2023 JCEP Extension Leadership Conference Scholarship Recipient Reflections

Dianne Christensen, New Mexico
Attending JCEP Extension Leadership Conference was a rewarding and meaningful experience! Several aspects of this conference make it unique and very worth attending.   Focus on Leadership: The keynote and workshop sessions focused on honing leadership skills and growing personally and professionally. "Influence Without Power" was particularly insightful and challenging to build positive empowering skills as a leader but also in working with those above in higher leadership. Several workshops gave great practical skills for large group facilitation that I brought back and shared with my colleagues. The positivity and hope Dr. Hannah Carter shared in the capnote session encouraged and motivated me in anticipating different but exciting things ahead in my career with Extension. Her fresh vision was inspiring!   Associations: NEAFCS had a impactful and fun session that was so helpful in connecting to fellow members and leaders across the nation. I also greatly enjoyed meeting members of all the various associations represented at ELC.   Networking: Networking with motivated and accomplished Extension professionals representing a wide range of entities and geographic locations was really fun and interesting. Exchanging ideas, shared challenges, and discovering innovative solutions makes the time invested in attending so worthwhile.  Presenting: I was delighted to be selected to present a workshop this year. I found the audience to be receptive, engaged, and interactive.  JCEP is one of my favorite conferences. It never disappoints and is an experience I highly recommend to other Extension professionals.

Susan Cole, Tennessee
JCEP is a leadership conference that everyone considering a leadership position must attend.  The availability of networking sessions made meeting peers from other states and organizations easy.  The opportunities available in the concurrent sessions gave everyone a range of choices for learning new skills.  Leadership, communication, and working with volunteers seemed to be the theme this year. There were even concurrent sessions that could be used at the county level.  I encourage anyone that wants to be in a leadership role to participate in JCEP.

Halie Corbitt, Florida
Attending JCEP ELC allowed me the ability not only to share professionally, but to also learn from other professionals and create new relationships. I greatly enjoyed the keynote speaker and increased my knowledge on leading in such a realistic way. I attended sessions on stress management, core values, parliamentary procedures, overcoming change, leadership skill building, and so much more. I also shared building authentic connections with the other professionals.  I am planning to apply all this knowledge to my programs locally, state-wide, and nationally. Being a leader is so much more than a title and this conference helps build the skills and knowledge needed to be successful.

Carrie Elsen, Missouri
I will certainly go back to PILD in 2024. PILD helped enlighten me about all the connecting national organizations that are vital to extension professionals. The opening session set the tone for the reason why I went to PILD, and I wanted to leave inspired to lead within my organization. PILD did just that for me. The NEAFCS breakout session was excellent because I was able to relax, enjoy laughing, and getting to know other NEAFCS members with the activities during the session. I presented at this conference with other NEAFCS members, and it made realize how much I am growing as a leader. Thank you for the scholarship and assisting me to go to PILD.

Caroline Everidge, Indiana
I am honored to have been able to attend JCEP ELC on behalf of the Indiana affiliate of NEAFCS. There were several sessions that were incredibly worthwhile and impactful. The networking was also extremely beneficial and I am happy to share there were several new relationships developed. As I reflect on my time at the conference, I most enjoyed sessions that focused on DEI lenses, especially the session that provided a tool for self-assessment of program design and cultural responsiveness and another session that provided hands-on activities and ideas for making our programs more accessible. It was highly beneficial to be able to speak with the presenters afterwards and be able to bring materials home to replicate/adapt for local needs. The keynote speaker was also very powerful in his discussion of power in the workplace. The strategies he shared will be helpful when handling conflict, both internally and externally with partners. The NEAFCS Association Meeting was an opportunity to meet other members and share success and areas of growth for the association. This is a conference worth attending, regardless of your role within state affiliates or national leadership. I hope to be able to attend again!

Georgina Guzman, Michigan
This was my first time attending the JCEP conference and I found it to be educational and provided me with a variety of professional development opportunities.  I walked away with information and resources that I can utilize that will me grow in my leadership skills.  There were several breakout sessions that addressed personal and professional growth. The following are just a few of the things that I learned at the conference.  I learned about upstream thinking and how to use that to get to the root of the "problem", conflict management and effective communication, and learned about multi state collaboration and how to be a part of larger team. I especially appreciated the NIFA mock panel session, as I have no experience in applying for a grant.

LaDonna Hines, Oklahoma
This was my second year to attend the JCEP Extension Leadership Conference.  The  keynote speaker was very inspiring and really made us think as a leader, how we think about other people.  Not only did I learn some new leadership ideas, but also how to design, market & implement programs.  It is always nice to see what other states are doing and try to incorporate them into your county programming. The NIFA mock grant panel was very informing and will be helpful when submitting grants.  Overall, it was a great conference and thank you for allowing me to represent NEAFCS!

Cindy Jenkins, Utah
JCEP 2023 was a great experience. Networking with leaders from across the country is top on my list for highlights. Next would be the training sessions for leaders. This was a great time to sharpen skills for planning, communications, evaluation, and more. Lastly, the wonderful food and atmosphere surrounding KC were the icing on the cake. Thank you for the scholarship and I look forward to attending JCEP again in the future.

Demi Johnson, Iowa
JCEP ELC was a wonderful chance to see the big picture in Extension. I enjoyed learning about all that Extension does coast to coast while developing similar language and leadership skills with my colleagues across other educational areas. During the NEAFCS Association meeting I felt a sense of belonging as we shared why NEAFCS is of value to us and what we'd like to create to make it better for future members and ourselves.

Mary Kizer, Arkansas
Thank you NEAFCS for providing my JCEP Registration Fee.  I learned many new leadership ideas,  such as, "If you have authority, you don't need power" - except for emergencies such as a kid walking into a road.  We were blessed with 52 workshops and 21 posters!  I started with, "Stress Management and Wellness for a Sustainable Career", and came home with the idea to focus on what I can influence or control, change habits, and laugh more.  Helpful workshops, such as, "Design, Market, Implement, Repeat!", reminded me of the importance of repetitive branding, need for innovation, and joint ventures.  I loved our NEAFCS meeting with each group planning a skit (complete with props) to focus on  valuable parts of NEAFCS and what to improve. Then the NIFA Mock Grant Panel gave insight into the grant approval process and Yes, I plan to apply soon. After all the workshops, poster sessions, and great food, our Capnote speaker left us with a positive spin, "Expect Nothing - Appreciate Everything".  She said that her team has to read, "Love + Work" for their book club.  Her final message was, "Make joy a priority at work".

Katie Krause, Nebraska
I have been a member of NEAFCS for 8 years and with Extension for just a little longer. I have always been a bit frustrated with the messaging around why you join NEAFCS in my state "You get out of it what you put into it." To me, that has always seemed like a way of saying, we do it because we always have. Each year, I hear that saying less and less, and each year I see more and more value in being a member of NEAFCS. Attending the ELC conference has really started my year, and my tenure as president-elect, with a clear view of the real, tangible  benefits of being a part of the organization. Attending is required by my state affiliate as I am the president-elect. I didn't quite know what to expect going into the conference as I'm not too keen on being a "leader". I quickly realized that ELC is a great place to make those wonderful connections people are talk about. Every session I attended was presented by NEAFCS members (not planned).  With each session or affiliate activity, I became more and more excited about what NEAFCS is doing and where it is going. I feel that attending ELC has helped me see who else is around the country that I can learn from and work with. I also had no intention of attending national conference this year, but am now going to look into attending because I'm so impressed with the leadership.

Emily Marrison, Ohio
I have 3 goals returning home after ELC this week: 1) After attending the breakout about facilitating large groups, I am inspired to organize two listening sessions in my county. I currently have an FCS Advisory Committee, but it is always difficult to get people to attend and to be committed. I am planning two different sessions to focus on my main programming areas - healthy people and healthy finances. I think it is going to be "State of Outreach Education for Healthy People" and "State of Outreach Education for Healthy Finances" on two different days in the early August timeframe to allow for school employee participation.  2) I've also been inspired to initiate discussions on evaluation and impact reporting. Ohio's JCEP meeting was two weeks after I returned from ELC. I talked with our FCS Program Leader about her goals for reporting and how we can better work together to get quality data to provide to NEAFCS next January. Our next steps are to meet with the leaders of each of our sub-program areas to plan our system for capturing statewide data and impact. 3) I have been reflecting more on what brings me joy in this job. At the 11-year mark, I can get cynical. It was great to be surrounded by excellence those two days and be reminded that though all our universities have challenges, there are still exceptional people in this vocation who love people and are committed to making a difference in our communities with education.

Rhonda Peters, North Carolina
I really enjoyed my experience at JCEP.  The keynote speaker gave us a foundation for relating to other people, and many of the breakout sessions I attended also helped with interpersonal skills - such as conflict management, etc.  I really enjoyed the association meeting and association night out as well.

Latonya Ramsey, Mississippi
JCEP was a very robust event that held a lot of great speakers. The keynote speaker gave me a eye opening perspective of power in my personal and professional life. This will help immensely on my leadership ladder. The food and conference hotel was wonderful. Of course, I have many programs from other extension professionals to expand my teaching and outreach platform to my community. It is always great to get fresh and trendy information on topics for our line of work. Met so many great people during the association meetings and night out. It was an unforgettable opportunity.

Rebecca Reid, Kansas
Engage- Inspire - Achieve were action words included on the 2023 JCEP Extension Leadership Conference graphic. All participants were challenged to chose one word to consider as their goal for their conference experience. I chose "inspire," as I like to collect ideas from peers and professional development opportunities.  I was inspired by keynote speaker Ben Elman with his challenge to consider approaching situations with an adult to adult perspective, rather than the authoritative power model of parent to child. I have already applied this approach with relationships since attending.  Various training workshops inspired me to think Upstream (book by Dan Heath), saying YES with partnerships, starting with evaluation (which can lead to a happy ending), and understanding resources available for data-informed decision making.  Skill building sessions equipped me with another perspective to respond to "that's how we have always done it" and the benefits of a workplace team building engagement program.  I am inspired to adapt and implement these concepts into my local Extension unit and share with Kansas affiliate members. This was my first Extension Leadership Conference and I enjoyed interacting with colleagues from across the United States.  I especially enjoyed the opportunity to build new friendships with NEAFCS members. I look forward to seeing them again at future annual sessions. I am inspired that our current association leadership is leading the way to a bright future. I recommend the Extension Leadership Conference to others and I will consider participation in the future.

Amy Robertson, Idaho
I was fortunate enough to attend the 2023 Extension Leadership Conference. The location of the conference in Kansas City, Missouri is somewhere I had never been before, and it allowed me to see and experience many new things. I found the experience very rewarding in many ways. First of all, it was invaluable to meet other extension educators and extend my professional network. I also enjoyed attending the concurrent sessions and the poster sessions to learn about the programming being done by other extension educators throughout the nation. I gleaned so much new information and got some ideas that I hope to implement in my own county here in Idaho. I also attended this conference in order to give two presentations for programming I am doing with other Extension professionals both in my state and in multi-state collaborations. I was able to meet several educators in other states who are interested in implementing similar programs in their areas.  I am very grateful to have NEAFCS cover my registration expenses. As our current state president, I enjoyed the time spent with other NEAFCS members to network and get motivated to promote the association in my state.

Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head, South Dakota
The theme for this conference was Engage, Inspire, and Achieve.  During the opening session, we were asked to write one of the words from the theme as our goal. My goal was to engage. I was engaged in each session I attended. I learned about how to make a podcast, assess programs for diversity, equity, and inclusion, implement a multi-state online program, and develop my delegation skills. I am inspired to implement what I learned to enhance my current programming to achieve my goal of increasing engagement and reach to diverse audiences. I share my experience with members of my state affiliate and encourage other members to attend JCEP.

Joanne Ureste, Texas
The JCEP conference was a well organized conferenced and the them reflected perfectly towards our conference.  It was an engaging conference.  The topics were beneficial to my role in Extension and the Association.  I was inspired to take the topics learned and implemented them to my programs.  The educational topics you provided will help me achieve my goals that I set for Extension and the TEAFCS Association.   I learned so much in all the sessions; however, my favorite session was Conflict Management Techniques by Steve McKinley.  Personally, I try to avoid conflict; however, working with all types of people it is not surprising that it will be encountered.  I learned different techniques to use.  Currently, I am working with a group of volunteers that are not getting along due to their personalities.  As the advisor, I will have to schedule a meeting and guide them to the program's goal.   Another session I enjoyed was the Parliamentary Procedure Made Easy! By Bernie Wiesen.  As the President for TEAFCS, it is my responsibility that everyone follows Roberts Rule of Order.  Roberts Rule of Order is to ensure that the meeting runs nice and smooth and that everyone's voice gets heard.  In conclusion, I am thankful that I attended the conference.  In addition, I am grateful that NEAFCS had the funding to cover the cost for my registration.  Thank you for inspiring me!