre-conference tours!
Wednesday evening the YDLI program officially began with our Welcome Reception. Participants enjoyed a Mexican fiesta-themed dinner and then became further acquainted with each other while learning some tips to help them network more effectively and work any crowd with ease.

YDLI Advisory Committee members Josh Hushon and Brett Barlass led the networking exercise during the Welcome Reception
Brian Coyne fills the group in on the networking strategy he used during the mixer exercise.
Mo Phelon shares her tip for "working a crowd," based on the book by Susan RoAnne that was the basis of the mixer activity.  
The Holstein Foundation would like to give a special thanks to Wednesday's event sponsors:

Check back on our blog daily to keep up with YDLI Class 9's Phase 1 experience, or if you are on Facebook or Twitter, follow along with #ydli9!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gearing up for YDLI Class 9 - "Find Your Leadership Oasis" in Phoenix, AZ!

Holstein Foundation staff is preparing for the kick-off of Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) Class 9, which meets for Phase I February 25–28, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sixty young adults from the United States and Canada will be a part of Class 9 of YDLI, a cornerstone program for the Holstein Foundation.

The three-phase program takes place over 12 months. Phase I includes hands-on workshops to improve attendees' leadership, communication, and advocacy skills. It also offer opportunities for networking and building enthusiasm for the dairy industry.

In Phase II, which takes place in the year between Phase I and III, class members develop and use their new skills in a community outreach project of their choice. Phase III, held February 24-27, 2016, will focus on group leadership skills and topics such as advanced communication training, conflict resolution skills, and influencing public policy. Class members will give presentations on their Phase II projects.

The Holstein Foundation thanks these YDLI Class 9 sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors: Accelerated Genetics, Center for Dairy Excellence, GEA Farm Technologies, Inc., Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association.

Bronze Sponsors: COBA Select Sires, Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement, Horace Backus Fund, Merial Ltd., and Select Sires GenerVations.

Stay tuned here next week for more blog posts live from YDLI Class 9 in Phoenix, AZ!