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.

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