Category Archives: Conferences

Let’s celebrate! And take some photos while we’re at it

The 2017 Fall Extension Conference (FEC) planning committee members have made exciting plans for our Tuesday evening Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Celebration and are thrilled that it will take place at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. That evening, we will celebrate with our Key Partner awardees and special guests, and enjoy activities together.

This one-of-a-kind event will feature:

  • A networking reception and on-field activities.
  • A special appearance by former Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson.
  • The MSU Extension awards presentation.
  • Praise for 100 Years of MSU Extension in Detroit from MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.

We will also enjoy a unique performance called “The Al McKenzie Orchestra Performs a Motown Revue.” The show, featuring Detroit-based talent, will consist of songs by the Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, The Supremes, Mary Wilson, Edwin Star, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and many other Motown acts. To learn more about the selection of artists participating in the evening’s musical entertainment, visit https://www.amacrecords.com/, or to hear a sampling of music by  Al McKenzie, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRPXw98TlrI.

And don’t forget to share a photo. At FEC, you will be able to share digital photos throughout the conference using a smartphone in two ways:

  • Send the photo as an attachment to FECdetroit@gmail.com. (You do not need the Instagram app for this option, just email.)
  • Post it to your own Instagram account with the hashtag #FECdetroit in the caption.

You’ll be able to view all the digital photos at www.instagram.com/FECdetroit. (You do not need the Instagram app for this, just a web browser.)

Several instant cameras will be available for use. They are similar to the old-style Polaroid cameras that take photos and print instantly. You can display any instant photos you want to share on a photo wall that will be set up in the Woodward Ballroom.

Looking forward to celebrating and seeing you next week!

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Bringing health and nutrition into our organizational culture – Fall Extension Conference

You might have noticed that the Fall Extension Conference (FEC) schedule looks a little different this year. If you read through it, you’ll see that there is time dedicated to activities such as “mindful movements,” “stroll through the park” and “mindful eating.” In fact, each day has at least four opportunities to engage in healthy practices in between our conference activities.

As we serve the people of Michigan and help them live healthier lives, we should also value our own health and create practices within our organizational culture to reflect this priority.

“Nearly half of our waking hours are spent at work, and many of those hours are spent in meetings and conferences,” Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator Dawn Earnesty said. “By adopting healthy meeting guidelines, MSU Extension can help to create an environment that supports employees’ efforts to eat well and be physically active. By internally promoting and taking care of the health and well-being of our own employees, we can better meet the needs of the audiences we educate daily.”

Dawn, MSU Extension educator Bree Carlson and their team worked with the FEC planning committee to incorporate this initiative into our conference this year.

“Specific opportunities at FEC will include physical activity breaks, standing tables, all food and beverages served to meet healthy meeting guidelines, healthy messaging and specific sessions that provide social, physical and emotional professional development opportunities,” Dawn said.

We have a lot to look forward to at FEC. I would like to encourage you to join me and your colleagues to take full advantage of these health-focused opportunities. It’s important that we bring healthy practices into our organization and the way we operate, and I can’t think of a better time to start.

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Recognize your colleagues and partners through award nominations

Photo of hands on top of one another in a team huddle with the text overtop of the hands that reads, "Recognize your colleagues and partners."

Who is the first person or group who comes to mind when you think about outstanding work and meaningful impact? Do you have someone or a group in mind? Good. We’ve got plenty of ways to recognize them at our annual Fall Extension Conference. I know you’ve seen the emails about how to nominate a person or group, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about the “why” behind the awards. Results of a survey of members of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources in the U.S. and Canada show that employee recognition is a powerful and important tool in creating a thriving climate within an organization. When we take time to value and recognize each other, it creates a foundation for collaboration, gratitude and innovation. We believe that it’s also an essential organizational practice to recognize partners who have played influential roles in our strategic initiatives. This is our way to give back to them and recognize all that they have done for us. Gratitude is key to relationship building.

One more thing I wanted to mention about award nominations – you don’t have to work on it alone. There are several questions that need thorough answers so that the committee can fully understand the breadth of the nominee’s impact, so teaming up and splitting up the work can produce a great result.

Last of all – just a friendly reminder about deadlines. Please send a quick email to msuedir@msu.edu to let us know whom you’re nominating and a sentence about why by the end of today. Miss the deadline? That’s okay, send us your idea anyway. As long as your nomination is turned in by June 1, the awards committee will be able to consider it. Happy nominating!

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Filed under Awards, Fall Extension Conference, Partnerships

MSU CEC Team treated like rock stars in Nebraska

Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Andy Hayes, Khurram Imam, Micah Loucks, and Frank Gublo pose for a photo in front the Loop Brewing Co. brick building.

MSU Extension Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) From left to right: Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Andy Hayes, Khurram Imam, Micah Loucks, Frank Gublo. Photo courtesy of Andy Hayes.

This week, we’ll hear from Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator Andy Hayes sharing about the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) Team’s experiences in Nebraska:

Our MSU Extension CEC Team traveled to McCook, Nebraska, to participate in the state’s first CEC conference. Patterning their conference after our successful Michigan model, the Nebraska Extension team added their own flair and expertise and created an outstanding entrepreneurship conference.

MSU Extension team members Frank Gublo, Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Micah Loucks, Khurram Imam and I traveled to the conference and also gave breakout session presentations on a variety of entrepreneurship topics.

Approximately 80 people from 40 Nebraska communities participated. After hearing excellent keynote speakers in the local restored vintage movie theatre, participants attended breakouts around town in a wide range of businesses such as shoe stores, coffee shops, antique furniture stores and jewelry stores.

Nebraska Extension team members were so appreciative of the multi-state partnership between Michigan and Nebraska and our coaching and guidance; and participants were grateful that we traveled all that way to attend and participate; we truly felt like rock stars. And McCook is a cool town – the perfect setting for the team’s first conference.

Some of us even ventured out to the plateau at 5:30 a.m. to watch the mating dance of the prairie chickens. (Honest, you can’t make this stuff up!) It was seriously cool, and the scenery while watching the prairie wake up with the sunrise would make anyone want to live there.

While en route, we picked up a traveling companion from the University of Minnesota Extension, which made the trip even better. We ate beef in a local restaurant in York, Nebraska, and had time to tour the Food Innovation Center on the Nebraska Campus. All were truly impressive.

A great trip, and what makes it even more perfect is that we probably learned way more from our partners in Nebraska than they did from us.

Thank you, Andy, for sharing the stories from your trip. We’re thrilled about the positive impact that you and everyone on the CEC Team are having on the people of Michigan, and we’re proud that your ideas are spreading nationally.

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Filed under Conferences, Economic development, Entrepreneurial, Partnerships, professional development

Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference in Detroit

Each spring, educators from Michigan State University (MSU) Extension with support from MSU AgBioResearch and the Michigan Brewers Guild host the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference. For the first time, this year the conference was held in downtown Detroit. March 2-3, over 300 agricultural producers, processors, vendors, brewers and others attended, coming from 15 states and multiple countries. The conference offered both basic and advanced sessions for hop growers, and a barley session and malting tour for both growers and brewers.

Kevin Riel, Owner of Double ‘R’ Hop Ranches, Inc. and President of Hop Growers of America, stands at the front of the room at a podium giving a presentation to a ballroom filled with seats and participants.

Kevin Riel, Owner of Double ‘R’ Hop Ranches, Inc. and President of Hop Growers of America, addresses a near capacity crowd at the 3rd annual Great Lakes Hop & Barley Conference in Detroit, MI. Photo credit: Rob Sirrine.

The conference incorporated elements that are unique to the area. For example, Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Corporation, described Detroit’s increasing demand for local food and craft beer. Another Detroit highlight for participants was the evening reception held at the Detroit Beer Company. Participants left rave reviews of the location and the experiences that they had.

The conference is an important way to support all of the participants in the growing craft beverage industry. According to the national Brewers Association, Michigan ranks sixth in the United States in the number of craft breweries, and the industry creates an economic impact of $1.8 million. MSU Extension is proud of our educators who are at the forefront of education and working with this evolving industry.

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Speaking of our educators, we’d like to send a huge thank you to the conference planning committee, made up of Ashley McFarland, Erin Lizotte and Rob Sirrine, and Scott Graham from the Michigan Brewers Guild. Also, thank you to MSU Events Management (Betsy Braid and Megghan Honke) and MSU county-based staff members Annette Kleinschmit and Michelle Coleman, who helped behind the scenes.

As soon as it’s posted, I’ll link to Rob, Ashley and Erin’s news article about the conference so that you can read more about all of the opportunities that participants had, the tours and the speakers.

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Filed under Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, Conferences, Farming, Hop & Barley

Reflections on Fall Extension Conference

I hope that you found this year’s Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Fall Extension Conference (FEC) exciting and inspiring and that you had a chance to meet new colleagues. I enjoyed my chance to connect with you on Tuesday morning. I hope that you were encouraged. Saying “yes” and putting yourself outside of your comfort zone in times of need will open doors and build trust in your communities. Reaching out and finding out what your colleagues are doing across your district and across the state will build a foundation of collaboration that you can tap into in times of need.

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What did you think about our Extension celebration? We were so honored to have our Friend of Extension and Key Partner recipients with us, as well as special guests from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It was great to have the MSU PomponTeam kick off the event with high energy and Spartan spirit. After dinner, we had the unique opportunity to learn about the life of Temple Grandin through a performance of pieces from the new musical “Temple.” Dr. Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a world-renowned autism spokesperson and a livestock industry consultant. The performance showcased  the talent of Michigan high school students along with musical theatre and dance students from the MSU Department of Theatre.

For a chance to hear Temple Grandin speak and learn more about her work, listen to her TED Talk. The theme of her talk is that the world needs all kinds of minds and that it is important that our society value each person’s mind. This is true in our work with families, youth and communities. This is also true in MSU Extension: each of us has a unique mind and set of skills we bring to the table every day, and our organization needs every one of us. We need each of our minds, especially when our communities face a crisis, such as the water emergency in Flint. It is important that we realize the importance of collaboration and the strengths that our colleagues have to offer, and bring everyone together to create a multidimensional response.

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Congratulations and thank you again to all of our key partners and staff award winners. It is important that we take time to honor the work our colleagues and partners are doing to advance our mission and outreach across the state. Our fantastic MSU Extension Communications Team is working on press releases for our Friend of Extension and Key Partner award winners, and I’ll update this post with a link to each once they’re published.

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Thank you to our FEC committee, volunteers and the MSU Extension Events Management Team for all of their hard work to put together a meaningful conference.

Photo of everyone on the Fall Extension Conference Committee.

Thanks to our Fall Extension Conference Planning Committee!

We hope to continue to make improvements and incorporate your feedback into designing FEC. Please make sure you fill out our FEC survey by Wednesday, November 9, so that your voice is heard about what to keep and what to improve.

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Filed under Awards, Fall Extension Conference, professional development

4-H program coordinator attends Expect to Connect workshop and makes a strategic connection

Last year, Jessica Hufford, Michigan State University Extension 4-H program coordinator in Gladwin County, made and built a strategic connection while she attended the Fall Extension Conference (FEC) Expect to Connect workshop and Michigan Capitol visit in Lansing.

During the workshop, Jessica enjoyed learning about the process of government on a more personal basis.

“I learned that we must be very intentional about making those connections with our representatives in government,” Jessica said. “They have a lot of constituents they are responsible to and I can help them to better understand by reaching out and providing them with info.”

Workshop participants were encouraged to try to make an appointment so that they could visit their representatives or senators as part of the tour. When Jessica reached out to Rep. Joel Johnson’s office, his scheduler said that he would not be available during the time frame, but Jessica agreed to meet with his legislative assistant and drop off materials.

When Jessica went to the office, it turned out that Rep. Johnson and his wife were in the office, and Jessica had the opportunity to speak with both of them.

She was able to reconnect with Rep. Johnson at the county fair and also with his wife a few weeks later at another county event.

“The little bit that I can do to inform them on what I am doing to help youth in the county will help them,” Jessica said.

Rep. Johnson is a supporter of the youth in the county and is a long-time buyer at the livestock auction. His support of 4-H has helped to keep Extension programs going in his counties.

This is a great example of how to form strategic connections. Make time to connect with your government leaders in their offices, even if you only have a chance to talk to their legislative assistants. Also, attend community events to keep solidifying your connections.

I hope that Jessica’s story encouraged you about attending the workshop and showed what the beginning of relationships building can look like in your own county and district.

For the second year in a row at FEC, we will be offering the Expect to Connect workshop and Capitol visit. I encourage you to seriously consider attending this workshop to learn tools to embark on making your own strategic connections. Make sure you register for your spot before they are all filled.

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Filed under Fall Extension Conference, strategic connections