2020 JCEP Extension Leadership Conference Scholarship Recipient Reflections

Amy Bartels, Missouri 
Attending the JCEP leadership conference in San Antonio this year was an amazing experience, a place to grow and connect with other Extension professionals across the country.  I believe the biggest impact for me personally was Dr. William Hoffman’s update from NIFA. Gaining a better understanding of how we operate under the USDA and federal guidelines will help me tell our story.  Sometimes I get frustrated with the identity of working for Extension because there is a disconnect between those in the field and those on campus.  However, conferences like JCEP help me realize that we are actually much larger than our individual universities.  As cooperative extension, we are directly serving the citizens of this country with relevant, reliable information to improve their lives. 

I enjoyed Joy Hazel’s keynote address.  She talked about what makes an effective leader and I added my own thoughts to that list.  Trustworthy (and trusts in those they lead), Listener (rather than always being the speaker), Engaged (the agenda should be multidirectional), Empathetic (not sympathetic), Motivating (positive reinforcement), Supportive (and encouraging new ideas).

I attended several interesting and informative breakouts as well.  Of course, Workplace Communication and our own Roxie Price.  I loved hearing about learning styles, the different methods of communication, and the importance of tone in how you get your message across. I also attended Cultivating a Resilient Workplace Culture.  Andrea Schmutz captured my attention in the way that she told her story of experiencing a flood.  She recognized that she experienced trauma despite her children feeling resilient.  We talked about workplace culture and how we care for it and help it to grow. As an experiential learner, I appreciated the hands on activities (the dice and the you tube video) to enhance the process.  The breakout Understanding and Maximizing Productivity was impactful as well.  The mistaken goals worksheet helped to breakdown a person’s coded message and shows how we can look for the feelings behind the actions.  This information was presented by Jennifer Argyros and Debbie Curley using various hats.  We then had opportunity to work through a scenario in a smaller group.  I felt this was a useful tool to take back to my state. 

I was impressed at the breakouts overall in that the common theme seemed to be driven by emotional intelligence and mindfulness.  These FCS topics are quite familiar to us, but to have them talked about by folks in Ag, or business means that the work we are doing across sectors in family consumer science is making a difference. 

Barbara Berry, Tennessee
Thank you for the privilege of receiving the 2020 JCEP ELC Scholarship. I am the FCS Agent as well as County Director for the University of Tennessee Extension in Gibson County.  The knowledge and experience gained by attending the JCEP Conference will be used to strengthen my leadership skills and work more effectively with staff and stakeholders. 

The concurrent sessions that I attended; Work Place Communication; Cultivating a Resilient Workplace Culture; Civility-What the World Needs Now; Taking a Mindful Approach to Leadership; and Visionary Leadership, are essential tools needed to provide effective leadership for the total Gibson County Extension program.

Information will be used to develop and nurture community partnerships and collaborations. Information gained will also enhance the coaching of staff and volunteers to ensure Extension programs that are diverse, impactful, and engages clients throughout the county.

Kathy Brandt, Minnesota
Attending the 2020 JCEP Extension Leadership Conference was a valuable and rewarding experience. The 2-day conference was packed with opportunities to listen, engage, learn, share and network with Extension colleagues from across the nation. The keynote speaker provided a snapshot of collaborative leadership, gave examples of how we might work through ‘wicked’ problems and conflict, and the necessary conditions needed to move through conflict to find mutually agreeable solutions. Concurrent sessions were helpful in sharing new ideas, different approaches and reminders of prior learning. I found the Capnote Speaker, Dr. Scott Reed, very insightful as he talked about disruptive innovation, the mega forces impacting our lives and the actions Extension needs to embrace to be relevant in our changing world.

Our time in NEAFCS meetings was productive and a highlight because of connecting with other FCS professionals who love what they do! Brainstorming in small groups on the topic of innovating related to being a viable organization, maintaining and attracting new members, better communication and opportunities for increased engagement, was a thought provoking exercise.

Thank you NEAFCS for providing scholarships to help defray the cost of the conference registration. It is greatly appreciated.

Debbie Curley, Arizona
The JCEP conference was an excellent opportunity to connect with Extension colleagues from the wide variety of program goals and objectives. I particularly appreciated the presentation on innovation. I was energized by efforts across association lines to continually evolve. The strong qualifications of Extension staff with the nimble ability to adapt to community needs and reach remote communities is unrivaled. It also often feels like a well kept secret. These efforts to innovate and unify our message are just what we need. With some nationwide common measures and fine tuning, Extension can be a force of community empowerment.

Jami Dellifield, Ohio
Attending the Extension Leadership Conference was uplifting and empowering.  To have the opportunity to collaborate with other NEAFCS and Extension leaders eas wonderful.  The presenters  helped to bring focus and insight to the work that Ohio is doing and also gave me much to think about in helping our Extension professionals to continue to grow.

Thank you to NEAFCS for the scholarship to assist with the travel and for the wonderful sessions spent together with other NEAFCS members.  As a second career FCS Educator, events like these remind me how blessed I am to be part of the Extension community.

 Lynn DeVries, Nebraska 
The most valuable time for me was the networking among other educators like myself. This conference was the perfect opportunity to take a time out from my work, and press pause - for renewal and rejuvenation in my work. I gained many new ideas to take home to Nebraska and share with my affiliate. The sessions offered many creative and innovative ideas for me to apply in my work as well. I am a student of mindfulness in my work with early care and education settings. The presentations on mindful self-care and mindful leadership really spoke to me as an educator, to not forget to take care of myself as well. In other words, practice what I teach! I also will be using some of the information and strategies learned in the Humor in Leadership session as I work to plan our NCEA fall conference with colleagues in Nebraska. I valued the NIFA presentation in our closing session as I am now better able to see the bigger picture of our land grant universities and the foundations upon which we continue the mission of extension. Finally, I appreciated the 2 afternoons of strategic planning with the FCS section members. I traveled alone to San Antonio, but as soon as I entered the hotel, I reunited with FCS section members that I have grown to know over the past 3 years attending our National Sessions. As a member new to extension in the last 3 years, this organization has been so very welcoming and encouraging to me in my professional development goals. The information on Robert’s Rules was so helpful to me. As Roxie said, we often do what we have been modeled to do in parliamentary procedures. I found several hints in this presentation that will help me to mainstream our local meetings back home.

Liz Espie, Texas
Attending JCEP Extension Leadership Conference for the first time was a priceless experience, and I am so thankful that NEAFCS helped make this trip possible. The conference left me excited about the ways Extension care grow can continue to positively impact the lives of those we serve.  Joy Hazell’s keynote address focused on the importance of collaboration and the quote “seek first to understand, then to be understood” will know guide my leadership style. The breakout sessions were filled with useful, practical information that will shape my future programming. I particularly enjoyed the session Using Humor and Laughter to Decrease Stress and Increase Productivity, I often forget to distress and the reminder that is okay and beneficial to laugh was needed.

Most importantly, this conference allowed me to connect and brainstorm with fellow agents across the country. Hearing about their programs, successes, challenges and making those connections is something I look forward to doing more of as President-Elect of TEAFCS.

Carla Farrand, Colorado
The JCEP ELC was an eye opening event with tools that I could bring back to share with my county, but more specifically my state association.  One of the sessions that I learned the most in that I am bringing back to Colorado To share was the Scenarios Planning: Defining a Vision for the Future.  During this workshop, I made contacts with specialist across the country that I have communicated with since returning home from JCEP ELC.  I will use the activities in this workshop to create a scenario planning exercise for FCS agents and specialist to look at the good, neutral and bad aspects of our programming across the state.  From this we can build a plan that will help us grow our education and hopefully our association.

One of the other aspects that I enjoyed was hearing from Dr. Scott Reed and how we work best when we are off balance.  At this time with Colorado dealing with COVID-19 and the restrictions on programming, we as an office and state are looking at new ways to deliver programs, host meetings and create a new way of interaction for our Extension Office. Through this change we now have 2 online options for meetings and workshops, we are looking at how do we create video education that can be uploaded to our website, Facebook, or YouTube.

This is an exciting time in Extension as we work off balance to provide for the communities in which we serve.  Thank you for the opportunity to go to JCEP ELC to learn and grow to share with my staff and my colleagues.

Karen Fifield, Michigan
I have worked for Extension for several years and I felt this conference was a great professional development format. It was enlightening to share local experiences with other states and realizing that we all encounter the same issues. I appreciated sessions that provided knowledgeable presenters addressing conflict in the workplace, how to manage time effectively and discover ways to work through issues. I brought many new leadership skills back to my state to share with other FCS colleagues and NEAFCS members. The networking that happens at this conference was amazing. I met and shared experiences with people that were strangers in the same organization, and we are now friends that keep in contact. I feel this conference provided tools to help see the motivation behind some behaviors that may be exhibited in the workplace and then how to handle those behaviors as co-workers, and supervisors. This conference empowered me to take a more active role in NEAFCS. I would recommend this conference to anyone.

Rebecca Gartner, Virginia
Even though the JCEP Leadership Conference was just 2 days long, it was jam packed with wonderful professional development opportunities.  I attended the concurrent sessions on how to prevent burnout and time management.  These are areas that all Extension agents struggle with.  I learned a few new “tricks” to help me both personally and professionally. The time spent in the NEAFCS meetings was very beneficial.  I enjoyed working in small groups to brainstorm ways to improve the association and our leadership skills.  I found the information presented throughout the conference, placed an importance on how Extension needs to continue to change to meet the needs in our communities so that we can secure its future.  This has been a topic of discussion in Virginia and I plan to share the information I learned with my fellow Extension agents and VAEFCS members.  

Susan Glassman, Illinois
Attending the 2020 Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) leadership conference in San Antonio TX was a great experience. The speakers were very engaging, and I enjoyed the opportunity for networking with other Extension professionals.

It was exciting to dive into the sessions, the variety of different perspectives of leadership; from diffusing conflict to taking a mindful approach provided just the right amount of resources to sharpen my skills. And, our association meetings offered a new awareness of National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) and how we work together to generate a national impact. My favorite part of our NEAFCS meetings was covering parliamentary procedures to better conduct meetings. I look forward to my time as president-elect and president of Illinois Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (IEAFCS).

Melissa Goodman, Kentucky
The JCEP Extension Leadership Conference was a wonderful learning experience. I spoke with many individuals within different program areas and career experiences who gained valuable knowledge while networking throughout the conference. Scott Reed was inspirational as he challenged us to consider the mega forces that influence the present and future of Cooperative Extension throughout the nation.  We were challenged to consider the responsiveness of Extension and to create a nimble culture in regards to program execution. I was grateful to visit and be with our national Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) family. The NEAFCS sessions allowed for membership leadership to brainstorm and contribute to our association's growth and innovation. As a mid-career professional, the content and camaraderie were invigorating to the mind and soul.  I am excited to share the resources and knowledge gained with my colleagues within Kentucky Extension. This opportunity expanded our collective leadership toolbox to communicate the impact of our work and build strong families and communities.  Thank you for providing financial support for me to attend this leadership conference.

Rick Griffiths, New Mexico
Attending the JCEP conference provided me with a unique opportunity to network with extension leaders, develop a better understanding of how NEAFCS Functions, and explore new ways of thinking about extension programming. Personally, I found the most valuable part of attending the JCEP conference would be able to network with affiliate leaders from around the country and to be able to gain insight into the successes they have had. Additionally, attending the association sections of JCEP gave me a greater understanding of how the association makes decisions and functions at a national level. Finally, the conference’s emphasis on innovation and failing fast provided inspiration for me think outside the box as a leader and professional and try new ideas as I move forward as an extension professional.

Teresa Hatfield, Kansas
Thank you for providing the scholarship for the JCEP conference. I found the conference to be very worthwhile. I appreciated the opportunity to network with other extension professionals. It is interesting how different and yet the same we are. Below is my paragraph for the scholarship.

This was my first time attending the JCEP Leadership Conference. I very much enjoyed the time I got to spend with other extension professionals. The networking allowed me to see how each state has similar but different in which we are structured. We can definitely learn from each other on how to improve what we do in our home states. I work mainly with older adults in my position. I talked with a 4-H agent and found new ideas on how I can collaborate with 4-H to provide information on technology to seniors (which I am very excited about). The breakout sessions were informative and varied and provided great information. I also enjoyed the professional association meetings, and the review of Robert’s Rules of Order. Thank you for the opportunity.

Shauna Henley, Maryland
When I first started my career in Extension, I did not imagine that overtime I would find myself  in a professional leadership position. My leadership experience is limited, so I was ready to attend JCEP for my first time. Dr. Hazell’s conference opening encouraged each table to define an “Extension Leader.” The table I was at defined an Extension leader as “balanced and supportive.” Our definition cut through the various sessions I attended, ranging from humor to creating an effective meeting agenda. Back in Maryland, my goal is to keep in mind the balanced and supportive definition, and apply and share the leadership tools I learned from JCEP with my peers and community stakeholders. Thank you NEAFCS to support the next generation of leaders. 

Terri James, Arkansas
What do you get when you combine  the Joint Council of Extension Professional Organizations together to plan a conference for future leaders?  You get a FABULOUS Extension Leadership Conference that is packed with wonderful speakers, attendees from across the United States and opportunities to learn and share information.  The 2020 PILD- ELC was just that.  The planners coordinated a lot of valuable and usable material and experiences into a very tight schedule, that was reasonably priced and beneficial for all of the attendees.  I would encourage all associations if they can to send more representatives to the conference.  The attendees can then divide and conquer more sessions and gather more information for themselves and their organizations.  

Thank you NEAFCS for your scholarship that helped to defray the cost of my registration.  I will share my information with my chapter and encourage more to come to the 2021 Conference planned for KC, MO and the opportunity to see the new location for NIFA.

Cindy Klapperich, North Dakota
My experience at JCEP ELC was fantastic!  I came back with SO MANY ideas and resources, AND renewed enthusiasm!

The breakout sessions were thought-provoking and rich with activities and resources that will easily transfer into the teaching and educational programming that I do.  The opportunity to meet colleagues from other states was wonderful, and I was able to connect and commit to keeping in touch and moving forward with some collaborative work with some of them.  This was especially true with two people from outside of my state.  I had never met either of them before, but we share an interest in and passion for education around mental wellness and will be working collaboratively on a mental wellness initiative.  The meetings within NEAFCS created a new awareness in me of the purpose and scope of our organization, the challenges it faces, and the resourcefulness of its members in finding solutions and looking into the future with hopefulness and confidence.  The Yapp app we used was super helpful, intuitive and easy to use.  I especially appreciate all the session details it has, and the listing of names and email addresses of attendees.  That will be super helpful for getting and staying in touch with the people I met during the conference.  Thank you for the opportunity to attend and participate!  I would definitely like to attend again in the future!

Bertina McGhee, Louisiana
My JCEP experience was educational, inspirational, thought provoking and motivational! This experience provided me with the opportunity to network with colleagues from many states from across the USA. It was surprising to learn that many of us share some of the same challenges and successes in leadership and programming. The general session speakers were very encouraging as they outlined a positive outlook for the future of Extension. No matter what you do in Extension, leadership development is critically important. Extension is relevant now and into future. Extension is progressive, innovative and leaders in the digital age of technology and research. As Extension leaders, we must connect human health with food systems and agriculture. Implementing technology and digital tools in Extension is necessary and critical in order to reach everyone. Extension must be available on social media and utilize every available resource and opportunity to share information. Examine the way Extension is doing things, why are we doing this? Why is it being done this way? Cannot rely on the same business model for doing things in Extension. The breakout sessions provided and awesome and powerful learning opportunity on many topics including tools for communication, collaboration, diffusing conflict, diversity,  time management, managing stress, and many other topics. The Association meetings were also productivity. The NEAFCS meeting provided an opportunity to learn and exercise the Robert’s Rule of Order. In addition, association members made suggestions to increase membership and promote the association. Again, it was surprising to learn the association around the USA is experiencing some of the same challenges. Overall the JCEP conference was very beneficial and I will encourage others to attend and I look forward to attending in the future.

Mitzi L. Parker, Georgia
Thank you to NEAFCS for the opportunity to attend the 2020 JCEP Leadership Conference in San Antonio, TX.  I am currently serving as the President-Elect and Treasurer for GEAFCS.  The JCEP Leadership Conference was an amazing opportunity to expand my horizons beyond FACS….it allowed me to meet and network with leaders from the other Extension Professional Organizations.  I built relationships that will open the doors to new programming opportunities and help me grow as an Extension professional.  I left the conference energized and recharged!  I highly recommend the JCEP Leadership Conference for all Extension professionals.

Pamela Redwine, Mississippi
This was my second year to attend the JCEP Extension Leadership Conference in San Antonio, TX.  Last year I came as President Elect for the Mississippi Affiliate of NEAFCS and this year I am President.  I really feel like I got more out of the conference this year because I was better prepared and knew what to  expect.  I enjoyed the networking with Extension agents from all over the United States and learning about things that they have going on.  I enjoyed hearing from speakers such as Jeff Hyde from Texas as he reminded us we are never Not a representative of our brand.  And that we can’t reach people without effectively using social media.  And that we need to challenge ourselves with what we are doing and what we do best on concentrate on that.  If we don’t we might be facing extinction. 

The quality of the concurrent sessions were excellent.  In the Time Management Session I learned that I can not let perfection get in the way of process and sometimes you just have to do it the best way you can to gain confidence.  And start with the big things that you want to procrastinate about and go ahead and get it out of the way.   In Comfort is the Enemy of progress session – I learned that if we are given to much comfort we won’t grow and change.  So it is very important for us to go beyond our boundaries.  That we need to branch out socially and professionally.  The saying “life begins at the end of Your comfort zone” really hit me.  This speaker was really good and motivational as she had started working on her law degree at age 41!  Lastly she said if we resist change, It will happen around us and we will get left out.  An OHIO FCS team did a great job presenting a session on What is your superpower?  They helped us think about what in our job drains us (which is our krypotonite) and what in our job “makes our Heart sing”.  They encouraged us to practice self care strategies and to set personal boundaries and stick with them. 

I really enjoyed Dr. Scott Reed from Oregon State University who spoke on Legacy and Future Disruptive Innovative Wins.  He talked about infusing younger people into workplaces that are populated with older work population to help generate new ideas. How our audience is outsmarting us because they are sophisticated and can google any answer they need to know.  So what will keep them coming back to us?  (local presence, associated trust etc).  He discussed Precision Learning analytics and customer relationship management skills to help us realize what previous knowledge program participants have before the workshop.  Not doing strategic planning any more because plans are really only good for 3-6 months.  And the idea of Disruptive Innovation was really thought provoking!  Easy entry at the simpler end of the market – Thinking of things that are new on those that they replaced such as Netflix replaced Blockbuster, Uber replaces taxis, Community colleges (bachelor programs) are replacing universities and so forth,.  And the saying Do Something.  Try Anything. 

I also go a lot out of the NEAFCS sessions that were held at the end of the day.  Glad we had the opportunity to meet and discuss important topics.  I appreciate the scholarship that NEAFCS provided.  It definitely helped me to be able to attend this conference in which I gained so much.

Sara Richie, Wisconsin
The time spent at the JCEP ELC Conference was incredibly valuable to me. I recently took a leadership position within our Institute of Human Development and Relationships so the information gleaned from these breakouts will not only be useful to me, but also shared with my colleagues in an effort to lead collaboratively with our educators and to mindfully be open to change, promote a healthy work/life balance and be more aware of others needs within our Institute. I intend to also share my experiences with our current leadership in hopes to support additional colleagues to attend this conference in the future.

Karen Roberts Mort, New York
Attending this conference helped me grow as a leader. From Dr. Jeff Hyde, I learned how important it is to engage and develop relationships and how to incorporate digital tools, because we are always a representative of our brand.   We cannot rely on the same business model, since there are strings attached to every dollar we get and different expectations put on us.  I learned how important it is to seek mentorship from someone I admire and try to emulate them.  As an Extension Educators, we need to stay visible, relevant, connected, passionate, effective, responsive, trustworthy and passionate in our positions.  At the workshops, I learned ways to maintain a work/life balance, ways to be a better time manager and ways to avoid and defuse conflicts. I was also reminded how valuable it is to be a good and empathetic listener.  I learned to pay attention to body language, eye contact, engagement and expressions in addition to words and action as ways to communicate.    I heard about ways to practice mindfulness, improve my “digital well-being” and how to relieve stress.  I plan to share some of these techniques with the members of my state affiliate as well as fellow employees in my county.

 I will also be able to share timely updates from the NEAFCS Innovation ECOP session where we explored ways we can maintain members, improve what our organization has to offer and stay viable 5, 10, 15 years and more into the future.  It was valuable to be reminded of the Roberts Rules of Order as we properly conduct our meetings at the regional, state and national levels and keep our members thoughtfully engaged. 

In conclusion, Scott Reed summed it all up in his speech about how fast everything is changing, all around us, due to disruptive innovations.   We need to learn to keep up by continually changing the ways we engage with our audience and our partners and ultimately fuel our growth in new ways like crowd-funding.   We may have to step out of our comfort zone and explore more flexible and creative approaches to solving the problems of the future. We need to have a more diverse workforce and the capability to reach a “hybrid mix of learners”. He suggested ways to build bridges instead of walls and to foster connections instead of divides, so that urban and rural populations are more interdependent.  Otherwise, we will be stuck in the past and become invisible and obsolete.

Brittney Schori, Indiana 
If someone were to ask me if JCEP 2020 in San Antonio had a positive impact on me, I’d answer, “YES” in a heartbeat! What did I learn? I learned things that influence me personally and professionally. There was not one session that I did enjoy. Much of what I learned at JCEP is going to help me be successful in the county and with state/country wide efforts. Why did I enjoy this conference so much? I participated in both general and concurrent sessions that are going to help me better manage conflict, as well as how to improve my own and my colleague’s productivity, job performance, and well-being. Based on what I have learned, I now have different perspectives on how to address workplace resilience and how to optimize workplace culture to foster resilience. I also learned more about leadership and what a mindful leader looks like. I better understand how confidence can be cultivated within someone and how to enhance creativity. Before attending this conference I was not familiar with the process of how to publish or review Extension work, but after attending one of the concurrent sessions I have a better understanding of how I may be able to contribute to the Journal of Extension. I also feel comfortable in helping colleagues publish and review their work. In conclusion, I am beyond excited that I had the opportunity to attend JCEP on behalf of Indiana’s affiliate, Jay Christiansen this year! I highly would recommend attending this conference if someone is interested in improving their leadership skills.

Mandel Smith, Pennsylvania
The 2020 Joint Council of Extension Professionals Extension Leadership Conference offered participants a chance to engage in a host of growth opportunities. I participated in several workshops, such as Communication Tools for Leaders, that offered information on a variety of topics including time management and collaboration. During the conference I meet extension professionals from around the country that represented an array of program areas. Networking opportunities were an essential component of the conference and I was especially interested in learning how professionals in other states and regions of the country are dealing with some of the common challenges that we all face in Extension.  I gained new insight on how the National board is seeking input from members regarding growth of the organization and insuring the future of NEAFCS. Leadership is a key component of the success of any organization. Attending the Extension Leadership Conference allowed me to learn how the work that we do at the state level has a strong impact on extension nationally. Growth as a leader includes understanding the structure of the National organizations that support state and local Extension programs. One of the challenges that we face as state affiliates is helping members and potential members recognize the benefits of joining NEAFCS. Benefits of membership are multifaceted and evolving to include the use of technology and expanding to be more welcoming to new ideas and ways to engage the professional of the future. Attending the Extension Leadership Conference was a highlight of my career. The conference not only helped me better understand my role as a state affiliate leader, it also enhanced my parliamentarian skills which will benefit the state board and allow us to host more efficient meetings.

The JCEP Extension Leadership Conference packs so much into a two-day conference and attendees leave with a wealth of information related to leadership, time management, collaboration and much more. The conference is also a great way to network with Extension leaders and educators from across the country and from different program areas. The tools that we all gained from the conference will help build a stronger Extension. 

Kristy Spalding, Oklahoma
JCEP’s theme was ”2020 Vision for the Future”.  Wow!!  This conference was very thought provoking.  I learned many tools that I can take back to Oklahoma.  Moreover, one workshop, Comfort is the Enemy of Progress, really inspired me.  I learned that becoming uncomfortable can improve my personal and professional effectiveness.  Therefore, I need to move out of my comfort zone to develop my maximum potential and growth.  I would highly recommend attending a JCEP Conference.

Sara Sprouse, Iowa
Attending the JCEP Extension Leadership Conference was a valuable experience as I continue to build my leadership skills. Keynotes and concurrent sessions were filled with timely information that I will take back and use in my daily work in Iowa. The conference was also a wonderful opportunity to network with representatives from seven extension associations who traveled from across the country to attend. The opportunity to collaborate with fellow NEAFCS members each afternoon was much appreciated. As we look to the future, we must be innovative to continue to move forward as an organization and the conference provided the time to learn about and brainstorm strategies for the future. I would recommend attending the conference to anyone - and bring other leaders from your state too!

Emily Troutman, North Carolina
I had such an amazing experience at the 2020 JCEP Extension Leadership Conference. The sessions I attended were helpful, thought provoking, and inspired me for future leadership in programming in the community I serve. The conference content was new, innovative, and brought interesting ideas about Extension and what we, as an organization, should be focused on in order to stay relevant in the future. As times change, it is up to the leaders in Extension to be the trailblazers for innovation and new ideas. I also attended some great sessions on avoiding burnout, integrated programming among different program areas, and getting out of your comfort zone. I am excited to start implementing these techniques so I can push myself further and serve my county and state better.

Gayle Whitworth, Florida
I truly enjoyed attending the JCEP Extension Leadership Conference. The mood at the conference was one of excitement and professionalism all tied into one. It was so nice to get to meet with Extension faculty throughout the US representing all the associations and to learn about what each of the states are doing. I really enjoyed the breakout sessions, especially the one on time management. I learned that No is a sentence and doesn’t mean that I am not willing, just that I am passing until the Next Opportunity, which is really a neat way to look at things.  I also enjoyed the session “A Multi-programmatic Approach to Extension Programming.” Although I do a lot of multi-programmatic  programs in my county, I was able to get additional ideas from this session. My favorite part was breaking into small groups and talking with folks from three other states about programs they have and brainstorming with them ways to include other program areas into those programs. We really do do good work in Extension all across the US! I also brought back some ideas from the poster sessions on ways to improve my programs, as well as some ideas for the other program areas in my county.

Although I had been to the Extension Leadership Conference several (10+) years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. However, I am a truly happy I attended. There was a lot packed into two days, but I left feeling upbeat and ready to get back home to do the work of Extension. I would recommend the conference to everyone. From general session speakers, to breakout sessions, to the poster session, there is so much to glean. I can’t wait to go back next year and learn more!

Shana Withee, Oregon
What a wonderful conference the 2020 JCEP sponsored Extension Leadership Conference was.  It was a lovely to attend and experience such a great leadership development opportunity. I gained valuable insights into the NAEFCS organization during the discussions.  I will be able to use this knowledge as the Oregon affiliate President.  The opportunity to visit and share with co-workers from around the nation was a highlight of the conference.  I enjoyed the smaller size of the conference with all the educational opportunities that focused on gaining/growing leadership skills.  What a great conference.  I will be recommending it to co-workers and plan to attend again in the future.  Thanks for the scholarship that helped with the financial costs of the conference.

Paige Wray, Utah
I really enjoyed my first time at the JCEP Extension Leadership Conference.  I felt this was one of the more valuable conferences I have been able to attend in my career.  The connections in relationships and knowledge that I gained will help me in many years to come.  I was able to make connections from other states that will hopefully result in multi-state collaborations.  I learned valuable conflict management skills that I can use when working in my office and with my clientele and better ways to help my rural community.  I also really enjoyed representing my state association and being able to connect with others in our national association meetings.  I am excited to see the outcomes of our brainstorming activity and hope to help move the story and mission of FCS Extension work forward in my state and on a national level.  I appreciate being given the opportunity to attend by my state and the national association.